Full English Translation of Pope Francis' Climate and Environmental Encyclical, 'Laudato Si': Chapter Six

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 18 Jun 2015 04:09:00 GMT

The leaked draft of “Laudato Si’”, Pope Francis’ widely anticipated encyclical on the crisis of climate change and other global environmental concerns, contains 246 numbered paragraphs contained within a preface and six chapters. The translation below from the original Italian is very rough, a Google translation amended by Brad Johnson.


Table of Contents


202. Many things need to reorient their route, but first of all it is humanity that needs to change. Lacking is the consciousness of a common origin, a mutual belonging and a shared future for all. This knowledge base would allow the development of new beliefs, new attitudes and lifestyles. Thus emerges a great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge involving long processes of regeneration.

I. Pointing to another way of life

203. Since the market tends to create a compulsive consumerist mechanism to place its products, people end up being overwhelmed by the vortex of purchases and unnecessary expenses. Obsessive consumerism is the subjective reflection of the techno-economic paradigm. What happens Romano Guardini already signaled: the human being “takes ordinary objects and the usual forms of life as well as are imposed by rational plans and normalized by the machines and, overall, he does so with the impression that this is reasonable and just.” [144 Das Ende der Neuzeit, 19659 Würzburg, 66-67 (ed. it. The end of the modern era, Brescia 1987, 61).] This paradigm makes everyone believe that they are free by retaining a claim to the freedom to consume, when in fact those who own freedom are those that are part of the minority who hold economic and financial power. In this confusion, post-modern humanity has not found a new understanding of itself that can direct itself, and this lack of identity is lived with anxiety. We have too many paths to limited and stunted purposes.

204. The current situation of the world “causes a sense of precariousness and insecurity, which in turn promotes forms of collective selfishness.” [145 John Paul II, Message for the World Day of Peace 1990, 1: AAS 82 (1990) , 147.] When people become self-referential and isolate themselves in their consciousness, they increase their greed. The more a person’s heart is empty, the more he needs items to buy, possess and consume. In this context it does not seem possible that anyone could accept that reality poses a limit. In this perspective, there is not even a true common good. If this is the type of person who tends to predominate in a society, the rules will be respected only to the extent that they do not contradict their needs. So we do not think only to the possibility of terrible weather phenomena or major natural disasters, but also to disasters derived from social crises, because the obsession with a consumerist lifestyle, especially when only a few can sustain it, will only result in violence and mutual destruction.

205. Yet, all is not lost, because human beings, capable of degradation in the extreme, they can also overcome, returning to choose the good and regenerating, beyond any social and psychological conditioning that is imposed on them. They are able to look at themselves honestly, emerging from their disgust and to new paths to true freedom. There are no systems that nullify completely the doorway to goodness, truth and beauty, nor the ability to react, that God continues to encourage from the bottom of our hearts. Every person in this world, I ask you not to forget this dignity that no one has the right to remove from you.

206. A change in lifestyle may come to exert a healthy pressure on those holding political, economic and social power. It is what happens when consumer movements can cause you to stop buying certain products and thus become effective in changing the behavior of companies, forcing them to consider the environmental impact and production patterns. It is a fact that, when social habits affect corporate profits, these forces are seen to produce in another way. This reminds us of the social responsibility of consumers. “Buying is always a moral act, as well as economic.” [146 Benedict XVI, Enc. Lett. Caritas in Veritate (29 June 2009), 66: AAS 101 (2009), 699.] To this day, “the theme of environmental degradation due to the behavior of each of us.” [147 Id., Message for the World Day of Peace 2010, 11: AAS 102 (2010), 48.]

207. The Earth Charter was calling us all to leave behind a stage of self-destruction and to start again, but we have not yet developed a universal consciousness that makes it possible. For this I dare to propose that precious challenge again: “As never before in history, common destiny beckons us to seek a new beginning [...]. May ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life. “[148 the Earth Charter, The Hague (29 June 2000). ]

208. You can always develop a new ability to leave self-interest for others. Without it you do not recognize in other creatures their own value, do not care to take care of something for the benefit of others, lack the ability to set limits to avoid suffering or degradation of our surroundings. The fundamental attitude of self-transcendence, breaking the isolated consciousness and the self, is the root that makes possible all caring for others and the environment, and brings forth the moral reaction to consider the impact caused by any action and from any personal decision outside of oneself. When we are able to overcome individualism, it can actually produce an alternative lifestyle and can become a significant change in society.

