Thursday, September 1, 2016


The one thing I look forward to more than September is October, but we must wait another 30 days for that!  Still September is an improvement over June, July, and August and at least heralds the prospect of cooler and kinder days, weeks, and months ahead! (Of course, thanks to the destruction we have imposed on our environment, each year promises to be tragically warmer than in the past.)

In the Eastern Orthodox calendar September 1 (September 14 in the Gregorian calendar) is the beginning of the liturgical year, ostensibly commemorating the creation of the world. And, somewhere, I remember Blessed Pope Paul VI opining about autumn as a kind of natural beginning of the year. The Jewish calendar clearly gets that right! As does the academic calendar - at least in those places where it waits until September to start!

Since 2015, September 1 is now observed as a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. In his Message in connection with this observance, Pope Francis called for "a serious examination of conscience," authentic repentance, expressing in confessing "our sins against the Creator, against creation, and against our brothers and sisters." The corresponding firm purpose of amendment, Pope Francis proposes, must in turn "translate into concrete ways of thinking and acting that are more respectful of creation."

In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Holy Father has incorporated the care for our common home into the traditional spiritual and corporal works of mercy:

As a spiritual work of mercy, care for our common home calls for a “grateful contemplation of God’s world” (Laudato Si’, 214) which “allows us to discover in each thing a teaching which God wishes to hand on to us” (ibid., 85). As a corporal work of mercy, care for our common home requires “simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness” and “makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world” (ibid., 230-31)

A lot to think about as we prepare for another autumnal renewal!

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