“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.”

Genesis 1:31

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Genesis 1:31

“Laudato si’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”. (Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ (24 May 2015), 1)

 Today, 1 September, is celebrated as “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation”. In 2015, just after he had published his Encyclical Letter – Laudato Si’, Pope Francis asked us to keep this day as a day of prayer for our common home.

Why was it necessary for the pope to write an encyclical on the theme of the environment, and why did he set aside a special day for us to pray for creation?

In Genesis, we see God creating the world. On the sixth day, God stood back, looked and exclaimed that “it was very good”.

Yet the environment is in crisis. There are environmental degradation and human-induced climate change. As humanity, we are having a profound impact on creation, not all of it ‘very good’.

Each of us contributes to the state of our common home in some way or another. On this day of prayer for creation, Pope Francis asks me to consider the impact I am having on God’s creation. Can I honestly say that it is ‘very good’?

Am I minimising my energy consumption? Am I reducing food wastage? Am I reusing and recycling?

It is only when we acknowledge our role and contribute to a better planet that we can step back with God and say: ‘I have kept it very good’!

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.

From: "A prayer for our earth" (Pope Francis, Laudato Si’)

Dr Martin van Nierop
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