Wednesday, 24 June 2015

"Profoundly United with Every Creature"

Pope Francis' wonderful teaching, Laudato si: on the Care of our Common Home, ends with two prayers he composed: A Prayer for Our Earth, and A Christian Prayer in Union with all Creation.
They powerfully express the Christian-Franciscan vision of our place before God as one with all He has created.

These prayers are filled with a spirit of praise and joyful gratitude, and also a humble awareness of failure and our need for grace to live out our divinely-given vocation on this earth.

One would hope these prayers become well known among the Lord's disciples and help form our self-understanding as creatures, children and servants of the Most High God.       

For the ancient principle still holds true: Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi - as we worship, so we believe, so we live.

A Prayer for our Earth
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.

A Christian prayer in union with creation
Father, we praise you with all your creatures.
They came forth from your all-powerful hand;
they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love.
Praise be to you!

Son of God, Jesus,
through you all things were made.
You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother,
you became part of this earth,
and you gazed upon this world with human eyes.
Today you are alive in every creature
in your risen glory.
Praise be to you!

Holy Spirit, by your light
you guide this world towards the Father’s love
and accompany creation as it groans in travail.
You also dwell in our hearts
and you inspire us to do what is good.
Praise be to you!

Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love,
teach us to contemplate you
in the beauty of the universe,
for all things speak of you.
Awaken our praise and thankfulness
for every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined
to everything that is.

God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth,
for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good, advance the weak,
and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.

O Lord, seize us with your power and light,
help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your Kingdom
of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

"Laudato si" - a Franciscan Voice

The message from recent documents of the Franciscan Order is clear: commitment to what is now called JPIC – Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation – is “part of our DNA, of our spirituality, and is one of the characteristic elements of our charism”.

From the beginning of his Petrine Ministry, Pope Francis made it clear that his choice of his papal name was indicative of his concern for what may be called “JPIC issues”. And in his historic encyclical “on the care of our common home” he confirms the profound and all-embracing implications of our Gospel discipleship.

His radical teaching draws its title from the opening words of the Canticle of the Creatures - Laudato si. It goes on to speak of the Poverello’s vision of how to live on this earth as God’s child in fellowship with all other creatures. Indeed, the Pope reflects the saint's spirit and wisdom throughout the document.

While the encyclical is popularly referred to as a climate change encyclical, it is first and foremost about human relationships. The Pope writes, “Human life is grounded in three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbour and with the earth itself.” Violate any of these relationships, and we offend God, promote injustice, and exploit our home.

Other religious Orders would be delighted with this celebration of their particular tradition. It certainly provides the friars with a graced opportunity to embrace more fully what has been passed on to us as our heritage and mission.
Bill Short OFM writing of our Franciscan faith vision says, “People seek an alternative language, an alternative way of looking at the human person, at Christ, salvation and creation. We have a hopeful word, a distinctly Franciscan voice, to speak to the concerns of our day.”

May this encyclical help the Friar Minors rediscover with confidence our full “Franciscan voice” and so inform, inspire and influence our thinking and our actions.