Franciscan Review of Laudato Si’, Mi’ Signore’s Closing Comments

by Sister Julie Ann on May 19, 2016

Franciscan Sister Kathleen Murphy reviews Pope Francis’ Laudao Si’, Mi’ Signore’s closing comments and its encouraging involvement of spirituality in environmental education.

As we reach the final passages of Laudato Si’, Mi’ Signore we are ready to join Pope Francis in examining the involvement of spirituality in environmental education.

MonarchWe tend to put the topic of environment or ecology solidly in the category of a scientific endeavor. Pope Francis expresses a broader meaning, “The external deserts in the world are growing, because the internal deserts have become so vast. For this reason, the ecological crisis is also a summons to profound interior conversion.”

The Holy Father reflects on the fact that some Christians respond to the call for environmental protection with ridicule while others simply remain indifferent and inactive. These are not acceptable replies. Pope Francis writes, “Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.”

The encyclical quotes the writings of the Australian bishops speaking of the importance of reconciliation with creation: “To achieve such reconciliation, we must examine our lives and acknowledge the ways in which we have harmed God’s creation through our actions and our failure to act. We need to experience a conversion, or change of heart.”

This conversion calls for a number of attitudes which together foster a spirit of generous care. Conversion entails gratitude, greater creativity and enthusiasm in resolving the world’s problems, a loving awareness that we are not disconnected from the rest of creatures, moderation, the capacity to be happy with little, humility, a capacity for wonder, and charity which tends toward the common good.Franciscan Sister Victoria spring image

The call to conversion leads to a treatment of the Sacramental life of the Church which depends on the human and sensate signs and symbols so familiar to our faith life. Oil, fire, bread, water, human touch—all are fruits of our environment.

Next, Pope Francis writes about the relationship of creation to the Trinity. He says, “Everything is interconnected, and this invites us to develop a spirituality of that global solidarity which flows from the mystery of the Trinity.”

Mary, our Mother is not to be left out of this reflection. Whether we see her as the sorrowful mother or as the woman clothed with the sun, she speaks to us of the glory of God which we see ever more clearly when we beg her to share her spirit of wisdom. St. Joseph is there for us to teach us how to show care; he can inspire us to work with generosity and tenderness in protecting this world which God has entrusted to us.


4 thoughts on “Franciscan Review of Laudato Si’, Mi’ Signore’s Closing Comments”

  1. annemarielom says:

    I have so appreciated Sr. Kathleen’s ability to help us navigate the pages and concepts of Laudato Si’
    We are offering a dialogue retreat on this encyclical this summer at our House of Prayer and are hoping that the richness of our Holy Father’s words may sink deeply into our hearts!

  2. Thanks so much for the great synthesis of Laudato Si Sister Kathleen! I walked through the Encyclical with my high school juniors this semester; I love the section about the Trinity, we are ‘interconnected in this profound relationship of love and care” It was a delight to read my students’ reflection about how they appreciated learning that caring for creation is interconnected with caring for each other and especially for those in need!

  3. Sister Carla says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading these reflections throughout the year. It is so easy to take our earth and each other for granted. I was reminded just this week of the importance of each one in caring for our home.
    After Mass an elderly gentleman bent down and picked up a bottle cap and said, “Some things don’t belong on the ground.” I had walked right past it!

  4. Sister Marcolette Madden says:

    One of the ideas I appreciate the most in Laudato Si is the concept of interrelatedness. “Our relationship with the environment can never be isolated from our relationship with others and with God. Otherwise, it would be nothing more than romantic individualism dressed up in ecological garb, locking us into a stifling immanence.” (119)

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