God has written a precious book, whose letters are
the multitude of created things present in the universe.
— Laudato Si’ #85, quoting St John Paul II

The title of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’, is translated into English as “Praised be to you, (my Lord)”. The encyclical’s title, as well as its inspiration, comes from these two words which begin The Canticle of the Sun by St Francis of Assisi.

 Painting by Marlene Gharbo for St. Bridget Catholic Church, Mesa, AZ  

 Painting by Marlene Gharbo for St. Bridget Catholic Church, Mesa, AZ

 

Praised be you, my Lord, with all your creatures.
— St. Francis of Assisi, The Canticle of the Sun

In The Canticle of the Sun, St. Francis proclaims the basic holiness and unity of all creation.  From black holes to blackberries, from meteors to manatees to mankind, all that exists is the handiwork of God. Everything owes its existence, its purpose, its utility, and its beauty to the Creator.

This faith-inspired insight takes on an added dimension in our time.  Since all created beings are composed of a limited number of basic elements, this means they all have a relationship to, and dependency on, one another.  Thus, the key concept to understanding Laudato Si’ is conveyed by the words linked, relationship, intertwined, and connection. 

In Christian theology, the most difficult questions and contentious debates have all involved relationships: between faith and good works; God’s justice and mercy; the persons of the Trinity; the human and divine natures of Jesus.

It is not surprising, then, that Pope Francis would employ this template of relationship in four key areas:  1) the closely intertwined relationships between God, human life, and the earth; 2) the relationship between the deterioration of morality and the deterioration of the earth; 3) the relationships between production, consumption, and lifestyle in creating and solving the current environmental crisis; 4) the relationship of environmental education and spirituality.

Each of these areas will be explored over the next four Sundays.

HOMEWORK: Prayerfully listen to Brother Sun, Sister Moon composed and sung by Donovan.