Flourish, the monthly newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow

From the February 2020 edition…

God’s love letter to you and me

God has written a love letter to you … treasure it and read it every day. That was the powerful message of Pope Francis as he marked the Church’s first ever “Sunday of the Word of God”.

The new annual occurrence has been introduced by the Holy Father to encourage Catholics to read the scriptures on a daily basis.

And the Pope has some practical advice on how to do it.

Mass

At a special Mass in Rome at which he distributed Bibles to people representing every stage of life, he said: “Dear brothers and sisters, let us make room in our lives for the word of God! Each day, let us read a verse or two of the Bible.

“Let us begin with the Gospel: let us keep it open on our table, carry it in our pocket, read it on our mobile phones, and allow it to inspire us daily.

“We will discover that God is close to us, that he dispels our darkness and, with great love, leads our lives into deep waters.

“Change your life,” Francis encouraged, “for a new way of living has begun. The time when you lived for yourself is over; now is the time for living with and for God, with and for others, with and for love.”

“That is why the Lord gives you his word, so that you can receive it like a love letter he has written to you, to help you realise that he is at your side. His word consoles and encourages us.”

Archbishop Tartaglia offered his enthusiastic backing to the effort. He said: “The Pope’s initiative is a very welcome reminder to us that we should make more use of the scriptures in our daily life.

“There are many pocket-sized editions of the New Testament available and it has been calculated that by reading just one chapter a day, starting now, the whole New Testament will be read by October.

“I also recommend the practice of Lectio Divina – placing oneself in the story described in the pages of the Gospel and slowly absorbing the great richness of the Word while applying it to our daily lives.

“I have worked with our Youth Department in running sessions on Lectio Divina for young people and they enjoy it, but it’s something that people of all ages can derive great benefit from.”

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Archbishop: global warming a spiritual issue

Catholics need to see the challenge of global warming as a spiritual as well as practical issue… that was the message of Archbishop Tartaglia as Glasgow prepares to host the next UN Climate Change Conference – known as COP 26 - in November.

Archbishop Tartaglia offered his reflections as he celebrated the annual Choral Mass at Glasgow University.

The Archbishop used his sermon to students and academics to highlight the climate change emergency, setting it in a fully human – and spiritual – context.

He said: “It is beyond dispute that the subject of climate change and global warming is relevant to the common good of God’s children. To that effect, there will be a massive gathering here in Glasgow in November to consider what action the world should take to mitigate against the worst effects of climate change and to protect those who are most vulnerable.

“In Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si, on Care for our Common Home he says that we have to ‘acknowledge our sins against creation.’ What are these sins of which we should repent? Quoting the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Pope reminds us of these sins: ‘For human beings to destroy biological diversity… by causing changes in its climate… to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air and its life – these are sins.’

“How do we repent of these sins? Pope Francis borrows a term from Pope St John Paul II. We need to open ourselves to a ‘global ecological conversion’, in which we renew and maintain the inseparable bond between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace.

“The response to climate change and global warming is not just about reducing emissions or about any other single measure, but about living the bond between care for nature, justice for people, the common good of society and a clear conscience in human beings…

“So when COP 26 comes around, the task of the Church will be to encourage the authorities to seek solutions to climate change that avoid proposals that are ideological, superficial or reductionist…

“The scientific consensus is that if the earth warms another few degrees, great harm will be done across the board to the environment, to people, and other species. There may be monumental disagreements about this at COP 26 and about what to do about this. The Church needs to help everyone to maintain civil discourse and respect different opinions.

Solutions

“The Church will also need to encourage everyone to reflect on the science in a way that produces solutions that favour an integral ecology of the person, and a global ecological conversion that takes into account our relationship with God, with each other, with the human community and with the natural world.

“Here’s my admonition to COP 26: Reductionist solutions will not work. People will rebel against them because they are likely to be inhuman. Forgetfulness of God will lead as it always does to injustice against man and yet more damage to the creation. Only an integral ecology will be a successful ecology. That is what I, as a Christian, hope for from COP26.”

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