“Live simply, so that others may simply live!”

 When we were growing up my sisters, brother and I often heard the phrase directed to us “Remember your place”. It usually came from one of our parents in an attempt to keep us from claiming MORE attention, privileges, space “rights”, etc. than were warranted. “Remember your place” was not so much to stifle our quest or our desire to grow and expand. Rather the phrase was meant to remind us of OTHER peoples rights, privileges, space, etc. WE were reminded to NOT infringe on others just because we wanted “more”.

This phase seems good to remember as we read the scriptures today and hear of the great power of nature around us AND just who is in “charge” of that nature. Our Holy Father Pope Francis in his newest encyclical, along with many other religious leaders, is calling all of us to recognize the great gift of nature surrounding us—and to respect it! Pope Francis is trying to remind us that God has placed in our care a world and is components that need to be understood and reverenced. We (the present generation) are not the sole users or recipients of this gift of nature. We are called to see our responsibilities in the use of the gifts of nature and the protection of the gifts of nature for future generations.

It is obvious that we, here in the United States—the richest, most-blessed-by-God-Country– have an obligation, despite our desires for greater dividends, profits and advantages to protect, respect and persevere the gifts of nature by avoiding selfish and self-serving decisions as a nation and as individuals. To “remember our place”!

Some of the questions posed by our Pope Francis’ letter center around our consumption habits and the needs of the rest of the world. For us Catholics we, along with everyone else, are asked to examine our habits in our life styles. A bumper sticker popular a few years ago sums it up pretty well. It read “Live simply, so that others may simply live!”

How are you and I doing in “remembering our place “ in God’s world??!

Father Shields


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