Written by: Brian Grogan SJ

Laudato Si’ and the Paschal Mystery

Seven Conversations  (Numbers refer to Laudato Si’)

First Conversation

‘Lord, Lent means Springtime, a time of preparation for new life in nature. New life of a deeper kind breaks in on the world through what we call the Paschal Mystery–your suffering, dying and rising to eternal life. What you have done touches all time and space, all matter and every person. So help me now, please, to link your Passion with the present passion of creation, so that Easter joy may dawn upon us all.

Let me begin to unfold the Mystery by looking at your Last Supper. There you washed the feet of your startled followers, something only slaves had to do. Then under the form of bread and wine you showed that you were giving yourself over to death for us.  ‘For us’ sums you up perfectly: you were given over totally for our good. Then came the challenge which can change our lives: you said, ‘I have set you an example; do as I have done’. So what can I do? How can I be for the world as you were?

Pope Francis says: “The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. Particular appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest.” (13)

Lord, I can ‘wash feet’ by serving the needy, by cleaning what I have dirtied. I can consume a little less and share what I save with the hungry. I can get involved in caring more deeply for your creation. Let me do these things, not alone but in companionship with you. Amen.’

Brian Grogan SJ


Second Conversation

‘Dear Lord, let me spend time with you in the Garden of Gethsamene. There you endured the agony of the world, and you also came to accept what you must do to save us all. Help me to look with a loving eye at the agony today of the garden of Nature, which you entrust to our care.

Pope Francis says: “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth” (21). Who turned the wonder-world of the seas into underwater cemeteries bereft of colour and life?” (41)

Lord, forgive me for my part in this disfiguring of your creation.  Let me do whatever I can to restore at least a little piece of earth to its intended beauty. Amen.’

Brian Grogan SJ


Third Conversation

‘Lord, after your prayer in the Garden soldiers and guards took you arrested you and dragged you off to the authorities. We in our times take Nature by force and betray her kindness to us.

Pope Francis says: “Our Sister, Mother Earth, now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. Our violence is reflected in the sickness of soil, water, air and in all forms of life.” (2).

We can feel the drying up of the soil almost as a physical ailment, and the extinction of a species as a painful disfigurement. (89). Our goal… is to become painfully aware, to dare to turn the pain of Nature into our own personal suffering, and thus to discover what each of us can do about it.” (19)

Lord, take away my deafness so that I may hear the groaning of Nature. Grant that I may feel pain for her as for a loving sister whom I have wronged. Teach me how to heal her wounds. Amen.’

Brian Grogan SJ


Fourth Conversation

 ‘Dear Lord, you were scourged, mocked, misused, forced to wear a crown of thorns. This fills me with shock and horror: how, I ask, could anyone do this to another person, especially to someone innocent? But I find people forced to wear crowns of thorns today. I see children whose eyes are without tears, without dreams, as they starve to death in the arms of their helpless parents.

Pope Francis says: “We fail to see that some people are mired in desperate and degrading poverty, with no way out—while others have not the faintest idea of what to do with their possessions… These consider themselves more human than others, as if they had been born with greater rights.” (90).

Lord, do I think that I have greater rights than those who are crowned with thorns today? Forgive me, and stir me to join with others who struggle for justice and equality. May I cradle our Earth and feel sympathy for her wounds. Amen.’

Brian Grogan SJ


Fifth Conversation

‘Dear Lord, there were a few brave people who tried to comfort you in your Passion—your Mother and other women, Simon from Cyrene… Would I have risked being with them? Nothing they did could save you from torture and death, yet their solidarity must have helped you to continue on your via dolorosa, your path of sorrow.  But today how shall I help those who are being cruelly treated?

Pope Francis says: “Injustices abound and growing numbers of people are deprived of basic human rights and considered expendable… This is a summons to solidarity and a preferential option for the poorest of our brothers and sisters.” (158).

Lord, we have 67 million refugees today, wending their way along their own paths of sorrow. I can walk in step with them, even if only in my heart. Let me imagine even one refugee family, with you walking on one side of them, I on the other.  Joined with you as you intercede for them, I can pray for them and send them the strength they need to continue.  Amen.’

Brian Grogan SJ


Sixth Conversation

‘Lord, I gaze on you as you hang on your Cross. A line from the liturgy plays around in my head: By your holy cross you have redeemed the world. I don’t understand how this can be; but I do not need to understand, only to accept. The pain of today’s world is overwhelming to me. How can I help to take even one person down from their cross?

Pope Francis says:  “Food thrown out is stolen from the table of the poor. (50). Purchasing is always a moral act, not simply an economic one. “ (206).

Let me recall the face of the poorest and weakest person I have seen, and ask myself if this choice I am contemplating is going to be any use to them.  It’s not very heroic to do that, but it connects me with the needy and with yourself, and it stops me from just pleasing myself. Let me in this way share in the passion of others today, in a spirit of love and generosity. Amen.’

Brian Grogan SJ


Seventh Conversation

‘Lord, it is Holy Saturday, and all is over. You have died and are at rest in the tomb, and I am relieved. My soul is numb, but I can take my stance with Mary who still watches over our poor sick world. Like all good mothers, she keeps vigil and doesn’t know what it means to give up.

Pope Francis says: “Mary, the Mother who cared for Jesus, now cares with maternal affection and pain for this wounded world. Just as her pierced heart mourned the death of Jesus, so now she grieves for the sufferings of the crucified poor and for the creation laid waste by human power. In her glorified body part of creation has reached the fullness of its beauty. She now understands the meaning of all things.” (241).

Dear Lord, your Spirit works in all things, to bring good out of what is bad. Pour your energy into me that I too may wrestle with suffering and evil to heal our sick planet which now “groans as with the pains of a woman in labour” (2). Let me also learn the richness hidden in enduring patiently the things which I cannot change. This is how you redeemed the world. Amen.’

Brian Grogan SJ


Eighth Conversation

‘Dear Lord, it has been good to travel through Lent with you in the light of Laudato Si’. Easter, thank God, has arrived, with its message of lasting hope and joy, so let you and I finish our chats by looking ahead to the blessed life you have in store for us. Glory is our destiny in a transfigured creation: weeping and mourning will be ended forever; creation and ourselves will be reconciled. The world of the past will fade away and you will make all things new and restore to even greater beauty the masterpiece of creation which we have damaged.

But ill I remember this? It is through the Eucharist that you help me to keep this Easter hope and joy fresh in my imagination. A chapel may be small, the congregation tiny, the celebration simple and unadorned; but through the Eucharist something of cosmic importance is going on.

Pope Francis says: “The Eucharist joins heaven and earth. The Lord chooses to reach our intimate depths through a fragment of matter. In the Eucharist, fullness is already achieved; it is the living centre of the universe, the overflowing core of love and of inexhaustible life. Through it the cosmos gives thanks to God. Thus, the Eucharist is a source of light and of motivation for our concerns for the environment, directing us to be stewards of all creation.” (236).

For this light and motivation I give you humble thanks, dear Lord. May it not be wasted on me. Brian Grogan SJ


Brian Grogan SJ

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