Oct. 4, 2016 Prayer

Prayer for October 4th: Feast of St. Francis and closing of Season of Care for Creation

unknownBegin  with a moment of silent recollection.

Reading from St. Francis’ Canticle:

Most high, all powerful, all-good Lord!
All praise is Yours, all glory, honor and blessing.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong.
All praise be Yours, my Lord, through all that you have made.

A Call to Prayer   

The earth is at the same time mother, She is mother of all that is natural, mother of all that is human. She is the mother of all, for contained in her are the seeds of all. The earth of humankind contains all moistness, all verdancy, all germinating power. It is in so many ways fruitful. All creation comes from it. Yet it forms not only the basic raw material for humankind, but also the substance of the incarnation of God’s son.          (Hildegard of Bingen)

Prayer of Praise

Left: “The Earth. . . is a sparkling blue and white jewel. . . laced with slowly swirling veils of white. . . like a small pearl in a thick sea of black mystery.” (Edgar Mitchell, US Astronaut)
All: “All creation is a song of praise to God.” (Hildegard of Bingen, Mystic) 

Right: “O moving force of Wisdom, you encircle the wheel of the cosmos, you encompass all that is, all that has life, in one vast circle.” (Hildegard of Bingen)
All: “All creation is a song of praise to God.”

Left: “. . . for in God we live/ and move/ and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) 
All: “All creation is a song of praise to God.”

Right: “. . . stardust is not just fairy-tale magic; it is what we are really made of. . .” (Elisabet Sahtouris) 
All: “All creation is a song of praise to God.” 

Left: “Great Spirit, . . . give me the strength to walk the soft earth, a relative to all that is! . . . all over the earth the faces of living things are all alike. . . This is my prayer; hear me!” (Black Elk) 
All: “All creation is a song of praise to God.” 

Right: “. . . When you stand in the presence of the moon, you become a new creation. . . The elementary particles of your body have absorbed an influence and in that sense they–and you–are brand spanking new, a human being resonating everywhere with moonlight.” (Brian Swimme) 
All: “All creation is a song of praise to God.”

Reflect

Share a word, words, or phrase that caught your attention in the prayers above. Optional: share why.

Reading from Laudato Si’

“Purchasing is always a moral — and not simply economic — act.” (Benedict XVI) Today, in a word, “the issue of environmental degradation challenges us to examine our lifestyle.” (Id.) (Par. 206)

Suggestion:

Decide to take one action to care for creation – such as  the following:

For multiple reasons, increase                                                         For multiple reasons, decrease

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For multiple reasons,

no_more_bottled_water

 

 

 

 

Closing Prayer:

Today we know of the energy that moves all things: the oneness of existence, the diversity and uniqueness of every moment of creation, every shape and form, the attraction, the allurement, the fascination that all things have for one another. Humbled by our knowledge, chastened by surprising revelations, with awe and reverence we live within the mystery of life. May St. Francis bless our efforts to appreciate and protect the gift of creation,  through Christ, Our Love. Amen

Dates, Dolls, and Creation

13942786_1You know those nesting Russian dolls? They could be an image for the coming special days that nest within the Season of Care for Creation (9/1 – 10/4) — that nests within the Year of Mercy — that nests into the larger religious and then climactic seasons — that fit into Earth’s story, going back 4 1/2 billion years. Earth’s story, and that of our entire vast universe, nests within the largest “container” — our Universe Story as we know it, extending over the past 13.8 billion years and, of course, whatever comes next into the future.

Starting with single days or weekends, here are a few times to “keep holy” with others throughout the world so that our interconnected planet can create a thriving Ecozoic Era. Cf. ecozoictimes.com/what-is-the-ecozoic/what-does-ecozoic-mean.

Sept. 12 is Eid al Adha, the day Muslims celebrate Ibrahim’s being told by God to sacrifice an animal instead of his son.  Muslims start the day with a morning prayer and then exchange gifts and food among family and friends, but they are required to share their food and money with the poor before taking part in the celebrations. Good policy!

war-pietaOn Sept. 15, Christians remember Our Lady of Sorrows. Michelangelo’s iconic statue of Mary holding the body of her son is replayed way too often in today’s world. The image to the right applies to the 15th as well as to other days commemorated during the Season of Care for Creation.

Sept. 16 is the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. One of the best things about this day is that global action is making a difference: the ozone hole is being reduced, thus probably decreasing incidents of sunburn, skin cancer, cataracts, damage to plants, and reduction of plankton populations in the ocean caused by increased UV exposure caused by ozone depletion.

September 19th is the UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants, to be held at the United Nations headquarters. President Obama and other world leaders will attend in an attempt to strengthen governance of international migration and a unique opportunity for creating a more responsible and consistent system for responding to large movements of refugees and migrants.

featured-image-indexSept. 21, the International Day for Peace established by the United Nations in 1981, marks a day devoted to ending conflict and promoting peace. This year’s theme is “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.” It’s a reminder that “If you want peace, work for justice,” as Pope Paul VI reminded us on the Vatican’s annual Peace Day, January 1, 1972. Cf. International Day of Peace website.

