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Laudato Si' is literally a magisterial synthesis of the Church's social teaching--including insights from St. John XXIII, Bl. Paul VI, St. John Paul II, and our humble Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI. Perhaps as importantly, it is an impassioned invitation from Pope Francis to engage in meaningful dialogue about the social and environmental challenges we face as a human family.
Now that his apostolic visit to the U.S. has passed, and as we await the final drama from the synod on the family to unfold, the question becomes whether we will open our hearts to the message which Pope Francis repeats throughout Laudato Si': everything is connected; everything is connected; everything is interconnected....
Will we stretch ourselves beyond the divisive categories of "right vs. left", "liberal vs. conservative", "progressive vs. traditionalist"? Will we at least listen to the Holy Father's own words, rather than the countless talking heads and media moguls who long use catch phrases for their own devices?
Whether or not you have already read the document, please consider joining hundreds of brothers and sisters around the country in a simple but steady meditation on the pope's encyclical: Read one paragraph-per-day from Laudato Si' starting Sunday, November 1, 2015. A blog entitled aJoyWhichIsShared.org has recently concluded the daily dissemination of the pope's document on the New Evangelization will soon shift to sharing Laudato Si'. (Those already subscribed to "A Joy" will be automatically enrolled for the new encyclical, while new subscribers are invited to enroll by using the "follow by email" feature.)
Just as St. Francis of Assisi became who he was created to be through a radical imitation of the poverty, penance and peace of Jesus, so Pope Francis has become the global bridge-builder through a total commitment to the Gospel. Praise be to you, O Lord, for the gift of this moment in human history--and for the opportunity to engage the fullness of the Christian faith as it is articulated in the Holy Father's new encyclical!
So, spread the word to family and friends on your contact list(s); share the idea on social media or at the coffee shop :) The Holy Father has provided a non-threatening conversation starter for anyone who cares about the future of our common home, so let's share the good news!
Finally, here are a few resources related to the encyclical:
- The USCCB's Discussion Guide
- Fr. Thomas Reese's "A Leaders' Guide to 'Laudato Si'"
- Fr. Jim Martin's "Top Ten Takeaways from 'Laudato Si'"
- The USCCB's Blog Post on the Encyclical
- A most comical four-minute video clip from CatholicMemes.com
St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!