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Pope listens to what Francis of Assisi can teach us about creation

By Elise Harris

Vatican City, Sep 1, 2015 / 02:46 pm (CNA/EWTN News) - On the first World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, the preacher to the papal household said that St. Francis of Assisi is a key model in showing the link between faith in God and care for our common home.


Saint Francis “is living proof of the contribution that faith in God can give to the common effort for the protection of creation,” Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap., said Sept. 1 during his homily for a Liturgy of the Word presided over by Pope Francis, which was celebrated at St. Peter's Basilica.

“His love for creatures is a direct consequence of his faith in the universal paternity of God.”

The World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation was instituted by Pope Francis last month to coincide with the Eastern Orthodox Church’s day of celebration for creation, which has taken place this day since since 1989.

Although Pope Francis presided over the celebration, Fr. Cantalamessa (who has been preacher to the Papal Household since he was appointed by St. John Paul II in 1980) gave the homily.

The liturgy began with the Canticle of the Three Young Men from the book of Daniel, and the Christian prayer in union with creation found at the conclusion of Pope Francis' 2015 encyclical Laudato Si'.

There was then a first reading, from Genesis 1; a responsorial, Psalm 148; a second reading, from Laudato Si'; an Alleluia; and a Gospel reading, from Matthew 6.

Fr. Cantalamessa delivered his homily following the proclamation of the Gospel.

One of the greatest sins against creation, the Capuchin Franciscan priest said, is not listening to God’s voice, but “condemning it irretrievably, Saint Paul would say, to vanity, to insignificance.”

The priest turned to God’s first commandment to man and woman, do “fill the earth and subdue it,” as well as his charge that man would have dominion over the earth.

Often these passages are interpreted with a secular mindset in which the word “dominate” is taken out of the biblical context, he said, portraying a “political sovereign exploiting his subjects” rather than a father who guards and preserves his creatures.

“There is an evident parallel: as God is dominant over man, so man should be dominant over the rest of creation, that is, responsible for it and guarding it,” the priest said.

“Faith in God the creator and in man made in God's image is therefore not a threat, but rather a guarantee for creation, and the strongest of all. He says that man is not absolute master of other creatures: he must account for what he received.”

A demonstratation that man's abuse of creation does not follow the biblical vision is that today’s pollution map doesn't coincide with the spread of the biblical region, but rather that “of a wild industrialization, turned only to profit, and with that the corruption that closes the mouth of all protests and resists all powers.”

Instead, the Bible brings to light a natural hierarchy which can be seen throughout nature, the priest observed.

This is a hierarchy, he said, is “for life, not against it,” and can be violated in various ways, such as when some spend ostentatious amounts on their pets and allow millions of children to “die of hunger and disease underneath their eyes.”

What St. Francis of Assisi shows us is a way to radically change our relationship with creation, in which we replace possession with contemplation, the preacher said.

Saint Francis, Fr. Cantalamessa noted, “found a different way to praise things, which is to contemplate, rather than owning them. He can rejoice in all things, because he has given up on owning any.”

“Possession excludes, contemplation includes; possession divides, contemplation multiplies,” he said, explaining that while only one person can own a lake or park, thus excluding others, when these things are left for contemplation, thousands can enjoy them without taking away from anyone else.

He also spoke pointed to the Gospel passage which was read, in which Christ says not to worry about what we will eat or drink, or what tomorrow will bring.

This passage, the priest observed, might seem contradictory to Laudato Si', in which Pope Francis encouraged others to be concerned about the future of the planet.

Rather than being in contradiction, the Gospel passage “puts the axe to the root - the same axe to the very same root at which Pope Francis puts his encyclical,” when it states at the beginning that “you cannot serve both man and wealth,” Fr. Cantalamessa said.

The preacher added that no-one can truly serve the cause of protecting creation without having the courage “of pointing the finger against the exaggerated accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few and against the money that measures them.”

Although Christ never condemned wealth in itself, what he did condemn was dishonest wealth, gained at the expense of others as a result of corruption and which is deaf to the needs of the poor.

What the Gospel passage says and what Pope Francis says in Laudato Si' have the same undertone, namely, not to be concerned with our own tomorrow, but with the tomorrow “of those who will come after” us.

The example of St. Francis of Assisi, he said, shows that a religious attitude toward creation is not something far-fetched, but is based on something concrete.

