To unite us in prayer, the Sisters of Charity offer this prayer service to our friends, families, and colleagues in ministry as we give thanks to our God for the many blessings we receive. We thank Sr. Arlene Ketchum for preparing the prayer service, and Sr. Carol Finnegan for her assistance with the music selection.
Opening Prayer: “In the heart of this world, the Lord of life, who loves us so much, is always present. He does not abandon us, he does not leave us alone, for he has united himself definitively to our earth, and his love constantly impels us to find new ways forward.
Praise be to God!” Pope Francis, Laudato Si’.
Song: We Are One, by Earth Mama Love Large
I have Sisters in Nicaragua, their skin is burning from the chemicals used in the fields where they make their living.
I have Brothers in Indonesia, their eyes are stinging from the burning of rain forest trees to clear them for grazing.
We have Elders in ancient forests who mourn the passing of species of flowers and birds crowded out by our taking. There are children in war-torn countries. They are all of our Children. They can’t remember a night time of peace with no shooting or crying.
Reading: Laudato Si’ On Care for Our Common Home, p. 106
What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up? This question not only concerns the environment in isolation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal. When we ask ourselves what kind of world we want to leave behind, we think in the first place of its general direction, its meaning and its values. Unless we struggle with these deeper issues, I do not believe that our concern for ecology will produce significant results.
But if these issues are courageously faced, we are led inexorably to ask other pointed questions: What is the purpose of our life in this world? Why are we here? What is the goal of our work and all our efforts? What need does the earth have of us? It is no longer enough, then, simply to state that we should be concerned for future generations. We need to see that what is at stake is our own dignity. Leaving an inhabitable planet to future generations is, first and foremost, up to us. The issue is one which dramatically affects us, for it has to do with the ultimate meaning of our earthly sojourn.
Response: Gratitude J. Rupp, The Circle of Life
Side 1: To be grateful for what is-
Side 2: instead of underscoring what is not.
Side 1: To find good amid the unwanted aspects of life—
Side 2: without denying the presence of the unwanted.
Side 1: To focus on beauty in the little things of life—
Side 2: as well as being deliberate about the great beauties of art, literature, music, and nature.
Side 1: To be present to one’s own small space of life—
Side 2: while stretching to the wide world beyond it.
Side 1: To find something to laugh about in every day—
Side 2: even when there seems nothing to laugh about.
Side 1: To search for and to see the good in others—
Side 2: rather than remembering their faults and weaknesses.
Side 1: To be thankful for each loving deed done by another—
Side 2: no matter how insignificant it might appear.
Side 1: To taste life to the fullest—
Side 2: and not take part of it for granted.
Side 1: To seek to forgive others for their wrongdoings—
Side 2: even immense ones, and to put the past behind.
Side 1: To find ways to reach out and help the disenfranchised—
Side 2: while also preserving their dignity and self-worth.
Side 1: To be as loving and caring as possible—
Side 2: in a culture that consistently challenges these virtue.
Side 1: To remember to say or send “thank you”—
Side 2: for whatever comes as a gift from another.
Side 1: To be at peace—
Side 2: with what cannot be changed.
Blessings: Name aloud or in the silence of your heart, a word or a phrase expressing one thing for which you are grateful…
Closing: Bountiful God, we give thanks for one another, for all of creation, and for those who bring the fragility of our earth to our consciousness. Let us go and celebrate.