Prayers

2011 Earth Day Reflection

Reader 1: Today, as we celebrate Earth Day, let's consider this gift of creation, this mystery and glory of nature and the earth that has been put into the care of our hands. Join me in praying for the strength and courage to carry out our charge to care for all of God's creation.

Alternating Sides:

Bless the LORD, my soul!

LORD, my God, you are great indeed!

You fixed the earth on its foundation,

never to be moved.

The ocean covered it like a garment;

above the mountains stood the waters.

You made springs flow into channels

that wind among the mountains.

They give drink to every beast of the field;

here wild asses quench their thirst.

Beside them the birds of heaven nest;

among the branches they sing.

You water the mountains from your palace;

by your labor the earth abounds.

The trees of the LORD drink their fill,

the cedars of Lebanon, which you planted.

There the birds build their nests;

junipers are the home of the stork.

You made the moon to mark the seasons,

the sun that knows the hour of its setting.

How varied are your works, LORD!

In wisdom you have wrought them all;

the earth is full of your creatures.

— Praise of God the Creator

Psalm 104: 1, 5-6, 10-13, 16-17, 19, 24

All:

Creator God, we praise you on this Earth Day for the wonder of your Creation. Your greatness shines throughout Creation. You have called us, your creatures, to hold this Earth our home in awe and to care for it as an extension of your own Self. We pray that we may be faithful stewards of your bountiful gifts. AMEN.

(Pause briefly for reflection)

Reader 2:   "The web of life is one. Our mistreatment of the natural world diminishes our own dignity and sacredness, not only because we are destroying resources that future generations of humans need, but because we are engaging in actions that contradict what it means to be human. Our tradition calls us to protect the life and dignity of the human person, and it is increasingly clear that this task cannot be separated from the care and defense of all of creation."

— USCCB, Renewing the Earth: An Invitation to Reflection and
Action on the Environment in Light of Catholic Social Teaching.

All: Creator God, source of goodness and grace, fill us with reverence for the mystery of life and give us new insight into your purposes for the human race and our place in Creation. Grant us wisdom and determination to respect, protect and preserve life and all that supports it now and in the future, in accordance with your will.  AMEN.

(Pause briefly for reflection)

Reader 3:   "[It] is the poor and the powerless who most directly bear the brunt of environmental

degradation. Unable to do otherwise, they live in polluted lands, near toxic waste dumps, or squat in public lands and other people's properties without any access to basic services."

— Archbishop Celestino Migliore

All:  Creator God, we know that the poor and vulnerable are those who suffer most when the environment is harmed and laid waste.  Guide us in the path toward responsible stewardship of the goods of the Earth, that we may assure that all persons, especially the poor and powerless, may share in the benefits intended for all humanity.  AMEN.

(Pause briefly for reflection)

Reader 4:   "What we do to preserve our planet today affects our health and well-being now and that of our children and grandchildren in the future." –Catholic Healthcare West's Statement on its Commitment to Sustainability

All: Creator God, we see that environmental degradation compromises the health and welfare of people now and in the future, and we know that conservation of natural resources multiplies your gifts to us. As workers in the health care ministry, we ask your help and guidance so that we may incorporate environmental stewardship into our commitment to care for all people. Endow all humanity with reverence and awe for the natural world so that no one may suffer from abuse of its resources and generations to come may continue to praise your goodness. AMEN.

(Pause briefly for reflection)

Reader 5:   "Why, until very recently, have we who confess that God created this world not risen up en masse in defense of the natural world?"

— Sr. Elizabeth A. Johnson, CSJ

All:  Creator God, you have made the world and it is good. Lord, you are great indeed! You have named us as your co-creators and called us to be responsible stewards of the Earth. May we live our lives in obedience to your call — making choices to serve and not to harm Creation. Inspire us to have the courage to honestly assess our individual and institutional policies, practices and habits. Grant us wisdom to recognize where we have not lived up to your invitation to cultivate and care for Creation. Help us to see the strength within us to change our careless ways, to promote the common good of your one human family, and to live in accordance with your will. We ask all of this through Christ our Lord. AMEN.

(Pause briefly for reflection)

Reader 1:  We ask all of this through Christ our Lord.

All:  Amen.

Closing Hymn or Music such as "For the Beauty of the Earth."