Laudato Si 222: Joy and Peace

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. Numbered sections 222 through 227 examine two vital qualities.

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”. A constant flood of new consumer goods can baffle the heart and prevent us from cherishing each thing and each moment.

That constant flood does not leave many of us awash in fine feelings, but rather cultivates a sense of loss, of something missing. how can it not do so? If we are always on the prowl for the latest gadget, the latest trend, the new movie or entertainment, then over the horizon is always something more that will satisfy. And if we need it, we are left wanting in the present moment, no matter how much joy, real or imagined, we experience in the now.

To be serenely present to each reality, however small it may be, opens us to much greater horizons of understanding and personal fulfilment. Christian spirituality proposes a growth marked by moderation and the capacity to be happy with little. It is a return to that simplicity which allows us to stop and appreciate the small things, to be grateful for the opportunities which life affords us, to be spiritually detached from what we possess, and not to succumb to sadness for what we lack. This implies avoiding the dynamic of dominion and the mere accumulation of pleasures.

About catholicsensibility

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