September 1–A Special Day

_DSC8374This past Tuesday, September 1, was a special day. By declaration of Pope Francis it was the first World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. For several weeks the current pope has been making news with his strong affirmation that we have a divine obligation to care for God’s good earth. In an effort to highlight this obligation Francis has called for everyone to observe the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation every September 1. It is hoped by doing so that light can be shed on the damage we humans have done to the earth and that it will open conversation among people about what we can do to help heal the world. I think this is a wonderful idea but I have to admit I didn’t see a lot of attention given to it this past Tuesday. Hopefully it is an idea that will catch on and grow in coming years.

_CES1075Two items that I did catch in the media pertaining to the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation were prayers. The first one was penned by Pope Francis himself. Here is his 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. Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one. O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth.Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light. We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace.”

_DSC7676The second prayer was one written by the esteemed biologist, Dr. Jane Goodall. On her Facebook page she shared the following prayer in honor of World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation: “We pray that we may at all times keep our minds open to new ideas and shun dogma; that we may grow in our understanding of the nature of all living beings and our connectedness with the natural world; that we may become ever more filled with generosity of spirit and true compassion and love for all life; that we may strive to heal the hurts that we have inflicted on nature and control our greed for material things, knowing that our actions are harming our natural world and the future of our children; that we may value each and every human being for who he is, for who she is, reaching to the spirit that is within, knowing the power of each individual to change the world”

_DSC7460I was touched by both prayers and add to them my own plea that God would help us to learn to appreciate and value the earth, never failing to remember that it holds many avenues through which we can come to know and worship our Maker. I pray that we humans will take seriously our divine calling to be stewards of Creation so that those who come after us will be able to enjoy not only its beauty and wonders but in order that they, too, might come to see and love God through Creation.

I learned long ago that there are times when we cannot simply pray and sit back waiting on God to act. In many instances we must put feet to our prayers and this is undoubtedly the case when we offer our prayers for the earth. I encourage you to pray for Creation and to put feet to your prayers. Pope Francis and Jane Goodall believe it will make a difference. So do I.


(The images shown above are ones I’ve taken not far from my home in Henderson, KY.)