Friday, July 31, 2015
Review: Laudato Si'
I will not judge Laudato Si’.
I recently began reading a book of Gospel meditations (yes, the one I gave away to a stranger at Steubenville). In it, it was postulated that Jesus spoke in parables to break the ice of those whose hearts were frozen. If they could come to understand the lesson of a simple non-threatening story, then with the grace of God they might come to understand how the lesson applied to them. This is similar to the way God told David about the stolen lamb (2Sam12), and when David agreed the theft was a terrible thing deserving great punishment, God showed him that it was like he had stolen Bathsheba from her husband. And David did understand God’s parable.
But at the end of some of His parables, Jesus noted that the Pharisees will NOT and cannot understand. They are so confident/blind in their knowledge of the rules of The Law, which they know so well, that they can neither see the simple parable truths Jesus taught, nor how they might apply to them.
Having read Laudato Si’ and praying for understanding, I find myself asking: Am I as blind as a Pharisee?
In Laudato Si’ (which is addressed to the world), Pope Francis tells some simple truths about the environment, perhaps meant to attract those non-Christians who would agree with these concerns --- and then perhaps their hearts may melt a bit and their minds be open to listen further to this Church, which so many of them openly despise. It’s an opening, and perhaps they ARE saying yes to the pope’s words on global climate change and agreeing with them – there do seem to be many positive comments to the pope’s words from secular humanists. But will they then look at his other words, and be open to saying yes to them also? I don’t know.
As for me, I think I know many rules about the earth sciences; I read and study much. I know many rules about capitalism, and can point to its many benefits --- including its contributions to halving world poverty in the last 20 years (U.N. data). But in knowing these facts and “rules”, I find myself wanting to condemn Laudato Si’. It is against the rules I think important. I found myself making critical comments about some sentences, or even some words the pope chose. But now, in my thinking --- or lack of it, I find myself wondering: am I just like the Pharisees, not open to even basic truths because I don’t want to hear? Would I even call the pope wrong-headed, rather than myself?
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I napped for a few hours early Monday night, woke, stopped for coffee at the 7-11, and then headed to the Ann Arbor adoration chapel. The coffee kicked in about half way there, and I suddenly realized that I was heading to the wrong chapel! This was Monday; my late night adoration hour on Monday is at the Plymouth chapel. I made a quick u-turn, and took an unfamiliar dirt road to cut down the distance back, and I arrived at the chapel just on time --- to the minute.
As I began my nightly rosary prayers, one of the things I prayed for, once again, was for an end to autism. Then I suddenly stopped and Pope Francis’ call came to mind: he asked us to recognize that man’s impact on this earth and the earth’s impact on man are totally intertwined, and linked in ways that we cannot ever understand --- yet we must takes steps to respect. Is Pope Francis’ call in Laudato Si’ somehow the beginning of an answer to my ongoing prayer for an end to this strange growing disease of unknown origin called autism? (I do know of some studies linking autism to the environment.) Is this illness, too, part of our interconnection with creation --- and a result of what we humans have created? In all that I think I know about the environment, capitalism and autism, is my sleepy-eyed mind headed in the wrong direction? Was the trip to the chapel tonight a parable for me? Am I too stubborn to turn around and take a strange road to see God’s truth?
I don’t know, but I will not judge Laudato Si’. I will trust in Him, and in His ways, and that He might yet open my sleepy eyes to see beyond what “I know”.