“May our common home overflow with life once again.” This is the wish expressed by Pope Francis in his message for the Day of Creation, which will be celebrated on 1st September 2023.
The Holy Father's message was presented recently at the Laudato Si’ Week, press conference at the Vatican, with the participation of Cardinal Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and Tomás Insua, Executive Director of Laudato Si’ Movement.
Cardinal Czerny explained,
“Pope Francis updates the biblical image of the river to the 21st century, calling attention to the physical rivers that we mistreat so much today, proving to be a stark image of the ecological crisis”. This year, the theme of the Season of Creation – which will begin on September 1st and end on October 4th, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi and the first anniversary of the premiere of the film ‘The Letter’ – is ‘Let justice and peace flow’, words that, as Francis points out in his message, are inspired by those of the prophet Amos: “Let judgment flow like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24).
The Pope stressed that
“God wants justice to reign....it is essential for our proper life as children created in the image of God, no less than water is essential for our physical survival.”
Based on the words of the Prophet Amos, the Holy Father went on to share his hope that “justice and peace can flow, like an inexhaustible stream of pure water, nourishing humanity and all creatures.” However, “the effects of this war can be seen in so many rivers that are drying up because of our rapacious consumerism, fueled by selfish hearts, is disrupting the planet’s water cycle.”
Pope Francis went on to denounce the burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests that are raising temperatures and provoking great droughts, and “the terrible shortage of water increasingly besets our homes, from small rural communities to large metropolises.” He called on “all people of goodwill” to bring about a “transformation of our hearts, our lifestyles and the public policies that govern our societies.”
The world we have known, enjoyed and celebrated as human beings is changing rapidly beyond repair, whilst biodiversity is being lost at a rate not seen since the last mass extinction. The hope of keeping average temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius is fading and the futures of young people are threatened by the cascading impacts of the loss of biodiversity and a changing climate. Industrialization, colonization and the extraction and consumption of resources have created great wealth but this is unequally distributed. We are more aware than ever of the link between fossil fuels, and violence and war.
The urgency to transform our lifestyle grows and we are collectively and individually called to make peace with Earth and on Earth and be in right-relationship with the Creator; justice calls us to repentance and a change of attitude and actions.
Instead of despair, may we create hope as by working together so that streams of life can rise and be renewed in the desert, and an economy of peace can be built instead of an economy based on conflict and fear.
How can I get involved with the Season of Creation?
- Watch the Opening Ceremony online, which took place on 1st September 2023