My Polluted Heart

 It took me a while, but I finally read all of the Pope’s latest encyclical “Laudato Si”(“Praise be to You”) released this week. The one bit that I can’t stop thinking about is that the world we live in “out there” is a reflection of our hearts “in here.” If we see chaos and disarray and dwindling resources in the natural world, we can expect to find a similar poverty of life within our souls. This intimate connection between humanity and the world is a marvelous gift from God, Who created us to live in harmony with the world He made. As we breathe, so breathes the world. It’s marvelous because it means that we can make our world less disordered by restoring the proper order in our souls.

Popular media often presents the state of the earth as crumbling, overheated, overpopulated, and facing crises in multiple systems from water to air to the distribution of resources. I’m no scientist or anthropologist. I can’t debate the claims that some folks make in these regards. I can, however, see that the weather around me is different than it was fifty years ago. I can’t remember the last time I saw a covey of quail. There seems to be a few more new diseases that pop up every year now. Society seems to be getting more and more violent and divided. Mass shootings, genocide, or murder in the name of religion or race are in our headlines almost every day. We scream at one another. We’ve forgotten how to be present and to listen to those with whom we disagree. We live in a harsh and unforgiving culture. It seems that the poet W.B. Yeats was describing our own time when he wrote these lines in 1919:

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned.”

Pope Francis rightly connects the state of creation with the state of our hearts. We treat one another badly, just as we treat God’s gifts carelessly. We live in a throwaway culture, both in terms of the environment and in our attitudes toward unborn children, or the disabled, or the elderly. We see other people as things to be used selfishly and then discarded. We even use our own bodies as things we may reject by throwing away the very gender that God has given us. Respect for creation and for our human dignity go hand in hand. We combat the trade for endangered animal species but protest in favor of abortion and euthanasia. This schism adds to the chaos in which we now find ourselves. Rather than addressing the needs of the poor with real solutions, we only propose a reduction in their birth rates. Each person is infinitely valuable, regardless of their economics or abilities or age. In short, the Pope teaches us that we’ve been putting ourselves in the place of God and as a result, creation has been provoked into rebellion.

Those who may have expected Pope Francis would “soften” Church teaching on abortion, birth control, homosexual unions and transgender issues were probably disappointed by “Laudato Si.” On the other hand, those who support unfettered consumerism with a disregard for the economic, sociological, and environmental impacts that follow from that were also challenged in their beliefs. Pope Francis reminds us of the sovereignty of God and the dignity of the human person. He calls us to live the Gospel with charity and with respect in our role as stewards of His creation.

“A sense of deep communion with the rest of nature cannot be real if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion, and concern for our fellow human beings.”

—Pope Francis in “Laudato Si” 



8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. treetop45
    Jun 21, 2015 @ 22:59:45

    Excellent! I was touched & inspired. You have a most beautiful way with Words. I’m sharing on my FB & Twitter pages, with hopes that others may be as moved as I was. Thanks again!


    • tiberjudy
      Jun 21, 2015 @ 23:00:43

      Thank you so very much. I’m going to your blog right now. Nice to meet you! God bless.


      • treetop45
        Jun 22, 2015 @ 05:14:27

        So nice to meet you, too. It’s always a pleasure for me, when I read someone’s words, that agree with my thoughts. So much disharmony in our World, and as a Great-Grandmother, it troubles my heart, when I think of what issues lie ahead for our children. Much success, TiberJudy, in all of your future endeavors. Sincerely, a fan, Laura

    • tiberjudy
      Jun 21, 2015 @ 23:01:46

      Thank you so much.


  2. treetop45
    Jun 21, 2015 @ 23:01:45

    Reblogged this on treetop45 and commented:
    I highly recommend this Blog. I feel that you will be moved and inspired. I think it a fantastic read. Thanks for giving it a try.


  3. David W
    Jun 21, 2015 @ 23:08:08

    That is well said. I’ll be sharing this one.


  4. frjuanvelezJuan
    Jun 22, 2015 @ 04:38:59

    Pope Francis calls us to a conversion in the care for our common home and all of its inhabitants. As Judy notes the Pope rightly challenges us to an “integral ecology” that respects all of God’s creation.


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