Fr. Michael Schleuper offers another reflection in his series about Pope Francis. Are you familiar with Laudato Si? Fr. Michael shares his thoughts on this letter and and easy way for us to apply these insights to our daily lives.
Pope Francis – 4
In 2015, Pope Francis wrote an encyclical on the earth, our environment – the first encyclical ever written on this topic. (By the way, an encyclical is a long letter that popes write on a specific topic as a way of teaching and exhortation.) This 2015 letter is titled: Laudato Si’ – On Care for Our Common Home.
Francis brings an interesting educational background to this topic: a Doctorate in Theology and a Master’s Degree in Chemistry. So, he has both a scientific and a spiritual perspective.
In the encyclical, Francis identifies the serious problems with our earth or environment, especially carbon emissions and over-consumption of our resources. He calls us to embrace a culture of care for one another and for our common home.
As I see the encyclical, there seem to be two ingredients to this culture of care: 1) being prayerful and 2) being provident. Francis first calls us to be prayerful, and he especially highlights the prayer before meals.
He says this:
“I ask all believers to return to this beautiful and meaningful custom.
That moment of blessing, however brief,
reminds us of our dependence on God for life;
it strengthens our feeling of gratitude for the gifts of creation;
it acknowledges those who by their labors provide us with these goods;
and it reaffirms our solidarity with those in greatest need.”
So, a simple recommendation.
Pope Francis very insightfully sees this grace before meals as affirming human life and affirming the earth and the goods that we derive from it. It is a way for us to stay alert to our calling to care for our common home.
I repeat what I said at the end of prior columns in this series: I find great inspiration and motivation for ministry in Francis’ vision.
Next week, I will conclude this series by focusing on the second ingredient in the culture of care that Francis promotes.
~Father Michael Schleupner
(Quotations above from: Laudato Si’ – On Care for Our Common Home, 2015)