This is the theme for the Season of Creation 2023. It begins on September 1st which is the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation and ends on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi on October 4th. It is a time when all Christians are invited to pray and work together to protect our Common Home. This year, Pope Francis is inspired by the words of the prophet Amos:
“Let justice flow on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.”
The Pope begins his letter, published on March 13th 2023, by noting that "God wants justice to reign; it is as essential to our life as God’s children made in his likeness, as water is essential for our physical survival." In reference to climate change, the Pope goes on to name fossil fuels, the destruction of forests and the depletion and pollution of freshwater sources through extreme practices such as fracking or uncontrolled mega-mining projects and intense animal farming. He also refers to the grave warnings from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Damage to the environment will affect the poor most of all, since poor communities inhabit the worst-affected and most vulnerable locations and often have the least capacity to respond to and recover from disaster.
Pope Francis says that we need to act urgently, to create a more sustainable and just world, and he stresses it is possible to prevent the worst from happening if we all unite to come up with more sustainable ways to live now and for the future; he reiterated that much can be done if we come together.
“In this Season of Creation, as followers of Christ on our shared synodal journey, let us live, work and pray that our common home will teem with life once again. May the Holy Spirit once more hover over the waters and guide our efforts to ‘renew the face of the earth.’”
The internet already has many resources to help us pray and act during the season of creation. There is also a wonderful film called "The Letter". You may have seen it and it might be worth another viewing during the Season of Creation. It tells the story of a journey to Rome of frontline leaders to discuss the encyclical letter ‘Laudato Si’ with Pope Francis. The exclusive dialogue with the Pope, included in the film, offers a revealing insight into the personal history of Pope Francis and stories never seen since he became the Bishop of Rome.
A prayer for our earth
This prayer by Pope Francis appeared at the end of his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si'.
It is for all who believe in God who is the all-powerful Creator.
All powerful God,
you are present in the universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with your peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned
and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty,
not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle,
for justice, love and peace.