Tag Archive | St. Francis

St. Francis Prayer Service, 2018: Who Is My Neighbor?

St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology, is also famous for his concern for peace and his devotion to people suffering from poverty and injustice. Catholic Climate Covenant (CCC)’s theme for his feast day this year joins all of them: “Who Is My Neighbor in a Climate Threatened World?” It especially focuses on the interconnections among immigration, refugees, and climate change.

Many past blogs have stressed these problems, their interrelationships, and our place in the cosmos’ evolution. I feel no need to “convince” readers. Instead, I offer the outline of a brief prayer service that you can adapt in any way:

                                                                            Prayer Service

Leader: Let us join together to honor St. Francis, to remember the needs of our own times that Frances would surely care about, and ponder how his spirit and commitment can lead us to action. Laudato Si’ is permeated with St. Francis’ spirit; Pope Francis mentions it in the first paragraph of his 2015 encyclical: “St. Francis reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.” (par. 1) 

Take turns reading from Laudato Si’:

“Authentic human development … presumes full respect for the human person, but it must also be concerned for the world around us and ‘take into account the nature of each being and of its mutual connection in an ordered system.’ Accordingly, our human ability to transform reality must proceed in line with God’s original gift of all that is.” (par. 5)

“There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation.” (par. 25)

“There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy.” (par. 26)

“…everything is interconnected, and today’s problems call for a vision capable of taking into account every aspect of the global crisis….” (par. 137) 

“… we are not disconnected from the rest of creatures, but joined in a splendid universal communion.” (par. 220)

“The poor and the earth are crying out.” (par. 246)

Share

How do you see climate change, immigration, and refugees as interconnected issues?

Imagine you are the head of a family forced to leave homeland due to flooding, drought, or lack of food in order to find housing and sustenance elsewhere. How would you feel? What would you miss?

Watch this 3:33 min. video

Links between migration and climate changeYouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQslOVboFfU

Decide

How might each person here, or this group together, improve the situation for immigrants, refugees, and climate change this week? We CAN make a difference!

Together: Prayer for Creation and Migrants 

May the Holy Family, who, Scripture tells us, fled to another country for safety, guide all those forced to leave their homes. 

May St. Francis’ example of giving what he had to those in need inspire us to respond generously when so many must leave everything due to climate disasters. 

May our own sense of interconnection with people and the entire planet bring us to take political action in this time of denial and rejection of climate change and migrating families.

May future generations have reason to be grateful to us for what we do, now, to stop the causes of migration, immigration, and climate change.     Amen.

Sing

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me bring your love,
Where there is injury, your pardon Lord
And where there’s doubt true faith in You.

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope,
Where there is darkness only light,
And where there’s sadness ever joy.

Oh, Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
In giving of ourselves that we receive,
And in dying that we’re born to eternal life

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)

 

Blue Moon and Laudato Si’

I occasionally visit a club that was the venue for dances I attended as a teen-ager. As I enter, I “hear” the strains of “Blue Moon” — a song I would otherwise never think about. Because the next Blue Moon will be July 31st, I wondered if I could connect blue moons and a document I have been spending a lot of time with lately (cf. this site’s Lent resources) : Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’.

Blue Moon, the Song

“Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone, without a dream in my heart, without a love of my own . . . and when I looked the moon had turned to gold!” I was happy to learn that composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Lorenz Hart originally wrote the song in 1934 as “Prayer” for an MGM film in which it was ultimately not used. It had several other titles and lyrics, but the version we (at least we of a certain age) know became a hit in 1949 and again in 1961. But it truly began as “Prayer” — propitious for me as I begin this blog!

Blue Moon, the Astronomical Event          moon_8-31-2012_Priya_Kumar_Muscat_Masqat_Oman

In the current definition, the term Blue Moon refers to a second full moon within a calendar month, an event that occurs once every two or three years. The identity of the moons was important in the ecclesiastical calendar (think Lent and Easter), and a year with a 13th moon complicated the process. There were names for only 12 moons. By identifying the 13th moon as a blue moon, the ecclesiastical calendar was able to stay on track.

The extra moon is rarely blue, a phenomenon that can be caused by the type of dust or smoke particles in the air that scatter blue light. I could not find the origin of why the extra moon was called blue, but it works well for this blog.

Sister Blue Moon and Laudato Si’

The popular expression “once in a blue moon” and lyrics in the haunting melody draw me to make a few connections between Blue Moon and Laudato Si’. Pope Francis’ encyclical is titled, begins with, and consistently builds on St. Francis of Assisi’s belief that all creation is one and each part is brother and sister to us. After Brother Sun, Francis mentions Sister Moon and stars, followed by Brothers Wind and Air, Sister Water, Brother Fire, culminating with Sister Earth, our mother. (So, I shall refer to Sister Blue Moon.) These constitute our Common Home for which Laudato Si’ implores our care.

That our Common Home is in big trouble is not news to readers of this blog. We might well feel “blue” when we consider all the problems Earth, with everyone and everything whose lives are  interconnected as part of it, face at this critical time.

Once in a Blue Moon

The Pope’s encyclical falls into that category, although it follows a splendid line of papal social encyclicals that began in 1891 with Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum on the Rights and Duties of Capital and Labor.  This encyclical is the first not to be titled in Latin, but in Italian. It is the first encyclical to be written on this topic (though many popes have written in concern for the environment and the poor). It is the first to be written by a Jesuit Pope, as Pope Francis has that distinction. It is the first to use inclusive language. It is the first to quote from not-Catholic sources such as the Earth Charter. And arguably it is the first to have received such interest, pro and con.

you saw me standing alone

Standing alone is one of the causes Pope Francis singles out as contributing to the devastation presently causing many to feel blue. (Not his words, of course!) Throughout the document he urges us to act in community and for the good of the global community: the common good, especially the poorest people and poorest parts of our interconnected common home. He recognizes, both from science and experience, how closely we are interconnected with one another and with all creation to follow us. Isolation does not exist in nature. No one is standing alone!

without a dream in my heart

Without a vision, the people perish, indeed. Pope Francis envisions a new economic and ecological world order where the goods of the Earth are shared by everyone, not just exploited by the rich. He echoes Thomas Berry’s hope for a community of subjects forming an emerging epoch when humanity would live in a mutually enriching relationship with the larger community of life on Earth. Was this not Jesus’ vision expressed in the Gospels? We have the dream in our hearts!

without a love of my own

Pope Francis consistently calls us to love one another, the “other” being all the rest of creation, especially the poor and disadvantaged. He uses the word “love” more than 70 times! He reminds us that it was God’s love that gave us this creation in the first place ( and ongoing) and that all of our Scripture writings tells us of the love that God has for us. We have a love of our own, but love by its definition must be shared!

when I looked the moon had turned to gold!

golden-moonGold symbolizes wealth used wisely. It is also the symbol of good health. We readers and implementers of Laudato Si’ might take it as a reminder of our call to turn this ailing world into a just and healthy common home, where wealth and the resources needed to acquire it are shared for the common good and the result is health for humans and all life on our endangered planet.

No matter what color we see when we look at Sister Moon, let us unite with others, keep clear the vision, and act in love to create a world where wealth is used wisely and people and planet gain their health.  To paraphrase St. Francis’ Canticle: All praise be Yours, my Lord, through Sister Blue Moon — and may we consistently act together to turn it to gold!

P.S.

I cannot omit St.Ignatius Loyola in this blog. His feast is celebrated on July 31st and his renowned Spiritual Exercises begin and end with a contemplation on divine love as experienced through all creation. It doesn’t seem a stretch to suppose that these meditations influenced our first Jesuit pope and his first encyclical.