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About Pope Francis’ Encyclical, “Laudato si”

Pope_Francis_receives_a_gift_of_a_bas_relief_of_St_Therese_of_Lisieux_from_journalist_Caroline_Pigozzi_of_Paris_Match_Jan_15_2015_Credit_Alan_Holdren_CNA_6_1_15WHEN: The Pope’s highly anticipated first encyclical is expected to be published June 18th, 2015.

TITLE: The title is “Laudato Si” (Be Praised or Praised Be), from St. Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of Creation praising elements of creation and naming them as kin. (How prescient for one untaught in modern science!) Users of my Advent and Lent resources have found quotes from this prayer on most cover pages. See the entire prayer below.

Pope Francis’ encyclical is also expected to be given the Italian subtitle: “Sulla cura della casa comune” (On the care of the common home).

IMPORTANCE: “Laudato si” will set a key ethical framework for discussion and policies surrounding climate change ahead of the Pope’s address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on September 24 and his address to the United Nations Special Summit on Sustainable Development Sept. 25.

The Pope’s words will set the moral standard for everyone concerned about climate change, the issue that affects all living beings. He is sure to link Scripture references, care of the poor, and religious responsibility to act to protect creation. Media coverage has already been extensive, with articles and reports both pro and con.

RESOURCES:

Among the resources for those wishing to explore the Pope’s encyclical are these two:

  • In keeping with the Lent material I have been writing since 2004, I shall provide a 5-session program – “Praised be: On the care of the common home” — for those who wish to integrate Lent’s 2016 Scripture readings and the encyclical. It will be available free by November 1st: https://ecospiritualityresources.com/lent.
  • RENEW International, GreenFaith, and Catholic Climate Covenant are collaborating to produce an in-depth 12-session resource available in English and Spanish this fall: http://www.renewintl.org/renew/index.nsf/vPages/. I highly recommend this resource.

Canticle of Creation  

O Most High, all-powerful, good Lord God, to you belong praise, glory, honor and all blessing.

sunshine_Be praised, my Lord, for all your creation and especially for our Brother Sun, who brings us the day and the light; he is strong and shines magnificently.  O Lord, we think of you when we look at him.

Be praised, my Lord, for Sister Moon, and for the stars  which you have set shining and lovely in the heavens.

Be praised, my Lord, for our Brothers Wind and Air and every kind of weather   by which you, Lord, uphold life in all your creatures.

Be praised, my Lord, for Sister Water, who is very useful to us, and humble and precious and pure.

burning candle isolated on black backgroundBe praised, my Lord, for Brother Fire, through whom you give us light in the darkness: he is bright and lively and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, for Sister Earth, our Mother, who nourishes us and sustains us, bringing forth fruits and vegetables of many kinds and flowers of many colors.

Be praised, my Lord, for those who forgive for love of you; and for those who bear sickness and weakness in peace and patience — you will grant them a crown.

Be praised, my Lord, for our Sister Death, whom we must all face.

I praise and bless you, Lord, and I give thanks to you, and I will serve you in all humility.

planet-earth-from-space-2491-hd-wallpapers

Time to Plan for Lent 2017

 lent_thumb3_thumbLent begins next month — Ash Wednesday is March 1st! Christians who care about Earth and/or whose Christ-awareness has been enriched by evolutionary biology, physics, and the new cosmology might long for Lent resources that include the suffering, death, and resurrection of Earth. Knowing that Jesus’ life is interconnected with everything else, they might want resources that foster actions that contribute to Earth’s sustainability and renewal.

Our reflections on Jesus’ life, death and resurrection need not be isolated from the life, death, and resurrection present in our our sacred and threatened Earth. This Lent is a good time to integrate concern for each precious threatened species with Christ’s suffering “in ten thousand places.” (Gerald Manley Hopkins)

Even butterflies, a symbol of new life, monarch-butterfly-threatenedare threatened with extinction — and the ramifications for other life forms are indeed ominous. “The whole creation [including humanity, so totally dependent upon it] has been groaning as in  the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (Romans 8: 2) 

Though resources that integrate Christ’s passion and Earth’s passion are not plentiful, they do exist. This site — http://ecospiritualityresources.com — is one of them.

Reflection Booklets for Lent Groups

Two programs that correlate with 2017 Scripture readings are available: Laudato Si’ Reflection Resource and I Thirst: Water Reflections for Lent. Go to the Lent page of the EcoSpiritualityResources.

