On the Nature of Things
In listening to just a few words of Pope Francis' address at the White House, a couple of things strike me. It strikes me that the Pope has worked very hard to work on his English. To hear him speak in English is a great gift. His message reflects the same things that we have been considering in this column. You will remember his idea of integral ecology. That things have natures which must be revered and which have certain orders, even laws, which lead to their flourishing or their happiness. These laws must be respected for the thing to flourish. This truth applies to both the environment and the human being. Thus the pope, in almost one breath, can talk about cleaning up our air AND the need to defend marriage and family. These things go together -- the same logic that leads us to talk about the integrity and inherent value of one leads us to talk about the integrity and inherent value of the other.
Last week, we talked about how many of the teachings of the Church which our world finds difficult can be explained because of our belief about the inherent dignity of the human individual who is made in the image and likeness of God and that the true way to happiness is only found in a profound gift of self so that others can live.
Thing again in terms of the environment. A selfish act does damage to the world around us. Think in terms of the recent reports of Volkswagen or even of throwing garbage out of your window. While it might not seem like selfishness, what we are really doing is allowing us something that if everyone did the same our world would quickly become uninhabitable.
There are parallels in marriage and family for sure. An act of selfishness, even small, in our family life can lead to an environment not conducive to our flourishing.
The pope and the Gospel invite us to a self-less donation of ourselves to our families and to our world. That self-donation will lead to the flourishing of both.
Last week's Homily Suggestion: Go back and read some of the pope's addresses, many of them are yet to be given at the time I am writing this column. Pray for the flourishing of our pope and of our country.
Stay tuned at Mass if we continue next Wednesday or wait for me to get back from Rome for Adult Formation.
Men's Group: We will have the first meeting of the Men's Group: Thursday, October 8, at 5:00 in the rectory. This will involve some time of prayer and a short video series called "That Man Is You" and discussion. Invite your friends.
Men's Conference: There will be a Men's Conference in La Crosse, "Men of the Cross -- The Call to Fatherhood" on October 24. You can register at www.menofthecross.org