Pope Francis published the encyclical “LAUDATO SI: On Care for Our Common Home” on May 24, 2015. He opens his encyclical with the words, “Laudato si, mi Signore Praise be to you, my Lord.”

In the words of his beautiful Canticle of Creatures, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister, with whom we share our life, and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. This mystical document reminds us of our kinship with all people, plants, water, air, animals and even the earth itself, because our Divine Parent, God, brought it all into being and sustains it through grace. Since we all have the same Divine Parent, we are all siblings to each other. What would the world be like if we all acted that way?

Last fall, we hosted a retreat at Mt. Irenaeus called, “Opening the Eyes of Our Hearts: Seeing as St. Francis Saw.” On the retreat we also used St. Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of Creatures as an aid in our meditation.

We slowed down and spent time in nature, our common home. We observed the connections in creation and hopefully awakened our hearts to wonder. Wonder hopefully leads to compassion and compassion hopefully leads to action – action to care for our common home so that all can reverently enjoy the good things God has provided.

If you are in need of a lift, read St. Francis’ Canticle of the Creatures. Let the words permeate your heart. They are full of hope and inspiration and give us a wonderful way to understand that we are all one, and indeed are siblings who share a common home.