More than eight hundred years ago a man by the name of Francis fell in love with the God of creation through experiencing the gift of the natural world. He saw the face of his creator in every wildflower he touched and in the blades of grass his feet trod through the countryside of Assisi. Francis felt surrounded by the embrace of this beautiful planet no matter where he traveled. No wonder that the Church has named him the “patron saint of ecology.”
Today, we have been blessed with another Francis who also reminds us that everything that surrounds us in nature is a sacred gift and that we have a responsibility to care for Earth and its creatures. When we think of the great pleasure of hearing the sound of a breaking wave upon a beach or the beauty of a field drenching our eyes with the golden glow of sunflowers, our hearts should burst with gratitude for such beauty. However, far too often our response has been to destroy these very gifts which have been given to us in such abundance. Not only have we taken these gifts for granted, but daily, through our mindlessness, we threaten the very existence of this truly unique home of ours.
During this month of November, the Holy Father begs us to reassess our stance toward our mother Earth, our common home. In his encyclical Laudato Sí, he reminds us that, in so many ways and with each passing day, we continue to destroy our precious environment through pollution, industrialization, waste, and greed.
Pope Francis is challenging the global Catholic community to rise up and in an all-out effort to save this planet we call home by establishing a program of reclaiming the health of our planet. Will we have the courage to join in this effort or will we passively allow this catastrophe of global warming to annihilate all we hold dear?
We know that it is the poor and the marginalized people who are primarily affected by the first world nations’ lack of foresight in protecting the earth's resources. On November 14th, World Day of Prayer for the Poor, Pope Francis will inaugurate the Laudato Sí Action Platform—a realistic, seven-year plan for the global community to participate in restoring the health of our planet. This plan will address each of the different areas of devastation over the course of the next seven years. The pope is inviting us in this critical moment to work personally to prevent the very imminent threat to our existence.
Let us seriously listen to our spiritual leader Pope Francis and become enthusiastically involved in the projects and activities his plan outlines. This might be our last chance to save this world of ours. The Laudato Sí Platform action steps will encompass many different works—works that are not to be accomplished by any single president, leader, or parliament, but by us, the “grassroots people” of every continent. It is WE alone who can make this happen.
Saint Francis of Assisi, we implore you to enlighten our minds and strengthen our wills so that we might be the instruments of protecting and preserving this planet we call home.
Mark your calendars for November 14th and register to learn how to make your personal commitment as an individual, a family, or an organization/community to participate in this program: https://laudatosiactionplatform.org/pledge-your-commitment/
For more information: https://www.laudatosi.va/en.html
– Sister Helen R. Boyd, OP
Sister Helen resides in Dominican Convent and serves on the Life EnrichmentCommittee and co-chairs the Committee for Serving Vulnerable Populations.