The Season of Creation has a special significance for the Catholic Church, particularly since Pope Francis established 1 September as an annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.
The Season of Creation is marked throughout the Christian world from 1 September to 4 October (Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi) and celebrates the joy of creation as well as encouraging awareness-raising initiatives to protect the natural environment.
Listen to the Voice of Creation
The theme for the Season of Creation 2022 is “Listen to the Voice of Creation”. “I have heard their cry…I know their sufferings…Come, now! I will send you…I will be with you” (Ex 3: 1-12). The burning bush is the Symbol for the Season of Creation 2022.
Europe has been faced with a genuine environmental catastrophe that, in 97% of cases, is attributable to the actions of man. In the 27 countries within the European Union, according to a recent estimate, fires have already devastated a total of 517,881 hectares since the beginning of the year, compared to 470,359 the previous year.
To all this must be added the enormous, and perhaps still incalculable, damage to the environment caused by the ongoing wars in Ukraine as well as in other areas of the planet. As early as the 1960s, the term “ecocide” was coined in the wake of the military campaign in Vietnam. Since then, attention to the effects of wars on the environment has grown.
One should not forget the heavy air pollution caused by the burning of oil installations in Kuwait during the Gulf War (1990-1991), and the wars in Yemen and Syria with the contamination of soil and waterways. Ukrainian experts currently estimate that the long-term effects of this conflict may cause cancer, respiratory diseases and developmental delay in children.
But, if the hand of man is the main cause of this current situation, it also bodes well that the same hand can find a resolution to all of this. And it is here that the Message of the Holy Father Francis takes on great importance: not a pious exhortation, but a real challenge launched to the powerful of the earth and to the leaders of the individual nations (be they rich or poor), each for their own part. This, added to his appeal to attitudes of conversion that are concrete on the part of all Christians, so that we may be that hand capable of putting a stop to a destruction that is foretold.
Today, the prevalence of unnatural fires are a sign of the devastating effects that climate change has on the most vulnerable of our planet. Creation cries out as forests crackle, animals flee, and people are forced to migrate due to the fires of injustice.
On the contrary, the fire that called to Moses as he tended the flock on Mt. Horeb did not consume or destroy the bush. This flame of the Spirit revealed God’s presence. This holy fire affirmed that God heard the cries of all who suffered and promised to be with us as we followed in faith to our deliverance from injustice.
In this Season of Creation, this symbol of God’s Spirit calls us to listen to the voice of creation, to the voices of those who suffer the impacts of climate change, to the voices of those who hold generational wisdom about how to live gratefully within the limits of the land. These are voices of the Earth.
Call to Awaken
The global Christian family is called to awaken to the urgent need to heal our relationships with creation and with each other and to encourage our parish communities to do the same, “for we know that things can change!” (Laudato Si’, 13).
The entire Season of Creation can be a time of prayer, but also a time of serious conversion of attitudes and habits.
Pope Francis inviting all Christians to be spokesmen for these demands of the Planet, whose voice reveals “a kind of dissonance. On the one hand, we can hear a sweet song in praise of our beloved Creator; on the other, an anguished plea, lamenting our mistreatment of this our common home”.
May the Lord hear this cry and grant humanity a new heart, capable of showing compassion to the whole of creation, so that concrete gestures may be put in place to allow all creatures to return to praise the Creator and us to join in this “‘grandiose cosmic choir’ made up of countless creatures, all singing the praises of God”.