In Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si’, we read of the interconnectedness of all creation. It’s as if an invisible thread joins the outer reaches of the universe to the joys and sorrows of each human heart. The ripple effect on a pond when a gentle breeze, a fallen twig or a tossed stone touches its surface helps me better understand the effect of my actions on others and on creation.
Such thoughts whirl around in my head as I struggle to comprehend the current crisis in the Church. Once again our beloved Church—the Church that nurtured our faith and is a homeland to our spirits—is confronted with symptoms of a deep wound, a wound that calls for profound conversion, healing, justice and change. Yes, our actions have consequences; the decisions of each of us impact the lives of all of us.
How do I pray at such times? Dorothy Day often quoted Dostoyevsky, an author she revered, who said: “The world will be saved by beauty.” I believe God does not wish us to remain mired by the ugliness of all we’ve heard and read these months. Even as I acknowledge the betrayal and grave injustice inflicted upon innocent victims and the irresponsibility of those in authority, I allow the beauty of God’s creation in the human spirit and in nature balance my disillusionment.
I contemplate the beauty of God reflected on the faces of innocent children and in the serenity of the elderly who have matured in grace and nature. I make an effort to pause each day, delighting in God’s infinite creativity as witnessed in the breathtaking sights of autumn. The surrounding hills, woods, hiking paths, brooks and streams become brilliant with color. Such beauty strengthens my faith and brings me hope. As God’s all-embracing love holds the universe—with its beauty, complexity, chaos and violence—so God’s love holds each of us in mercy and fidelity.