WITNESSES OF THE REDEEMER:
In Solidarity for Mission to a Wounded World
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus our Redeemer,
On September 1, 2017, we once again celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, which was instituted for the Catholic Church by Pope Francis in 2015. I write this brief message to encourage all of us to celebrate this day – and to remember it in our weekend Eucharists (September 2-3).
We remember the concern of the 25th General Chapter which urged all of us to promote and deepen the spirit of Laudato si as an essential part of our Witness to the Redeemer (25th General Chapter, Decision 12). The world, our ‘common home’, is wounded also by human exploitation and abuse of the ecology and environment.
I offer the following reflection from Pope Francis on this World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation:
As Christians, we wish to contribute to resolving the ecological crisis which humanity is presently experiencing. In doing so, we must first rediscover in our own rich spiritual patrimony the deepest motivations for our concern for the care of creation. We need always to keep in mind that, for believers in Jesus Christ, the Word of God who became man for our sake, “the life of the spirit is not dissociated from the body or from nature or from worldly realities, but lived in and with them, in communion with all that surrounds us” (Laudato Si’, 216). The ecological crisis thus summons us to a profound spiritual conversion: Christians are called to “an ecological conversion whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them” (ibid., 217). For “living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience” (ibid.).
The annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation will offer individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live. The celebration of this Day, on the same date as the Orthodox Church, will be a valuable opportunity to bear witness to our growing communion with our Orthodox brothers and sisters. We live at a time when all Christians are faced with the same decisive challenges, to which we must respond together, in order to be more credible and effective. It is my hope that this Day will in some way also involve other Churches and ecclesial Communities, and be celebrated in union with similar initiatives of the World Council of Churches. (Letter, August 6, 2015)
May God bless us and this wounded world, our common home, as we witness to the Redeemer in solidarity!
Your brother in the Redeemer,
Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R.