Laudato Si’ Quote
78. At the same time, Judaeo-Christian thought demythologized nature. While continuing to admire its grandeur and immensity, it no longer saw nature as divine. In doing so, it emphasizes all the more our human responsibility for nature. This rediscovery of nature can never be at the cost of the freedom and responsibility of human beings who, as part of the world, have the duty to cultivate their abilities in order to protect it and develop its potential. If we acknowledge the value and the fragility of nature and, at the same time, our God-given abilities, we can finally leave behind the modern myth of unlimited material progress. A fragile world, entrusted by God to human care, challenges us to devise intelligent ways of directing, developing and limiting our power.
79. In this universe, shaped by open and intercommunicating systems, we can discern countless forms of relationship and participation. This leads us to think of the whole as open to God’s transcendence, within which it develops. Faith allows us to interpret the meaning and the mysterious beauty of what is unfolding. We are free to apply our intelligence towards things evolving positively, or towards adding new ills, new causes of suffering and real setbacks. This is what makes for the excitement and drama of human history, in which freedom, growth, salvation and love can blossom, or lead towards decadence and mutual destruction. The work of the Church seeks not only to remind everyone of the duty to care for nature, but at the same time “she must above all protect mankind from self-destruction”.
Reflection: We are reminded that we are not to leave our intellect at the door of the church, but rather, to use our intelligence “towards things evolving positively” across “countless forms of relationship and participation.” Reflect on the concrete ways you are “applying your intelligence toward things evolving positively,” especially in these very challenging times. How does “faith allow (you) to interpret the meaning and the mysterious beauty of what is unfolding”? Journal on these questions as you reflect. Share your thoughts, feelings, actions with others.
Action: Choose one action this week where you use your God-given abilities “toward things evolving positively” in nature. This might take the form of an action for climate justice, sharing nature and its beauty with a child, writing a short article or story about your own ecological conversion, or contemplation on some part of the created order and its God connection.
Justice for Immigrants
Imagine the desperation that leads people to climb into the back of an eighteen-wheel truck in order to cross the southern border into the US, men, women, and children. Imagine the horror for first responders, hospital workers, and family members who realize at least 53 of those 64 human beings are dead, and still more are struggling for life. Read more here. There are no simple solutions for immigration, but silence and doing nothing does not bring justice. As a person of faith, speak up for life. Pray, learn, read, advocate, act!
Read this powerful NYT opinion piece about DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) ten years later – the hopes, the dreams, the disappointments, the fears from Dreamers themselves. What action does this call you to? Share this with someone else and talk about it.
Dismantling Racism and Climate Change: Intersectionality
COVID weakened many already fragile global communities and deepened the inequality of those most at risk. Read this article from Nature, which is especially powerful in the use of interactive graphs to tell the story of COVID and its impact on those at the margins. Share it with others and talk about it. What will you do?
Dismantling Racism, Partnership with Haiti, and Justice for Immigrants: Intersectionality
Join the work of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, a partnership of over 50 faith-based organizations that work for Immigrant Justice. Consider signing up for this webinar on July 12 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, “Confronting Racism: What People of Faith Can Learn from the Experience of Haitian Asylum Seekers at the Border.” Share what you are learning with others who may not have these issues on their radar, and talk about them.
Some promising signs about legislation and action on behalf of the earth by some states, including Maryland and Connecticut. Read here on League of Conservation Voters (LCV) website; they also produce a great annual review – the National Environmental Scorecard – where you can track your Congressional representatives on their voting record on environmental issues.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has created this graphic of the climate risks, extreme events, and other impacts of Climate Change. Don’t just glance; take a moment to think about each one of the sections on the wheel, as well as the depiction of Mother Earth in the center.
All change begins with one small step. Commit yourself to reading the Laudato Si’ reflection each week. One paragraph at a time you can stop and reflect on what we are all called to as a Laudato Si’ community!
End Human Trafficking
Summer has more young people than ever tethered to their electronic devices. It is up to adults to keep them safe on the internet, just as we try to keep them safe from all other dangers. Internet Safety 101 from Enough is Enough offers excellent resources and tips for teachers, parents, family members, and concerned adults. Read it now, and share it with others you care about!
The video is now available of the webinar sponsored by the Ending Human Trafficking committee on Online Child Exploitation with Ms. Alicia Bove, an attorney with the Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section. If you were unable to attend the webinar, please contact Mary Carter Waren (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will make the video available to you. Be prepared to be disturbed and inspired to work for change…