He noted how the saint at one point said, “I don't want to be a thief of alms,” meaning he was receiving more than he needed, and was thus taking away from others.

“Today this rule could have a very useful application for the future of the earth,” Fr. Cantalamessa said, explaining that while St. Francis didn’t have the global, planetary vision of the world’s ecological problem, he had a local, immediate vision.

St. Francis of Assisi “thought about what he could do and possibly his brother friars. Also in this he teaches us something,” the priest said, pointing to the popular slogan, “Think globally, act locally.”

“What sense does it have, for example, to pick on those who pollute the atmosphere, oceans, and forests, if I don't hesitate to throw a plastic bag in the bank of a riverbed that will remain there for centuries unless someone retrieves it?” he asked.

Like peace, protecting creation is something “handcrafted” that begins with ourselves, he said, quoting a phrase of Pope Francis.

He concluded by saying that if St. Francis of Assisi were alive today, he might add another verse to his famous prayer, this time praising God “for all those who work to protect our sister mother Earth, scientists, politicians, heads of all religious and men of good will.”

“Praise be, my Lord, for him who, together in my name, has also taken my message and today is bringing it to the whole world!”

Past Issues

Dec. 9, 2018

Nov. 25, 2018

Nov. 11, 2018

Oct. 28, 2018

Oct. 14, 2018

Sept. 16, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: 2018 Golf Classic; student athletes; physically challenged; Leonard Stegman; Lesson in forgiveness; Sending us on a mission

Sept. 2, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Priest crisis; Scandal; Opioid addictions; Seeds of Suicide; Leightons; St. Anne; Vincke; seminarians; Dominican Sisters; Stewardship Conference; Dead Sea Scrolls; PSR programs; Roe V. Wade

 

August 12, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Prayer and Action; Totus Tuus; Janee Bernal; Diana Ramirez; Heidy Ramirez; Bishop Gilmore honored for 20 years ministry; suicide; contraception and abortion; Dead Sea Scrolls; Humanae Vitae; certification in youth ministry; Chuck Weber; Cathedral rectory chapel; Sister Viola Heichelbech; Adam Urban

July 15, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Immigration Protest/Rally; Faith and Light Fiesta; Seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls; Corpus Christi procession; Prayers for priests; Sisters turn 100; Michael Brungardt; Gerald Vincke; Massacre in San Salvador; Action for Alex 

 

June 3, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Parish Pray for Priestly Vocations; Appeal reaches $10 million; Gangs; Seminarians; Pam Willis; Why I like being a priest; Happy Father's Day; Patricia Lujan; Tyler and Rachel Bennett; Adoption Protection Act.

May 20, 2018
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation

May 6, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Archbishop Romero; Seeing, Touching, Tasting; Exhortation; Father Patrick Conroy; Happy Mother's Day; A child on your doorstep; Vibrant Ministries Grant; From the heart of a young father; Love Gives Life; Roman Holiday; Smartphone; retirement
Fossil Hunting

 

April 15, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Easter Vigil; Angelica Village; Colorado woman; The art of anger; Cimarron Couple; Staats; Adoption; 

Father Ultan Murphy anniversary; Coughlan; Spiritual Advisor to Hoodlums; Woman of Courage; Oration contest; Darcy Feist  

 

April 1, 2018

 

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Defending Adoption; Led by the Spirit; Knights; ABC Pregnancy Center;
Memorial of Mary; Homeless; Relics; Down syndrome abortion; Chrism Mass

 

March 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: SKYAC; Aleksandr Men; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; Uganda; School for deaf; Rannah Evetts; Oberle; Rachel and Doug Trombley; Oscar Romero; Paul VI; DACA

 

 

March 4, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Fasting for priestly vocations; Father Juan; Fasting and prayer;
Quest Weekend 2018; DACA; With God, anything is possible; Homelessness in our communities; Rhubarb, Kansas;
What's the point of fasting; Rite of Election; same-sex couples

 

Feb. 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Catholic Schools Week; Rachel Doll; Ellinwood; Great Bend; Garden City; Ness City; Dodge City; Sister Rita Schwarzenberger; Nigeria; Bishop Hermes; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; World Day for Consecrated Life; 50th Anniversary St. Dominic School; What will life be like in 50 years?

