The Grand Finale of Pope Francis's letter to the world, Laudato Si, is a little section called Beyond the Sun, and two lovely prayers. The Pope and his writing team begin by trying to express a bit of what heaven will be like: "Eternal life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place and have something to give those poor men and women who will have been liberated for once and for all."
We are reminded that, until then, we still have work to do to care for this earth and all its creatures as we journey to God. I really love the lines at the end of paragraph 244: "Let us sing as we go. May our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope."
As a somewhat musical person, I can't help but love the idea of singing as we go, and I had hoped to end these reflections with a song which is not quite ready yet, so please watch this space because I will share it in the near future. And, as promised at the very beginning, there will be fifty reflections -- two more posted on the next two Sundays because I'm seeing the need to pull together what we've been studying for the past year in a way that will hopefully be helpful to my readers.
The final paragraph of Laudato Si (245) reminds us that "In the heart of this world, the Lord of Life, who loves us so much is always present" -- we are not alone, because God is in all that God has made, and God's love will help us find our way. In spite of all the difficulties and trouble our world is facing, there is always hope because God is with us, and that's reason enough for Pope Francis and friends to to end the encyclical as it begins --
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth,
for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good, advance the weak,
and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light,
help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your Kingdom
of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you!
Up next: Grand Finale, part 1 of 2