LAUDATO SI: POPE FRANCIS LATEST ENCYCLICAL EXPLAINED IN FIVE (5) STEPS... For the busy who cannot read the entire work. Enjoy!!!
In case you haven’t had the chance to read all 184 pages of the new encyclical yet, we’ve come up with five steps you can take to follow what’s being called the #LaudatoWay – little steps we can all take to changing our ecological lifestyles. It’s named after St. Therese and her “Little Way”, which Pope Francis mentions in para. 230 of the encyclical, and to whom he has a special devotion!
1. Pray for a conversion of heart.
Not surprisingly, our appreciation of and care for the environment must stem from our relationship with God, which is established through prayer.
As Pope Benedict XVI, quoted by Pope Francis in para. 217 of “Laudato Si”, explained in 2005: “The external deserts in the world are growing, because the internal deserts have become so vast”.
“For this reason,” Pope Francis continues, “the ecological crisis is also a summons to profound interior conversion. It must be said that some committed and prayerful Christians, with the excuse of real- ism and pragmatism, tend to ridicule expressions of concern for the environment. Others are passive; they choose not to change their habits and thus become inconsistent. So what they all need is an ‘ecological conversion’, whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them. 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.”
This prayer life doesn’t have to be complicated. In para. 227, Pope Francis explains that this conversion of heart can happen through prayers as simple as the prayer before meals:
“One expression of this attitude is when we stop and give thanks to God before and after meals. I ask all believers to return to this beautiful and meaningful custom. That moment of blessing, however brief, reminds us of our dependence on God for life; it strengthens our feeling of gratitude for the gifts of creation; it acknowledges those who by their labours provide us with these goods; and it reaffirms our solidarity with those in greatest need.”
2. Learn to appreciate beauty.
This might sound overly simple, but learning to appreciate the beauty in our world around us – whether in another person or in a beautiful mountain sunset – is a profound step in our conversion of heart that helps us to appreciate creation as gift from God.
As Pope Francis explains in para. 215: “By learning to see and appreciate beauty, we learn to reject self-interested pragmatism. If someone has not learned to stop and admire something beautiful, we should not be surprised if he or she treats everything as an object to be used and abused without scruple. If we want to bring about deep change, we need to realize that certain mindsets really do influence our behaviour.”
What’s one practical way you can learn to appreciate beauty? Spend more time in (silent) nature! This is one of my parish priests’ favorite penances to give after confession. Spending time in the beauty of God’s creation calms our hearts, calls us out of ourselves, and reminds us of His glory. (P.S. It doesn’t count if you have your headphones in the whole time.)
Nature is filled with words of love, but how can we listen to them amid constant noise, interminable and nerve-wracking distractions, or the cult of appearances? Many people today sense a profound imbalance which drives them to frenetic activity and makes them feel busy, in a constant hurry which in turn leads them to ride rough-shod over everything around them. This too affects how they treat the environment. An integral ecology includes taking time to recover a serene harmony with creation, reflecting on our lifestyle and our ideals, and contemplating the Creator who lives among us and surrounds us, whose presence “must not be contrived but found, uncovered” (para. 225)
Continuation … https://cknaija.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/pope-francis-powerful-five-points-on-man-and-the-environment-part2/