(The following reﬂection was written by Cardinal Tobin. It appeared in the September 11, 2020 issue of Rejoice in the Lord. The full text is available at www.rcan.org)
On September 1, 2020, Pope Francis offered a special reflection for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation and the beginning of the Season of Creation which concludes on the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi on October 4.
“During this period,” the pope says, “Christians worldwide renew their faith in the God of creation and join in prayer and work for the care of our common home.”
“It’s been more than five years since our Holy Father first shared with the world his vision for the care of all God’s creation.”
“Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs” These are the opening sentences of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato, si’ (Praised be to you).
Our world, indeed, all of God’s creation, is not an object to be manipulated by us. It is like a sister, our “Mother Earth,” to be treated with reverence, respect and loving care.
Laudato si’ … is an encyclical, a “profound letter” addressed by the pope to Church leaders, to the faithful and to all women and men of good will on a matter of great importance to the Church and the world…about our responsibility to nurture and protect all that God has made…
Pope Francis tells us “I do not want to write this Encyclical without turning to that attractive and compelling figure, whose name I took as my guide and inspiration when I was elected Bishop of Rome. I believe that St. Francis is the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically…he was particularly concerned for God’s creation and for the poor and outcast…
He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace.” Laudato si’ addresses this “inseparable bond” between care for the environment and the love of humanity which alone makes justice and peace possible.