Tuesday 1st September marks the World Day of Prayer for the Season of Creation 2020, which runs from September 1st until October 4th, the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi, whose compassion for creation continues to inspire us.
The Season of Creation encourages us to think about how we can best respond to Pope Francis’ appeal in Laudato Si to care for our common home and undergo an ecological conversion. This year is particularly special because it’s the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si.
While it is clear that the earth has limited resources, it remains a challenge as to how we can compassionately use the earth’s resources and help creation to survive and flourish. Climate change, species extinction, diminishing resources and consumerism all pose risks for the future, which often disproportionally affect the poorest countries.
The current coronavirus pandemic reminds us that the exploitation of nature can have devastating consequences right across the globe. In the modern age, infectious agents can occupy significantly enlarged ecological roles, leading to disease epidemics in new places. This is also related to significantly increased international travel, climate change, changing human behaviours and our over reliance on a global economic model.
The negative consequences of ignoring the cry of our common home and the cry of the poor is being sorely felt during our lifetimes. This is not just about the future. It is about today.
Given the instability in human affairs that we more clearly witness during challenging times, it is increasingly important that we recognise and celebrate that we are one single human family.
Furthermore, while we are capable of great destruction, we are also capable of making a fresh start and striving once again for what is good.
Laudato Si encourages us to embrace the ancient wisdom of the Book of Nature as a reflection of God who is always present in love as a faithful companion. The whole of nature is one inter-related community that reaches its fulfilment in God.
The Season of Creation is a time of hope, prayer, contemplation and loving action. This year, on the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si, we pray:
Creator of heaven and earth and all that is in them,
you created us in your own image and made us stewards of creation.
You blessed us with the sun, water and bountiful land
so that all might be nourished.
Open our minds and touch our hearts,
so that we may attend to your gift of creation
Help us to be conscious that our common home
belongs not only to us, but to all of your creatures
and to all future generations,
and that it is our responsibility to preserve it.
May we help each person secure the food and resources that they need.
Be present to those in need in these trying times,
especially the poorest and those most at risk of being left behind.
Transform our fear and feelings of isolation into hope and fraternity
so that we may experience a true conversion of the heart.
Help us to show creative solidarity
in addressing the consequences of this global pandemic.
Make us courageous to embrace the changes that are needed
in search of the common good.
Now more than ever may we feel
that we are all interconnected and interdependent.
Enable us to listen and respond
to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.
May the present sufferings be the birth pangs
of a more fraternal and sustainable world.
Under the loving gaze of Mary Help of Christians,
we make this prayer through Christ Our Lord.