Ash Wednesday 2017 Stardust Ritual 

Judging by the numbers of people who will proudly wear ashes on their forehead, this ritual has not lost its power. Remembering that we came from dust and will return to dust is awesome. So is remembering that we really date to stars in an evolution that includes billions of years. Check Ash Wednesday 2017 Stardust Ritual  lent_other_picto expand our dust-remembrance by celebrating our coming from stardust and by reflecting on the marvel of dust and earth.

I hope these two resources will contribute to what Thomas Berry called the Great Work. 

Other resources

The Stations of the Cross for All Creation booklet, available from the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center (IPJC), integrates the sufferings of Jesus, our planet and its people, and envisions resurrection and new life. See http://www.ipjc.org/publications/stations.htm.

 

Please use “Comments” to add your suggestions for making good use of our time this Lent.

Prayer for Feast of St. Francis

If ever the example of St. Francis were needed, it is surely now
when violence is rampant, including among religious groups;
when the planet is in peril from climate change, extinctions, and resource depletion; and
when consumerism threatens to take over our lives and cause poverty for many.

St. Francis’ feast day is celebrated October 4th, though prayerful celebrations often take place before and after this date. For those who wish to use it, the following prayer is available on two sides by clicking here: St.Francis.2014.

Feast of Francis 2014: All Praise be Yours

“The Heavens Are Telling the Glory of God”

Call to prayer 100_0359

Leader: There came a man from Assisi, Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, one most unlikely to shed his wealth and prestige and future comforts,
1: one thought a fool when he overturned society’s expectations and followed the path of Christ,
2: one whose life of simplicity, awareness, gratitude, and peace has made him a model for countless men and women over the centuries,
3: one named patron saint of animals and ecology,
4: one whose name was chosen by a Pope to show the relevance of his life and mission for today’s world.

All: May our time of prayer deepen in us Francis’ radical spirit.

Let us give thanks

Leader: Francis’ Canticle of the Creatures gives praise to the One to whom “all glory, honor and blessing” belong. All: We, too, praise and thank you, Divine Mystery.

1. Francis prayed to God “Most High.” Let us be grateful to know that the Aramaic “heaven” means the light and sound shining through all creation and that God lives and acts within it all: We praise and thank you, Divine Mystery.

images2. Francis praised God through “Brother Sun, who brings the day, and light You give us through him.” Let us be grateful for all we know about our star, its place in our solar system, its story dating back billions of years, its potential for replacing fossil fuel use: We praise and thank you, Divine Mystery.

3. Francis praised God through “Sister Moon and stars in the heavens.” Let17-kepler3 us be grateful for knowing that our galaxy contains billions of stars, and is but one of billions of galaxies, and for the awe we feel when we look at the stars: We praise and thank you, Divine Mystery.

4. Francis praised God through “Brothers Wind and Air, and fair and stormy, all weather’s moods by which You cherish all that You have made.” Let us never take for granted the gift of clean, fresh air, the use of wind for energy, and the people who strive to protect our atmosphere and increase use of renewable energy: We praise and thank you, Divine Mystery.

water5. Francis praised God through “Sister Water, so useful, humble, precious and pure.” Let us treasure our oceans, glaciers, rivers, lakes, and aquifers, without which our lives would not be possible: We praise and thank you, Divine Mystery.

6. Francis praised God through “Brother Fire, … beautiful and gay, full of power and strength.” Let us be grateful for knowing that humans in ancient times gathered around the fire to share stories that gave meaning to life and bonded community, andfire-at-solstice for memories of times around campfires and fireplaces with family and friends: We praise and thank you, Divine Mystery.

 8057332-earth-with-translucent-water-in-the-oceans-and-the-detailed-topography-of-the-continents7. Francis praised God for “Sister Earth, our mother, who feeds us in her sovereignty and produces various fruits and colored flowers and herbs.” Let us be conscious of our kinship with every creature with whom we share our beloved planet and for knowing that we are both interconnected with it and totally dependent upon it: We praise and thank you, Divine Mystery.

8. Francis praised God for “those who grant pardon for love of You; through those who endure sickness and trial; … those who endure in peace” as did Jesus. Let us remember those, living and dead, who have modeled for us forgiving, non-violent lives and those who labor to reduce weapons of mass destruction and the funds wasted on them. [Pause to remember; mention people if you wish.]: We praise and thank you, Divine Mystery.

Let us be mindful

St. Francis also praised God through Sister Death — the kind “no mortal can escape.” He could not have guessed that humans would cause the sickness and death of the very gifts we have just mentioned. Of the needs of Earth, Let us be mindful.

Mention any relevant concern that weighs on your heart, e.g., Of the animals and plants going extinct, Let us be mindful.

Quiet Prayer

Closing 

All: “Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks. Serve God with great humility.”

Exchange a blessing of peace and all good.