by Sr. Sara Dwyer, ASC
Pope Francis’ long-awaited encyclical on the environment, released today, focuses squarely on ecological justice. “Laudato Si,” or “Praise Be” challenges all of us to re-imagine our potential and responsibility to be one human family, on one planet and in one universe.
Francis has masterfully interwoven a vision of humans and nature living interdependently, in respect and reverence for Earth.
This 184-page papal letter is not an ideological treatise, though some will try to dismiss it as such, but rather a cry for justice, sustainability and integrity of life across issues that usually divide countries and people. Pope Francis wants to expand the conversations and bring all voices and concerns to the table with equity and compassion. He reminds us that we are moral agents of a God who requires us to be good stewards who allow all creatures to live in a sustainable world.
This encyclical, awaited by so many the world over, calls us to build a better world community for all of Creation, not just humankind. “Praise Be” proclaims a vision of re-ordering relationships and priorities to serve the most disenfranchised in the world. Raising the conversation about power and empowerment, the pope suggests a very different way to structure policies and practices between the “haves and the have-nots.” He strongly challenges the current way that developed countries, and especially “superpower countries,” discern their world view.
This encyclical challenges us to advocate for systemic change in large and small ways. We, individually, have to act on our attitudes and concerns for the environment. We Adorers of the U.S. must allow our consciousness to be raised, and to rethink our national and corporate practices and policies. We must not give into feeling we have no voice or power or hope! This pope is counting on individuals, to move hearts and minds, to a new awareness.
Pope Francis challenges the human community to turn “what has been” into “what could or should be.”
It is difficult for many, if not most, people to think in these terms.
Yet, as Adorers, especially, in our congregation’s documents, we acknowledge our role in a globalized world and our steps on the “threshold of transition” that we are called to go beyond. We are called to be drawn into God’s mystery and all created life.
Love of Earth is in our congregation’s DNA. Our founder, St. Maria de Mattias, spoke of the “dear neighbor,” reverence for all of life and “the beautiful order of things.”
I believe she is praying with us: Praise Be, Brother Francis!
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