II. Teaching the alliance between mankind and the environment

209. Awareness of the seriousness of the cultural and ecological crisis must be translated into new habits. Many know that the current progress and the accumulation of objects or simple pleasures are not enough to give meaning and joy to the human heart, but they do not feel able to give up what the market offers them. In countries that should yield the greatest changes in consumption habits, the young have a new ecological awareness and a generous spirit, and some of them are fighting admirably for environmental protection, but grew up in an environment of high consumption and of well-being that makes the maturation of other habits difficult. This is why we are faced with an educational challenge.

210. Environmental education has been expanding its targets. If at first it was very centered on scientific information and on awareness and prevention of environmental risks, now it tends to include a critique of the “myth” of modernity based on instrumental reason (individualism, indefinite progress, competition, consumerism, market without rules) and also to recover the different levels of ecological balance: with the inner self, to solidarity with others, the natural one with all living beings, the spiritual with God. Environmental education should prepare us to make that leap towards Mystery, from which ecological ethics draws its deepest meaning. On the other hand there are teachers able to reset the pedagogical itineraries of ecological ethics, so they actually help to grow in solidarity, responsibility and care based on compassion.

211. However, this education, called to create an “ecological citizenship”, sometimes merely informs and cannot cultivate habits. The existence of laws and regulations is not sufficient in the long term to restrict bad behavior, even when there is a valid control. In order for the rule of law to produce lasting significant effects it is necessary that most of the members of society accepted it with adequate motivations, and respond through personal transformation. Only starting from the solid virtues is it possible to cultivate the gift of self in an ecological commitment. If a person, although his economic conditions enables him to consume and spend more, usually blankets himself a bit instead of turning on the heating, it is supposed he has acquired beliefs and ways of feeling favorable to environmental care. It is very noble to assume the task of taking care of creation with small daily actions, and it is wonderful that education is able to motivate them to give shape to a way of life. Education for environmental responsibility can encourage various behaviors that have a direct and important effect in caring for the environment, like avoiding the use of plastic or paper, reducing water consumption, waste separation, only cooking what you can eat reasonably, handling with care other living beings, using public transport or sharing the same vehicle between several people, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights, and so on. All this is part of a generous and dignified creativity, showing the best of the human being. Reusing something instead of discarding it quickly, starting from deep motivations, can be an act of love that expresses our dignity.

212. One should not think that these efforts will not change the world. These actions spread good in a society that always produces fruits beyond what we can see, because they cause within this land a benefit that tends to spread, sometimes invisibly. Moreover, the exercise of such behavior gives us a sense of our dignity, leads to greater existential depth, allows us to experience that it is worth going through this world.

213. The educational aspects are various: the school, the family, the media, catechesis, and others. A good school education in childhood and adolescence plants seeds that can produce effects throughout life. But I wish to emphasize the central importance of the family, because “it is the place in which life, the gift of God, can be properly welcomed and protected against the many attacks to which it is exposed, and can develop in accordance with what constitutes authentic human growth. Against the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life.” [149 John Paul II, Enc. Lett. Centesimus Annus (May 1, 1991), 39: AAS 83 (1991), 842.] In the family is cultivated the first habits of love and care for life, such as the proper use of things, order and cleanliness, respect for the local ecosystem and the protection of all creatures. The family is the place of integral formation, in which the different aspects of personal maturity, intimately related to each other, unfold. In the family you learn to ask permission without arrogance, to say “thank you” as an expression of heartfelt appreciation for the things we receive, to dominate aggression or greed, and apologize when we do something wrong. These small acts of sincere kindness help build a culture of life and shared respect for our surroundings.

214. At the political and the various associations the effort to form conscience competes. Competes before the Church. All Christian communities have an important role to fulfill in this education. I also hope that in our seminaries and religious houses of instruction is education of a responsible austerity, grateful contemplation of the world, care for the fragility of the poor and the environment. Because much is at stake, as well as needing institutions with the power to penalize attacks on the environment, we also need to control ourselves and to educate each other.

