Pope Francis has asked us to pray for Creation each year on 1st September, in the spirit of his encyclical letter, Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home. Here are some prayer suggestions.
From Laudato Si’
by Pope Francis
LS:246. At the conclusion of this lengthy reflection which has been both joyful and troubling, I propose that we offer two prayers. The first we can share with all who believe in a God who is the all-powerful Creator, while in the other we Christians ask for inspiration to take up the commitment to creation set before us by the Gospel of Jesus.
A Prayer for our Earth
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures. You embrace with your tenderness all that exists. Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty. Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one. O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes. 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. Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth. Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light. We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace.
A Christian Prayer in Union with Creation
Father, we praise you with all your creatures. They came forth from your all-powerful hand; they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love. Praise be to you!
Son of God, Jesus, through you all things were made. You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother, you became part of this earth, and you gazed upon this world with human eyes. Today you are alive in every creature in your risen glory. Praise be to you!
Holy Spirit, by your light you guide this world towards the Father’s love and accompany creation as it groans in travail. You also dwell in our hearts and you inspire us to do what is good. Praise be to you!
Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love, teach us to contemplate you in the beauty of the universe, for all things speak of you. Awaken our praise and thankfulness for every being that you have made. Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined to everything that is.
God of love, show us our place in this world as channels of your love for all the creatures of this earth, for not one of them is forgotten in your sight. Enlighten those who possess power and money that they may avoid the sin of indifference, that they may love the common good, advance the weak, and care for this world in which we live. The poor and the earth are crying out. O Lord, seize us with your power and light, help us to protect all life, to prepare for a better future, for the coming of your Kingdom of justice, peace, love and beauty. Praise be to you! Amen.
Given in Rome at Saint Peter’s on 24 May, the Solemnity of Pentecost, in the year 2015, the third of my Pontificate.
The Canticle of the Creatures
By Saint Francis
LS:87. When we can see God reflected in all that exists, our hearts are moved to praise the Lord for all his creatures and to worship him in union with them. This sentiment finds magnificent expression in the hymn of Saint Francis of Assisi:
Praised be you, my Lord, with all your creatures, especially Sir Brother Sun, who is the day and through whom you give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour; and bears a likeness of you, Most High.
Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars, in heaven you formed them clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be you, my Lord, through Brother Wind, and through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather through whom you give sustenance to your creatures.
Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Water, who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be you, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you light the night, and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.
Canticle of the Creatures, in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, New York-London-Manila, 1999, 113-114.
What is a Charitable Heart?
By Saint Isaac the Syrian
It is a heart which is burning with love for the whole of creation, for men, for the birds, for the beasts…for all creatures.
He who has such a heart cannot see or call to mind a creature without his eyes being filled with tears by reason of the immense compassion which seizes his heart;
a heart which is softened and can no longer bear to see or learn from others of any suffering, even the smallest pain being inflicted upon a creature.
That is why such a man never ceases to pray for the animals…
[He is] moved by the infinite pity which reigns in the hearts of those who are becoming unified with God.
Saint Isaac the Syrian (7th century AD ) cited in Vladimir Lossky ‘The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church’
By Saint Basil
The Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.
O God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things,
Our brothers the animals to whom thou has given the earth as their home in common with us.
We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised the high dominion of man with ruthless cruelty, so that the voice of the earth, which should have gone up to Thee in song, has been a groan of travail.
May we realise that they live, not for us alone, but for themselves and for Thee, and that they love the sweetness of life.
Saint Basil (330 – 379 AD)
By Saint John of Chrysostom
The Saints are exceedingly loving and gentle to mankind and even to brute beasts…
Surely we ought to show them great kindness and gentleness for many reasons,
but above all, because they are the same origin as ourselves.
Saint John of Chrysostom (347 – 407 AD) Homily 39 on the Epistle to the Romans
(English Standard Version)
Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendour and majesty, 2 covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. 3 He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; 4 he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire.
5 He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. 6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. 7 At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. 8 The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. 9 You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth.
10 You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills; 11 they give drink to every beast of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. 12 Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches. 13 From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
14 You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth 15 and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.
16 The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. 17 In them the birds build their nests; the stork has her home in the fir trees. 18 The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers.
19 He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting. 20 You make darkness, and it is night, when all the beasts of the forest creep about. 21 The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God. 22 When the sun rises, they steal away and lie down in their dens. 23 Man goes out to his work and to his labour until the evening.
24 O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. 25 Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great. 26 There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it.
27 These all look to you, to give them their food in due season. 28 When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. 29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. 30 When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.
31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works, 32 who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke! 33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. 34 May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord. 35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more!
Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!
Laudato Si’ – Hymn of Praise for Creation
By Wander Oberman
Laudato Si, Laudato Si,
Let us remember our Lord’s mercy.
This planet is for all to share,
with creatures and all humanity.
1 Pastures green and fields of corn
are there for our needs and those yet to be born,
Oceans blue and fishes too
are part of God’s wonderful bounty.
REFRAIN Laudato si…..
2 Long ago in Assisi town
St Francis preached in his robes of brown
All creatures share in our planet Earth
Our brothers and sisters most precious
REFRAIN Laudato si…..
3 St Francis spoke to the birds and the bees
And included the fish in the depth of the seas
Remind us Lord of our duty to care
For our World and all creatures within it.
REFRAIN Laudato si…..
4 Mountains high and valleys low
Give shade for leaves and crops to grow
Food for us all is within God’s plan
To be shared by all of Creation.
REFRAIN Laudato si…..
5 Everyday with thanks and praise
We worship our Lord in own many ways
We treasure our world and the creatures who share
And remember the words of St Francis
REFRAIN Laudato si…..
A new hymn of praise for creation
Tune: Greensleeves [Traditional] Words: Wanda Oberman
God, who made all the earth and every living creature, help us, we pray, to treat the animals entrusted in our care with respect and kindness. Encourage us to value our sense of fellowship with our brothers and sisters the animals, who, like us, have been given this earth as their home. Teach us to act with compassion and encourage us in helping to preserve your world and all the creatures who share this planet with us.
God our Father, have mercy upon us and all your creation – Hear our prayer
From indifference to the suffering of animals throughout the world – Lord save us
From the heartless use and abuse of animals for our own pleasure – Lord save us
From the use of angry words and rough and cruel treatment – Lord save us
From acts of thoughtless cruelty – Lord save us
From lack of courage in speaking out against cruelty and wrongdoings – Lord save us
From turning a blind eye to the hidden cruelties of intensive farming, animal experiments and long distance transports – Lord save us
Grant that sport and entertainment involving the torture and death of animals will cease – Hear our prayer
Grant that the use of cruel traps and the abuse and exploitation of wild animals may end – Hear our prayer
May all food animals be treated with care and compassion, throughout their lives- Hear our prayer
Let all working animals be treated kindly according to their needs – Hear our prayer.
Father creator God,
Help us to follow the example of St Francis of Assisi
Who showed his love for all his fellow creatures
And taught us to call them our brothers and sisters.