You may already know that from September 1 through October 4 Christians are engaging in prayer and action for creation in a “Season of Creation.” October 4 happens to be the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and ecology.
Pope Francis said, “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.”
The Pope’s encyclical Laudato Si’ focuses on our world, and he is writing a sequel to it. Here are a few quotations from that first one for your reflection and some others interspersed with nature photos for your enjoyment.
“We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.”
“The misuse of creation begins when we no longer recognize any higher instance than ourselves, when we see nothing else but ourselves” (quoting Pope Benedict)
“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.” (quoting Patriarch Bartholomew)
“The loss of forests and woodlands entails the loss of species which could represent extremely important resources in the future, not only for food but also for curing disease and other uses.”
“Our insistence that each human being is an image of God should not make us overlook the fact that each creature has its own purpose. None is superfluous. The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God.”
Did you ever think of Jesus enjoying nature? Pope Francis wrote, “As he made his way throughout the land, he often stopped to contemplate the beauty sown by his Father.”
Fr. James Martin wrote: “We enjoy spending time in nature because i connects us with God at a deep level. . . . We are encountering something created directly by God. This may be on reason why spending time in nature can be such a powerful spiritual experience.”
There is a “sacred interrelationship of all being.”
• When have you experienced nature that has touched you deeply?
Below is St. Francis’s “Canticle of Creation” followed by a song version that was sung during the movie Brother Sun, Sister Moon about St. Francis.
Most High, all-powerful, good Lord God,
to you belong praise, glory, honor and all blessing.
Be praised, my Lord, for all your creation
and especially for our Brother Sun,
who brings us the day and the light;
he is strong and shines magnificently.
O Lord, we think of you when we look at him.
Be praised, my Lord, for Sister Moon and for the stars,
which you have set shining and lovely in the heavens.
Be praised, my Lord, for our Brothers Wind and Air
and every kind of weather by which you, Lord,
uphold life in all your creatures.
Be praised, my Lord, for Sister Water,
who is very useful to us, and humble and precious and pure.
Be praised, my Lord, for Brother Fire,
through whom you give us light in the darkness:
he is bright and lively and strong.
Be praised, my Lord, for Sister Earth, our Mother,
who nourishes us and sustains us,
bringing forth fruits and vegetables of many kinds
and flowers of many colors.
Be praised, my Lord, for those who forgive for love of you;
and for those who bear sickness and weakness
in peace and patience– you will grant them a crown.
Be praised, my Lord, for our Sister Death,
whom we must all face.
I praise and bless you, Lord, and I give thanks to you,
and I will serve you in all humility.