Magisterium from LS (Laudato Si):
Pope Francis remarks the need of the presential interpersonal relationships, for not falling in a dangerous isolation; at the same time, he speaks about the consequences of a jealous relationship, which breaks the relations with God, with others, with oneself and with nature.
Pope Francis mentions our saints, St John of the Cross and St. Therese of Lisieux as examples of ‘good’ relationships and the right way of spirituality; of course, Pope also mentions Francis of Assisi, in whom he finds a model of simplicity. There is no other way to heal the relations with nature but by healing first the relations with God, oneself and others.
The Mass Media are good if used for helping us to know better the reality, not forgetting what is happening in the world.
Finally, Pope Francis tells us that our commitment for the common good is a ‘must’, and this commitment shall reach not only the small level, but the international level as well; that’s why the Church proposed the ‘civilization of love’ many years ago.
“In the story of Cain and Abel, we see how envy led Cain to commit the ultimate injustice against his brother, which in turn ruptured the relationship between Cain and God, and between Cain and the earth from which he was banished…. Disregard for the duty to cultivate and maintain a proper relationship with my neighbour, for whose care and custody I am responsible, ruins my relationship with my own self, with others, with God and with the earth” (n.70)
“Saint John of the Cross taught that all the goodness present in the realities and experiences of this world “is present in God eminently and infinitely, or more properly, in each of these sublime realities is God”. This is not because the finite things of this world are really divine, but because the mystic experiences the intimate connection between God and all beings, and thus feels that “all things are God” (n. 234)
“What is more, Saint Francis, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness. “Through the greatness and the beauty of creatures one comes to know by analogy their maker” (Wis 13:5) (n.12)
“Saint Therese of Lisieux invites us to practice the little way of love, not to miss out on a kind word, a smile or any small gesture which sows peace and friendship. An integral ecology is also made up of simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness. In the end, a world of exacerbated consumption is at the same time a world which mistreats life in all its forms” (n. 230)
“Furthermore, when media and the digital world become omnipresent, their influence can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously. In this context, the great sages of the past run the risk of going unheard amid the noise and distractions of an information overload…True wisdom, as the fruit of self-examination, dialogue and generous encounter between persons, is not acquired by a mere accumulation of data which eventually leads to overload and confusion, a sort of mental pollution. Real relationships with others, with all the challenges they entail, now tend to be replaced by a type of internet communication which enables us to choose or eliminate relationships at whim, thus giving rise to a new type of contrived emotion which has more to do with devices and displays than with other people and with nature. Today’s media do enable us to communicate and to share our knowledge and affections. Yet at times they also shield us from direct contact with the pain, the fears and the joys of others and the complexity of their personal experiences… “ (n.47)
“Love, overflowing with small gestures of mutual care, is also civic and political, and it makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world. Love for society and commitment to the common good are outstanding expressions of a charity which affects not only relationships between individuals but also “macro-relationships, social, economic and political ones”. That is why the Church set before the world the ideal of a “civilization of love” … Social love moves us to devise larger strategies to halt environmental degradation and to encourage a “culture of care” which permeates all of society. When we feel that God is calling us to intervene with others in these social dynamics, we should realize that this too is part of our spirituality, which is an exercise of charity and, as such, matures and sanctifies us” (n. 231)
Experience and testimony of Francisco Palau
The necessity for relationships is a strong and perseverant topic in palautian teachings, both his catechesis in the School of Virtue and in spiritual accompaniment and legislations.
Some example we find in his book School of Virtue Vindicated (Madrid, 1859):
“We are entirely strangers in politics because we have neither mission nor representation in this field. All that concerns to the temporal and material happiness of the people is human politics. The princes who had received from God this mission must be guided to this end. Divine politics is concerned with the spiritual and eternal happiness of the same people and within this radius we have mission” (n. 49)
“With respect to the School of Virtue, the people convoked in the name of Religion and concurrently took their seats around the pulpit, not as politicians but as docile children of the Church of God … now unite themselves as brothers forming a single choir to sing to the Lord God of the virtues. We are not known here as party of Peter or of Apollo “This is what I mean: One of you will say, “I belong to Apollos,” still another, “Cephas has my allegiance,” and the fourth, “I belong to Christ” [1 Cor 1,12]. The Church of Jesus Christ is neither a faction nor some fraction. It is a kingdom that extends its dominion from one pole to the other and that embraces as children all the baptized, uniting them all in one school which is that of Christ” (n.50)
“Give me a people where God reigns with the empire of virtues, there will be unity, uniformity, order and justice; we will be one with God in faith, hope and love; we will become a single family; pride, ambition, avarice, envy, luxury and the other cancers that rot and eat away the body of a nation will collapse and these vices will be replaced by brotherly love simplicity, modesty, abnegation and other regenerating and saving qualities” (n. 52)
The principle of love was always present as basis for edification of peace and universal fraternity. This is the testimony he gives of himself and of all his pastoral actions in a letter to the civil governor of Barcelona (April 3, 1854): “I took advantage of all the occasions which presented to me to preach peace, obedience, fraternal love… finally, all the virtues that are sacred bond and construct the body” (Periodical Pages II,II,6). The same way, to his spiritual daughters he presents love as a basis and fundament of communion, unions of fraternity: “The very love that prohibits you from doing anything evil to your neighbours, commands you to do good. Those that you like your sisters to do, you do it to them. Remember to serve, to give pleasure, to please and satisfy one another in everything that is licit. Do this in prayer and put it in practice outside prayer. Strive for those that are difficult, bitter and hard, as well as the most humble, vile, despicable and burdensome in the works of the house. This is loving God in the sisters … o tell the faults of the sisters at the convenient time and in a befitting manner is a precept of charity. To receive the correction gratefully and in a spirit of humility is a duty of justice” (Legislation I, 24 and 26).
“You shall love God, you shall love your neighbours. This is the law of grace summed up in two lines. The love of God leads the soul to seclusion, solitude, to the cell, to the cloister, to silence, to continuous prayer and presence of God, to detachment from the world and its social dealings, to war against our own selves, to interior and exterior poverty, to union with God, to all other virtues of a secluded, purely solitary and contemplative life. The love of neighbours in its activities seem to be opposed to the love of God inasmuch as it draws the soul away from solitude and turns to the world in order to save the world. To teach the ignorant, visit the sick, help the poor, clothe the naked, give food to the hungry, etc. These are the works of love and charity to the neighbours. In order to go on as an association, you have to do both things … This is the work of divine love, and unions of fraternity is based on charity” (Letter 99, 3-4.6).
Hna. Josefa Pastor Miralles CMT