01 September 2015

'O Lord, how manifold are your works!' World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

Lord, how manifold are your works! 
Psalm 104 [103]:24 [Tagaytay, Philippines]

In a letter dated 6 August 2015, the Feast of the Transfiguration, Pope Francis established the First of September each year as World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. He stated that the Catholic Church will be following what the Orthodox Church has been doing for some time.

The letter states: The ecological crisis thus summons us to a profound spiritual conversion: Christians are called to 'an ecological conversion whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them'. For 'living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience'. The quotations are from the Pope's recent encyclical Laudato Si', Nos 216 and 217 respectively.

You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
    they flow between the hills.
Psalm 104 [103]: 10. [Ballachulish, Scotland]

At the end of Laudato Si' , No 246, Pope Francis gives two prayers, with this introduction: At the conclusion of this lengthy reflection which has been both joyful and troubling, I propose that we offer two prayers. The first we can share with all who believe in a God who is the all-powerful Creator, while in the other we Christians ask for inspiration to take up the commitment to creation set before us by the Gospel of Jesus. Both echo the magnificent and tender Psalm 104 [103]. 

Laudato Si' and the Pope's letter establishing World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation are both written in the context of our relationship with the Blessed Trinity and with Jesus Christ, God who became Man. Here is the second of those prayers.

A Christian prayer in union with creation

Father, we praise you with all your creatures.
They came forth from your all-powerful hand;
they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love.
Praise be to you!
Son of God, Jesus,
through you all things were made.
You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother,
you became part of this earth,
and you gazed upon this world with human eyes.
Today you are alive in every creature
in your risen glory.
Praise be to you!
Holy Spirit, by your light
you guide this world towards the Father’s love
and accompany creation as it groans in travail.
You also dwell in our hearts
and you inspire us to do what is good.
Praise be to you!
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!

A wonderfully vibrant setting of Psalm 104 [103] produced by Psalm Project Africa, based in Uganda.

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