“…our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.” ~ Pope Francis

Yesterday, May 10, marked the 106th observance of Mother’s Day as a national holiday across America. Crass commercialism aside, at its best Mother’s Day is an opportunity for children to pay respect and show love for the women who birthed us and have nurtured us along our life’s journey.

Coincidentally, on this day after Mother’s Day the EarthBeat Weekly e-newsletter has launched a new series of articles in commemoration of the 5th anniversary of the 2015 papal environmental justice encyclical. The series is titled Digging Into Laudato Si’, and will serve as a guide to the encyclical as seen through a social, political and spiritual lens. The editors state that, “Three times a week, we’ll dive into a new section of the papal document, leading readers through an informal study of the call to care for our common home, five years on.” 

The introduction of this series on the heels of Mother’s Day may be purely coincidental, but symbolically appropriate. The encyclical is a beautifully written letter addressed to the whole human family imploring us to practice integral ecology in caring for our common home. Unfortunately few of us who comprise the human family have ever read the letter. Digging Into Laudato Si’ can become a tool to guide us through one of the more important eco-theological documents of our time.

Pope Francis evokes the powerful, life giving and life nurturing symbol of motherhood in the letter’s introduction when he invokes the ancient canticle of Saint Francis of Assisi: “Laudato si’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.

The Pope, who took on the name of the patron Saint of ecology/environment upon assuming the papacy, knows full well that in order to truly care for our common home humanity must first see the physical world through the spiritual eyes of Saint Francis. We must lovingly and gratefully embrace Nature as a Mother who has birthed us and all other life forms and together nurtures us through her integral, life-giving and sustaining forces and resources.

During these days of spring in the northern hemisphere when Mother Earth is resplendent in all her beauty, can we honor her by making the time to sign up for the Digging Into Laudato Si’ series? Take a moment right now to click HERE for the introductory article and sign up to dig into the rest of the encyclical over the coming weeks.

If you’d prefer to take a deep dive into the letter itself, you can find the complete document HERE. And if you’d like a head start by seeing the Top 10 Takeaways from Laudato Si’ according to America – The Jesuit Review, click HERE.

The Pope’s encyclical Laudato Si (‘Praise be to you’) – On the Care for Our Common Home, is the Church’s most profound and comprehensive statement yet on caring for creation and the poorest. It is an inspirational letter that calls for us to examine our hearts, transform our social values and take action for global solidarity.”CARITAS Australia