215. In this context, “should not be overlooked [...] the relationship that exists between adequate aesthetic education and the maintenance of a healthy environment.” [150 Id., Message for the World Day of Peace 1990, 14: AAS 82 (1990), 155.] Paying attention to the beauty and love helps us to get out of utilitarian pragmatism. When you do not learn to stop to admire and appreciate the beautiful, is not it strange that everything will turn to the subject of the use and abuse without scruples. At the same time, if you want to achieve profound changes, it must be remembered that the thought patterns actually affect behavior. Education will be ineffective and its efforts will be fruitless unless we are also concerned to promote a new model about the human being, life, society and the relationship with nature. Otherwise it will continue to run on the consumer model transmitted by the media and through efficient market mechanisms.

III. The ecological conversion

216. The great wealth of Christian spirituality, generated by twenty centuries of personal and community experiences, constitutes a magnificent contribution to offer to the effort to renew humanity. I wish to propose to Christians a few lines of ecological spirituality arising from the convictions of our faith, because what the Gospel teaches us has consequences on our way of thinking, feeling and living. It is not so much to talk about ideas, but above all of the reasons that derive from spirituality in order to feed a passion for the care of the world. In fact you will not engage in great matters only with the doctrines, without a mysticism that encourages us, without “some inner motive that drives, motivates, encourages and gives meaning to the action staff and community.” [151 Apostolic. ap. Evangelii gaudium (24 November 2013), 261: AAS 105 (2013), 1124.] We must recognize that we Christians have not always collected and made to yield the riches that God has given to the Church, where the spirituality is not separate from your body, nor from the nature or reality of this world, but he lives with them and in them, in communion with all that surrounds us.

217. If “the external deserts multiply in the world, because the internal deserts have become so vast,” [152 Benedict XVI, Homily for the solemn inauguration of the Petrine Ministry (24 April 2005): AAS 97 (2005), 710.] the ecological crisis is a call to a profound inner conversion. However we must also recognize that some Christians committed and devoted to prayer, with the pretext of realism and pragmatism, often flout environmental concerns. Others are passive, deciding not to change their habits and becoming incoherent. Therefore they lack an ecological conversion, which involves letting out all the consequences of the encounter with Jesus into relations with the world around them. To live the vocation of being guardians of God’s work is an essential part of a virtuous life, it is not something optional and not a secondary aspect of the Christian experience.

218. We recall the model of St. Francis of Assisi, to propose a healthy relationship with creation as a dimension of the conversion of the whole person. This also requires recognition of ones errors, sins, faults or negligence, and repenting of the heart, changing from within. The Bishops of Australia have been able to express the conversion in terms of reconciliation with creation: “To achieve this reconciliation, we must examine our lives and recognize how we offend God’s creation with our actions and with our inability to act. We need to experience a conversion, a change of heart. ” [153 Conference of Catholic Bishops, A New Earth. The Environmental Challenge (2002).]

219. However, it is not enough that everyone is improved to resolve a situation as complex as that facing the world today. Individuals may lose the ability and the freedom to overcome the logic of instrumental reason and end up succumbing to consumerism without ethics and without social and environmental sense. Social problems are answered with community networks, not just the sum of individual goods: “The needs of this work will be so immense that the opportunities for individual initiative and cooperation of the individual, individualistic formats, will not be able to answer. It will require a combination of resources and a unit of contributions. “[154 Romano Guardini, Das Ende der Neuzeit, 72 (trans. Trans .: The end of the modern age, 66). ] The ecological conversion that is required to create a dynamic of lasting change is also a communal conversion.

