OK, Catholics (and ALL people for that matter), you already know this, but I’m here to remind you that you NEED to read Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ new encyclical letter On Care for Our Common Home. Why? Sure, you can read everyone else’s summaries, but you need to read Pope Francis’ words for yourself, rather than accept someone else’s interpretation.
You want to be especially careful you are not accepting the interpretations of secular media, who so frequently take Pope Francis’ comments out of context, turning them into something they are not. Teresa Tomeo posted a great list of reliable Catholic sources on her blog.
How can you read Laudato Si? Here are some format choices:
1) Laudate App on your smartphone – Download the free app, then select Vatican Documents, scroll to Encyclical Letter and select the top one, Laudato si’. Easy as pie!
2) Vatican website – Read it directly online here.
3) Read as a book – You can buy Laudato Si in book format from Amazon.
4) Read it as an ebook – Download Laudato Si as an ebook to your Kindle or other e-reader.
Now you know HOW to read it, let’s put together a plan to actually read it. Because it’s divided into 246 parts and, as a book, is 176 pages, plus the fact that it’s written by a pope, can make it a bit intimidating to delve into. But I’m here to tell you, I’ve started reading it, and you don’t need a doctorate to get through it. Sure, you’ll need to concentrate, but you won’t need to whip out a dictionary to understand it.
My Reading Plan
My suggestion is to make it as easy as possible to read by having it on your phone, carrying your Kindle with you, packing the book in your bag, etc., so when you get a free moment, you can pop it out and read it. Having it in multiple formats can be helpful as well, so you can switch between ereading on your phone or Kindle to the physical book.
Tackle it in bits of 12-15 parts per day. At a rate of 15 parts, you’ll be done in 17 days, and at a rate of 12 parts, you’ll be done in 21 days — either way, you’ll have read it in less than a month in free bits of time here and there.
Great Quotes from Laudato Si Thus Far
I’m just at the beginning, but I’ve already found so many wonderful things in Laudto Si. Here are just a few samplings to inspire you to read (note: my favorite parts are in bold):
- Pope Benedict asked us to recognize that the natural environment has been gravely damaged by our irresponsible behaviour. The social environment has also suffered damage. Both are ultimately due to the same evil: the notion that there are no indisputable truths to guide our lives, and hence human freedom is limitless. (Part 6)
- [Patriarch Bartholomew] asks us to replace consumption with sacrifice, greed with generosity, wastefulness with a spirit of sharing, an asceticism which “entails learning to give, and not simply to give up. It is a way of loving, of moving gradually away from what I want to what God’s world needs. It is liberation from fear, greed and compulsion.” (Part 9)
- “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” (Part 9, quoting Patriarch Bartholomew, I believe) — How amazingly well written is that sentence?!
- What is more, Saint Francis, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness. (Part 12)
Let us not waste the wise words of our wonderful Pope Francis by failing to read them! Now, let’s get started…