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Laudato Si’ – Chapter Six: Ecological Education and Spirituality (Part 2)

VIII. Queen of all creation

241. 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 creatures of this world laid waste by human power. Completely transfigured, she now lives with Jesus, and all creatures sing of her fairness. She is the Woman, “clothed in the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev 12:1). Carried up into heaven, she is the Mother and Queen of all creation. In her glorified body, together with the Risen Christ, part of creation has reached the fullness of its beauty. She treasures the entire life of Jesus in her heart (cf. Lk 2:19,51), and now understands the meaning of all things. Hence, we can ask her to enable us to look at this world with eyes of wisdom.

242. At her side in the Holy Family of Nazareth, stands the figure of Saint Joseph. Through his work and generous presence, he cared for and defended Mary and Jesus, delivering them from the violence of the unjust by bringing them to Egypt. The Gospel presents Joseph as a just man, hard-working and strong. But he also shows great tenderness, which is not a mark of the weak but of those who are genuinely strong, fully aware of reality and ready to love and serve in humility. That is why he was proclaimed custodian of the universal Church. He too can teach us how to show care; he can inspire us to work with generosity and tenderness in protecting this world which God has entrusted to us.

IX. Beyond the sun

243. At the end, we will find ourselves face to face with the infinite beauty of God (cf. 1 Cor 13:12), and be able to read with admiration and happiness the mystery of the universe, which with us will share in unending plenitude. Even now we are journeying towards the sabbath of eternity, the new Jerusalem, towards our common home in heaven. Jesus says: “I make all things new” (Rev 21:5). 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 once and for all.

244. In the meantime, we come together to take charge of this home which has been entrusted to us, knowing that all the good which exists here will be taken up into the heavenly feast. In union with all creatures, we journey through this land seeking God, for “if the world has a beginning and if it has been created, we must enquire who gave it this beginning, and who was its Creator”.172 Let us sing as we go. May our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope.

245. God, who calls us to generous commitment and to give him our all, offers us the light and the strength needed to continue on our way. In the heart of this world, the Lord of life, who loves us so much, is always present. He does not abandon us, he does not leave us alone, for he has united himself definitively to our earth, and his love constantly impels us to find new ways forward. Praise be to him!

* * *

246. At the conclusion of this lengthy reflection which has been both joyful and troubling, I propose that we offer two prayers. The first we can share with all who believe in a God who is the all-powerful Creator, while in the other we Christians ask for inspiration to take up the commitment to creation set before us by the Gospel of Jesus.

A prayer for our earth

All-powerful God,
you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned
and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty,
not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.

A Christian prayer in union with creation

Father, we praise you with all your creatures.
They came forth from your all-powerful hand;
they are yours, filled with your presence and your
tender love.
Praise be to you!

Son of God, Jesus,
through you all things were made.
You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother,
you became part of this earth,
and you gazed upon this world with human eyes.
Today you are alive in every creature
in your risen glory.
Praise be to you!

Holy Spirit, by your light
you guide this world towards the Father’s love
and accompany creation as it groans in travail.
You also dwell in our hearts
and you inspire us to do what is good.
Praise be to you!

Triune Lord,
wondrous community of infinite love,
teach us to contemplate you
in the beauty of the universe,
for all things speak of you.
Awaken our praise and thankfulness
for every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined
to everything that is.

God of love, show us our place in this world
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!
Amen.

Given in Rome at Saint Peter’s on 24 May, the Solemnity of Pentecost, in the year 2015, the third of my Pontificate.

144 Romano Guardini, Das Ende der Neuzeit, 9th edition, Würzburg, 1965, 66-67 (English: The End of the Modern World, Wilmington, 1998, 60).

145 John Paul II, Message for the 1990 World Day of Peace, 1: AAS 82 (1990), 147.

146 Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate (29 June 2009), 66: AAS 101 (2009), 699. 147 Id., Message for the 2010 World Day of Peace, 11: AAS 102 (2010), 48.

148 Earth Charter, The Hague (29 June 2000).

149 John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus (1 May 1991), 39: AAS 83 (1991), 842.

150 Id., Message for the 1990 World Day of Peace, 14: AAS 82 (1990), 155.

151 Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (24 Nov 2013), 261: AAS 105 (2013), 1124.

152 Benedict XVI, Homily for the Solemn Inauguration of the Petrine Ministry (24 April 2005): AAS 97 (2005), 710.

153 Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, A New Earth – The Environmental Challenge (2002).

154 Romano Guardini, Das Ende der Neuzeit, 72 (The End of the Modern World¸ 65-66).

155 Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (24 November 2013), 71: AAS 105 (2013), 1050.

156 Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate (29 June 2009) 2: AAS 101 (2009), 642.

157 Paul VI, Message for the 1977 World Day of Peace: AAS 68 (1976), 709.

158 Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 582.

159 The spiritual writer Ali al-Khawas stresses from his own experience the need not to put too much distance between the creatures of the world and the interior experience of God. As he puts it: “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, flies buzz, doors creak, birds sing, or in the sound of strings or flutes, the sighs of the sick, the groans of the afflicted…” (Eva De Vitray-Meyerovitch [ed.], Anthologie du soufisme, Paris 1978, 200).

160 In II Sent., 23, 2, 3.

161 Cántico Espiritual, XIV, 5.

162 Ibid.

163 Ibid., XIV, 6-7.

164 John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Orientale Lumen (2 May 1995), 11: AAS 87 (1995), 757.

165 Ibid.

166 Id., Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia (17 April 2003), 8: AAS 95 (2003), 438.

167 Benedict XVI, Homily for the Mass of Corpus Domini (15 June 2006): AAS 98 (2006), 513.

168 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2175.

169 John Paul II, Catechesis (2 August 2000), 4: Insegnamenti 23/2 (2000), 112.

170 Quaest. Disp. de Myst. Trinitatis, 1, 2 concl.

171 Cf. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, q. 11, art. 3; q. 21, art. 1, ad 3; q. 47, art. 3.

172 Basil the Great, Hom. in Hexaemeron, I, 2, 6: PG 29, 8.

Introduction

Chapter One: What is Happening to Our Common Home
I. Pollution and climate change
II. The issue of water
III. Loss of biodiversity
IV. Decline in the quality of human life and the breakdown of society
V. Global inequality
VI. Weak responses
VII. A variety of opinions

Chapter Two: The Gospel of Creation
I. The light offered by faith
II. The wisdom of the biblical accounts
III. The mystery of the universe
IV. The message of each creature in the harmony of creation
V. A universal communion
VI. The common destination of goods
VII. The gaze of Jesus

Chapter Three: The Human Roots of the Ecological Crisis
I. Technology: Creativity and power
II. The globalization of the technocratic paradigm
III. The crisis and effects of modern anthropocentrism

Chapter Four: Integral Ecology
I. Environmental, economic and social ecology
II. Cultural ecology
III. Ecology of daily life
IV. The principle of the common good
V. Justice between the generations

Chapter Five: Lines of Approach and Action
I. Dialogue on the environment in the international community
II. Dialogue for new national and local policies
III. Dialogue and transparency in decision-making
IV. Politics and economy in dialogue for human fulfillment
V. Religions in dialogue with science

Chapter Six: Ecological Education and Spirituality
I. Towards a new lifestyle
II. Educating for the covenant between humanity and the environment
III. Ecological conversion
IV. Joy and peace
V. Civic and political love
VI. Sacramental signs and the celebration of rest
VII. The Trinity and the relationship between creatures
VIII. Queen of all creation
IX. Beyond the sun

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