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Season of Creation - Prayer Service

Donna Wuhrer, Associate

A home for all? Renewing the Oikos of God

Integral Ecological Sign of the Cross                                                                                                          

Reader 1: We begin our celebration of the Season of Creation using the prayers and readings from September 5, the first Sunday liturgy of this season. 

In the name of our Creator God from Whom this universe flared forth in fiery birth,

And of the Word of God Who took on our flesh, working to give healing and hope to all creation,

And of the Wisdom of God Who presided over the forming of atoms and galaxies and the birth of stars through billions of years.  All: Amen.

May the grace and peace of our Creator God Who cherishes us be with you!

Introduction                                                                                                                                          

Reader 2: The Season of Creation is a time of prayer and action stretching from September 1, the World Day of Prayer for Creation, to October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

The Season celebrates God as Creator of the vast cosmic  universe, God’s revelation in creation, and our calling to care for creation, to protect its rich diversity and to address the urgent, destructive crises threatening its health and future – including our own.

This year’s theme is A Home for All? Renewing the Oikos of God. OIKOS is a Greek word for home. It is the root word for terms like ecology, economy, and ecumenical. It is used here, in the words of the ecumenical steering committee for the Season of Creation, to “point to the integral web of relationships that sustain the wellbeing of the Earth.”

Reader 3:  This theme invites the global Christian community to recall that every creature of God upon Earth is loved by God for itself. It reminds us that the current exploitation of Earth is making it “a means to economic or political ends” and is destroying its ability to be the nurturing home for millions of species that God has created it to be. It invites us to ask what we must do to restore the planet to being the life-giving home God intends it to be for all that dwell here.

The scripture readings for the first Sunday of the Season of Creation urge us not to lose hope in the face of the urgent and complex climate crisis facing us. They remind us to trust in God Who is faithful and is even now working to save us. They challenge us to confront the false values of wealth and consumption that are so common and so destructive and to pray for Christ to open our eyes, our ears, our hearts.  Let us join in prayer for this grace as we sing our opening song….

Opening Song:  Open My Eyes, Lord by Jesse Manibusan

Open my eyes, Lord
Help me to see your face
Open my eyes, Lord
Help me to see

Open my ears, Lord
Help me to hear your voice
Open my ears, Lord
Help me to hear

Open my heart, Lord
Help me to love like you
Open my heart, Lord
Help me to love

And the first shall be last
And our eyes are opened
And we'll hear like never before
And we'll speak in new ways
And we'll see God's face in places we've never known

I live within you
Deep in your heart, O Love
I live within you
Rest now in me

Opening Prayer

Reader 4: Loving Creator God, you have been faithful through billions of years, patiently preparing Earth to be the nurturing home for all that dwell on it and in it. As we come to recognize the urgent threats to its well-being from the values and actions of our human community, we ask You to deepen our trust in Your faithful love, Your power to save us, and Your work in us, among us, and through us. Send the healing power of Christ to open our eyes, our ears, and our hearts.                                                                                                                                        

Unite the human family and teach us to recognize  and embrace Your Wisdom, Wisdom that suffers,  guides, heals and renews our common home. We make our prayer in the name of Christ, Your Word,  and in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Wisdom at work renewing all things in creation, now and forever.

All:  Amen.

Reader 5:  Let us now enter into the quiet of our spirits … conscious of Earth, our home and the home of every other living and inanimate creature we know … just a dot in the vast expanse of the Milky Way … Suffering from overconsumption, devastation and the crisis of dangerously-rising temperatures globally … home to millions of people rising up to restore and save our common home….

Loving God, we often lose hope in the face of the widespread devastation of climate change, the threats of far worse to come, the urgency of the needs, and the slowness of our response.

All:  Creator Spirit of God, have mercy.

Christ Jesus, You warned us how hard it is for the rich to enter the Kin-dom of God and yet we hold up wealth as a sign of success and “development” and pursue it in ways that are destroying our common home.                                                       

All:  Word of God, have mercy.

Holy Spirit of God, You call us to be the voice of the voiceless of creation suffering among us.                 

All: Wisdom of God, have mercy.

May God, Who gave fiery birth to all time and space and to the vast Web of Life in which we live, have mercy on us, free us from our sins, and guide us into the fullness of divine Life.

All:  Amen

Reader 6:  A Reading from the Letter of James

James focuses upon the widespread human temptation to honor wealth as a sign of success and value.

My brothers and sisters,

show no partiality as you adhere to the faith

in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.

For if a person with gold rings and fine clothes comes into your assembly,

and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in,

and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say,

“Sit here, please”, while you say to the poor one,

“Stand here,” or “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil designs?

Listen my beloved brothers and sisters.

Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith

and heirs of the kin-dom that is promised to those who love God?

(James 2:1-5)

Reader 7:  A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark. 

Jesus struggles, groaning, to give healing to a deaf person with a speech impediment.

Again Jesus left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon  to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis. And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him.

He took off by himself away from the crowd. 

He put his finger in the man’s ears and, spitting,

touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned,

and said to him,             

“Ephphatha!—that is, “Be opened!”—

And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed,

And he spoke plainly.  Jesus ordered them to to tell anyone.  But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it.  They were exceedingly astonished and they said,

“He has done all things well.  He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

(Mark 7:31-37)

Reflection Questions

Choose one question below to reflect on during quiet time and to share in your group.

As Associates and sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame, we share Pope Francis’ call in caring for others--especially those on the peripheries-- and caring for our common home.

·      Was there a particular word, phrase or image from the prayers or readings that challenged or resonated with you?  Why?

·      In what ways are you called to hear and respond to the Cry of the Earth? The Cry of the Poor?

·      How is Jesus calling you to live your faith in action?

·      How can you be a voice for the voiceless?

Reader 8: Prayer of the Faithful

For ever-deepening trust in the faithful presence and loving work of God in us, among us, and through us to respond to the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor, we pray…

For the success of the work of ecumenical and interfaith communities to promote global unity and restore Earth as a nurturing home to all its creatures, we pray…

That we may take up our prophetic responsibilities in this time of urgent crisis to speak God’s Truth to each other and to call each other into ways of living on Earth wisely, sustainably, justly, and reverently, we pray…

That we may hear and respond in faith and in hope to the Cry of the Poor among us and around the planet, we pray…

Let us now add our own intentions….

Loving and gracious God, we thank you for this time together, for the peace given to us this day, for the hope with which we expect tomorrow.  Bless all of our endeavors and give us your true courage and strength. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our brother and Savior. Amen.

Reader 9: Blessing                                                                                                

Based upon Laudato Si', ## 238-240, and “A Prayer for Our Earth” by Pope Francis.

Our Creator God is the ultimate source of everything, the loving and self- communicating foundation of all that exists. May God bless us with deep gratitude for our relationships with all creatures in the vast web of life.  Amen.

Christ, the Word through whom all things were created, took flesh through Mary, becoming part of the vast web of life on Earth. May Christ help us to be good news to the poor, to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this Earth.  Amen.

The Spirit, infinite bond of love, is intimately present at the very heart of the universe, inspiring and bringing new pathways. May this Holy Spirit bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.  Amen.

And may God bless us with a spirit of global solidarity flowing from the Mystery of the Trinity, Creator, Word and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

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