9 themes to understand everything in Laudato si’

Our planet is a gift, not a due

If man, created in the image of God, has the mission of “cultivating and guarding” the earth (Gn 2:15), he is only its steward, not its master.

“The harmony between the Creator, humanity and all of Creation has been destroyed by claiming to take the place of God, by refusing to recognize ourselves as limited creatures (§ 66).

We are not God. The earth precedes us and was given to us (…). Each community can take from the goodness of the earth what it needs to survive, but it also has the duty to safeguard it and guarantee the continuity of its fertility for future generations (§ 67).

All inhabited by the Spirit

It is not a question of sanctifying nature, but of recognizing that it shares with humanity the same mystery of life and existence.

“The human being, endowed with intelligence and love, attracted by the fullness of Christ, is called to lead all creatures back to their Creator (§ 83).

The whole material universe is a language of God’s love, of his excessive tenderness towards us (§ 84).

In every creature dwells his life-giving Spirit who calls us into relationship with him (§ 88).

(…) Created by the same Father, we and all the beings of the Universe, are united by invisible bonds, and form a sort of universal family (§89).

A person of the Trinity has inserted himself into the created cosmos, binding his fate to it up to the cross. From the beginning of the world, but in a particular way since the Incarnation, the mystery of Christ operates secretly in the whole of natural reality, without affecting its autonomy (§ 99).

Eternal life will be a shared wonder, where each creature, transformed in a luminous way, will occupy its place (§ 243).”

A community of destiny

The loss of biodiversity is a scandal. We are depriving ourselves of a precious patrimony and a gift from God.

“Our common home is like a sister, with whom we share existence and like a mother, beautiful, who welcomes us with open arms (§ 1).

Every year, thousands of plant and animal species disappear that we will no longer be able to know, that our children will not be able to see, lost forever (…). Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their existence and will no longer be able to communicate their own message to us. We have no right to do so (§ 33).”

The poor: out of sight, out of mind

Behind the global statistics on poverty, unemployment, migration, there are concrete people.

“Often we do not have a clear awareness of the problems that particularly affect the excluded. They are the major part of the planet, thousands of millions of people. Today, they are present in international political and economic debates, but it often seems that their problems arise (…) in a marginal way.

In fact, at the time of concrete action, they are frequently relegated to last place. This is partly due to the fact that many professionals, opinion leaders, means of communication and centers of power are located far from them (…) (§ 49).

Let us not only think of the poor of the future, let us already remember the poor of today, who have few years of life on this Earth and who cannot continue to wait (§ 162). “

A call for consistency

Defend endangered species, yes! But without forgetting the human embryo.

“The inconsistency is evident on the part of one who fights against the trafficking of endangered animals but who remains completely indifferent to human trafficking, ignores the poor, or sets out to destroy another being. human beings who displease him. This jeopardizes the meaning of the fight for the environment. (§ 93)

When we do not recognize, in reality itself, the value of a poor person, of a human embryo, of a person with a disability – to take just a few examples – it will be difficult to listen to the cries of nature itself. same. Everything is linked.” (§ 117)

The school of small gestures

Small gestures do not save the planet. But they change our attention to others.

“If a person is in the habit of covering up a little instead of turning on the heating, when his economic situation would allow him to consume and spend more, this implies that he has integrated convictions and feelings favorable to the preservation of the environment. Fulfilling the duty of safeguarding creation through small daily actions is very noble, and it is marvelous that education is able to nurture them into a way of life.” (§ 211)

How about we slow down?

Growth is meaningless if it flouts social justice.

“No one claims to want to return to the time of the caves, however it is essential to slow down the march to look at reality in another way, to collect the positive and lasting advances, and at the same time to recover the values ​​and the great purposes that were destroyed by a megalomaniac frenzy (§ 114).

We know that the behavior of those who consume and destroy more and more is unsustainable, while others cannot live up to their human dignity. Therefore, the time has come to accept some degrowth in some parts of the world, making resources available for healthy growth in other parts (§ 193).”

Beauty will save the world

The contemplation of the world is a way of spiritual life.

“The Universe unfolds in God, who fills it entirely. There is therefore a mysticism in a leaf, in a path, in the dew, in the face of the poor. The ideal is not only to pass from the exterior within to discover the action of God in the soul, but also to come to find him in all things (§ 233).”

Sleepy… or responsible?

Promoting global governance of ecological issues is urgent. Religious, scientists and ecologists also have to enter into dialogue.

“A superficial or apparent ecology develops, which consolidates a certain drowsiness and a joyous irresponsibility. As usually happens in times of deep crises which require courageous decisions, we are tempted to think that what is happening is not is not certain (§ 59).

The 21st century (…) is the scene of a weakening of the power of national states, above all because the economic and financial dimension, of a transnational nature, tends to predominate over politics. In this context, [les] international institutions (…) must be stronger and more effectively organized and empowered to sanction (§175).

The majority of the inhabitants of the planet declare themselves to be believers, and this should encourage the religions to enter into a dialogue with a view to safeguarding nature, defending the poor, building networks of respect and fraternity. A dialogue between the sciences themselves is also necessary because each is used to confining itself within the limits of its own language (…).

An open and respectful dialogue is also becoming necessary between the various environmental movements, where ideological struggles are not lacking. The gravity of the ecological crisis demands that all of us think of the common good and advance on a path of dialogue that requires patience, asceticism and generosity, always remembering that “reality is superior to the idea” (§ 201).”

9 themes to understand everything in Laudato si’