Laudato Sii’s Year: Overturn the tables

Alice Carwardine, an Australian Catholic, began her ecological conversion during Lent 2018, by writing a list of exactly forty changes. In seeking a Gospel text to serve as inspiration for this conversion, she chose the moment when Jesus enters the temple and overturns the tables of the money changers and the chairs of the dove sellers (Mt 21:12).

The name of her site, conveys the need for radical change.  Alice, like so many other Catholics, found Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter “Laudato Si`” (LS) (24 May 2015), to be an inspiring document for integral conversion, it also clarifies that, as Christians, we are called to play a more active role in caring for the Creation.
The name of the Encyclical “Laudato Si`” is inspired by the Canticle of the Creatures by St. Francis of Assisi and his Feast Day, October 4, was chosen for the beginning of a time of prayer – 40 days, before the announcement of the “Laudato Si`” plans on November 14 through the, which was launched by the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development and is already available in nine languages.
The platform was launched at the end of the fifth celebratory year of the document, with the aim of starting a common path. The journey aims to inspire and motivate everyone in their community and environment, to take steps – perhaps small, imperfect or without impact steps– but which mark our desire to walk together “we are united as brothers and sisters in a wonderful pilgrimage ” (LS, 92). During the “Plastic Free” initiative in July, I read a comment that said that it is better to have the adhesion of millions, even if in an imperfect form, than of a few perfectly.

The “steps” of this path range from daily actions to a deepening of the spiritual richness contained in the Encyclical letter.  They are organized into seven themes that make up the Laudato Sii plans:

  • response to the cry of the earth,
  • of the poor,
  • ecological economics,
  • adoption of sustainable lifestyles,
  • ecological education,
  • ecological spirituality
  • resilience
  • community enhancement.

Membership of the platform can be obtained either in your own name or as representatives of the various spheres of action: families, parishes and dioceses, schools and universities, hospitals and health centers, companies, organizations and groups, religious congregations, local religious communities.  The plans will be available to all those who join with the aim of helping to discern and implement the response of each institution, community, or family to “Laudato Si`”, through resources for discernment, reflection, and impactful action.
I met Alice in the international working groups that collaborate with the elaboration of “Laudato Si`” plans.  The experiences communicated left the impression that everyone, in their own way, has had an ecological conversion, a reversal, an “overturning of the tables” that made them believe that it is up to us to do something. The time has come to “unite the whole human family […] because we know that things can change” (LS, 13).


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