Friday, December 4, 2015

"Just Thoughts" for December 6, 2015

Krista and Ed Zivkovich have submitted this "Just thoughts" essay for the December 6, 2015 bulletin of St. Mary's parish in Painesville, Ohio:

Just Thoughts

"We must be the change we wish to see in the world."  Gandhi

In his encyclical, Laudato Si, Pope Francis called for a global effort to combat climate change.  This week and next, representatives from over 190 countries are attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris to discuss actions which could ultimately result in less greenhouse gas emissions that harm our planet, causing rising sea levels and temperatures with potentially devastating effects around the world.  Pope Francis wrote,"A global consensus is essential for confronting the deeper problems, which cannot be resolved by unilateral actions on the part of individual countries."

While heads of state, representatives of nations, scientists and others address this critical issue, Pope Francis reminds us,"Living our vocation to be protectors of God's handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or secondary aspect of our Christian experience." (217).  We all have a stake in and responsibility to care for our planet Earth. Following are 4 challenges from Pope Francis' encyclical prepared by the Archdiocese of Washington that are especially appropriate during this Advent season of waiting and reflecting.

1.     Celebrate Beauty - "See nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness...The world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise."  Action: Take time to be outside! Find the natural beauty in your community, and in doing so offer thanks to God for the beauty of all created things, including one another."
2.     Live in a Global Community - "We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it." (229).  Action: Make a commitment this week to serve the needs of the poor in a concrete way."
3.     Slow Down & Unplug - "Inner peace is closely related to care for ecology and for the common good because, lived out authentically, it is reflected in a balanced lifestyle together with a capacity for wonder which takes us to a deeper understanding of life. Nature is filled with words of love, but how can we listen to them amid constant noise..." (225). Action: Find time each day, especially on Sunday's, for quiet moments to talk with and listen to God.
4.     Practice Small Acts of Love - "St. Therese of Lisieux invites us to practice the little way of love, not to miss out on a kind word, a smile or any small gesture which sows peace and friendship. An integral ecology is also made up of simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness." (230).  Action: Practice a new small act of love as a way of living solidarity with those most in need and being a more responsible steward of God's gifts. For example, reuse & recycle, reduce water consumption & electricity use, avoid using plastic bottles and bags.                          
Source: Archdiocese of Washington,

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