Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The message for this week comes shortly after the Vatican’s release of Poope Francis’ latest Encyclical, Laudato Si. That means, “Praise to you, my Lord.” Our Holy Pontiff emphasizes a “care for our common home” and the right for Quality of life. As part of God’s creation with infinite dignity, “we need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family with no frontiers or barriers behind which we can hide.” (#52) This message was echoed from our most recent Pope, Benedict XVI: “We are all responsible for the protection and care of the environment. This responsibility knows no boundaries.”
The whole document seems to be written in the spirit of Pope Francis’ namesake, and the patron Saint of Ecology, Francis of Assisi. Out of all the recognized Church Saints, St. Francis “is the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically...he was particularly concerned for God’s creation, for the poor and outcast. He loved, and was deeply loved for his joy, generous self-giving, and openheartedness. He was a mystic and a pilgrim who lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others, with nature, and with himself.” (#10) Francis of Assisi referred to all forms of God’s creation as brother or sister. The world is not all about us, as we have plenty of life around us that make up an entire cosmic framework. All of humanity has a responsibility and a personal role to be faithful stewards in the world. In other words, nature is never meant to be turned into something for us to manipulate.
Certainly our world as we know it is drastically differetn from the teime of St. Francis of Assisi. However, the importance of building holy and healthy relationships and promoting a healthy “common home” environment has not changed. On our pilgrim mission to become saints, we discover that, “certain influences can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply, and to love generously.” (#47) I encourage each of us to read the Holy Father’s Encyclical in its entirety.