FOR THE CARE OF CREATION

FOR THE CARE OF CREATION

A DIFFERENT WAY TO APPROACH THE WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE CARE OF CREATION

 

 

This is an image of the Eagle Nebula. Nebulae are clouds of cosmic dust and gas stars are formed. Consider this image light years away and how wondrous God’s creation is!
Credits: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

To make today’s World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation truly inspiring, I’d like to suggest that we pray Pope Francis’ wonderful prayer below, but before we do that, let us start with a contemplation of what he means when he talks about creation.

When talking about creation, we tend to start with Earth, which is not wrong, but the problem is that too often we remain there. As beautiful as Earth is, such a starting point vastly limits what God has been creating for billions of years (and without us I should add). Yes, the beauty of all this is that the universe is continuously growing! Creation is ongoing!

Scientists estimate our universe to be around 13.7 billion years old. Earth, like the rest of our planets with our sun, is around 4 and half billion years old.

Our solar system is but one of billions in our galaxy (the Milky Way – that milky patch in the sky we see on a clear and dark night). To be clear, scientists estimate that there exist 10 billion galaxies. Now, assuming there are 100 billion stars in each galaxy, we begin to see just how vast the universe is (1 billion trillion stars to be more precise).

To put this understanding of creation into perspective, consider our human timeline if we put it into the universe timeline above.

1 January (13.7 billion years ago) is when the universe began

6 September is when Earth and our solar system developed

21 September the first known life begins on Earth

31 December (at 23:52 pm) is when modern humans began.

Cosmology, which is the study of the beginnings of the universe, shows us how beautifully creative and expansive creation is. It presents us with a fitting way to begin A Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. So, when we pray Francis’ words below “God of love, show us our place in this world as channels of your love” we can be humbled and reminded that we are not in control, we are not masters, just channels of God’s love manifested throughout a ginormous creation.

A Christian prayer in union with creation — By Pope Francis*

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!

Amen.

*Pope Francis published this prayer in his Laudato Si’ encyclical. It is meant for us Christians to ask for inspiration to take up the commitment to creation set before us by the Gospel of Jesus.

Simon Appolloni, Associate Publishing Director, Novalis

 

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