October Intention 2017
We must pray for those affected by recent natural disasters, to give strength
to the victims and those who strive to assist them in rebuilding their lives. We must pray that man may re-think harmful policies which may be contributing directly and indirectly to such mayhem visited upon fellow human beings.
We are fortunate to inhabit a wonderful planet, which, together with the surrounding air and the brilliance of the sun and the pull of the moon, sustains us through our own natural lives. It provides us with the raw materials and
allows us within reason and ingenuity to use them to the best of our advantage. But the earth is a living, reactionary organism, constantly in motion, and occasionally, perhaps subjected to the cosmic swats of the hand, from the greater universe. These factors
alone have resulted in past and more recent catastrophic events.
The third worst earthquake disaster in the world happened in the year 526. This major earthquake hit Syria, and Antioch with a death toll between 250, 000 and 300,000 people. In most recent
times, we have graphic images in our minds of the impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, with their trails of deaths, destruction and damage. We have also seen how the people in Nepal have suffered and are suffering, as we write, under the impact of this year's
monsoon season.[ Siobhan McGee, CEO, ActionAid Ireland] Nearer to home, did we ever think that we would wake up in Ireland to news of washed-away bridges, landslides and sink-holes in Donegal, in the middle of Summer?
The Plundering of Our Common Home
Perhaps some such future event will be so destructive as to impact on the life of every human on the planet, as it may have done in the past. But within our own hands, and by our own inventiveness, we appear to be set on a parallel course of self-destruction.,
which is unforgiveable.
We should take heed of the warnings that are emanating from several sources about holes in the ozone layer, the impact of the destruction of our rain forests, pollution, and the increasing threat of nuclear confrontation. When
our world leaders appear to be moved to come together to attempt to cut back on 'harmful emissions', we must believe that they access to some terrifying information in order to do so.
Certainly, Pope Francis is very worried and has written a wonderful
letter to us On Care for Our Common Home.[ Papa-francesco 20150524 enciclica laudato si] In this encyclicle, he quotes Saint Francis of Assisi who greatly personified our planet as being like 'a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who
opens her arms to embrace us.' How do we reward this person who envelops us? In anguish, Pope Francis states that we have irresponsibly used and abused the goods with which she has been endowed; we have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled
to plunder her at will.
These are powerful images but we stand rightly accused. Referencing Patriarch Bartholomew, the Pontiff asks us to repent and to acknowledge how each of us, however small, has disfigured and destroyed creation: "To commit a crime
against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God".
Pope Francis is not merely on a 'Save the planet' campaign. He deeply shares the commitment and beliefs of Saint Francis who showed "just how inseparable the bond is between
concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace." Clearly the perfectably acceptable roles as providers, have been replaced by the execrable ones of sheer exploitation for immoral monetary gains, to the detriment of the
planet and large, large numbers of humanity. By inference, Pope Francis exhorts us to heed the advice of Patriarch Bartholomew, and "replace consumption with sacrifice, greed with generosity, wastefulness with a spirit of sharing, an asceticism which “entails
learning to give, and not simply to give up. It is a way of loving, of moving gradually away from what I want to what God’s world needs. It is liberation from fear, greed and compulsion”.
The Need for Prayer
task lies ahead to immediately bring relief, assistance and a restoration of dignity to all those affected by natural and other disasters. But part of that task involves the great changes demanded by Pope Francis, Patriarch Bartholomew and as originally initiated
by Saint Francis and other like-minded souls.
Before He took any task upon himself, Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour, prayed: At the age of 12 Jesus was found in the temple sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; [ Luke 2:46]
when Jesus was baptised he prayed.[ Luke 3: 21-22]; before He began his public ministry, He prayed. [ Luke 4: 1-13]; before Jesus chose the twelve Disciples, He prayed;[ Luke 6:12] at the Transfiguration , Jesus prayed;[ Luke 9:28-29] Jesus prayed to God the
Father and he taught this prayer to the Disciples which is now our prayer also, 'The Lord's Prayer'[ Mt 6:9-13, Luke 11:1-4]; Jesus prayed at the Last Supper as He instituted the Eucharist[ Luke 22: 19-20]; Jesus prayed on the mount of Olives before His arrest[
Luke 22: 39-46]; At His Crucifixation ,Jesus prayed for the forgiveness of others[ Luke 23: 33-44]; Finally at His death, Jesus prayed. Lk 23:46.
As Christians, we are called to follow His example, to pray before the task as presented to us by Pope
Francis. We need to pray, that we may assist all those affected. Our prayers offer to all, divine help and support as they struggle amongst the chaos of their broken lives.
There is a great task ahead to save our world,
where "the divine and the human meet in the slightest detail in the seamless garment of God's creation, in the lask spect of dust of our planet." It is vital we assist those who have been greatly affected by previous and ongoing disasters. We need to change
and pray for the strength to do so, as Jesus, Our Saviour has shown us. We must turn once more to loving arms and not plunder the wonderful gifts that have been granted to all of us.
Siobhan McGee, CEO, ActionAid Ireland
Papa-francesco 20150524 enciclica laudato si
Luke 3: 21-22
Luke 4: 1-13
Mt 6:9-13, Luke 11:1-4
Luke 22: 39-46
Luke 23: 33-44