Pray with us: Caretakers of God’s Creation
Pope Francis has established September 1 as an annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation to remind us that: “Christians are called to “an ecological conversion whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them.” We begin with St. Francis’s Canticle of the Creatures which so inspires the ecological vision of Pope Francis:
Canticle of the Sun, David Haas
Refrain: The heavens are telling the glory of God, And all creation is shouting for joy!
Come, dance in the forest, come, play in the field, And sing, sing to the glory of the Lord!
Praise for the sun, the bringer of day, he carries the light of the Lord in his rays; the moon and the stars who light up the way unto your throne!
Praise for the wind that blows through the trees, the seas’ mighty storms, the gentlest breeze; they blow where they will, they blow where they please to please the Lord!
Praise for the rain that waters our fields, and blesses our crops so all the earth yields; from death unto life her mystery revealed springs forth in joy!
Praise for the fire who gives us his light, the warmth of the sun to brighten our night; he dances with joy, his spirit so bright, he sings of you!
The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, God’s boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God. The history of our friendship with God is always linked to particular places which take on an intensely personal meaning; we all remember places, and revisiting those memories does us much good. Anyone who has grown up in the hills or used to sit by the spring to drink, or played outdoors in the neighborhood square; going back to these places is a chance to recover something of their true selves, (Laudato Si’, 84).
In silence, press your feet into the ground. Become aware of the earth beneath your feet. Marvel and be grateful for the nourishment you receive from “our mother, sister Earth.”
The earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters. …
Be grateful for the gift of air and resolve to use your voice to advocate for the purity of Earth’s atmosphere.
Climate change is a global problem with grave implications. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades…Our lack of response points to the loss of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded.
Open and close your hands, aware that our ability to do so is fueled by the sun’s energy that is captured by the plant life that we eat. Rejoice in the energy of the sun and resolve to use your energy to face climate change, one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.
Access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival. Our world has a grave social debt towards the poor who lack access to drinking water, because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity.
Breathe again deeply, taking in molecules of water that have also passed through the bodies of all breathing creatures. Be grateful for the gift of water and resolve to use it with reverence and justice.
Closing Prayer: Pope Francis’s Prayer for the Earth
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists. Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one. O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth. Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light. We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace. Amen.
Photo credit: Sister Fran Gangloff, OSF