Care of Creation
Proposals for the practical implementation of Laudato Si are given in the 2020 Vatican publication, Journeying Towards Care for Our Common Home: Five Years after Laudato Si. This user’s guide gives seven goals of the encyclical: Response to the Cry of the Earth, Response to the Cry of the Poor, Ecological Economics, Adoption of Simple Lifestyles, Ecological Education, Ecological Spirituality, and Emphasis on Community Involvement and Participatory Action. The Care of Creation Action Group will concentrate first on the goal: “Adoption of Simple Lifestyles.”
The final chapter of Laudato Si invites each person to the heart of conversion. The roots of the cultural crisis are deep, and it is not easy to reshape habits and behavior. Any crisis is transformed by conversion of heart through the work of the Holy Spirit. Laudato Si challenges each person to be aware, to discern, and to commit to an intentional plan to adopt a simple lifestyle for the good of creation.
In his follow-up encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis warns against the throwaway culture with a wastefulness stretching from unwanted people to unwanted things and food. The Covid-19 Pandemic gripping the world needs a response with a new vision instead of refining existing systems and having things “return to normal” like they were before. The Pope says, “Once this health crisis passes, our worst response would be to plunge even more deeply into feverish consumerism and new forms of egotistic self-preservation(Paragraph 35).” He asks us to think of who we are as God’s people, how much we need one another, how we can stage a rebirth of the human family. When we do not teach the lessons of history, many people have the idea that we can consume as much as we wish, no matter the cost to the environment or the poverty this creates. Social bonds are weakened when words are emptied of their meaning. What does democracy mean today? Freedom? Justice? What is true, and what is false?
This second step asks “What does the Scripture, the Church, our charism say about a simple lifestyle?” Jesus says it very simply: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” The psalms and the New Testament are filled with examples of the simplicity of the Great Commandment: Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and your neighbor as yourself. Our simple life style is one of giving praise, honor, and glory to God for all of creation, one of sharing gifts and goods in service of our neighbor, especially the poor, recognizing Christ in each person. Our charism urges us to be the face of Christ in the world. Our foundress, Jeanne de Matel, explains why we should “have a love that never says enough.” In her Treatise on the Beatitudes, she writes: “We must admit…if we are insensible to the sufferings of a single person, whoever it may be, it is in vain that we flatter ourselves on possessing the charity that we owe them, and consequently the charity that we owe God, for the one cannot exist without the other…they are in reality but one and the same.”
Let us intentionally commit to a simple lifestyle, trusting in the promise Jesus gave to Jeanne de Matel: “I will provide you with what is required…to bring to completion the work of your Lord and your God.” She said, “Since the Incarnate Word chooses various paths which are always merciful and true, I will let myself be led by the Wisdom of the Incarnate Word.” Search the wisdom of the Biblical accounts, in silence contemplate the mystery of the universe, listen to the message of each creature in the harmony of creation, rejoice in the loving gaze of Jesus, and walk in the light offered by faith. Cherish people, use things in a respectful and generous way.
Care of Creation Websites