This year is the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical letter on caring for our common home, Laudato Si, in which he encourages us to fall in love with creation. Given our current climate challenges, it’s a particularly good time to reread or read for the first time this letter to all of us. (http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html)
“As Christians, we are also called “to accept the world as a sacrament of communion, as a way of sharing with God and our neighbours on a global scale. It is our humble conviction that the divine and the human meet in the slightest detail in the seamless garment of God’s creation, in the last speck of dust of our planet”. (Laudato Si, #9)
Before we can value and care for creation, we first have to notice it. Photography, painting and other arts, birding, gardening, nature walks, fall foliage tours, visiting national parks, local park and beach cleanups, and so many more activities help us to connect with and notice the natural world around us. What helps you to connect with our common home?
My own practice of photography helps me to slow down and notice what’s around me, whether it is the grand sweep of the landscape, the tiny details of a roadside flower, the intricate design of a butterfly’s wing, or the undulating flight of the American goldfinch. In a world where we are constantly bombarded with news, whether fake or real, and demands on our time can be great, it takes a conscious decision and commitment to devote some time and attention to just being in and with nature. Attention can turn into fascination, and fascination into love, and love into care.
“The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God.” (Laudato Si, #84)