On September 1, 2016, Pope Francis delivered a message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation titled “Show Mercy to our Common Home.” In this document the Holy father encourages Catholics and all people of good will to be better stewards of the environment and environmental resources. Citing Genesis chapter 2, he delves into the spiritual flaw in tilling the earth to a point that we are unable to keep the fruit God intends for us.
Acknowledging the poor and refugee as being the first impacted by climate degradation and the least responsible for climate change, he writes, “As an integral ecology emphasizes, human beings are deeply connected with all of creation. When we mistreat nature, we also mistreat human beings.”
Referencing his own writings in Laudato Si, Pope Francis discusses the interconnectedness of the life God placed on earth with human beings, who are His greatest and most loved creation. “The first step in this process is always an examination of conscience, which involves ‘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…. 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’" (Laudato Si’, 220).
He also offers very practical advice that is not “too small to improve our world.”
Read the full message (PDF).
The Holy Father also gave a beautiful presentation called “Care for Creation” on YouTube: