Just Gospel: Pope Francis’ Encyclical is Franciscan

September 07, 2015

Franciscan Sister Kathleen Murphy continues a series of articles on Pope Francis’ Laudato Si.

This document has special significance to us as Franciscans. The very title translates as “Praise be to you, my Lord,” the words repeated over and over in St. Francis’ Canticle of the Creatures.

Franciscan Sisters Silver LakeIn the introduction to his writing, Pope Francis includes the following: “Francis helps us to see that an integral ecology calls for openness to categories which transcend the language of mathematics and biology, and take us to the heart of what it is to be human. Just as happens when we fall in love with someone, whenever he would gaze at the sun, the moon or the smallest of animals, he burst into song, drawing all other creatures into his praise. He communed with all creation, even preaching to the flowers, inviting them to praise the Lord, just as if they were endowed with reason. His response to the world around him was so much more than intellectual appreciation or economic calculus, for to him each and every creature was a sister united to him by bonds of affection. Such a conviction cannot be written off as naive romanticism, for it affects the choices which determine our behavior.

Franciscan Sisters pink sky overlooking Silver Lake CollegeIf we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs. By contrast, if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously. The poverty and austerity of Saint Francis were no mere veneer of asceticism, but something much more radical: a refusal to turn reality into an object simply to be used and controlled.”

Let us take up the Holy Father’s challenge to be true to our Franciscan charism in treasuring this earth-home of ours.


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