Sept. 22 is the Autumn and Spring Equinox, the astronomical event in which day and night are of approximately equal duration. Those in the North transition from summer to autumn; those in the South transition from winter into spring. This provides an excellent opportunity not just to welcome a “new” season, but to remember, in awe, that we are an integral part of a planet circling our star, the sun.

defendthesacred_goldtoothSept. 23 is Native American Day in the United States, honoring the first people to populate what became our nation. If ever people had reason to fear immigrants and refugees, it was surely this population of the entire American continent. With some exceptions and for various reasons, the first explorers and settlers treated them very badly. While promises are too often still broken, on Sept. 9th the Obama administration delayed the Dakota Access Pipeline and pledged “to revisit the whole way in which the government interacts with Indian Tribes on major projects.” Thanks to all who sent petitions!

The last weekend in September (Sept. 24-25) is the Weekend of Prayer and Fasting for Victims of Human Trafficking. Cf. my 9/9/15 blog: https://ecospiritualityresources.com/tag/human-trafficking (but update the dates) and 12/31/15: https://ecospiritualityresources.com/2014/12/31/5-ways-to-reduce...

On Sept. 27, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in the lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan brought by industry and state attorneys general. Confidential documents “reveal a sustained pattern of collusion between the fossil fuel industry and the Republican attorneys general on climate change obstructionism,” said Nick Surgey, Center for Media and Democracy. Cf. www.newyorker.com/…/what-exxon-knew-about-climate-change.

Oct. 3 is World Habitat Day. The United Nations’ (UN) World Habitat Day is annually celebrated on the first Monday of October to reflect on the state of human settlements and people’s right to sufficient shelter. It also aims to remind people that they are responsible for the habitat of future next generations.

get-attachment.aspxOctober 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, is its own special day. It also marks the completion of the Season of Care for Creation. The above special days fit within that season (“doll”).

Needless to say, we must all continue to care for creation, for peace, for trafficking victims, for adequate habitats (especially for the increasing number of migrants and refugees throughout the world) that fit within the Season of Care for Creation — which belongs in the Year of Mercy, and eventually all the rest.

Pope Francis recently proposed adding the care of creation to the traditional list of corporal and spiritual works of mercy. As a spiritual work of mercy, the pope said, care for creation requires “a grateful contemplation of God’s world,” while as a corporal work, it calls for “simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness.” In Laudato Si’ and many reflections since, Pope Francis urges everyone to understand and to practice “integral ecology.”

By incorporating mercy for creation into our everyday lives, we can contribute positively to ALL the  “dolls”!

Season of Creation

You have, I hope, celebrated September 1 as a special Day for Creation. (If not, please check my last blog.) But wait! There’s more:

get-attachment.aspxSeptember 1 is also the first day of a Season of Care for Creation that begins September 1st and ends, appropriately, October 4th, the feast day of Francis of Assisi. Pope Francis chose this saint as his papal namesake and used words from St. Francis’ Canticle of Creation to title and ground his encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home.

In addition to praying the prayer, and making habitual every single action listed on my last blog, you might be interested in gathering with a few relatives, friends, parishioners, or whomever to explore Laudato Si’ Reflection Resource, which is available on this site. In addition to providing quotes from Laudato Si’ for discussion and prayer, this resource includes suggestions of helpful videos, hymns, and action steps. (Cf. https://ecospiritualityresources.com/laudato-si-reflection/.

Click here for an excellent website full of resources from many faith traditions for the Season of Creation. In the U.S., election season presents the opportunity to insist that nominees at every level of government — certainly including presidential candidates — support the Paris Climate Agreements. See what Pope Francis says about them in one of the following articles from National Catholic Reporter, both of which I heartily encourage you to read:

Betsey Crawford has interwoven some of Pope Francis’ words with pictures of the great luminous beauty of our world.
For quotes from Laudato Si’ joined with excerpts from this encyclical, click here…

If you catch yourself saying things like “That’s too much trouble,” “That’s inconvenient,” or “What I do doesn’t matter,” remember words from Laudato Si’ such as these: “We are always capable of going out of ourselves toward the other. … If we can overcome individualism, we will truly be able to develop a different lifestyle and bring about significant changes in society.” (par. 208) and

“What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” (par. 160)

Picture children you know, or photos of children fleeing war and climate destruction (two realities often interconnected), hungry children, polluted water, air, and lands, melting glaciers, recent climate calamities ….

Then, two more quotes: “A great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of renewal.” (par. 202) and
“… we Christians ask for inspiration to take up the commitment to creation set before us by the Gospel of Jesus.” (par. 246)