Updated: Jul 28
Dear Friends in Christ,
One morning this week, while running loops and rows in the Grove Street Cemetery, I was being
serenaded by the voices of birds and crickets, singing as if in response to the opening line from the hymn: “all Creatures of Our God and King, lift up your voices and with us sing,” as the sounds of the city provided backup vocals, in a peripheral cacophony just on the other side of the stone wall. The contrast reminded me of something Our Holy Father, Pope Francis said in his letter announcing the 2022 Season of Creation.
Listen to the voice of creation. If we learn how to listen, we can hear in the voice of creation a kind of dissonance. On the one hand, we can hear a sweet song in praise of our beloved Creator; on the other, an anguished plea, lamenting our mistreatment of this our common home.
The sweet song of creation invites us to practice an ecological spirituality (Laudato Si’, 216), attentive to God’s presence in the natural world. In this Season of Creation we pray once more in the great cathedral of creation, and revel in the “grandiose cosmic choir” made up of countless creatures, all singing the praises of God.
Tragically, that sweet song is accompanied by a cry of anguish... a chorus of cries of anguish... our sister, mother earth, cries out... the poorest among us are crying out... our brothers and sisters of the native peoples are crying out... and today’s young people are crying out, anxiously asking us to do everything possible to prevent, or at least limit, the collapse of our planet’s ecosystems.
When we truly listen to the voice of creation, our hearts are moved to experience what the Holy Father refers to as an “ecological conversion,” by which we must “repent and modify our lifestyles and destructive systems,” because “living out our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue” (Laudato Si’, 217).
Our responsibility to be good stewards of creation flows from our having been breathed into being by a loving Creator, as is revealed in Scripture and in our liturgical texts. In the Book of Genesis, in the same breath God commands Adam and Eve, our first parents, to be both open to life, “to be fruitful and to multiply,” and to be good stewards of all Creation. The theme is echoed in the Fourth Eucharistic Prayer:
It is truly right to give you thanks, truly just to give you glory, Father most holy for you are the one God living and true, existing before all ages and abiding for all eternity, dwelling in unapproachable light; yet you, who alone are good, the source of life, have made all that is, so that you might fill your creatures with blessings and bring joy to many of them by the glory of your light.
We give you praise, Father most holy, for you are great and you have fashioned all your works in wisdom and in love. You formed man in your own image and entrusted the whole world to his care, so that in serving you alone, the Creator, he might have dominion over all creatures.
The Season of Creation began on September 1st, the World Day of Prayer for Creation, and will conclude on October 4th, the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. The full letter from the Holy Father can be found here: https://seasonofcreation.org/2022/07/21/message-of-his-holiness-pope-francis-for-the-celebration-of-the-world-day-of-prayer-for-the-care-of-creation/, and resources to celebrate the Season of Creation can be found here:
Yours in Christ,