|Picture credit: iustitiaetpax.va|
The following was posted yesterday on the blog of the Newmarket Society of St Vincent de Paul.
Five years ago, on 25 May 2015, Pope Francis promulgated his famous encyclical letter, Laudato Si' - On Care for Our Common Home. Papal encyclicals are always named from the opening words in Latin, but this one is in Italian - from the opening words of the famous Canticle of the Sun and Moon by St. Francis of Assisi: "Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures, especially Brother Sun, Who is the day through whom You give us light." Indeed, the encyclical devotes an entire section to this great saint of the poor who had such love both for the poor and for the goodness and beauty of the natural world around him.
(You can download the encyclical in PDF format here.)
The encyclical can appear quite daunting if for nothing other than its length - one hundred and eighty pages. The language, however, is not as heavily stilted or technically theological as the encyclicals of most of Pope Francis' predecessors. In great part, this is because the Pope is addressing this encyclical not just to Catholics, not even just to Christians, but to "the whole human family".
Question: How do you enjoy a huge dinner?
Answer: Savour one mouthful at a time.
The same principle applies to papal encyclicals.
For seven days starting Monday, 11 May, I will post a Laudato Si’ introductory Hors D'oeuvres for Vincentians, and others concerned with the plight of the poor and vulnerable, that just looks at a tiny part of the encyclical - Chapter 1, Section V - Global inequality. It is broken down into digestible extracts, one per day. For each day you are invited, firstly, to read what the pope wrote. Then read it again, finding and reflecting on a word, phrase or sentence that stands out the most to you. Thirdly, prayerfully and with a listening heart, tell the Lord how you feel about what you read and why: Frustration? Encouragement? Helplessness? Resolve? Whatever. Allow time for silence and the Holy Spirit. Then finish with one of the two prayers that the Pope gives us right at the end of his letter to the whole world. (I recommend the one for Christians if you are a Christian.) Actually, we will start right there, with the prayers, on Day 1 and Day 2.
You will be able to find the posts on our FaceBook page https://www.facebook.com/ssvp.sjcses/
and on our Vincentian Blog https://sjcses.blogspot.com/
If you register your email address at the bottom of the blog page then you can receive new blog posts in your email the following morning. If you have difficulty registering your email, contact Terry directly and I will try to assist you.
Don't forget, Monday, 11 May.