Pope Francis recently proclaimed September 1 as a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation as the Orthodox Church has done since 1989, to “draw from our rich spiritual heritage the reasons which feed our passion for the care of creation.”
This opens the Season of Caring for Creation which ends on October 4, the Solemnity of St. Francis of Assisi.
As our Seraphic Founder, St. Francis gives us a model to imitate, celebrate and reflect on as the Patron of Ecology and author of the Canticle of the Creatures. Each week there will be specific prayers, readings and reflections.
These materials were created by Carolyn Townes, OFS, National Animator, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water, which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you light the night
and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.
Call to Prayer: All-powerful God, you are present in the whole 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. Encourage us in our struggle for justice, love and peace. We thank you for being with us each day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Reading: Prior to the cauterizing of the veins between Francis’ eyes and ears, he spoke thus to the fire: ‘My brother fire, that surpasses all other things in beauty, the Most High created you strong, beautiful, and useful. Be kind to me in this hour, be courteous. For I have loved you in the past in the Lord. I beseech the great Lord who made you that he temper your heat now so that I may bear it when you burn me gently.’ When his prayer was ended, he made the sign of the cross over the fire and then remained fearless. (Adapted from Celano, Second Life of St. Francis)
Moment of Contemplation (Take some time in silence): “As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God.” (Psalm 42:2)
Reflection Question: What would I be willing to bless that I have previously feared or scorned?
Think about the precious wonder of water – from your Baptism to the shower you took this morning. Thank God for this gift and ask the Holy Spirit to help you to be a good steward of the gifts that reveal God’s love for us.
Prayer for the Week: All-powerful God, Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.