Pope Francis has declared in his message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, published September 1st, that to care and tend for creation is an act of mercy.
Normally, the pope explained, works of mercy are associated with caring for the needy, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, clothing the poor, etc. however, "we see that the object of mercy is human life itself and everything it embraces." Hence, it is impossible to conceive true mercifulness towards humanity, if we are not merciful towards our beautiful and rich environment. Nothing embraces more our humanity than the planet earth, which acts as a mother, nourishing us with all that is necessary for our life to strive. How can we truly respect a human being if we don't respect his home? It is impossible.
This message is a beautiful complement to the pope's encyclical Laudato si, in which the holy father praises God for the beauty of creation and describes it as a beautiful means to enter into a more profound knowledge of the attributes of the Creator. Nature is then like a book in which, not only do we live and move, but we also see the perfections of the divinity reflected in the most diverse and harmonious manners. In this apostolical exhortation, Francis invited the faithful to treat the earth as our home, and condemned all sorts of exploitations that will ultimately harm humans.
The Catholic Church has never promoted the worship of nature, because worship is rendered to God alone. However, due to God's presence in everything, a christian must respect, protect and guard nature so that it can keep on providing the riches that benefit us so much.
So how to be merciful with nature? Do not explode it, do not contaminate it, protect natural resources, support alternative ways of energy, recycle, protect endangered species, etc.
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