220. This conversion involves various attitudes that combine to enable a cure that is generous and full of tenderness. First involves gratitude and gratuity, namely a recognition of the world as a gift received by the love of the Father, which causes as a result of the gist free provisions and generous gestures even if no one sees them or recognize them, “Do not let your left hand know what your right is doing [...] and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Mt 6.3 to 4). It also implies the loving consciousness of not being separated from other creatures, but to form with other beings in the universe a wonderful universal communion. For the believer, the world is contemplated not from without but from within, recognizing the links with which the Father has united with all beings. In addition, increasing the peculiar skills that God has given to every believer, the ecological conversion leads him to develop his creativity and enthusiasm, in order to resolve the tragedies of the world, offering himself to God “as a living, holy and acceptable sacrifice “(Rom 12,1). He does not interpret his superiority as a ground for personal glory or irresponsible dominion, but as a different ability which in turn imposes a grave responsibility that comes from his faith.

221. Several convictions of our faith, developed at the beginning of this encyclical, help to enrich the sense of such a conversion, as the awareness that all creation reflects something of God and has a message to send, or the certainty that Christ took in himself this material world and now, risen, dwelling within every being, surrounding them with his affection and penetrating them with his light. As well as the recognition that God created the world by inscribing it in an order and a dynamism that the human being does not have the right to ignore. When we read in the Gospel that Jesus speaks of the birds and says that “not one of them is forgotten before God” (Lk 12,6), will we be able to maltreat them and cause them harm? I invite all Christians to make explicit this dimension of his conversion, allowing the force and the light of grace received also to extend to their relationship with other creatures and with the world around them, and raise the sublime brotherhood with all creation that St. Francis of Assisi lived in a so luminous manner.

IV. Joy and peace

222. Christian spirituality offers an alternative way of looking at quality of life, and encourages a prophetic and contemplative lifestyle, able to rejoice deeply without being obsessed with consumption. It is important to accommodate an ancient teaching, present in different religious traditions, and even in the Bible. This is the belief that “less is more”. In fact, the constant accumulation of the ability to consume distracts the heart and prevents appreciating everything and every moment. On the contrary, being present serenely in front of every reality, however small it may be, opens up many more possibilities for understanding and fulfillment. Christian spirituality proposes an increase in sobriety and a capacity to take delight with less. It is a return to simplicity that allows us to stop and enjoy the little things, to thank the possibilities that life offers, not clinging to what we have nor grieving for what we do not possess. This requires you to avoid the dynamics of domination and the mere accumulation of pleasures.

223. Sobriety, lived freely and consciously, is liberating. Not less life, not low intensity, but quite the opposite. For those who taste more and live better each time are those who will stop pecking here and there, always trying what they have not, and experiencing what it means to appreciate every person and every thing, they learn to become familiar with the simplest realities and they know how to be delighted. In this way they can reduce unmet needs and reduce fatigue and anxiety. You may need very little and live well, especially when you are able to make room for other pleasures and satisfaction that lies in fraternal meetings, in service, in building on your personal gifts, in music and art, in contact with nature, in prayer. Happiness needs to be able to limit some of the needs that daze us, thus remaining available for the many possibilities that life offers.

224. Sobriety and humility have not enjoyed a positive consideration this last century. But when we weaken across the board the exercise of any virtue in personal and social life, it ends up causing multiple imbalances, including environmental ones. For it is no longer enough just to mention the integrity of ecosystems. We must have the courage to speak of the integrity of human life, the need to promote and to combine all the great values. The disappearance of humility, in a human being overly impressed by the ability to dominate everything with no limit, can only end up harming society and the environment. It is not easy to mature this healthy humility and a happy sobriety if we become autonomous, if we exclude God from our lives and our ego occupies his place, if we believe it is our subjectivity to determine what is good and what is bad.

225. On the other hand, no person may mature into a happy sobriety if not at peace with himself. And part of a proper understanding of spirituality is to broaden our understanding of peace, which is far more than the absence of war. The inner peace of the people is closely linked to the ecology and care for the common good, because, authentically lived, it is reflected in a balanced lifestyle coupled with an ability to surprise leading to the depth of life. Nature is full of words of love, but can we hear in the middle of constant noise, of permanent and anxious distraction, or of the cult of appearances? Many people experience a profound imbalance that drives them to do things at full speed to be occupied, in a constant hurry, which in turn leads them to overwhelm everything they have around them. This affects the way we treat the environment. An integral ecology requires spending some time to recover the serene harmony with creation, reflecting on our way of life and our ideals, contemplating the Creator, who lives among us and in our surroundings, and whose presence “is not to be built, but is discovered and revealed.” [155 Apostolic. ap. Evangelii gaudium (24 November 2013), 71: AAS 105 (2013), 1050.]

