ASH WEDNESDAY

“Turn away from your sins, and believe the good news”

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In God’s hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” (Job 12:7-10)

“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.  The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea level has risen.” (U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

As we enter the season of Lent, the season of fasting, repentance, and prayer, let’s take a moment to consider how we might repent of the harm we do to God’s creation. At this moment, human-driven climate change is contributing to increased hunger, thirst, sickness, and conflict around the world. Untold thousands of species are becoming extinct. Our lands, waters, and air are polluted. Creation was given to us as a gift. We are not tending that gift, and the human family is suffering because of it.

We invite you to discuss these questions:

  1. Let’s reflect for a few moments on what we do care for. • We take good care of what is precious to us. • We take good care of what we need. • We take good care of what our loved ones need. • We take good care of special gifts. Do creation and all it offers us fit these descriptions? What about our brothers and sisters around the world, particularly those most vulnerable to climate change? What leads us to treat creation differently from other things we need and love?
  2. How are our habits and lifestyles holding back our love for the whole human family and the community of creation?
  3. What commitments can we make during the season of Lent to demonstrate penance and turn away from harming creation? (James E. Hug, SJ)

A Prayer of Gratitude for Creation:

God of the universe,

We thank You for Your many good gifts – For the beauty of Creation and its rich and varied fruits, For clean water and fresh air, for food and shelter, animals and plants.

Forgive us for the times we have taken the earth’s resources for granted and wasted what You have given us.

Transform our hearts and minds so that we would learn to care and share, to touch the earth with gentleness and with love, respecting all living things.

We pray for all those who suffer as a result of our waste, greed and indifference.

And we pray that the day would come when everyone has enough food and clean water.

Help us to respect the rights of all people and all species and help us to willingly share your gifts today and always. Amen.

(- Fiona Murdoch, Eco-Congregation Ireland)

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