Laudato Si 98: Full Harmony

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. We think of Jesus’s command of nature, but is it only that?

98. Jesus lived in full harmony with creation, and others were amazed: “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?” (Mt 8:27).

Jesus did not need to divorce himself from the world, from its people, nor various aspects of life that are not automatically classified as “sacred.”

His appearance was not that of an ascetic set apart from the world, nor of an enemy to the pleasant things of life. Of himself he said: “The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard!’” (Mt 11:19). He was far removed from philosophies which despised the body, matter and the things of the world. Such unhealthy dualisms, nonetheless, left a mark on certain Christian thinkers in the course of history and disfigured the Gospel.

Authentic disciples need not go to extremes to find the Lord, in other words.

Jesus worked with his hands, in daily contact with the matter created by God, to which he gave form by his craftsmanship. It is striking that most of his life was dedicated to this task in a simple life which awakened no admiration at all: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?” (Mk 6:3). In this way he sanctified human labor and endowed it with a special significance for our development. As Saint John Paul II taught, “by enduring the toil of work in union with Christ crucified for us, (humankind) in a way collaborates with the Son of God for the redemption of humanity”.[Laborem Exercens 27]

All too common is the perception that labor is an enslavement, a burden, and something to be looked down upon. It would seem that this is a sad corruption of something the Lord himself embraced as a human being.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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