226. We are talking about an attitude of the heart, which lives throughout with serene attention, which knows how to remain fully present in front of someone without stopping to think about what comes next, which is delivered at all times as a divine gift to be lived in fullness. Jesus taught us this attitude when he invited us to look at the lilies of the field and the birds of the sky, or when in the presence of a disciple, “he fixed his gaze on him” and “loved him” (Mk 10:21) . Yes, he knew how to stay fully present before every human being and before every creature, and so showed us a way to overcome the sick anxiety that makes us superficial, aggressive and recklessly consumerist.

227. An expression of this attitude is to stop and thank God before and after meals. I propose to believers that they take this valuable habit and live with depth. This time of blessing, although very short, reminds us our dependence on God for life, strengthens our sense of gratitude for the gifts of creation, is grateful to those who by their work provide these goods, and strengthening solidarity with the most needy.

V. Civil and political love

228. Caring for nature is part of a lifestyle that involves the ability to live together and communally. Jesus reminded us that we have God as our common Father and that this makes us brothers. Brotherly love can only be free, can never be compensated for what another produces, nor an advance for what we hope to do. Therefore it is possible to love our enemies. This same gratuity leads us to love and accept the wind, the sun or the clouds, although they submit to our control. This is why we can speak of a universal brotherhood.

229. We need to hear again that we need each other, that we have a responsibility to others and to the world, that it is worth it to be good and honest. Already for too long we have been in moral degradation, by taking as a game ethics, goodness, faith, honesty, and the time has come to recognize that this cheerful superficiality serves us little. Such destruction of any foundation of society ends up setting us off against each other to defend our interests; it causes the rise of new forms of violence and cruelty; and it prevents the development of a true culture of environmental care.

230. The example of Saint Therese of Lisieux invites us to practice the little way of love, not to miss the opportunity of a kind word, a smile, any small gesture that sows peace and friendship. An integral ecology is also made of simple everyday actions in which we break the logic of violence, exploitation, selfishness. Conversely, the world consumption is exasperated at the same time the world’s mistreatment of life in all its forms.

231. Love, filled with small gestures of caring for each other, is also civil and political, and manifests itself in all actions that seek to build a better world. The love for society and commitment to the common good is an eminent form of charity, which concerns not only the relations between individuals, but also “macro-relations, social, economic, political relations.” [156 Benedict XVI , Lett. enc. Caritas in Veritate (29 June 2009), 2: AAS 101 (2009), 642.] For this reason the Church has proposed to the world the ideal of a “civilization of love”. [157 Paul VI, Message for the World Day Peace 1977: AAS 68 (1976), 709.] Social love is the key to genuine development: “To make the company more human, more worthy of the person, should be reassessed love in social life – wide, political, economic, cultural – making it the constant and supreme norm of action. “[158 Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine Church, 582.] In this framework, together with the importance of small everyday gestures, social love urges us to think about grand strategies to halt environmental degradation effectively and encourage a culture of care that permeate all of society. When someone recognizes the call of God to act together with others in these social dynamics, he must remember that this is part of his spirituality, which is the practice of charity, and which in this way matures and sanctifies.

232. Not all are called to work directly in politics but in society there flourishes an innumerable variety of associations intervening in favor of the common good, protecting the natural and urban environment. For example, they care for a public place (a building, a fountain, a neglected monument, a landscape, a square), protecting, restoring, enhancing or beautifying something that belongs to everyone. Around them develop or regain ties and is a new local social fabric. So a community frees itself from consumerist indifference. This also means cultivating a common identity, a history that is preserved and transmitted. In this way we take care of the world and the quality of life of the poorest, with a sense of solidarity that is at the same time awareness of living in a common house that God has entrusted to us. These community actions, when they express a love that gives itself, can turn into intense spiritual experiences.

