Saturday, June 20, 2015

Respect & Wonder

Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’

In his new encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis calls us to respect all of creation and to recognize the earth as the “common home” of all people, rich and poor alike. We are to develop the capacity to recognize in the created goods we encounter their own proper value and to let it be; to enjoy them and to make use of them, not only in a way that does not harm them, but allows them to flourish. Respect for creation involves a freedom from acquisitiveness and a capacity to wonder.

This respectful, hands-off approach is akin to the monastic practice of apatheia or freedom from care, one of the principal goals of monastic discipline. Apatheia means being completely open to divine grace and love. The monk who has attained apatheia, is poised for contemplation, ready to enter into the true nature of created things and know God.

With insights from Father Timothy and Everett Ferguson. Photograph by Brother Brian.