~ by Sr. Mary Shaw, Global Sisters Report
This May we celebrate the sixth anniversary of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter: “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” and were introduced about seven months ago to his new Encyclical Letter, “Fratelli Tutti: on Fraternity and Social Friendship.” With these in the background as a mirror, one is left to ponder what light is reflected on the issues that seem to be dominating the air waves.
We are hearing a lot of news now about asylum seekers, especially children, who are involved in the crisis at the U.S. border; brutal attacks on Asian Americans; random acts of gun violence leading to many deaths. The encyclicals I mentioned give us some assistance amidst these crises and the ongoing pandemic.
As long as we can recall, there has been trouble at the border — not caused by those seeking asylum but perhaps by our antiquated, inhumane policies that deny our shared humanity. One thing is for sure, there is an absence of human dignity at the border.
Francis helps us to see that an “integral ecology calls for openness … that takes us to the heart of what it is to be human” (LS 11). Pope Francis reminds us of his spiritual namesake, Francis of Assisi, who spoke the language of fraternity and beauty, and saw each and every creature as a sister or brother.
If we lose this fraternal language, “our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on our immediate needs” (LS 11). We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family. We are called to hear the cries of the earth and the cries of the poor.
Ponder: Do I see people at the border as part of the “throwaways” because they have a different language or color than I do? Do I see these individuals as “them,” coming here to take our jobs or bringing diseases, and fail to see them as brother and sister?
In Fratelli Tutti, Francis relates the timeless story with which we are all familiar: the good Samaritan. But now we are seriously asked to enter into the story. Take a few minutes and watch the scenes at the border, or other acts of violence that flash across your television screen, and ponder,
“Each day we have to decide whether to be Good Samaritans or indifferent bystanders” (FT 69).
May the cries of Creation and all creatures, and the wounds of suffering humanity, be conduits of grace for us and enable us to help the less fortunate. May those at the borders around the world help us to recognize our common humanity: Fratelli Tutti.