VI. The sacramental signs and the celebratory repose

233. The universe grows in God, who fills everything. So there is a mystery to be contemplated in a leaf, in a path, in the dew, in the face of the poor. [159 A spiritual master, Ali Al-Khawas, from his experience, stressed the need to not separate too much the creatures of the world from the experience of God within. He said: “There is no need to criticize a priori those seeking the ecstasy in music or poetry. There is a subtle secret in each of the movements and sounds of this world. Initiates come to pick up what they say the wind blowing, the trees bend, flowing water, the flies that buzz, the creaking doors, the birds singing, the sound of the strings and flute, the sigh the sick, the cry of the afflicted … “(Eva De Vitray Meyerovitch [ed.], Anthologie du soufisme, Paris 1978, 200; trans. it.: The mystics of Islam, Parma 1991, 199). ] The ideal is not just going from externality to interiority to discover the action of God in the soul, but also get to meet him in all things, as taught by St. Bonaventure: “Contemplation is much higher as man feels in himself the effect of divine grace or the more God can be recognized in other creatures.” [160 In II Sent., 23, 2, 3]

234. St. John of the Cross taught that all that is good in things and experiences of the world “is eminently in God in an infinite manner or, to say it better, he is each of these sizes you preach.” [161 Cántico Espiritual, XIV, 5.] It is not because the limited things of the world are truly divine, but that the mystic experiences the intimate bond that exists between God and all beings, and so “feels that God is for him all things.” [162 Ibid.] If he admires the greatness of a mountain, he cannot separate this from God, and feels that this inner admiration that he lives must rest in the Lord: “The mountains have peaks, are high, impressive, beautiful, pretty, flowery and fragrant. As those mountains is the Beloved to me. The secluded valleys are quiet, pleasant, cool, shady, full of sweet water. For the variety of their trees and the gentle birdsong and recreate the sense and delight greatly in their solitude and silence their offer refreshment and rest: this valley is my Beloved to me.” [163 Ibid., XIV, 6-7.]

235. The Sacraments are a privileged way in which nature is taken up by God and transformed in mediation of the supernatural life. Through worship, we are invited to embrace the world in a different plane. Water, oil, fire and colors are taken with all their symbolic power and are incorporated in praise. The hand is the instrument of God’s blessing and reflected the closeness of Christ who came to join us in the journey of life. The water that is poured on the body of the child who is baptized is a sign of new life. Not fleeing from the world nor denying the nature when we meet with God. This can be felt especially in the spirituality of Eastern Christianity: “Beauty, which in the East is one of the words most frequently used, is usually expressing the divine harmony and the model transfigured humanity, appears everywhere: in the shape of the church, in the sounds, colors, lights and scents.” [164 John Paul II, Lett. Ap. Orientale Lumen (2 May 1995), 11: AAS 87 (1995), 757.] For the Christian experience, all the creatures of the material universe find their true meaning in the Incarnate Word, because the Son of God has incorporated in his person part of the material universe, where he introduced a seed of ultimate transformation: “Christianity does not reject matter, corporeality; on the contrary, it rejoices in the liturgical act, in which the human body shows its intimate nature of the temple of the Spirit and comes to join the Lord Jesus, He also made the body for the world’s salvation.” [165 Ibid.]

236. In the Eucharist, creation finds its higher elevation. Grace, which tends to appear to an appreciable extent, reaching a wonderful expression when God himself became man, gets to be eaten by his creature. The Lord, at the height of the mystery of the Incarnation, could reach our intimacy through a piece of matter. Not from above but from within, so in our own world could we meet him. In the Eucharist this fullness has already been realized, and is the vital center of the universe, the heart overflowing with love and inexhaustible life. Joined with the incarnate Son, present in the Eucharist, the whole cosmos gives thanks to God. In fact, the Eucharist is in itself an act of cosmic love, “Yes, cosmic! Because even when it is celebrated on the humble altar of a country church, the Eucharist is always in some sense, on the altar of the world.” [166 Id., Lett. Enc. Ecclesia de Eucharistia (17 April 2003), 8: AAS 95 (2003), 438.] The Eucharist unites heaven and earth, embraces and penetrates all creation. The world, that come from the hands of God, returns to Him in worship and joyful: in the Eucharistic Bread “creation is projected towards divinization, toward the holy wedding feast, toward unification with the Creator himself.” [167 Benedict XVI, Homily at the Mass of Corpus Christi (June 15, 2006): AAS 98 (2006), 513.] Thus the Eucharist is a source of light and gives reasons for our concerns for the environment, and gives direction to be custodians of all creation.

