Sunday, June 21, 2015

Laudato Si - a Quick Note

My, there is so much commentary in the blogosphere on Laudato Si, and most of it addressing controversy-whether to defend or to criticize what the Pope has written.

I have my opinions, but thank God I don't do blogging of the punditry sort. And so--the mercy of God is great!--none of you have to learn whether I think the Pope is mistaken (or not) about global climate change. Nor should you care what I think about that.

Furthermore, I've read only 1/4 of it so far, so commenting at any  length would be really, really dumb.

But I'll share a section that will resonate with us breviary lovers:

72. The Psalms frequently exhort us to praise God the Creator, “who spread out the earth on the waters, for his steadfast love endures for ever” (Ps 136:6). They also invite other creatures to join us in this praise: “Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created” (Ps 148:3-5). We do not only exist by God’s mighty power; we also live with him and beside him. This is why we adore him.

The Holy Father is trying to teach many things in this document. One of them is the need for us to detach ourselves from technology and overwork, to rest, contemplate, appreciate the beauty of creation and thus grow in gratitutde and praise toward the Creator. If we are stopping two or three or four or five times a day  to pray the psalms, we probably are making a lot of headway toward that habit of priase. Think of all the psalms and canticles that talk about the grandeuor of creation and God's loving guidance of it all.  ( We get lots of these on Sundays-- Lauds and Office of Readings in particular.) 

If we are internalizing those "nature psalms" then we are acquiring a habitual awareness of the gifts of creation, and are responding with the praise that is God's due. Just one more way that the Liturgy of the Hours is so, so good for us. 

PS. A quick scan of the encyclical reveals quotations from Psalms 148, 104, 136, and 33. 


  1. I've only read a little bit of it so far. (Currently reading The Joy of the Gospel when there's time.) I much prefer what you said about it in this blog to a lot of the other things floating around on the Internet. Seems to be a lack of charity among the armchair quarterbacks. They had to be tuned out for a while.

    Just the talk created by this letter has made the references in the Psalms to Creation stand out a bit more. Especially in Psalm 95:
    "He made the sea, it belongs to Him.
    The dry land too, for it was formed by His hands."

  2. #Reasons to Believe in Jesus

    Reasons to believe Jesus is alive in a new life with God can be found in quotes from two prominent atheists and a biology textbook.
    > Thus the passion of man is the reverse of that of Christ, for man loses himself as man in order that God may be born. But the idea of God is contradictory and we lose ourselves in vain. Man is a useless passion. (Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, New York: Washington Square Press, p. 784)

    > Among the traditional candidates for comprehensive understanding of the relation of mind to the physical world, I believe the weight of evidence favors some from of neutral monism over the traditional alternatives of materialism, idealism, and dualism. (Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, location 69 of 1831)

    > And certain properties of the human brain distinguish our species from all other animals. The human brain is, after all, the only known collection of matter that tries to understand itself. To most biologists, the brain and the mind are one and the same; understand how the brain is organized and how it works, and we’ll understand such mindful functions as abstract thought and feelings. Some philosophers are less comfortable with this mechanistic view of mind, finding Descartes’ concept of a mind-body duality more attractive. (Neil Campbell, Biology, 4th edition, p. 776 )

    Sartre speaks of the "passion of man," not the passion of Christians. He is acknowledging that all religions east and west believe there is a transcendental reality and that perfect fulfillment comes from being united with this reality after we die. He then defines this passion with a reference to Christian doctrine which means he is acknowledging the historical reasons for believing in Jesus. He does not deny God exists. He is only saying the concept of God is contradictory. He then admits that since life ends in the grave, it has no meaning.

    From the title of the book, you can see that Nagel understands that humans are embodied sprits and that the humans soul is spiritual. He says, however, that dualism and idealism are "traditional" alternatives to materialism. Dualism and idealism are just bright ideas from Descartes and Berkeley. The traditional alternative to materialism is monism. According to Thomas Aquinas unity is the transcendental property of being. Campbell does not even grasp the concept of monism. The only theories he grasps are dualism and materialism.

    If all atheists were like Sartre, it would be an obstacle to faith. An important reason to believe in Jesus is that practically all atheists are like Nagel and Campbell, not like Sartre.

    by David Roemer

  3. RIP USA 1776-2015
    Better on Friday than Monday, Sts. Peter and Paul. Psalm 88 tonight will be really appropriate.

    1. It's a sad day but we can't be too surprised. No worldly political system, however good and noble in its founding,will last forever.

    2. Couldn't agree less. Quite a happy day here.

  4. Indeed a very sad day, Daria.

    For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?

  5. I think RIP USA is beyond the pale. So long and God bless!

  6. "RIP USA" or similar sentiments has been said of many Supreme Court decisions and other government actions. Since the late 1850s. Dred Scott and Roe v. Wade are only two examples. So if this is the last nail in the coffin is uncertain. Dred Scott gives us hope that some nails can be pulled out, although not without cost. Civil marriage had already been redefined by various levels of goverment: as a relationship between a man and a woman with no expectation of permanence, and then as a relationship between a man and a woman with no particular connection to procreation. Neither of these resembles the sacrament of marriage, nor does this newest tweak that occurred on Friday. It's just one more instance of calling a circle a square but not making it so. Perhaps some good will result in that some believers will see more clearly the difference between what the state decrees and what God has designed. Scott, my disagreement with you is just that. It means that I disagree, rather than hate. I hope you will stay here and continue to enjoy the psalms with us.