As the People of God in communion, we pray that we may work for justice and peace in and for creation.
“Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life.” (LS 207)
Prayer for non violence
Pax Christi England &Wales and Catholic Nonviolence Initiative LSM Prayer Book
God of Mercy and Compassion, open our hearts to Your grace. Give us the courage, we pray, to radically transform our own lives, and appreciate more deeply the covenant You made with all creatures on earth. Help us to respond to the cry of the earth and of the poor, as peacemakers who challenge the violence that threatens us all.
Guide us along the path of nonviolence, to reconnect with nature, to value all peoples of the earth, to consume less, and waste nothing. Pour out upon us the power of Your love, that we may protect life and beauty. Fill us with Your peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
We make this prayer through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Listening, Reconciliation, and Healing: Reflections on n Matthew 18:15-20 – 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sr. Lusi Matai SJC, LSM Asia Pacific Eco-Spirituality Working Group, Fiji
Reflection on Gospel Reading : 23 rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A 3 rd Sunday in September, 2023 : Gospel of Matthew 18: 15 – 20
Sometimes, when I cut flowers for the chapel, I have this uncomfortable feeling that comes from knowing that I was going to cut short the life of these flowers.
They are growing very well, very beautiful, glorifying God in their beauty. And I am going to cut them. Many times, I find myself saying. ‘Please forgive me, I am going to cut you off from your source of life because I want to put beautiful flowers in the chapel, for the Lord, for Our Lady and St Joseph.
I know many people talk to plants. This is one expression of reverence for life, reverence for all of creation.
Our world faces the challenge of repairing our wounded world, wounded humanity, wounded creation. We, humans have destroyed and harmed creation through our selfishness, through our selfish use of earth’s natural resources, pollution and exploitation. We also hurt one another through our greed, pride and power hunger.
Pope Francis says: We are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis, which is both social and environmental.
In the gospel of St Matthew we reflect on today, Jesus tells us to reconcile with one another, through dialogue and listening. To listen to one another. The key word is listen: to listen to cries of the earth, the cries for justice, for peace, for healing, for unity, cries for meaning, cries for loving and caring relationships.
Even Prophet Amos cried out: “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5: 24) . And we listen to this call to join the river of justice and peace, to take up climate and ecological justice, and to speak out with and for communities most impacted by climate injustice and the loss of biodiversity.
But where do we start? Jesus gives us a message of hope where we can begin the work of healing and restoring relationships. Jesus tells us to begin with prayer when He said:
“I tell you solemnly once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them.”
Questions for reflection
- What does ‘reverence for life’ look like in my daily living?
- How can I live sustainably? ‘Less is more’. What does this statement mean?
- Is listening part of my life? How well do I listen to other people’s cry? How well do I listen to the cries of the earth? Do I give myself time to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit in me, in my family, in my community, in any projects I am involved in?
- What gives us hope in our struggle for justice and peace?
- What hinders the joyful celebration of life?
From Grandparents’ Garden to Embracing the Call of Laudato Si’
A Journey Rooted in Creation
Natalie Baran, Laudato Si’ Animator, Australia
My eco-conversion story began in a suburban garden located in Melbourne – the home of my Polish grandparents. Together they had created a Garden of Eden and as young child I foraged on strawberries and raspberries, picked ripe apricots and plums straight from the trees, collected tomatoes and cucumbers from the vegetable patch, studied ladybirds and slaters, and watched as the garden transformed through the seasons. In autumn months, I’d accompany my grandmother on an annual mushroom ‘hunt’ where she taught me how to identify edible species and understand the habitat preferences, symbiotic relationships and climatic conditions ideal for mushroom growth and development. In later years, I realised these field trips with Babcia (grandmother in Polish) were my first lessons in practical ecology, but at the time we were just collecting good food to enjoy.
Love of nature called me into an environmental career. I studied forest science and botany and went on to a career in government, working on many diverse and rewarding environmental projects, including climate change policy. However, my eco-conversion really leveled-up after reading Pope Francis’ encyclical on the Care for Our Common Home (Laudato Si’). I realised that my love and concern for nature and my yearning for justice (both ecological and social) was not an outside interest disconnected from faith, but a deep expression of Catholic Social Teaching grounded in theology and supported by saints and mystics across the ages.
Integrating these two important aspects of my life was a gift of grace that led me to the Laudato Si’ Movement (LSM) and opened the way to a more active role in my parish community.
I discovered that LSM is an amazing organization that provides the tools, resources, networks, training and encouragement to engage communities in an eco-conversion journey with hope and joy. And it’s free!! I completed their Laudato Si’ Animators course online in 2021 during lockdown and absolutely loved it. The course is thoughtfully constructed and includes expert presenters, engaging resources and the ability to flex your learning through live or recorded sessions. The training bolstered my understanding of Laudato Si’ and provided an ongoing framework and supportive network for the newly formed Laudato Si’ Circle at Sacred Heart Church in Preston. The Circle is a small group of kindred spirits banded together with the support of our parish priest, Fr Aloysius. We are so blessed to have a parish priest who is totally on board with Laudato Si’ and actively participates and encourages us on an eco-conversion journey!
Over its two-year lifespan, our parish Laudato Si’ Circle has organised a variety of events including garden working bees, a film screening of The Letter, native plant giveaways and participation in a Global Day of Action for climate change. The Circle has helped create special liturgies, my favorite being a Lenten Aboriginal Way of the Cross with beautiful artwork and reflections, hosted by the Victorian Aboriginal Catholic Ministry. We also help raise general awareness of Laudato Si’ in the parish through regular bulletin notices, posters and announcements. We have exciting plans for the future too, such as investment in solar power, contemplative walks in nature and engaging with youth… there’s no shortage of ideas, the harvest is truly plentiful!
As an Animator I think it’s really important to find kindred spirits within your community and accompany each other on the journey of eco-conversion. It’s not an easy path, at times one might falter or feel discouraged, so find sisters and brothers to journey with, to edify and encourage each other!
“All it takes is one good person to restore hope!” (LS71)
Hearing Creation’s Cry
Hearing Creation’s Song
Participate in the Season of Creation so that “justice and peace may flow”
We are approaching the ecumenical season that invites us to contemplate God’s creation as sisters and brothers, this year especially praying that “justice and peace may flow” like a “mighty river”. Participate in the Season of Creation opening prayer that will take place on September 1st, the day we celebrate the Feast of Creation:
The climate crisis is growing. We need those who have the power to act justly. Pray with us for climate justice and take action by sharing your prayers with political leaders.
This year, we have a special slogan to pray for climate justice and political leaders in the lead up to COP 28. Share a photo of your prayer on your social media using the hashtags #PrayingForYou #COP28 #SeasonOfCreation.