OVERVIEW: Many new insights have been incorporated into our way of thinking in recent years. Certainly the concept Pope Francis presented, THE WORLD OUR COMMON HOME, is a beautiful image and necessary insight into understanding not only the wonder of the whole human family but also other family forms found in nature.
We, the human family, in its various forms, with different religions, political ideologies and experiences of wealth and poverty are the greatest threat to our world’s security and stability today. Every other family in creation will suffer because of the way we have treated this common home. Is our heritage and culture doomed to be a negative influence or how can it be redeemed?
A fragile world entrusted by God to human care, challenges us to devise intelligent ways of directing, developing and limiting our power. LS 78. Culture is more than what we have inherited from the past; it is also, a living dynamic and participatory present reality, which cannot be excluded as we rethink the relationship between human beings and the environment. LS143
SETTING THE SCENE. We, in the southern hemisphere are fortunate that it is in springtime that we are invited by Pope Francis to focus on the world, our common home, and the importance of caring for creation. We can easily also include our heritage and cultural background in a celebration of life. Who would have thought that Covid-19 would still be with us after nearly ¾ of a year worldwide, and at least 6 months for South Africa. A partial lock-down still means no religious gatherings of more than 50 people, while virtual meetings, conferences and webinars are now common-place. However do these involve family members or mainly individuals? It is as necessary as before to build communication in families on a practical, social and also spiritual level. These reflections can ideally be used for sharing and discussion even if they begin on a small group facebook page. The SEE-JUDGE-ACT approach is used and Pope Francis quotations for this month are mainly taken from Laudato Si’ or Amoris Laetitia.
The Season of Creation is an ecumenical initiative started in 1989 by various Christian groups. In 2015 Pope Francis brought the Catholic Church on board. The Season begins on 1 September – see below, and ends on October 4th, the feast of St Francis. The suggested 2020 theme is “Jubilee for the Earth: New Rhythms, New Hope.”
The ecological crisis thus summons us to a profound spiritual conversion: 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” For “living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.” LS 217.
‘A Christian prayer for union with creation’ was published in Pope Francis’ encyclical letter, Laudato Si. It is here divided up over a week so that we can focus on each sentence more closely.
PRAYER FOR THE CARE OF CREATION during September the month for Heritage and “Our World of Families.”
- Father, we praise you with all your creatures. They came forth from your all-powerful hand; they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love. Praise be to you!
- Son of God, Jesus, through you all things were made. You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother, You became part of this earth, and you gazed upon this world with human eyes. Today you are alive in every creature in your risen glory. Praise be to you!
- Holy Spirit, by your light you guide this world towards the Father’s love and accompany creation as it groans in travail. You also dwell in our hearts and you inspire us to do what is good. Praise be to you!
- Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love, teach us to contemplate you in the beauty of the universe, for all things speak of you. Awaken our praise and thankfulness for every being that you have made. Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined to everything that is.
- God of love, show us our place in this world as the channels of your love for all creatures of this earth, for not one of them is forgotten in your sight. Praise be to you!
- Enlighten those who possess power and money that they may avoid the sin of indifference, that they may love the common good, advance the weak, and care for this world in which we live. Praise be to you!
- The poor and the earth are crying out. O Lord, seize us with your power and light, help us to protect all life, to prepare for a better future, for the coming of your Kingdom Of justice, peace, love and beauty. Praise be to you! Amen.