Environment Novena – Day 5

The fifth of nine days of prayer and readings as tangible action to respond to the urgent climate change issues we all face.

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Tuesday after Ascension

The fifth of nine days of prayer and readings as tangible action to respond to the urgent climate change issues we all face.

Introduction and Opening Prayer

Show Mercy to our Common Home

Despite our sins and the daunting challenges before us, we never lose heart. “The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us… for he has united himself definitively to our earth, and his love constantly impels us to find new ways forward.”
Laudato Si’, 13; 245

In a particular way, let us pray…

“O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned
and forgotten of this earth,
who are so precious in your eyes…
God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth”
Laudato Si’, 13; 246

God of mercy, may we receive your forgiveness
and convey your mercy throughout our common home.
Praise be to you!
Amen.

Scripture Reading and Prayer

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon thee.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights – the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night- and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
Genesis 1:15-19

Let the earth bless the Lord,
let it sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Bless the Lord, mountains and hills,
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Bless the Lord, all things that grow on the earth,
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Bless the Lord, seas and rivers,
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Bless the Lord, you springs,
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Prayer of Azariah and his Companions, Daniel 3:74-78

A reading from the Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate on ‘integral human development in charity and truth.’
Pope Benedict XVI, 29 June 2009.

Today the subject of development is also closely related to the duties arising from our relationship to the natural environment. The environment is God’s gift to everyone, and in our use of it, we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole. When nature, including the human being, is viewed as the result of mere chance or evolutionary determinism, our sense of responsibility wanes.

In nature, the believer recognises the wonderful result of God’s creative activity, which we may use responsibly to satisfy our legitimate needs, material or otherwise, while respecting the intrinsic balance of creation. If this vision is lost, we end up either considering nature an untouchable taboo or, on the contrary, abusing it. Neither attitude is consonant with the Christian vision of nature as the fruit of God’s creation.

Nature expresses a design of love and truth. It is prior to us, and it has been given to us by God as the setting for our life. Nature speaks to us of the Creator (cf. Romans 1:20) and his love for humanity. It is destined to be ‘recapitulated’ in Christ at the end of time (cf. Ephesians 1:9-10; Colossians 1:19-20). Thus it too is a ‘vocation’.

Nature is at our disposal not as ‘a heap of scattered refuse’, but as a gift of the Creator who has given it an inbuilt order, enabling man to draw from it the principles needed in order “to till it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15).

But it should also be stressed that it is contrary to authentic development to view nature as something more important than the human person. This position leads to attitudes of neo-paganism or a new pantheism — human salvation cannot come from nature alone, understood in a purely naturalistic sense. This having been said, it is also necessary to reject the opposite position, which aims at total technical dominion over nature, because the natural environment is more than raw material to be manipulated at our pleasure; it is a wondrous work of the Creator containing a ‘grammar’ which sets forth ends and criteria for its wise use, not its reckless exploitation.

Concluding Prayer

Common Prayer for Earth and for Humanity

Loving God,
Creator of Heaven, Earth, and all therein contained.
Open our minds and touch our hearts,
so that we can be part of Creation, your gift.

Be present to those in need in these difficult times, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.
Help us to show creative solidarity as we confront the consequences of the global pandemic.
Make us courageous in embracing the changes required to seek the common good.
Now more than ever, may we all feel interconnected and interdependent.

Enable us to succeed in listening and responding to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.
May their current sufferings become the birth-pangs of a more fraternal and sustainable world.
We pray through Christ our Lord, under the loving gaze of Mary, Help of Christians.
Amen.

Day SIX

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