Tuesday in the Twenty-Second Week of Ordinary Time
[Scripture Readings: 1 Thess 5:1-6, 9-11; Lk 4:31-37]
“With authority and power Jesus commands the unclean spirits and they come out.”
On August 6th, the 70th anniversary of the destruction of Hiroshima by an atomic bomb, Pope Francis asked us to keep September 1st as a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. He is following the suggestion and practice of our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters since 1989 when Patriarch Dimitrios wrote an encyclical to take better care of our world.1
In our times the most lethal attack on creation has been abortion. In his encyclical, Ladato Si, Pope Francis writes that “Concern for the protection of nature is incompatible with abortion. … [because] if the acceptance of new life is lost, then [care for] other forms [of life will] also wither away.”2 Since 1980 there have been 1.3 billion abortions worldwide, more than 100,000 per day.3 That's equivalent to dropping an atomic bomb every day for 35 years on people in cities the size of Nagasaki. This is the thief in the night that we pray will be cast out of our world, not only to save children in the womb, but also to save their mothers who are victims in a different way.
At the end of his encyclical Pope Francis offers this prayer for the care of creation:
“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 of the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of everything, 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.”