Reflections on Caring for Our Common Home

A new resource guide is now available for SSNDs, Associates, staff and all people of good will looking to take action to address the climate emergency and ecological crisis. This guide contains a brief overview of Laudato Si’, as well as suggested changes to make in your life to promote stewardship of creation and resources for further learning. Best of all, this guide can be easily shared with others. View the guide here.

Learn more about Laudato Si’ and ways to build a better future together at ssnd.org/shalom/laudato-si.

Laudato Si’ - Sacramental Signs and the Celebration of Rest

235. For Christians, all the creatures of the material universe find their true meaning in the incarnate Word, for the Son of God has incorporated in his person part of the material world, planting in it a seed of definitive transformation. “Christianity does not reject matter. Rather, bodiliness is considered in all its value in the liturgical act, whereby the human body is disclosed in its inner nature as a temple of the Holy Spirit and is united with the Lord Jesus, who himself took a body for the world’s salvation”.  

Laudato Si’ - Sacramental Signs and the Celebration of Rest

234. Saint John of the Cross taught that all the goodness present in the realities and experiences of this world“ is present in God eminently and infinitely, or more properly, in each of these sublime realities is God”. [161] This is not because the finite things of this world are really divine, but because the mystic experiences the intimate connection between God and all beings, and thus feels that “all things are God”. 

Laudato Si’ - Ecological Education and Spirituality

228. Care for nature is part of a lifestyle which includes the capacity for living together and communion…. We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it….

Laudato Si’ - Ecological Education and Spirituality

227 One expression of this attitude is when we stop and give thanks to God before and after meals…That moment of blessing, however brief, reminds us of our dependence on God for life; it strengthens our feeling of gratitude for the gifts of creation; it acknowledges those who by their labors provide us with these goods; and it reaffirms our solidarity with those in greatest need.

Laudato Si’ - Ecological Education and Spirituality

226. We are speaking of an attitude of the heart, one which approaches life with serene attentiveness, which is capable of being fully present to someone without thinking of what comes next, which accepts each moment as a gift from God to be lived to the full. …[Jesus] was completely present to everyone and to everything, and in this way, he showed us the way to overcome that unhealthy anxiety which makes us superficial, aggressive, and compulsive consumers.

Laudato Si’ - Ecological Education and Spirituality

225. On the other hand, no one can cultivate a sober and satisfying life without being at peace with him or herself… Many people today sense a profound imbalance which drives them to frenetic activity and makes them feel busy, in a constant hurry which in turn leads them to ride rough-shod over everything around them. This too affects how they treat the environment.

Laudato Si’ - Ecological Education and Spirituality

224. Sobriety and humility were not favorably regarded in the last century. And yet, when there is a general breakdown in the exercise of a certain virtue in personal and social life, it ends up causing a number of imbalances, including environmental ones...

Laudato Si’ - Ecological Education and Spirituality

222. Christian spirituality proposes an alternative understanding of the quality of life, and encourages a prophetic and contemplative lifestyle, one capable of deep enjoyment free of the obsession with consumption. We need to take up an ancient lesson, found in different religious traditions and also in the Bible. It is the conviction that “less is more”.

Laudato Si’ - Ecological Education and Spirituality

221. Various convictions of our faith, developed at the beginning of this Encyclical can help us to enrich the meaning of this conversion. These include the awareness that each creature reflects something of God and has a message to convey to us, and the security that Christ has taken unto himself for this material world and now, risen, is intimately present to each being, surrounding it with his affection and penetrating it with his light.

Laudato Si’ - Ecological Education and Spirituality 5

213, 214. Ecological education can take place in a variety of settings: at school, in families, in the media, in catechesis and elsewhere.... Political institutions and various other social groups are also entrusted with helping to raise people’s awareness. So too is the Church...

Laudato Si’ - Ecological Education and Spirituality 4

210. Whereas in the beginning it [environmental education] was mainly centred on scientific information, consciousness-raising and the prevention of environmental risks, it tends now to include a critique of the “myths” of a modernity grounded in a utilitarian mindset (individualism, unlimited progress, competition, consumerism, the unregulated market). 

Laudato Si’ - Ecological Education and Spirituality 3

208. Disinterested concern for others, and the rejection of every form of self-centeredness and self-absorption, are essential if we truly wish to care for our brothers and sisters and for the natural environment. These attitudes also attune us to the moral imperative of assessing the impact of our every action and personal decision on the world around us. 

Laudato Si’ - Ecological Education and Spirituality 2

206. A change in lifestyle could bring healthy pressure to bear on those who wield political, economic and social power. ... When social pressure affects their earnings, businesses clearly have to find ways to produce differently. This shows us the great need for a sense of social responsibility on the part of consumers.

Laudato Si’ - Ecological Education and Spirituality

202. Many things have to change course, but it is we human beings above all who need to change.... A great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of renewal.

Laudato Si’ - Lines of Approach and Action 5

200-201. If a mistaken understanding of our own principles has at times led us to justify mistreating nature, to exercise tyranny over creation, to engage in war, injustice and acts of violence, we believers should acknowledge that by so doing we were not faithful to the treasures of wisdom which we have been called to protect and preserve.... 

Laudato Si’ - Lines of Approach and Action 4

195. The principle of the maximization of profits, frequently isolated from other considerations, reflects a misunderstanding of the very concept of the economy. As long as production is increased, little concern is given to whether it is at the cost of future resources or the health of the environment...

Laudato Si’ - Lines of Approach and Action 3

182. 188. An assessment of the environmental impact of business ventures and projects demands transparent political processes involving a free exchange of views.... I am concerned to encourage an honest and open debate so that particular interests or ideologies will not prejudice the common good.

Laudato Si’- Lines of Approach and Action 2024

178. The myopia of power politics delays the inclusion of a far-sighted environmental agenda within the overall agenda of governments.... True statecraft is manifest when, in difficult times, we uphold high principles and think of the long-term common good. Political powers do not find it easy to assume this duty in the work of nation-building.

Laudato Si’ - Lines of Approach and Action

164. An interdependent world not only makes us more conscious of the negative effects of certain lifestyles and models of production and consumption ..., it motivates us to ensure that solutions are proposed from a global perspective...

Laudato Si’ - Integral Ecology January 5th 2024

159, 162. The notion of the common good also extends to future generations. … Intergenerational solidarity is not optional, but rather a basic question of justice, since the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us. ...many problems of society are connected with today’s fast-paced culture of instant gratification.

Laudato Si' - Integral Ecology December 29th 2023

156-157. An integral ecology is inseparable from the notion of the common good... the common good calls for social peace, the stability and security provided by a certain order which cannot be achieved without particular concern for distributive justice; whenever this is violated, violence always ensues.

Laudato Si' - Integral Ecology December 22-2023

147. Authentic development includes efforts to bring about an integral improvement in the quality of human life, and this entails considering the setting in which people live their lives. These settings influence the way we think, feel and act. ...