Each week I will highlight of an important passage from Pope Francis’ letter on ecology, Laudato Si (Our Common Home), offering practical suggestions for families to translate these ideas into prayer and action.
This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. (2)
As I argued in the introduction, it would be a mistake to read the primary purpose of Laudato Si’ as a Catholic introduction to environmental science and wise environmental policy. The document is ultimately about repentance and conversion of the heart as the basis for meaningful and sustained action to save our planet.
In this passage, Francis asks us to recognize both the individual and corporate sin that contributes to the global problems that we face today.
Do you practice a daily examination of conscience, perhaps as a part of an overall review of God’s activity in your day? In practicing the examination of conscience, we reflect on how we to responded to God’s call. Consider adding this to your daily prayer practice. I find the simplicity of the Ignatian Examen to be helpful.
If it is part of your daily practice, include in your reflections the responsibility to care for creation. Ask yourself: have I been a good steward of the resources given to me? For example, did I waste any food, which Pope Francis considers “stealing from the poor”?
The USCCB has a guide to help you incorporate more Catholic Social Teaching into your daily examinations.
If they are old enough, teach your kids to do a simple review of the day and/or examination of conscience. Unfortunately, most examination of conscience resources for kids online are pretty awful, in my opinion. I hope to write something about this soon.
Reflect as a family on how your habits might not reflect the call to wise stewardship over the earth’s resources. Decide on changing one habit. Five green habits your family can share with you from the Environmental Professionals Network.