Aleteia

What the saints say about respect for the environment

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The relationship between humanity and nature has a long history in religious writings.

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We tend to think of environmentalism as a modern problem, linked to the major challenge facing our time, to the point of threatening our planet. The Arctic ice pack is melting before our eyes, and scientists say the world is on a trajectory that will lead to an average warming close to 4 degrees by the end of the century.

This global warming is projected to bring disasters of all kinds—floods, cyclones, droughts—and issues we haven’t foreseen yet. Reexamining the situation through the eyes of God’s champions, those who know how to find light in the darkness, can help us to adopt a more hopeful vision of the future.

With his encyclical “Laudato Si,” published in 2015, Pope Francis discussed respect for Creation in depth, inviting all of us to protect nature. This is not the first time, however, that a major figure in Christianity has established a direct link between spirituality, human development, and our relationship with nature.

Many saints made this connection, and their inspiring words give us a new perspective on the current challenges facing our relationship with the environment. They help us to consider nature in its true, spiritual dimension. From St. Hildegard of Bingen to St. John Paul II, through St. Augustine, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Thomas Aquinas, many saints have contributed to enriching the Christian vision of creation.

Click on the slideshow to discover the saintly view on this subject. They help us to understand with our mind and heart God’s love for all creation.