The Season of Creation, from Sept 1st to the feast of St Francis of Assisi on Oct 4th, is an annual time of reflection, prayer and renewed action to combat environmental degradation and encourage sustainable ways of living. The theme this year echoes Pope Francis’ teaching in Laudato Si, that the earth is our common home (‘oikos’), therefore, every person shares the responsibility to be agents of an integral ecology which protects the natural world, enabling its resources to be used equitably for the good of all, while preserving these for future generations. This would enable every person to enjoy ‘life to the full’ (Jn 10:10) as God intended for creation.
This is in harmony with September’s prayer intention, which urges us to collaborate intergenerationally, harnessing the energy and enthusiasm of young people to the wisdom of those with longer life experience, to create a new relationship between people and planet which is no longer exploitative and wasteful, but rather ‘can integrate and promote all its inhabitants, enabling them to enjoy “good living”.’ (Querida Amazonia 8)
We can contribute to the safeguarding and transformation of the world if we begin with ourselves:
- Have I taken every opportunity to inform myself of the damage wreaked on the environment by human greed and exploitation?
- Do I remember in my prayers all those around the world who are suffering because of climate change or environmental damage?
- What in my life can I change so as to live more simply and really respond to ‘the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor’?
- Am I willing to speak out and campaign for climate justice?
- How can I engage with efforts to pressure the government leaders at the upcoming COP26 meeting to commit to real and lasting efforts to address climate change?
- What can I do in my home, my parish, my school or workplace, and my local community, to promote the wellbeing and flourishing of all living things?
No efforts are too small: ‘There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions … ways of acting which directly and significantly affect the world around us, such as avoiding the use of plastic and paper, reducing water consumption, separating refuse, cooking only what can reasonably be consumed, showing care for other living beings, using public transport or car-pooling, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights, or any number of other practices. All of these reflect a generous and worthy creativity which brings out the best in human beings.’ (LS 211)
May this month be a new season of ecological discovery for all of us: in appreciating the wonders of creation, and committing to protecting these both now and for the future.
Dr Marie Cooke
Laudato Si’ Movement