The Holy Father Pope Francis who took on the name of St. Francis of Assisi noted that “each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost forever.”
He challenges us to rethink our modern view of creation and our place in it. Instead of putting ourselves over it as a “master” or “exploiter,” we need to accept our role as “steward” of God’s great gift to mankind.
Pope Francis has initiated reforms in the church inviting us to smell the sheep and to open the doors of the church so that Jesus might go out into the streets. In Laudato si he has clearly stated that the social issues and ecological concerns are one and the same crisis. He has critiqued the dominant model of development that is built on unceasing consumerism causing more and more depletion of the earth.
Laudato si (Praise be to you) is the second encyclical of Pope Francis, it has a subtitle “on Care for our common home”.
Laudato si, the encyclical captures the interconnectedness of social, economic and environmental justice in building and protecting our common home. It highlights the intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet.
With the rise of the technological age, we have distanced ourselves from nature and proudly profess how we have become its “master.”
The Jesuit Pope recognized the dangers of this type of world-view and wrote “Laudato Si” to teach us a more human approach to our God-given task of earthly stewardship.
Practically speaking, he gave us at least four ways that we can live-out this ancient teaching of “responsible stewardship:”
Approach Nature with “Awe and Wonder”
Reuse Instead of Throw Away
Preserve Nature’s Diversity.
Have Physical Contact with Nature.
The Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAP) is our response to the call of Laudato si and approved by Pope Francis. Walking with the poor and caring for the common home, we search and serve God with young people ever on the move and ever ready to serve. It is to seek the Lord anew serving our common home and caring for the poor and the marginalized. The young people today are looking for a different way of being human. We need to ask new questions about and to God of religions. We need to interrogate religions of their agenda, of their ideology? We need to articulate new quest for a God who is not appropriated and manipulated by established religions and corporate lobbies. We need to formulate our social concerns that are integral, concerning the whole person – eco-religious-social being.
Let us ‘celebrate’ in order to get challenged by the poor, to walk with the migrants and to seek the Lord anew as the youth of today are looking for. Let that be our take away from these celebrations.
We recall the credible engagements and sacrifices that our predecessors and our collaborators offered in the past. We draw strength from them for the present. We dream for the future – dream of a new world, that collaborate with all nation-states of whole world for greater economic exchanges and more socio-political harmony.
Our motto should be ‘Justice and Reconciliation’. There are layers of reconciliation that we need to unearth, especially in our own Country Canada, in our neighborhood, in our families, new ways of non-violent communication and conflict resolution. We search for a new paradigm of reconciliation and healing, May God Bless us in our efforts to bring justice, Reconciliation and peace.
Fr. Michael Dias