Francis, the Pope, has made headlines by visiting Washington and calling for action on climate change, on poverty, on immigration, and for religious freedom. But that’s nothing! In his startling Laudato Si he actually lays out an even more ambitious agenda.
How could it be more ambitious than solving the problems of climate change, poverty, and immigration?
In a word, he calls us to a spiritual awakening, a new openness to God. In Canto 233, he writes:
“…there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face.”
A footnote leads us to the work of a Sufi mystic named Ali al-Khawas, who in the 16th century wrote a passage that evidently struck Francis, for he quotes it in full:
“Prejudice should not have us criticize those who seek ecstasy in music or poetry. There is a subtle mystery in each of the movements and sounds of this world. The initiate will capture what is being said when the wind blows, the trees sway, water flows, doors creak, birds sing, or in the sound of strings or flutes, the sighs of the sick, the groans of the afflicted…”
We are to become “initiates” in the universe.