As stewards, we are asked to recognize gift, cultivate, and return it with increase to the Lord.  We most often think of this in terms of how we acknowledge, grow and share our “time, talent and treasure.”  However, we have to remember this applies to all God-given gifts, including the natural wonders around us.

In our consumer driven, “speed of light” world, how often do we take the bountiful gifts of the earth for granted?  Or pass by beautiful scenery in a daze of multitasking?    Do we truly understand what would happen if we didn’t have the gifts of the earth to feed and nourish us?  If we truly see ourselves as stewards, isn’t stewardship of our ecology a topic which should be first and foremost in our minds at all times?

Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’, targets this very issue.  The earth is our common home, entrusted to us to cultivate and care for. We see this over and over through the Book of Genesis.  For example:

The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the Garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it.” (Gen 2:15)

Pope Francis challenges us to take that local environmental concern and expand it, to take time to focus on how we impact the world around us and keep in mind: our environment is a SHARED gift.  So how do we respond and act?

How do we take extra steps to be a steward our environment?

  1. Let’s start with the easiest step: Read Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ encyclical (click here for English or Spanish).
  2. Commit to the Pope’s challenge to care for creation by visiting the Catholic Climate Covenant. This group is the Catholic Church’s voice on climate change, and they do some incredible work! Visit the Catholic Climate Covent by clicking here, and pledge to pray, act and advocate for climate change!
  3. Pray! Where do you turn when you need a prayer for the earth? You can download one of the two prayers from Laudato Si’ by clicking below, or visit NCR online to download today.   Prayer #1 | Prayer #2
  4. Take the messages in the encyclical and turn them into concrete action like recycling or participating clean-up projects in local parks or roadways.   Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ not only addresses the larger issues of environmental stewardship and global responsibility, it gives us concrete ways we can make a difference in our homes, parishes and larger communities. Visit the Catholic News Service by clicking here to read more suggestions from Pope Francis.
  5. Answering the call to stewardship is an ongoing conversion process, and what a great opportunity to bring your parish along for this journey in environmental responsibility! The USCCB has MANY resources for parishes to use which prompt discussion and action. If your parish hasn’t organized a discussion group, go to your pastor and ask if you have permission to start one.