It is an opportunity for all of us to foster our ecological conversion by listening and responding together to the cry of creation. This time will take place throughout the Church from September 1 to October 4. A time that begins on the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” and closes on the Day of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of ecology. This year’s theme is “Listening to the Voice of Creation”.
Brother Rafael, in charge of JPIC in the Capuchin Friars Minor, sent the following letter and some aids to all the friars:
Mexico City, August 31, 2022.
Brothers, receive fraternal greetings of peace and good.
As I begin as the animator of the JPIC of the Custody, I would like to share with you a reflection and invitation to celebrate “The Time of Creation” which is an opportunity to foster our ecological conversion, listening and responding together to the cry of creation. This time will take place throughout the Church from September 1 to October 4. A time that begins on the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” and closes on the Day of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of ecology. This year’s theme is “Listening to the Voice of Creation”.
As Christians, we are called to actively participate in raising awareness on the theme, and how to respond to the cry of creation where the Lord calls us in our various contexts. Let us renew our faith in God the Creator and unite in a special way in prayer and work for the defense of our common home. In prayer, we focus on the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. During this time, our common prayer and action can help us to hear the silenced voices. In prayer, we mourn for the people, communities, species, and ecosystems that have been lost.
We know that God has a plan of life for his creation and calls us to collaborate with him. From the beginning, God has been committed to making possible his plan of liberation and life in fullness for all his creations. He wants fraternal humanity in solidarity, where each person lives in fullness, with the dignity for which he or she has been created, in the communion of life with God, with other people, and with all creation, without barriers of nationality, culture or religion. God’s dream is that humanity is one family and that the earth is a home for all.
As Friars Minor we are called to look to the love of Christ from which love for our brothers and sisters and also for all God’s creatures is born. Francis shows us that we are not condemned to be the persistent aggressors of nature, but good guardians who protect, care for, and transform the earth into a common home.
The ecological crisis threatens the very structures that sustain life on our planet. Climate change is certainly one of the most visible expressions of the planetary ecosystem, which extends to a great variety of levels: from air pollution to the contamination and progressive depletion of numerous aquifers, to the erosion of many cultivable areas, to the deforestation of numerous critical zones of the planet. Not to mention the great problem of waste-waste. Diverse phenomena, but revealing of an excessive use of natural resources by humanity, especially the wastefulness of the rich countries.
How to respond to this reality? With “new lifestyles” that will gain importance from the awareness that they must be new ways of approaching existence in solidarity, responsible ways of living, concerned about the common good, which translate into daily actions that everyone can carry out and that give concreteness to the dream of change and of another life and another possible world.
What the new lifestyles want to highlight is the capacity and potential that we human beings have to change life through daily actions and choices that make many changes possible, starting from the personal level, necessarily passing through the community level, until reaching the apex of the socio-economic and political system, so as to produce structural and even global changes. It is not a matter of being heroes or saints, but responsible citizens in solidarity, and Christians who live the commandment of love and are concerned in their daily lives for the common good.
Our faith must be a light and a great force for building these new lifestyles because in the first place it tells us that things, as they are, are not in conformity with God’s will, and also that the situation in which we find ourselves is not inevitable. The wisdom that comes to us from our Christian faith reminds us of the beauty and greatness of the gift we have received and places us in a different way in the cosmos and in history: it speaks to us of the finiteness and limits that characterize human existence, of a threshold that must be guarded in order to find happiness and harmony. It is a wisdom that is very attentive to everything that threatens life in order to face it courageously, with incisive and meditated choices. It helps us to discern our attitudes, our view of the world, and our way of being in it. It is a wisdom of solidarity that wants to realize a true fraternity, caring for the poor, educating in sobriety, and helping to discover the full meaning of life.
The wisdom that comes from our faith leads us to promote a different way of living that establishes a new relationship with people, with nature, with things, and with the problems of our society and the world.
In order to participate in this “Time of Creation”, I propose and invite you to carry out the following initiatives, without forgetting the meaning of the above-mentioned commemoration:
To assign at least one Sunday of the month of September, to project at the beginning of the masses the video “Do you hear that? It is the voice of Creation”.
Celebrate the Eucharist on weekdays with the subsidy: “Eucharistic Celebration for Creation” proposed by the Steering Committee of the Time of Creation.
Prepare a holy hour with meditations in relation to the “Time of Creation”, to ask God in the community to grant us to love, care for and protect our brothers and sisters and creation.
Organize, together with some parish groups, a stand with images and reflections on the importance of justice, peace, and care for creation. We must raise awareness in our communities on how to respond to the challenges of our time with respect for the person and creation, focusing on the light of faith.
To prepare our monthly retreat around the “Time of Creation”, as a sign of conscience and fraternal commitment.
I take my leave of you, thanking you for your attention and asking God, through the intercession of our brother and father St. Francis, to bless us to respond with responsibility and goodness to his call.
Rafael Chamorro Jiménez, OFM Cap.