Laudato Si’: The Experience!

Lounging with the kids at Pickle Springs Natural Area in Missouri.

I have recently taken on Pope Francis’s recent encyclical, “Laudato Si'”, since I am off for the summer and time for reading while my 22-month-old is napping is more available.  I am reading small bits at a time, and I have found that the time I am spending outdoors with my family this summer has made the Pope’s words ring with such clarity as I experience the beauty of God’s creation.  Although his words warn of the fragile nature of our planet, and the fact “to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God” they also bring a scriptural and traditional view of why we should appreciate God’s creation.

Abe and Henry up near the waterfall at Hickory Canyon Natural Area.
Abe and Henry up near the waterfall at Hickory Canyon Natural Area.

Pope Francis uses his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, to show how he “communed with all creation, even preaching to the flowers, inviting them to ‘praise the Lord, just as if they were endowed with reason’.”  You may not have a desire to “preach” to the flowers, but I think that spending time in God’s creation will give us the desire to fall in love with the world we live in.  Then, we can be like St. Francis and “whenever he would gaze at the sun, the moon or the smallest of animals, he burst into song, drawing all other creatures into his praise.”  Let’s see creation as a “laudato si'”, “praise be to you,” our Lord and Creator!

Picking blueberries at Liberty Farms.
Picking blueberries at Liberty Farms.

I am so glad I am reading Laudato Si’ as my family and I have been hiking in the natural areas near our home, picking blueberries at a local farm, and enjoying the wonderful bounty of local farmers’ and friends’ garden vegetables.  We love showing our children the gifts that God has given us through his creation:  the animals that give us food, beautiful music to listen to, or simply entertainment to watch while we hike through the wilderness.  We can’t forget the plant life, rivers, streams, and oceans that are awe-inspiring and give perspective to God’s love for us.

Riding horses at Granny’s farm.

Would we waste our resources if we stopped, looked up from our smart phones, tvs, and laptops, and realized that “all is gift”?  Time for a walk outdoors!  So much to see, plenty of entertainment to behold!

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