We pray that this Easter season may help us be better witnesses to the Gospel of Creation, to proclaim the Good News to all the earth.
“The God who created the universe out of nothing can also intervene in this world and overcome every form of evil. Injustice is not invincible.” (LS 74)
Listen and Act with Creation
God of Grace and Abundance, All of creation calls out to you, ourselves included.
Creation calls out to you in praise through song and laughter, croaks and vistas.
We come to know your love through the crackling of the fire and the sand between our toes. When we become witness to this praise, we are lifted alongside in joy, as part of your creation.
Creation calls out to you in pain, in crashes and groans, the silencing of song and cacophony of disastrous noise.
We come to know your call to action through the urgency of waves and the desolation of dried earth. When we become witness to this pain, we better understand our role as a part of your creation.
Trees in the forest grow roots deep and wide, intertwining with each other in mutual relationship; help us do the same. As our hearts are moved in awe, may we join in proclaiming your praise. And, as our hearts are moved in compassion, may we be spurred into prophetic action with all the earth. Deeply rooted in this relationship with you and all creation, help us to move forward with courage, knowing that with you, ‘injustice is not invincible” (LS 74).
Written by Anna Johnson, LSM Senior Programs Manager for North America
Monthly Gospel Reflection
Waving palm branches: Is that it?
By Fr. Robert Dueweke, Order of Saint Augustine (LSM Member Organization), and Laudato Si’ Animator from Berea, Kentucky, USA
Reflection based on Palm Sunday Gospel, Mt 27:11-54
What makes us Christian is that we follow Jesus. That is all. To believe in Jesus is the easy part. To follow him is something else. The Christian follows in the footsteps of Jesus and adopts his attitude by making a commitment to humanize life, contributing little by little to his project of a world where justice reigns and creation is respected as “our common home.”
To be a follower of Jesus is to be sent on mission into the world. One brings truth to where there are lies and deceit and hope to where evil stings to the point of despair. Pope Francis reminds us: “The God who created the universe out of nothing can also intervene in this world and overcome every form of evil. Injustice is not invincible” (LS 74).
Injustice, violence, and evil – small and great – fragment, divide, and create confusion. Christians challenge these forms of violence, not in isolation, but as communities, witnessing unity and communion, creating conditions for God to “intervene in this world.” These communities adopt the “mind of Christ”: compassion, forgiveness, and mercy. Indifference is overcome by being better witnesses to the Gospel of Creation.
These communities of faith sooner or later encounter conflicts, problems, and suffering, sometimes to accepting death. One must be ready to face resistance and violence from those who, for one reason or another, do not want a more human and beautiful world as God wants. The project of Jesus is often thwarted, betrayed, and destroyed. But evil does not have the last word; it is “not invincible.”
To follow Jesus is not something abstract, but concrete and practical. It is about “doing.” If someone wants to come after me . . . take up the cross and follow me. If we follow him, we must be ready for conflict and suffering. There are no shortcuts. It is an all-consuming task. We create communities to build a better (and more just) world and a church more sensitive and proactive in responding to the needs of the most vulnerable – the poor and various species that form the web of life around the planet. All in all, we live with mystery, as Rahner, the great theologian wrote toward the end of his life: I believe that being Christian is the most simple task; the most simple; and at the same time it is the heavy “light burden” of which the Gospels speak. When one lifts it, it lifts you, and the longer you live, the heavier and lighter it becomes. At the end only the mystery remains, but it is the mystery of Jesus.
More than waving palm branches, we are called to live by his mystery and follow in his footsteps.
Questions for reflection
- If we are to follow Jesus in his passion, how does he ask us to respond to the passion of the most vulnerable among us? Of the Earth?
- Many people, especially the young, fall into despair when working for justice, a better world, and a more inclusive Church. What advice would you give to people who see a future without hope?
- What communities of faith near me are witnessing to the power of Jesus’ way of living? How can I be a better witness to the Gospel of Creation?
- Is the Holy Spirit inviting me to join such a community? Should I start one?
I grew up outside, running around my backyard among the walnut, mulberry, and magnolia trees, digging huge holes in the sand at the beach, and collecting kindling to start campfires with my girl scout troop. I’ve never stopped feeling such radiant joy in the outdoors. I can’t pinpoint a moment when I started changing my habits because of my closeness to the earth. Clear memories of when my neighborhood began recycling pickup and when my parents gave the family stainless steel water bottles for Christmas were pivotal in “going green.” Continuing to learn about landfills, global warming, organic foods, native plants, and so much more gave me a conviction to become as eco-friendly as I could. I felt frustrated about how our society let this all happen. I wanted change.
In college, I chose to study Environmental Sustainability. A class called Nature Religion opened my eyes to so many diverse ways humans connect with nature spiritually. I learned about the Church’s teachings and concerns for the environment. I longed for a faith community that cared about creation, so I set out to create a group on campus. We hosted a screening of a film about climate refugees leaving their island home because of the sea level rising. Reflecting on the film, we found that by entering into the suffering, our hearts became changed. By moving with compassion, we can resolve to change our actions that impact the climate.
Over time, I have become more grounded in my desire for change in the world. I no longer feel as frustrated about society not doing enough, because I find peace in focusing on my actions and engaging my community. I have realized that when it comes to people making change, the most sincere changes start within the heart.
Hearing Creation’s Cry
Hearing Creation’s Song
”Fall in love, protect, transform”, the Laudato Si’ Animators 2023 are ready!
”Fall in love, protect, transform”, is the motto of the Laudato Si’ Animators 2023 Program, which begins in the third week of April and will be offered free of charge in six languages.
The new website with its new look was also presented in this new edition full of resources and stories of animators. Due to growing demand, this course is available in 6 languages: Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, Italian and Polish; with Animator communities in more than 150 countries.
This global expansion of Animators brings great hope for our planet, our common Home, which suffers the consequences of our ecological sins. We trust that we can begin to repair them through an integral training based on ecological spirituality, knowledge of climate change, and leadership skills.