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When Harmony Begins – Weekly Message for July 7, 2015
Dear Friends in Christ,
Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, has probably generated more press than any other since Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae.
It would be a shame if, in the flurry of media attention, a key point was overlooked. There, nestled in a paragraph hailing the life of St. Francis of Assisi, the Pope writes, “He was a mystic and a pilgrim who lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others, with nature and with himself” (No. 10).
That hierarchy nicely sums up an understanding of the person of St. Francis. Being in harmony with nature was preceded by being in accord, first and foremost, with God.
St. Francis’ core identity wasn’t found in his interest as an environmentalist, but in his union with God.
That is an enduring lesson from one of the Church’s most popular saints. To be in harmony with the physical world around us, it helps to be in sync with the Almighty above us. If we understand God better, then we will understand better his plan for us and for the created universe around us.
This kind of sync requires prayer. Without it we are sunk. So what can we do to improve our prayer? This is where RC Spirituality could help.
Our Retreat Guides want to dedicate special attention to what the Holy Spirit has to say to you. Although some of the retreats are designed for particular liturgical seasons (Lent, Easter), they can be done at any time.
Helpful, too, could be The Better Part , a manual that can help you learn to pray, as well as guide you through the Gospels.
If you want to join Pope Francis in his concern for the environment, then consider focusing on your prayer life first. Harmony with the world starts with harmony with its Creator.
Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor