“Praying for creation or praying with creation?” that was the question posed by the preacher of the Papal Household, Fr Raniero Cantalamessa at Vespers on Thursday evening.
Against the majestic backdrop of St Peter’s Basilica and with Pope Francis looking on, Fr Cantalamessa told those present that “God did not program creation as if it were a clock or a computer in which every movement is programmed from the beginning, except, he added, maybe for some periodic updates.”
The Papal Preacher underlined that the primary duty of human beings toward creation was to lend it a voice, adding that the sovereignty of human beings over the cosmos does not entail the triumphalism of our species, but the assumption of responsibility toward the weak, the poor, the defenseless.
He also referred to the Holy Father’s encyclical on the environment Laudato Si which looks at the relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet and asks, “what is it that produces the greatest damage to the environment and simultaneously the misery of a great number of people if not the insatiable desire of some to increase their possessions and their profits disproportionately?”
During his homily, the Priest posed a question that people have been asking since last week’s massive earthquake in central Italy. “Where was God on the night of August 23,”. He answered by saying the believer does not hesitate, to respond to the question with humility.
“He was there, suffering with his creatures and receiving into his peace the victims who were knocking at the door of his Paradise.”
Returning his main theme, Fr Cantalamessa said, if Francis of Assisi still has something to say to us today about the environment, it is precisely this. “He does not pray “for” creation, for its preservation instead he prays “with” creation or “because of creation”.
It is a message, he concluded that “is also taken up by the Holy Father in his encyclical on the environment. It begins with “Laudato si’” and ends significantly with two distinct prayers: one “for” creation and the other “in union with” creation