On Bank Holiday Monday BBC broadcast “Plant Earth: A Celebration” a documentary narrated by Richard Attenborough. The photography with new musical score was stunning. In the final scene, Richard Attenborough reminded us that “Never before in the history of humankind has it been more critical to protect and nurture the natural world, which is, after all, our home too.”
The next day, the 1st September, was the World Day of Prayer for the Season of Creation. Every year since the publication of the Pope’s Encyclical Letter: Laudato si the first day of September marks the World day of Prayer for the Care of Creation for the Christian family, with which the Time of Creation begins, which ends on 4th October, in memory of St Francis of Assisi. In this month we are asked as Christians, to renew our faith in God the creator and unite in a special way in prayer and action for the safeguard of our common home. This year the theme chosen is “Jubilee For the Earth”. Pope Francis, in his letter to mark this time, reminds us that for us Jubilee should be a sacred time to remember, a time to return, a time to rest, a time to mend and a time to rejoice.
We need to remember we exist only through relationships: with God the creator, with brothers and sisters as members of a common family, and with all creatures who inhabit our home. This Jubilee time is a time to go back and repent, because we have broken our bonds that unite us to the Creator, to other human beings and to the rest of creation. We need to heal these damaged relation-ships, which are essential to sustain ourselves and the entire fabric of life.
In reminding us that this is a time to rest, Pope Francis says the Jubilee invites us to rest from our usual work, to allow the earth to regenerate and the world to rearrange itself, “thanks to the decline in habitual consumption…The current pandemic has somehow led us to rediscover simpler and more sustainable lifestyles.”
This is also a time to mend, “to repair the original harmony of creation and to heal compromised human relationships.” The Pope talks about restorative justice. He writes “I renew my appeal to cancel the debt of the most fragile countries in the light of the serious impacts on health, social and economic crisis they face following Covid-19.” He also urges every country involved in the major Climate Summit in Glasgow in 2021 to adopt more ambitious national targets to reduce emissions. This is also a time to rejoice. The Pope rejoices that the special anniversary year of Laudato Si is inspiring numerous initiatives at a local and global level for the care of the common home and of the poor. “It is a reason for particular joy that the Time of Creation is becoming a truly ecumenical initiative. “We continue to grow in the awareness that we all live in a common home as members of the same family. Let us rejoice because, in his love, the Creator supports our humble efforts for the Earth. It is also the house of God, where his Word “became flesh and dwelt among us.”