Laudato Si 220: Gratitude, Connection, Responsibility

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. How can people bind together in community? What does conversion look like on that scale? Gratitude plays a big role.

220. This conversion calls for a number of attitudes which together foster a spirit of generous care, full of tenderness. First, it entails gratitude and gratuitousness, a recognition that the world is God’s loving gift, and that we are called quietly to imitate his generosity in self-sacrifice and good works: “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing… and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Mt 6:3-4).

Connection with others, people as well as creatures and the natural universe.

It also entails a loving awareness that we are not disconnected from the rest of creatures, but joined in a splendid universal communion. As believers, we do not look at the world from without but from within, conscious of the bonds with which the Father has linked us to all beings.

Do you think this is true? Christianity has been plagued by dualism that churns a distrust for identifying oneself as part of the natural world.

By developing our individual, God-given capacities, an ecological conversion can inspire us to greater creativity and enthusiasm in resolving the world’s problems and in offering ourselves to God “as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable” (Rom 12:1). We do not understand our superiority as a reason for personal glory or irresponsible dominion, but rather as a different capacity which, in its turn, entails a serious responsibility stemming from our faith.

Superiority: too often we have the animal impulse of domination. Responsibility, not so much.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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