Greetings from Rome! All went well with the journey and the unpacking did not take as long as feared because eventually that pile of 'to be taken' was deliberately kept small. I won’t say I necessarily travelled light but I have what I need – and at the end of the day that is what matters.
At the beginning of this month of October, the Liturgy keeps the memory of the saint whom Italy has as its patron, Francis from Assisi, that great figure of our Catholic heritage who calls us to a tender respect and love for the whole of God’s creation. Pope Francis, in his recent Encyclical Letter, refers to the whole of creation as "our common home":
'LAUDATO SI’, mi Signore' – 'Praise be to you, my Lord' In the words of this beautiful canticle, St Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. "Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs."
The Harvest Festival celebrations which you may well be holding in your own parishes or attending elsewhere in these next days, are a good opportunity to renew our thankfulness for the 'fruit of the earth and work of human hands'. However, the task of honouring the Creator of all that is good is not simply in one service each year. The style of living which we embrace, the sensitivity which we show to each other every day, the respect and care which we have for the world around us – all of these are caught up in the Christian understanding of Eucharist, thankfulness.
Come ye thankful people, come – raise the song of harvest home ...