Sept. 1: World Day for Care of Creation

Pope Francis has declared Thursday, September 1, 2016,
World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

home-planet-earth-1-638

According to Pope Francis, “The annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation offers to individual believers and to the community a precious opportunity to renew our personal participation in this vocation as custodians of creation ….”

Officially joining the Orthodox Church in this day of concern for creation, Pope Francis invites everyone — believers or not — to participate in both prayer and action. 

“ ‘Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life.’ ” (Earth Charter, quoted in Laudato Si’ par. 207)

PRAYER

Many will use the following prayer, found in the Pope’s encyclical letter Laudato Si’

A Prayer for Our Earth (Laudato Si’ following par. 246)

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.

 

ACTION

Possibilities of action for living simply and sustainably are endless, but the ones below make a major impact. These actions interconnect with others, especially care of water:

1. Contemplate creation’s beauty, mystery, and interconnections, and rejoice in the divine presence living and acting in our world.

2. Vote for candidates proven to care for all creation, to resolve conflicts nonviolently, to assist the poor, and to increase love on our planet.

3. Lobby legislators on issues of importance for people and planet, such as:
        invest in renewable energy; stop subsidies to fossil fuels
        increase negotiating skills; stop expansion of weapons systems
        reduce inequality
        foster organic agriculture; stop monocrops and toxic chemicals

contentItem-2452130-11505405-q3ef94out2r76-or4. Reduce extraction and use of fossil fuels:

        transition to renewable energy at home and work
        reduce use of plastic, especially plastic water bottles and plastic   bags
        reduce gasoline use by reducing car and plane trips and staying
                 below 60 on highways

5. Eat responsibly for the planet
        reduce factory-farmed meat consumption
        increase fair trade, organic, and local produce (and products)

6. Protect trees
        reduce paper use
        use 100% sustainable paper
        plant trees and/or support groups that do

switch-off-lights-fan-when-leaving-the-room-save-electricity7. Reduce use of electricity
        turn lights and fans off when not in use
        reduce use of a/c, dryer, iron

8. Reduce consumerism
        make do with what you have whenever possible
        share when possible
        buy recycled goods

Advent 2016: In Praise of Light

caa2fa6109d5be4db305cea0d99c57b5To my surprise, I see that people are already checking for my Advent reflection resource — so I have posted the updated version of “Advent 2016: In Praise of Light.” A general description of all my Advent resources can be found at the beginning of my Advent page. Here is the description of Advent 2016:

Advent 2016 In Praise of Light  CLICK HERE  – 12 sides, complete (8.8.16). This four-session resource helps participants deepen their appreciation of the gifts of L/light and energy during this season devoted to anticipating the Light of the World. Groups consider
~ Creation’s Light
~ the Christ Light
~ Darkness in need of L/light and
~ the Light within each person and all creation.

Quotes from Laudato Si’ join quotes from saints and scientists. Time is given for reflection, prayer, sharing, and socializing.

 

 

 

Blog Update

Beginnings:

Although this blog, like everything in creation, dates back 13.7 billion years, for this one I’ll jump to early 2012 when I realized I needed a site to provide easier access to my Advent and Lent resources. Begun in 2004, they were becoming popular in many countries and I finally had a complete set: three for Advent and three for Lent that followed the Sunday’s liturgical readings. As long as I was creating a site for them, I  would also include Suggested Resources and Media.

A friend suggested I add a blog. Well, that seemed truly impossible. Would I be able to care for a blog? Would it absorb too much time, or end up abandoned? Taking on a blog seemed an unwieldy responsibility!

Unknown 9.33.07 AMAfter pondering the possibility and discerning, I decided to give it a try. I had  already written two pieces that could be used immediately. So, on April 30, 2013, I posted a reflection on post-Easter and Incarnation that had been written for the SHCJ (Society of the Holy Child Jesus, my religious congregation). Next came a prayer service about mining that I had written for World Environment Day at the request of the International Union of Superiors General in Rome.

Growth

Seventy-two blogs have followed, including a few guest blogs. To my surprise, it was not a chore. In fact, sometimes when I had no ideas, suddenly the universe sent an idea that almost wrote itself. That was very rewarding! Also rewarding has been the positive feedback, the number of hits from many countries, and the knowledge that prayers and rituals that make real the SHCJ’s mission have been used by many groups. In the end, I really enjoyed this! (Thanks, Terry!)

Winding down 

100_1230Now the time has come to slow down. I’ll continue the site, but it won’t contain regularly-changed, or many new, blogs. The most popular or pertinent ones will be updated and posted as the occasions warrant. Count on things like the
Earth Day Prayer,
Equinox and Solstice Rituals,
Ash Wednesday Stardust Ritual,
Mother’s Day, and
occasional updates of other blogs.

There might be occasional new ones.

What else you’ll find on this site in the Future:

Advent and Lent Resources: These resources for group or individual use have been used in over 30 countries. I’ll update them and perhaps add to them. Advent 2016 will focus on light and energy; Lent 2017 will be an updated resource on Water.  Because many groups have already used the Water resource, depending on available time there might also be a Lent resource focusing on aspects of communion, Eucharist, and sustainable food production.

100_1392Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home: This 5-session resource on Pope Francis’ encyclical letter deserves special mention because it can be used at any time of the year. To date it has received about 9,600 clicks. We have no way of knowing how many groups resulted, but the possibilities are heartening. Having used it with pilot groups — whose input was a major contribution to its success — I knew it “worked.” However, I was more than delighted that an article in National Catholic Reporter listed it with the five resources it chose as “standouts” among the very many available in the US and other countries! (Mine was #2 in that group of 5.) It continues to be used by groups and individuals interested in Pope Francis’ essential message about the beauty and unity of creation and the call to care for our common home.

Suggested Books and Suggested Media: I’ll adds to these periodically.

Media (original): What’s there will remain. Nothing new is expected.

Gratitude

I am truly grateful to

  • those who participated in the guest blog program,
  • the over-300 who signed in to receive blogs whenever each was published,
  • all who “shared” blogs with friends and posted them on congregation websites,
  • groups like Catholic Climate Covenant, Deep Time Journey Network, Sisters of Earth, and Yale’s Forum on Religion and Ecology for listing my resources,
  • National Catholic Reporter for highlighting them,
  • those who translated Lenten resources for use in non-English-speaking countries, and
  • all who have sent notes and comments with affirmation that fed my determination to keep the blogs and site active. (Your responses have been wonderful!) I have kept you in my prayers and will continue to do so.

I am also grateful to the many others whose sites enrich me and whose efforts continue to develop the consciousness of the universe. Rather than singling out some, I encourage readers to seek out blogs/ sites they will find nourishing.

Finally, I send special and on-going gratitude to my congregation, the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, for their support of my call to make the SHCJ mission visible in this way. Of special motivation was the 2010 Chapter call to attend to the mystery of the incarnation in the light of theological insights emerging from new scientific discoveries and changing wants of the age. We know that a great need of our time is integrating beliefs from a former cosmology with creation as it’s known in our time. Since we are committed to finding divine life in our interconnected world, we must keep abreast of what scientists are learning about it and care for our interdependent common home with zeal and ardor.

The SHCJ’s foundress, Cornelia Connelly, wisely counseled: “Be yourself, but make that self what God wants it to be.” I hope that has been, and will continue to be, true for the ecospirituality resources site.