LIVING A LAUDATO SI’ LENT

“Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.” (LS 217)

A central commitment of the SMA Mission is to promote the protection of all life on Earth, our common home. As a contribution to this mission, we would like to share with you an initiative from the Office of Peace, Justice and Ecological Integrity, Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, New Jersey. It is a forty day pilgrimage through the holy season of Lent, with a thought provoking action and/or reflection for each day, inspired by Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical letter ‘Laudato Si’.

March

1 Ash Wednesday Remember that you are dust – star dust – made of the same stuff as all of creation!

2 Plan to read Laudato Si’ for Lent – you only need to read 5 numbered sections a day!

3 Get a potted plant that you will especially care for during Lent.

4 Pray for refugees forced from their homes through climate change.

“We have only one heart, and the same wretchedness which leads us to mistreat an animal will not be long in showing itself in our relationship with other people.” (LS 92)

5 First Sunday of Lent Embrace the Silence Sunday – Turn off iPhone, TV, radio, computer. Spend time outside listening to the sounds of creation.

6 Pray for those most affected by climate change – those living in poverty.

7 Try this week not to use a single disposable plastic product.

8 Plan to host a simple soup and bread supper with your friends and watch an ecological video together.

9 Spend some time with an animal. How is it prayer for you?

10 Abstain today from a spirit of defeatism that despairs of facing climate change.

11 Clean your dryer’s lint filter after each use –this can reduce its energy usage significantly.

“Christian spirituality…encourages a prophetic and contemplative lifestyle, one capable of deep enjoyment free of the obsession with consumption.” (LS 222)

12 Second Sunday of Lent Practice deep enjoyment- savor slowly a piece of fine chocolate, a glass of wine, a deep breath.

13 Pray for those most affected by climate change – animal species who lose their habitat.

14 Have you ever mentioned an ecological sin in confession?

15 Feast of St. Louise de Marillac who asked on her death bed, “Take good care of the poor.” How do you take good care of our poor Earth?

16 Write or call your members of Congress on an ecological issue that is important to you.

17 St. Patrick’s Day – Enjoy some soda bread today and reflect on the generosity of countless beings who were involved in the making of this bread.

18 Turn your thermostat down a few degrees and pray for those who do not have easy access to energy.

“Once we start to think about the kind of world we are leaving to future generations, we look at things differently; we realize that the world is a gift we have freely received and must share with others.” (LS 159)

19 Third Sunday of Lent Walk around your place of worship today and look for ways in which it could be more “green.”

20 Feast of St. Joseph “Joseph too can teach us how to show care; he can inspire us to work with generosity and tenderness in protecting this world which God has entrusted to us.” (LS 242)

21 World Poetry Day – Read a nature poet – Mary Oliver, Wendell Berry, Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins.

22 World Water Day – Drink a glass of water with reverence as you recall the waters of your birth and baptism.

23 Pray for those most affected by climate change – millions of fisher folk in the world whose livelihood is destroyed by warming oceans and ocean acidification.

24 Death of Archbishop Oscar Romero (+1980) who said, “The ones who have a voice must speak for those who are voiceless.” How do we humans speak for the voiceless species of Earth?

25 Feast of the Annunciation “In Mary’s glorified body, part of creation has reached the fullness of its beauty…hence we can ask her to enable us to look at this world with eyes of wisdom.” (LS 241)

“Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential part of any genuine ecology.” (LS155)

26 Fourth Sunday of Lent Talk a walk in your neighborhood. Do you know your neighbors? Not just the humans but trees, plants, birds, animals, bodies of water. Meet some you don’t know.

27 Pray for those most affected by climate change – children of future generations who will pay the price of our selfishness today.

28 Take a nap; take a walk. Good self-care is part of integral ecology too!

29 Give a donation to an environmental organization.

30 Use only cold water and biodegradable detergent for laundry.

31 Light a candle and reflect on the words of martyr of the Amazon, Sr. Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN, “I light a candle and look at Jesus on the cross and ask for the strength to carry the suffering of the people, the suffering of Earth.”

April

1 Check your coffee, tea –are they Fair Trade? Good for workers, good for Earth.

“There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions, and it is wonderful how education can bring about real changes in lifestyle.” (LS 211)

2 Fifth Sunday of Lent Resolve not to buy anything new this week, except essentials like food.

3 Pray for those most affected by climate change – farmers whose livelihood is destroyed by irregular seasonal changes.

4 Take a few moments to breathe deeply and become aware of the communion of air shared by all breathing things.

5 Natural disasters create the social chaos that promotes human trafficking. To act for climate justice is to fight human trafficking.

6 Make sure your Easter chocolates are Fair Trade.

7 Make an act of contrition today for the ways in which you have harmed Earth, our common home.

8 Check your tire pressure. Low pressure tires use more gas per mile.

“Eternal Life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place and have something to give to those poor men and women who will have been liberated once and for all.” (LS 243)

9 Palm Sunday Plan your menu for Holy Week. Choose as many meatless meals as you can; eat as many organic, locally produced foods as possible.

10 Pray for those most affected by climate change – people who suffer from extreme heat and poor air quality.

11 Talk to a friend, family member, co-worker about what it has meant to you to live Lent with Laudato Si’.

12 Spy Wednesday – Reflect on how we humans have betrayed our fellow creatures by our selfish consumption.

13 Holy Thursday – Be conscious as you eat today that every meal is a holy communion.

14 Good Friday – “Jesus entered into the created cosmos, throwing in his lot with it, even to the cross.” (LS 99)

15 Holy Saturday – Light a candle and renew your commitment to the vision of Laudato Si’

16 Easter Sunday – “Let us sing as we go. May our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope.” (LS 244)

From the Office of Peace, Justice and Ecological Integrity, Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, Convent Station, NJ. Thanks: Fr. Terrence Moran and Donna Sartor

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