I grossly underestimated the beauty of Pope Francis’s vision of love and care for nature as a reflection of God’s creation and the unity all of us share. I heard about this encyclical letter a while back, but I didn't rush to read it, thinking it wouldn't be as interesting, enlightening, or as edifying to me as some of his other writing due mainly to the subject matter being the environment.
The writing is beautiful, harmonious, thought-provoking, and challenging. Pope Francis speaks of how treating other people and our earth with dignity and respect are part of acknowledging the goodness in God’s creation and the harmony intended to exist among us.
The pope explained why he chose the name Francis. Like St. Francis of Assisi, our current pope wholeheartedly believes that protecting and holding other people as well as our planet as sacred, we are best able to sense God’s presence, glorify, and praise Him. He is intimately aware of the connection among all living things as being representative of God’s love.
I was drawn in by the wisdom and passion of the argument that our vision for the future must take into consideration generations yet to come who will also inhabit this planet and who are likely to learn from their parents, grandparents, and ancestors what their relationship with our planet and all who live on it should be.
Are we being as conscientious and careful about our consumption of natural resources and material goods as we could be?
I know I still have a very long way to go in that area. Suddenly the fact that Kevin and I recycle cardboard, paper, most glass and plastic containers and reuse grocery bags seems a drop in the bucket compared to what we could be doing. And yet, those things are a start in the right direction and are good habits we have formed in an attempt to be kinder to our planet.
There are so many opportunities to grow in this area, just like in so many others. The first step is a deeper awareness of the decisions we make and how they affect the lives of others as well as how they impact our environment. From that place of reflection and consideration, we will likely have our hearts and minds opened to additional things we could do or refrain from doing in order to preserve our planet.
Lord, thank You for the gift of nature You have given us. Help us to treat all humanity and nature with the dignity and respect it deserves.