To live the good news of salvation (to evangelize)
is to build one’s soul by creative engagement with the world, embracing the earth with a new zest for life, uniting that which is separate, creating new wholes, and overcoming diversity through bonds of selfless love.
— Ilia Delio
It cannot be that the people should grow in grace unless they give themselves to reading. A reading people will always be a knowing people.
— John Wesley

In the opening sentence of the last chapter, Ecological Education and Spirituality, Pope Francis clearly states that “Many things have to change course, but it is we human beings above all who have to change.” (#202)  More specifically, like the biblical prophets, he calls for a change of heart.  Abandoning his usual low-key, non-judgmental approach, he proclaims quite forcefully, “The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own, and consume.” (#204) (emphasis added)

The Pope, however, doesn’t succumb to despair.  He adds quickly: “All is not lost.  Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good…No system can completely suppress our openness to what is good, true, and beautiful, or our God-given ability to respond to his grace at work deep in our hearts.” (#205)

This “profound interior conversion” (#217) entails:

  1. gratitude “a recognition that the world is God’s loving gift, and that we are called quietly to imitate his
    generosity” (#220)
  2. ecological education (#210-213)
  3. care for creation through little daily actions” (#211)
  4. return to simplicity “to be grateful…to be spiritually detached from what we possess, and not to succumb
    to sadness for what we lack” (#222)
  5. renewed appreciation for the Eucharist which “joins heaven and earth; it embraces and penetrates all creation” (#236)      

Above all, and here the Pope borrows from the terminology of Teilhard de Chardin, this conversion 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.” (#220)

Required Reading (Pictured Above)

NB…It was Saint Ambrose who castigated those placing their superfluous desires over the needs of the poor.