What: Care for Creation
September marks the start of the Season of Creation with World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on September 1, and ends on October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology
Pope Francis writes in this year's annual message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation,
“Let Justice and Peace Flow” is the theme of this year’s ecumenical Season of Creation, that this year's theme, “Let Justice and Peace Flow,” is "inspired by the words of the prophet Amos: 'Let justice flow on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream' (5:24). ... God wants everyone to strive to be just in every situation, to live according to his laws and thus to enable life to flourish. When we “seek first the kingdom of God” (Mt 6:33), maintaining a right relationship with God, humanity and nature, then justice and peace can flow like a never-failing stream of pure water, nourishing humanity and all creatures."
Pope Francis goes on to say in his letter, "How can we contribute to the mighty river of justice and peace in this Season of Creation? What can we, particularly as Christian communities, do to heal our common home so that it can once again teem with life? We must do this by resolving to transform our hearts, our lifestyles, and the public policies ruling our societies.
First, let us join the mighty river by transforming our hearts. This is essential for any other transformation to occur; it is that “ecological conversion” which Saint John Paul II encouraged us to embrace: the renewal of our relationship with creation so that we no longer see it as an object to be exploited but cherish it instead as a sacred gift from our Creator. Furthermore, we should realize that an integral approach to respect for the environment involves four relationships: with God, with our brothers and sisters of today and tomorrow, with all of nature, and with ourselves."
These four relationships are a great manner in which to come up with a challenge for yourself this month. Below are a few ideas to get you started.
Pick your CHALLENGE:
Relationship with God:
- Begin your day praying St. Francis of Assisi's Canticle of the Sun.
- When saying grace before meals take time to reflect on the work of the hands and all of God's creation that went into providing your meal.
- Spend time in adoration of the Eucharist reflecting on and giving thanks for all the creation that God has blessed you with.
- Delve into the Church's teaching on caring for creation.
Relationship with other people:
- Form a small-group study of Minnesota, Our Common Home. This document reflects on Pope Francis' encyclical, Laudato Si', and places it in a Minnesota context.
- Offer to help a neighbor with fall yard work.
- Go for a nature hike or other outdoor activity with friends or family.
- Start a carpool with colleagues or classmates to cut down on vehicle emissions while also building community.
- Check out Minnesota Upstream an initiative to bring people together to amplify the many ways Minnesotans of all backgrounds love and value our place.
Relationship with all of nature:
- Spend a weekend camping off the grid dependent on God's creation to sustain you.
- Adopt a highway to help beautify your community.
- Organize a river cleanup. Check out Living Lands and Waters for ways to get started.
- Spend a day at a local farm learning about agricultural practices and caring for the land, animals, and people fed by the farm.
- Check out Do It Green Minnesota to learn more about sustainable living and building healthy communities.
- Learn how you can help gather data on plastic pollution in the Mississippi.
Relationship with Yourself:
- Check out Into the Deep to learn more about great outdoor excursions that will also provide you with a greater understanding of how and why God created humanity.
- Conduct a personal ecological examen prayer to better discover the ways that God may be calling you to greater stewardship of His creation.
- Spend time in solitude, disconnected from devices, and contemplate how and why God created you for this time.
Set your GOAL:
You can choose one of the suggestions above, or come up with your own. Then, depending on your challenge, you will want to set yourself a practical goal - whether it be in relationship with God, others, nature, or yourself. Some examples include:
- Pray the Canticle of the Sun daily for the month of September
- Add 3 hours of Eucharistic Adoration to your schedule for the month
- Get 5 others to join you in a small group study of Minnesota, Our Common Home
- Register to volunteer at Upstream's Fall Festival
- Get your company to adopt a highway
- Get 10 friends or fellow parishioners to join you for a nature hike
Determine your AUDIENCE:
Who do you want to join you in your monthly challenge?
- Just yourself!
- Your family and friends
- Your parish
- Your social media friends
- Or whomever you want!
Once you know what you are going to do, click "Share" to tell us your idea! We encourage you to upload a picture of how you're building a civilization of love to help inspire others to take action too!