237. On Sunday, the participation in the Eucharist is particularly important. This day, just like the Jewish Sabbath, offers a day of restoration of the relations of human beings with God, with themselves, with others and with the world. Sunday is the day of the Resurrection, the “first day” of the new creation, the first fruits of which is the humanity of the risen Lord, guaranteeing the final transfiguration of all created reality. In addition, this day announces “man’s eternal rest in God.” [168 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2175.] In this way, Christian spirituality integrates the value of rest and celebration. Human beings tend to reduce contemplative repose to the scope of the useless and sterile, forgetting that one takes off work so that its most important attribute is found: its meaning. We are called to include in our work a receptive and free dimension, which is different from a simple inactivity. This is another way of acting which is part of our essence. In this way human action is preserved not only from an empty activism, but also from the unbridled greed and isolation of consciousness that leads to chase exclusive personal benefit. The law of the weekly rest requires you to abstain from work on the seventh day, “so that you can enjoy quiet your ox and your donkey may rest and the son of thy handmaid and the stranger” (Exodus 23:12). This rest is an extension of the gaze that allows you to return to acknowledging the rights of others. So, the day of rest, whose center is the Eucharist, spreads its light over the entire week, and encourages us to take care of our nature and the poor.

VII. The Trinity and the relationship between creatures

238. The Father is the ultimate source of all, a loving and communicative foundation of what exists. The Son, who reflects, and through whom all things were made, joined this land when he took shape in the womb of Mary. The Spirit, infinite bond of love, is intimately present in the heart of the universe and animating and sustaining new paths. The world was created by the three persons as a single divine principle, but each of them carries this common work according to his own personal identity. Therefore, “when we contemplate with admiration the universe in its grandeur and beauty, we must praise the whole Trinity.” [169 John Paul II, Catechesis (August 2, 2000), 4: L’Osservatore 23/2 (2000), 112.]

239. For Christians, believing in one God who is a Trinitarian communion leads us to believe that all reality contains a properly Trinitarian imprint. St. Bonaventure came to say that the human being, before the fall, he could find out how each creature “testifies that God is triune.” The reflection of the Trinity could be recognized in nature “even when that book was obscure for the man, nor the man’s eye was fouled.” [170 Quaest. disp. de Myst. Trinitatis, 1, 2, concl.] The Franciscan saint teaches us that every creature carries a properly Trinitarian structure, so real that it could be spontaneously contemplated if the gaze of the human being is not limited, dark and fragile. In this way he shows us the challenge of trying to read reality in a Trinitarian key.

240. The divine Persons are subsistent relations, and the world, created after the divine model, it is a web of relationships. Creatures tend towards God, and in turn belongs to every living thing tending towards something else, so that within the universe we can see countless ongoing relationship that secretly weave together [171 Cf. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica I, q. 11, art. 3; q. 21, art. 1 to 3; q. 47, art. 3.]. This not only invites us to admire the many links that exist between the creatures, but also leads us to discover a key to our own realization. Indeed the human person especially grows, matures and sanctifies as he enters into a relationship, when he leave himself to live in communion with God, with others and with all creatures. So he assumes in his life that triune dynamism God has imprinted in him ever since his creation. Everything is connected, and this invites us to develop a spirituality of global solidarity that flows from the mystery of the Trinity.

VIII. The queen of all creation

241. Mary, the mother who took care of Jesus, now takes care of this wounded world with maternal affection and grief. As she wept with her heart pierced Jesus’ death, now she has compassion for the suffering of the crucified poor and of the creatures of this world exterminated by human power. She lives with Jesus completely transformed, and all creatures sing her beauty. She is the woman “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head” (Rev 12,1). High in the sky, she is Mother and Queen of all creation. In her glorified body, along with the risen Christ, the creation has reached the fullness of her beauty. She not only keeps in her heart all the days of Jesus, who she “kept” carefully (cf. Lk 2,19.51), but now also includes the meaning of all things. So we ask you to help us look at the world with wiser eyes.

