Here we leave you the message of Pope Francis for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. You will also find resources and links at the bottom with material and information to prepare for the Season of Creation that begins on September 1 and ends on October 4.
January 26, 2022
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS FOR THE WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE CARE OF CREATION
February 10, 2022
"Listen to the voice of creation" is the theme and invitation of this year's Season of Creation. The ecumenical period begins on September 1 with the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, and ends on October 4 with the feast of Saint Francis. It is a special moment for all Christians to pray and care for our common home together. Originally inspired by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, this time is an opportunity to cultivate our “ecological conversion”, a conversion encouraged by Saint John Paul II as a response to the “ecological catastrophe” announced by Saint Paul VI as early as 1970 .
If we learn to listen to it, we notice a kind of dissonance in the voice of creation. On the one hand, it is a sweet song that praises our beloved Creator; on the other, it is a bitter cry that complains about our human mistreatment.
The sweet song of creation invites us to practice an “ecological spirituality” (Enc. Letter Laudato si’, 216), attentive to the presence of God in the natural world. It is an invitation to base our spirituality on the "loving awareness of not being disconnected from other creatures, of forming a precious universal communion with the other beings of the universe" (ibid., 220). For the disciples of Christ, in particular, this luminous experience reinforces the awareness that "all things were made through the Word and without it nothing was made of all that exists" (Jn 1:3). In this Season of Creation, let us once again pray in the great cathedral of creation, enjoying the “great cosmic choir” of countless creatures singing praises to God. Let us join in the song to Saint Francis of Assisi: "Praise be to you, my Lord, with all your creatures" (Canticle of the Creatures). Let us join in the psalmist's song: "Let all living creatures praise the Lord" (Ps 150,6).
Unfortunately, that sweet song is accompanied by a bitter cry. Or rather, by a chorus of bitter cries. In the first place, it is the sister mother earth who cries out. At the mercy of our consumerist excesses, she groans and begs us to stop our abuse and destruction. It is, then, all the creatures that scream. At the mercy of a “despotic anthropocentrism” (Letter enc. Laudato si’, 68), at the antipodes of the centrality of Christ in the work of creation, innumerable species are becoming extinct, forever interrupting their hymns of praise to God. But it is also the poorest among us who cry out. Exposed to the climate crisis, the poor bear the brunt of the impact of droughts, floods, hurricanes and heat waves, which continue to become more intense and frequent. In addition, our brothers and sisters from the native peoples shout. Due to predatory economic interests, their ancestral territories are being invaded and devastated from all sides, launching “a clamor that shouts to heaven” (Exhort. ap. postsin. Querida Amazonia, 9). Our children also scream. Threatened by short-sighted selfishness, adolescents are anxiously demanding that we adults do everything we can to prevent or at least limit the collapse of our planet's ecosystems.
Hearing these bitter cries, we must repent and change harmful lifestyles and systems. From the beginning, the evangelical call "Repent, because the Kingdom of Heaven is near" (Mt 3,2), inviting a new relationship with God, also implies a different relationship with others and with creation. The state of degradation of our common home deserves the same attention as other global challenges such as serious health crises and armed conflicts. “Living the vocation of being protectors of the work of God is an essential part of a virtuous existence, it does not consist of something optional or a secondary aspect of the Christian experience” (Letter enc. Laudato si’, 217).
As people of faith, we also feel the responsibility to act, in our daily behavior, in accordance with this need for conversion, which is not only individual: «The ecological conversion that is required to create a dynamism of lasting change is also a community conversion » (ibid., 219). In this perspective, the community of nations is also called to commit itself, in a spirit of maximum cooperation, especially in the United Nations meetings dedicated to the environmental issue.
The COP27 climate summit, to be held in Egypt in November 2022, represents the next opportunity to promote together an effective implementation of the Paris Agreement. It is also for this reason that I have recently arranged for the Holy See, in the name and on behalf of the Vatican City State, to adhere to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, in the hope that XXI century humanity "may be remembered for having generously assumed its grave responsibilities" (ibid., 165). Achieving the Paris target of limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C is challenging and requires responsible cooperation from all nations to come up with more ambitious climate plans or Nationally Determined Contributions to reduce net emissions of greenhouse gases to zero as urgently as possible.
It is about “converting” the models of consumption and production, as well as lifestyles, in a direction that is more respectful with creation and with the integral human development of all present and future peoples; development based on responsibility, prudence/precaution, solidarity and concern for the poor and future generations. At the base of everything must be the alliance between the human being and the environment which, for us believers, is a mirror of "God's creative love, from which we come and towards which we walk" . The transition that this conversion entails cannot ignore the demands of justice, especially for the workers most affected by the impact of climate change.
In turn, the COP15 summit on biodiversity, to be held in December in Canada, will offer the good will of governments an important opportunity to adopt a new multilateral agreement that will stop the destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of species. According to the ancient wisdom of the Jubilees, we need to “remember, return, rest, repair” . To stop the further collapse of the God-given “web of life” – biodiversity – let us pray and call on nations to agree on four key principles: 1. build a clear ethical foundation for transformation we need in order to save biodiversity; 2. combat the loss of biodiversity, support its conservation and recovery, and meet the needs of people in a sustainable way; 3. promote global solidarity, taking into account that biodiversity is a global common good that requires a shared commitment; 4. Put vulnerable people at the center, including those most affected by biodiversity loss, such as indigenous peoples, older people and youth.
I repeat: “In the name of God, I want to ask the large extractive corporations —mining, oil—, forestry, real estate, agribusiness, to stop destroying forests, wetlands and mountains, to stop polluting rivers and seas, to stop intoxicate peoples and food” .
One cannot fail to recognize the existence of an “ecological debt” (Letter enc. Laudato si’, 51) of the economically richest nations, which are the ones that have polluted the most in the last two centuries; This forces them to take more ambitious measures both at COP27 and COP15. This implies, in addition to decisive action within its own borders, keeping its promises of financial and technical support to the economically poorest nations, which are already bearing the brunt of the climate crisis. Furthermore, further financial support for biodiversity conservation should be urgently considered. Even the less economically rich countries have significant but “diversified” responsibilities (cf. ibid., 52); the delays of others can never justify your own inaction. We all need to act decisively. We are reaching “a breaking point” (cf. ibid., 61).
In this Season of Creation, let us pray that the COP27 and COP15 summits may unite the human family (cf. ibid., 13) to decisively address the double crisis of climate and biodiversity reduction. Recalling Saint Paul's exhortation to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who mourn (cf. Rom 12:15), let us weep with the bitter cry of creation, listen to it and respond with deeds, so that we and future generations we can continue to rejoice with the sweet song of life and hope of creatures.
Rome, Saint John Lateran, July 16, 2022, Memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel
January 26, 2022
To download the Season of Creation 2022 celebration guide, click click here.
You can find more information about the Season of Creation at: seasonofcreation.org
- Semana I "La zarza ardía en el fuego, pero no se consumía"
- Semana II "Voy a ver"
- Semana III "Descálzate, quita tu calzado de tus pies"
- Semana IV "He visto... he oído... Yo sé... Yo los libraré"
January 26, 2022