Five years on from its publication, Pope Francis has ‘updated’ his encyclical Laudato si’ on care for our Common Home, issuing a series of tweets this week to explain the heart of the Church’s vision of integral ecology.
With the hashtag #LaudatoSi5 – to mark the fifth anniversary of the historic text – the pontiff began his catechesis on Twitter May 16 with a invitation:
“Let us care for all of creation, which is a gift of the good God, our Creator. Let us celebrate Laudato si’ Week”.
After that encouragement to care for the divine presence in the world around us, on May 17 the Pope issued a call to action:
“I urgently appeal for renewed dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all”.
That focus on the need for “everyone” to get involved for the future of the planet the Pope then carried into his May 18 tweet:
“All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents”.
On May 19 Francis adopted a more reflective tone, with a message worthy of his namesake, the patron saint of ecology and animals, St. Francis of Assisi:
“When we can see God reflected in all that exists, our hearts are moved to praise the Lord for all his creatures and to worship him in union with them”.
On May 20 at the Wednesday General Audience, the Pope continued his cycle of catecheses on prayer, with a meditation on, as he put it, “the mystery of creation”.
“If life’s events, with all their bitterness, sometimes risk choking the gift of prayer that is within us, it is enough to contemplate a starry sky, a sunset, a flower…, in order to rekindle a spark of thanksgiving”, Francis said in that moving address, later following up with another beautiful thought on Twitter:
“The human person grows more, matures more and is sanctified more to the extent that he or she enters into relationships, going out from themselves to live in communion with God, with others and with all creatures”.
“Men and women who pray know that hope is stronger than discouragement”, the Pope also said during his Wednesday audience this week: “They believe that love is more powerful than death, and that surely one day it will triumph, even if in times and ways that we do not understand”.
Francis picked up that sentiment in his May 21 tweet, and wrote:
“This life is the gift that God has given us. It is too short to be spent in sadness. Let us praise God, content simply to exist. We are children of the great King, capable of reading His signature in all Creation”.
May 22 was the UN International Day for Biological Diversity, and to mark the occasion the Pope sent out the following message:
“Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see. Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence. We have no such right. #Biodiversity”
Yesterday, May 23, in his #LaudatoSi5 message the Pope again reminded Catholics that ecological concern is an integral part of the faith:
“Care for nature is part of a lifestyle which includes the capacity for living together and communion. Jesus reminded us that we have God as our common Father and that this makes us brothers and sisters”.
Finally, at the Regina Caeli prayer today, Francis recalled the fifth anniversary of the publication of his ‘green’ manifesto, explaining that with that text “I sought to draw attention to the cry of the Earth and of the poor”.
Announcing that the celebration of the encyclical that the Church has just lived over these past seven days will now “blossom into a special Year of the anniversary of Laudato si’, a special year to reflect on the Encyclical, from 24 May this year until 24 May next year”, the Pope invited “all people of good will to join in, to take care of our common home and our most fragile brothers and sisters”.
The pontiff also announced the publication of a special prayer for the Laudato si’ Year, which, among other things, implores that God might “open our minds and touch our hearts, so that we can be part of creation, your gift”.
Later Sunday, the Pope concluded his Laudato si’ Week with the following reminder on Twitter:
“An integral ecology includes taking time to recover a serene harmony with creation, reflecting on our lifestyle and our ideals, and contemplating the Creator who lives among us and surrounds us”.