Live simply, sustainably and in solidarity: Lent 2017

By Steve Atherton, Justice and Peace Fieldworker

Lent 2017
Reflections with Laudato Si'


The environment sub-group of the Archdiocese's Justice and Peace commission has produced a new resource booklet for Lent. It follows the successful format of our previous resources – Mercy and our Common Home (Lent 2016) and Reflections for Creation Time (October 2016).

Participating groups appreciated the combination of Sunday Gospel readings, excerpts from Pope Francis's 2015 encyclical Laudato Si', case studies from home and overseas, questions to guide discussion, and opportunities to 'See – Judge – Act'.

The introduction of a new work of mercy in September was a fresh expression of the theology that inspired Laudato Si'. Pope Francis reminded us that we are called to a new way of looking at the world and our place in it. "May the works of mercy also include care for our common home," he said, explaining that as a spiritual work of mercy, care for creation "calls for a grateful contemplation of God's world which allows us to discover in each thing a teaching which God wishes to hand on to us."

A corporal work of mercy, he added, "requires simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness and makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world."

In these reflections, the inspiration of the new work of mercy is included by continually asking how we might live more simply, sustainably and in solidarity in our homes and parishes. Our booklet contains five sessions designed for group use. While intended as a complete course, each of the sessions can stand on its own. Each draws upon the Gospel readings from the Sundays of Lent and looks at the Gospel in the context of today's world. The course invites people to come together and apply a critical perspective of our own situation. The questions for reflection are suggested to stimulate action. 
 
Pope Francis reminds us: "The Christian life involves the practice of the traditional seven corporal and seven spiritual works of mercy. We usually think of the works of mercy individually and in relation to a specific initiative: hospitals for the sick, soup kitchens for the hungry, shelters for the homeless, schools for those to be educated, the confessional and spiritual direction for those needing counsel and forgiveness ... But if we look at the works of mercy as a whole, we see that the object of mercy is human life itself and everything it embraces."
 
If you are interested in running this course and would like to know more, please contact:
Steve Atherton on 0151 522 1080 or s.atherton@rcaol.co.uk
or Ged Edwards on 0151 228 4028 or gedwards@cafod.org.uk.
 
The materials are free to download from the Liverpool Archdiocesan website: http://www.liverpoolcatholic.org.uk/Courses-Events. Hard copies are available from the J&P office at a charge that covers costs.