Respect for the Earth: Caring for God’s Creation

 In Liturgical Calendar

Consider the ways you interact with nature. Have you ever thought about how all our lives depend on nature? How often have you felt in awe of the beauty and power of the natural world? Unfortunately, our planet is in distress. Pope Francis has sounded the alarm for everyone in the world to look closely at how humanity is shaping our planet. Though the environmental problems we are facing can feel overwhelming, Pope Francis guides us in the direction of hope in his encyclical “On Care for Our Common Home” (“Laudato Si’”).  

Even though years of human choices and activities have contributed to a complicated environmental crisis, there is still time and opportunities to turn things around. How can redirecting our steps help us envision and work together toward a more just and sustainable future? 

Here are ten important themes from “On Care for Our Common Home”: 

  1. Be thankful for the gift of creation by cultivating and caring for nature. 
  2. We damage our common home by treating our earth as if it has unlimited resources. 
  3. Everything is interconnected. 
  4. Science can inform faith, and faith should also inform science. 
  5. Apathy and selfishness make environmental problems worse. 
  6. When creation suffers, people in poverty or vulnerable populations are most at risk of being adversely affected. 
  7. Less is more. 
  8. Being created in God’s image with dominion over the earth does not justify human activities that destroy nature. 
  9. Young people demand and deserve a sustainable future. 
  10. Each person can make a difference.  

The environmental crisis is not just a challenge for science, economics, and politics. In his encyclical, Pope Francis helps us understand why care for this planet is an urgent moral and spiritual concern. He urges humanity to take seriously our role as stewards of God’s creation.  

What is something you intentionally do or avoid doing regularly that positively impacts the environment? How can you inspire others to be good stewards of God’s creation and care for our common home? 

Download a free Earth Day Lesson for your high school classroom!

Living Justice and Peace book cover

Request your free lesson from Living Justice and Peace, our freshly-revised high school course, focused on Care for Creation in the light of Catholic Social Teaching!

This lesson includes everything you need to lead it, from start to finish, with a full chapter from the student text and the corresponding teacher guide chapter. Learn more here.

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