Earth Day was first celebrated in San Francisco in 1970. In 2009 the United Nations designated April 22 as International Mother Earth Day. The Sisters of Charity of New York will celebrate Earth Day in our homes and convents with this prayer. We invite our friends and families to join us.
As we pray on Earth Day, and everyday, let us join each other through connecting with Creation’s Transformative Energy of which we are a part and together let us unleash this energy anew for the future of the Universe.
And we pray to cultivate peace by joining together in protecting all of creation.
Reader: “Creation…remains a kind of first revelation which speaks to us clearly of the Creator and which can lead us ever more deeply into the mystery of God’s transformative energy. (Pope John Paul II)
(a moment of reflection)
Reader: … love all of God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light and incredible energy. Love the animals, the plants, everything. If you love everything you will perceive the divine mystery in all things – in air, in sky, in fire and rain in sunlight and moonlight and in the divine within that all share.” ( F. Dostoyevsky)
(a moment of reflection)
(then pause to absorb the words of the song)
Reader: As a human community we are coming belatedly to the conclusion that earth is not just solely for human benefit. We are being challenged to acknowledge that all of creation, of the universe claim the right to exist.
There is a growing sense that the fullness of divine energy and creativity manifests itself in virtually all forms of life-an insight well known to native peoples but buried in Western societies.
The created world is characterized by this wondrous variety in living things woven together, a vibrant web of life. The future belongs to those who give the next generation reasons to hope. (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)
A Seed Psalm —
Awaken, you buried seeds
asleep in your earthen tombs!
Rise up with joy to break forth
The hard coffins of your shells!
Your Eastertime has come:
the song of the dove
is heard over the softening land.
Winter has hidden,
and Spring now dances on your graves
to awaken the dead.
Awaken, seeds of holiness
buried deep within me.
Rise up to fulfill your destiny
whose time has come.
For sanctity is scribbled
bold within my blood and brain.
Onward and beyond
have I been called
even before I felt the sun
or knew the earth around me.
May spring enchant the saint,
shy and hesitant within me,
and set the rhythm for my sluggish feet
in an dance of holy yearning.
We join each other as we pray:
Creating God, in you everything on Earth and in the heavens is bound together in perfect harmony. If we lose the sweetness of the water, we lose the life of the land. If we lose the life of the land, we lose the majesty of the forest, we lose the purity of the air. If we lose the purity of the air, we lose the creatures of Earth, which includes humanity.
Open our eyes to behold your creation. Create in us a new spirit of awareness of our place in your delicate balance; transform our hearts that we may reclaim our sense of awe and wonder. Quicken our understanding that we may acknowledge our responsibility and strengthen our resolve to work with you for the healing of creation. Help us to join together your energy within each of us to renew our earth and to move the hearts and consciences of politicians throughout the world to work together for this renewal.
We do not exist outside of nature or independent of nature- we are simply its most vulnerable part.
Certainly God is raising up people even today to bring us through this critical time. Certainly God’s transformative energy is pulsing through each one of us and all creation bringing new life through our connection.
We are connected through this energy, through this faith and conscience around those working for peaceful, just and sustainable solutions for all of the world and the universe.
We are related to all -to the earth- to the universe in a web that cannot be broken without injury to all. We look to Jesus to continue to unite us, to give us the grace we need to renew ourselves, each other and the face of the earth and the universe. Amen.
*** From this Earth Day forward, let us join our transformative energy with each other and all of creation by consciously going within where God’s energy exists uniquely in each one and let us send that energy out to heal and to renew.
Prepared by Sr. Carol Finnegan, SC, and Sr. Elaine Owens, SC
Photo by Sr. Margaret Egan, SC