We pray that we may live this Lent with true charity to those that are most affected by the socio-environmental crisis.
“Helping the poor financially must always be a provisional solution in the face of pressing needs. The broader objective should always be to allow them a dignified life through work.” (LS 128)
Ecological prayer from Mesoamérica
God of life, God of all peoples,
We thank You from the rising sun, because You have
made the world perfect and have left us in this corner
of Your creation to experience the mystery of Your
greatness in our “Beloved Mesoamerica”
… where the mountain forests provide the rains that
nourish the fields, producing our daily bread
… where the two seas, full of mystery, kiss the coasts
to the rhythm of the moon
… where the multitude of animals invites us to understand
that we all have a place in that great web of life
… where the diversity of peoples and cultures manifests
in infinite forms the greatness of Your creation
… where the smell of cocoa, the sacred drink of the
Mesoamerican peoples, rises to heaven with the songs
as an offering to You and a sign of our desire to live in
Help us, Lord, to tune our ears to Your voice: present in
the beauty of a waterfall, in the song of a little bird and
also in the cry of a child who suffers from hunger.
May the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth awaken us
from any indolence and allow us to live the ecological
conversion that manifests our affirmation that, although
there is much to change in our lives and this world, we
are willing to do what is necessary to recover harmony
in this house of Yours, our common home.
Help us to receive and follow Your will, like the seed that
germinates in the earth and produces many fruits always
walking hand in hand in the face of the many threats to
integral life, confident that Your grace will always
sustain us along the way.
And in the darkest night, Lord, let us live fully in the
certainty that the dawn will soon come, and with it a
new opportunity to celebrate one more day in the heart
of the community of creation.
Originally written in Spanish by José Fitzgerald CM, Mesoamerican Ecological Ecclesial Network (REMAM).
You can find this and more prayers in Laudato Si’ Movement’s Prayer Book. Download it here for free.
By Deacon Felix Davila Ruiz, Laudato Si’ Animator. Collaborator, Laudato Si’ Program of the Diocesan Social Pastoral Care Commission. Coordinator of the Diocesan Media Commission. Diocese of Tilarán, Liberia, Costa Rica.
Reflection inspired by the Gospel of Sunday, March 12, John 4:5-42.
Brothers and sisters,
In this month of March, enlightened by the encyclical Laudato Si’ and invited to live this Lent with true charity towards those most affected by the socio-environmental crisis, we meet Jesus, in Sychar, by Jacob’s well, tired; and, in Him, our displaced brothers and sisters in vulnerable conditions.
The poverty rates in our beloved Central America are alarming: Honduras, 57%, Guatemala 50%, Nicaragua 46%, El Salvador 27%, Costa Rica 23% of our brothers and sisters who live with less than what is indispensable in their homes. If our hearts are not moved by this reality, we are not listening to the God of creation who gives us everything.
In this Gospel passage, the greatness of this encounter resounds in the words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman: “If you knew the gift of God”, and in the unconscious but ardent desire of the woman: “Lord, give me this water, that I may thirst no more”, this should impel us to be his disciples and to bear witness, through the closeness and accompaniment of our brothers and sisters in need. So that we can say, with Jesus: “My nourishment is to do the will of him who sent me and to carry out his work”, observing God’s justice, which reminds us that there is no exclusion.
At that time, the Jews did not interact with the Samaritans; but Jesus teaches us, when speaking to the Samaritan woman, that salvation is for everyone, especially for the marginalized and excluded. As we raise our eyes and contemplate the golden fields, ready for harvest, as the Gospel says, we have to accompany our brothers and sisters in conditions of poverty, displaced by land grabbing and monocultural agricultural practices, which limit access to work opportunities that allow a dignified life, mainly in rural areas and urban peripheries.
It is time that we, satiated with the water that flows from Christ, who becomes a spring capable of giving eternal life and who today reveals Himself to us, as the Messiah, when He said to the Samaritan woman: “It is I who speak to you”, strive to build the Kingdom on earth, seeking a just distribution of resources and the care of the Common Home.
The reference to water in this biblical passage, a sign of purity and of life itself, which can quench our thirst, purify us and make the fields fruitful, invites us to take care of our sources of drinking water: necessary for everyone’s health and well-being.
Let us try, then, from our families and communities, to be in solidarity with the most needy, leaving aside palliative humanitarian assistance (donating money or food), which does not solve their reality; but rather, generating real opportunities for dignified work, so that the poor, thirsty for justice, may find in us, their brothers, Christ, the source of living water.
May the Lord of life and creation bless us in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Questions for reflection
- What concrete actions are we taking to help our vulnerable brothers and sisters to change their conditions of poverty?
- Do we see the face of Jesus in the marginalized and excluded?
- Do we know how to announce with words and deeds that we have encountered Jesus, especially to the marginalized?
Recapturing the meaning of LIFE
Laudato Si’ was a new beginning
By Christian Alexis López Barrios, Laudato Si’ Animator
An interest in diminishing the effects of climate change had been growing inside me for a long time. This interest had been wandering through vague ideas, until unexpectedly in 2018, arrived what was undoubtedly the Lord’s answer to my constant plea: “Make me generous; make me have a kind heart.” It was an announcement of a movement whose main interest was the conservation and care of the common home.
At that moment I knew that my interest of years ago had found an answer, a guide, a starlight. That year I began my certification as a Laudato Si’ Animator. Taking the course, educating myself about the framework of Laudato Si’, and above all the actions we can do to generate changes, was the sense I was looking for as a way of being generous.
Since I became certified as an Animator, there have been constant transformations, leading to a single goal: “To recapture the meaning of LIFE”. Being an animator has led me to constantly work towards an ecological conversion, searching to be an agent of change and carry out actions – even the smallest ones – with the desire to have a butterfly effect.
Speaking passionately about this has caught the attention of Catholics and non-Catholics alike, which is another great advantage of being an animator – reaching out to the ends of the earth as our Lord asks us to do. Laudato Si’ is another way of evangelizing the whole of Creation.
Hearing Creation’s Cry
The Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) is endemic to Central America (Howell & Webb, 1995). In Guatemala, the species is considered threatened and is in category 3 of the red list of the National Council of Protected Areas; it is in danger of extinction.
Hearing Creation’s Song
Join Laudato Si’ Lent!
This Lent, we invite you to take another step in your journey of ecological conversion. Through a Lent Calendar, each week we will invite you to reflect and act on issues related to our social and ecological sins.
As we reflect on the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us “become painfully aware” (LS 19) of all that must die within us in order to truly commit ourselves to a more just and sustainable world.
We trust that the Holy Spirit will give us the necessary strength for this journey of eco-conversion, as we take responsibility for our actions and help each other grow out of the tomb of ecological sins and into the new life of ecological conversion.