Scientists warn about climate change and environmental activists urge protection of endangered species, but none of this advocacy is of any avail if people fail to actually love the natural world surrounding them. In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis urged us to fall in love with God’s creation, using St. Francis of Assisi as his model:
Francis helps us to see that an integral ecology calls for openness to categories which transcend the language of mathematics and biology, and take us to the heart of what it is to be human. Just as happens when we fall in love with someone, whenever he would gaze at the sun, the moon, or the smallest animals, he burst into song, drawing all other creatures into his praise. He communed with all creation, even preaching to the flowers, inviting them “to praise the Lord, just as if they were endowed with reason.” His response to the world around him was so much more than intellectual appreciation or economic calculus, for to him, each and every creature was a sister united to him by bonds of affection.