EUREKA: Discovering Catholic Treasury – through a Lenten lens! : “Laudato Si”

A. What is it?

>> “Laudato Si” is an Encyclical by Pope Francis, released on June 18, 2015.

>> “Laudato Si” which means “Praise be to You” is the 2nd Encyclical of Pope Francis

>> The title is inspired from St Francis of Assisi’s 13th-century “Canticle of the Sun” (also called the Canticle of the Creatures), a poem and prayer.

B. What does it speak of?

>> “Laudato Si” is addressed to “every person living on this planet” with the hope of entering “into dialogue with all people about the Earth – our common home.”

>> 6 Chapters make up “Laudato Si”

(i) “What is happening to our Common Home”: Looks at the various symptoms of environmental degradation. The encyclical postulates that a truly ecological approach is also inherently social – an approach that simultaneously hears the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.

(ii) “The Gospel of Creation”: Considers the world the way that God intended it. The chapter surveys the rich scriptural traditions to show that there is no Biblical justification for “a tyrannical anthropocentrism unconcerned for other creatures.” A person who is truly concerned about the trafficking of endangered species is automatically concerned with the trafficking of humans.

(iii) “The Human Roots of the Ecological Crisis”: Examines the twin notions of “technocratic paradigm” and a “modern anthropocentrism”.

>> These views see nature as devoid of any spiritual or transcendental value.

>> This has led to the misplaced ideas that the earth’s resources are infinite and that economic growth and technology alone can solve global hunger and poverty.

(iv) “Integral Ecology”: It charts a path to recapture awareness of the interconnectedness of creation. It is essential to appreciate the impact of environmental degradation on “cultural ecology”. The experience of indigenous peoples is specifically referred to in this regard.

(v) “Lines of Approach and Action”: This Chapter sets out various international collective actions needed.

(vi) “Ecological Education and Spirituality”: It shifts attention to the individual believer, families and communities, and invites them to make a difference in small but tangible ways.

>> Consumer choices, the cultivation of ecological virtues such as reducing wastefulness, and environmental education for the young are explained as practical steps leading to a deeper, spiritual “ecological conversion” through which the follower of Christ recognizes the true worth of all created entities.

C. Pointers for Reflections

1. “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?”

>> This question is at the heart of “Laudato Si’

>> We have forgotten that “we ourselves are dust of the earth; our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.”

>> The Encyclical encourages all to have an “ecological conversion”

2. Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue.

>> This “corrected lifestyle” it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience

D. What virtues/points can we pick up from “Laudato Si” for this Season of Lent?

1. Cultivate greater sensitivity to nature

2. Deepen and thank God as the Creator

E. Tips to practice these virtues

1. Make a list, and practise, a few but very practical steps to protect the nature

2. Raise a prayer of Thanks to the Lord, for all the things we see around

>> Let nature, become a time of meditation with the Lord

May this Lent and the familiarity with the Encyclical “Laudato Si” help us to grow in our acclamation: “Eureka – I have found the Lord”

(The Full Text of “Laudato Si” can be found at:

https://w2.vatican.va/content/dam/francesco/pdf/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si_en.pdf

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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