Imitators of Christ
We have had several weeks now since we were blessed with the beautiful and challenging document “Laudato Si.” Time to read and reflect on the words. There is so much in the encyclical that is difficult to pick out one significant paragraph. For me, the most important paragraph is #202. Our Holy Father says “Many things need to change but it is we human beings above all who need to change. We lack awareness of our common origin, of our mutual belonging, and of a future to be shared with everyone. This basic awareness would enable the development of new convictions, attitudes and forms of life.”
What would the change that Pope Francis is talking about look like? I believe he is talking about more than reducing our carbon consumption. More than installing solar panels or eating less meat. I don’t think Pope Francis is referring to political change, though that would most certainly come. I think the change that needs to come is a transformational and internal change within all of us. It is a change in how we see the world, how we see each other, and how we see God. I often say that climate crisis, immigration reform, human trafficking, gun violence are not the issue. They are just symptoms of a larger problem. The question we all have to ask ourselves is: are we in right relationship with God and with all God has created? Right now I think the answer is no. If it was ‘yes’ than we wouldn’t be worried about passing legislation on immigration reform or climate change.
What does that relationship look like? Sunday’s second reading from Ephesians gives us a pretty clear picture of what we need to change as part of our transformation. The reading says “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption. All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. …So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love.”
The transformative change that Pope Francis talks about is so clearly described in this passage; We must be imitators of God and live in love.
Patrick Carolan FAN Executive Director