We are not God. The earth was here before us and it has been given to us. #67
It has been five years since Pope Francis wrote his encyclical “Laudato Sí”, (Praised be to you, O Lord) about the care of creation. They are many wonderful passages in this encyclical that we can could use throughout the year to reflect on and to deepen our understanding of our relationship with God and creation. This relationship must be deepened so that we, as a global society, can move from good practices to protect Mother Earth, to a love and respect for creation as God’s gift to us, for creation reflects God’s love for us.
I would like to share some of these graced words and invite you to use them during this upcoming week for your reflection. Here are some ways to enhance your moments of reflection and love for God’s gift to us.
♥ Take a walk in a park and notice the varied species of plants, trees, insects, rocks, leaves and listen to how they praise God. Better yet, do it with your family.
♥ Sit outside and listen for as many types of life in creation that you can hear, smell or see. What is the story that they want to tell you?
♥ Plant some flowers, vegetables, seedlings. You are now responsible for them, your sisters and brothers. Don’t forget to encourage them to grow.
♥ Notice what has died or dried up around you, leaves, plants, mulch, etc. Even they know that to die means to give new life.
♥ What would you like to do…Your inspiration…
So now we look to Pope Francis and hear his words:
12. …Saint Francis, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness. “Through the greatness and the beauty of creatures one comes to know by analogy their maker” (Wis 13:5); indeed, “his eternal power and divinity have been made known through his works since the creation of the world” (Rom 1:20). For this reason, Francis asked that part of the friary garden always be left untouched, so that wild flowers and herbs could grow there, and those who saw them could raise their minds to God, the Creator of such beauty. Rather than a problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise.
17. As Christians, we are also called “to accept the world as a sacrament of communion, as a way of sharing with God and our neighbours on a global scale. It is our humble conviction that the divine and the human meet in the slightest detail in the seamless garment of God’s creation, in the last speck of dust of our planet”.
220. … Conversion calls for a number of attitudes which together foster a spirit of generous care, full of tenderness. First, it entails gratitude and gratuitousness, a recognition that the world is God’s loving gift, and that we are called quietly to imitate his generosity in self-sacrifice and good works: “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing… and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Mt 6:3-4). It also entails a loving awareness that we are not disconnected from the rest of creatures, but joined in a splendid universal communion. As believers, we do not look at the world from without but from within, conscious of the bonds with which the Father has linked us to all beings.
221. …Each creature reflects something of God and has a message to convey to us, and the security that Christ has taken unto himself this material world and now, risen, is intimately present to each being, surrounding it with his affection and penetrating it with his light. Then too, there is the recognition that God created the world, writing into it an order and a dynamism that human beings have no right to ignore.
225. An adequate understanding of spirituality consists in filling out what we mean by peace, which is much more than the absence of war. Inner peace is closely related to care for ecology and for the common good because, lived out authentically, it is reflected in a balanced lifestyle together with a capacity for wonder which takes us to a deeper understanding of life. Nature is filled with words of love, but how can we listen to them amid constant noise, interminable and nerve-wracking distractions, or the cult of appearances?
229. We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it.
Prayer from Laudato Si
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 channels of your love for all the creatures of this earth, for not one of them is forgotten in your sight. 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.
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. (no. 246)
Now we invite your thoughts. Please share in the comments section below. And while you’re here, continue on a virtual mission by reading more of our stories and reflections as we discover together how “We are Mission”.