242. Together with her, in the holy family of Nazareth, stands the figure of St Joseph. He took care of and defended Mary and Jesus with his work and his generous presence, and rescued them from the violence of the unjust by taking them to Egypt. In the Gospel he looks like a good man, hardworking, strong. But in his figure also emerges a great tenderness, that is not of one who is weak but who is truly strong, caring in reality to love and serve humbly. For this he was declared guardian of the universal Church. He, too, can teach us to care, can motivate us to work with generosity and tenderness to protect this world that God has entrusted to us.

IX. Beyond the sun

243. In the end we will meet face to face with the infinite beauty of God (cf. 1 Cor 13:12) and we read with admiration the joyful mystery of the universe, who will participate with us in the endless fullness. Yes, we are traveling towards eternity on Saturday, toward the new Jerusalem, towards the common house of the sky. Jesus tells us: “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21,5). Eternal life is a marvel shared, where every creature, luminously transformed, will take its place and will have something to offer to the finally freed poor.

244. In the meantime, we unite to take care of this home that was entrusted to us, knowing that whatever good there is in it will be taken on the feast of heaven. Together with all creatures, we walk on this earth seeking God, because “if the world has a beginning and was created, who created it look, look who gave beginning, the one who is his Creator.” [172 Basilio Great, Hom. in Hexaemeron, 1, 2, 6: PG 29, 8.] We walk singing! Amid our struggles and our concern for this planet we take away the joy of hope.

245. God, who calls us to generous dedication and to give everything, gives us the strength and the light we need to move forward. In the heart of this world is always present the Lord of life who loves us so much. He does not abandon us, do not leave us alone, why he joined us permanently with our land, and his love leads us always to find new ways. To Him be praise! * * *

246. After this prolonged reflection, joyful and dramatic collection, I propose two prayers, one that we can share all of us who believe in God the creator and father, and another that we Christians know assume commitments for creation that the Gospel of Jesus It offers us.

Prayer for our Earth

Almighty Lord,
that you are present throughout the universe
and in the smallest of your creatures,
You who surround with your tenderness
all that exists,
pour into us the strength of your love
so that we take care
of life and beauty.
Flood us with peace,
so that we live as brothers and sisters
without harming anyone.
Father of the poor,
help us to redeem the abandoned
and forgotten in this land
that are so worthy in your eyes.
Heal our lives,
so that we protect the world
and not plunder it,
so that we sow beauty
and not destruction and pollution.
Touch the hearts
of those who seek only benefits
at the expense of the poor and of the earth.
Teach us to discover the value of everything,
to contemplate with amazement,
to recognize that we are deeply united
with all creatures
on our way to your infinite light.
Thank you because you are with us every day.
Support us, please, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.

Christian prayer, with creation

Praise You, Father, with all your creatures,
which are emanences from your mighty hand.
They are yours, and are full of your presence
and your tenderness.
Praised be!

Son of God, Jesus,
you were all things created.
You have taken shape in the womb of Mary,
you’ve been part of this land,
and you looked at this world with human eyes.
Today you are alive in all creation
with your glory of the risen.
Praised be!

Holy Spirit, that with your light
directs this world to the Father’s love
and accompanies the groaning of creation,
you also live in our hearts
lead us to good.
Praised be!

Lord God, One and Three,
beautiful community of infinite love,
teach us to contemplate
the beauty of the universe,
where everything is about you.
Awaken our praise and our gratitude
for all that you have created.
Give us the grace to feel intimately united
with all that exists.
God of love, show us our place
in this world
as instruments of your love
for all beings of this earth,
because not one of them is forgotten by you.
Illumine the masters of power and money
so that they do not fall into sin of indifference,
love the common good, promote the weak,
and take care of the world we inhabit.
The poor and the earth are crying:
Lord, take us with your power and your light,
to protect all life,
for a better future,
so that comes your kingdom
of justice, of peace, of love and beauty.
Praised be!


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