 

 

Feb. 4, 2018

 

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: March for Life; Tracy and Ross Smith; Adoption; Vibrant Ministries; Faith and Light;
Pro-Life; Mortal sin to discard elderly; DACA; Abortion; Dreamers; Human Trafficking

 

Jan. 21, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Louise Korbe; Anne Frank; Miep Gies; Home Heat; Father Solanus

 

Jan. 7, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Good news and kingdom living; dreamers; Sister Teresa Orozco; Infant Adoption; Elderly; a moral conundrum; seminarian; feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

 

Dec. 17, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Celebrate Christmas 'unplugged'; Msgr. Matthew Smith; Klan; Catholic Charities Annual Appeal; Fr. Larry Rosebaugh; A Guadalupe Encounter; Laci and Joe Salazar; A Christmas Wish; Adoption; Confession; Advent; EWTN; Christmas Blues; Tilma; Pittsburgh; PSR

 

Dec. 3, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: 2017 NCYC; Wheel of Balance; Marita Rother; Stanley Rother; slavery; trafficking; Windthorst water damage; martyred priests; confession; reconciliation; How to go to confession; recipe for codfish cakes; Catholic schools; appeal

 

Nov. 19, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Saints; Father Kola; Black Elk; Giving Tuesday; velvet Elvis; a Slice of Time; Dani Sandoval; Mexican Village; Father Tim Hickey; New faces at chancery; priests share thoughts on confession; Wheel of Balance

 

Nov. 5, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Matrimony Anniversary Mass, 2017; Riebel; Faith and Light; Scripture Day; Sex in the Bible; Quilt, Mexican Village Story; Finance; Fatima pilgrimage; Fowler church window renovation; Medicare; Crazy Glue


Oct. 15, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Father Francis Jordan; Sister Renee Kirmer; Father Rother beatified; religious liberty; RCIA Kansas; V Encuentro; Bishop Weisenburger; Daughters of Isabella; Bishop Gerber Science Center


Oct. 1, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: De Colores; Rebein; Dreamer; Pies; Kellner; Code Quilts; Sister Crucita; Feezor; Formed.org; Sin and pain

 

 Sept. 17, 2017

 

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Sister Lucy Fidelis; Underground Railroad; Sister Irene Hartman; DACA; new priests; teachers; Volunteer of the Year; Golf Classic; St. Francis Xavier; St. Nicholas Parish Center, Kinsley; seminarians; Knights Lite; Stewardship Day 2017

Sept. 3, 2017

Aug. 13, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Coronado Cross; Masada; Moody Gardens; Elders; Rother; undocumented children; cages; year of mercy; Kumi; Hollywood makeup artist; New Mexico; refugee women.

July 16, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Summer camp; tithing and almsgiving; Bill Baalmann; Nathan Schaller; Jubilarian Sisters; Sister Hortencia Rodriguez; Sister Petrona Stockemer; Sister Denise Sevart; Convocation of Catholic Leaders; Mother talks about her son entering seminary; Arcoiris; Youth group travels to Colorado Springs; Major Phillip Roth

June 11, 2017 (Updated)

Ordination; Mark Brantley; Jacob Schneider; Father's Day; Thanks, Dad!; Appeal; Sister Mary Martin Weaver; Bishop Maralit; Budget; Trafficked women; Deacon Michael Brungardt; Dead Sea Scrolls; softball; Father Urban retirement; Sister Kravec retirement; Father Mazouch retirement; Authentic Joy; Pris Climate Accord; Jack Schramm; Pieta.

May 28, 2017 (Updated)

 

Grateful Hearts; MSFS Provincial; Reddy; Reif; Opossum; Dead Sea Scrolls; Our Lady of Fatima; Jorge Herrera, Jr.; Cursillo; Kough; First Communion; Confirmation

May 14, 2017

Esteban Hernandez; citizen; Lilly Ann Rein, Amberly Jimenez, Mother's Day; peacock; Quattrocchi; President Kennedy; Teen Moms; Junior High Youth Rally; Encounter With God's Call; granny/nanny; seniors' contributions; tornado anniversary; harvest; healthcare; Mr. Brown; Store-bought teeth; Louis and Zelie Martin; Father John Sullivan; Irish priest whose prayers could heal; Mexican beauty queen; Esmaralda Gonzalez; religious life

April 30, 2017

   KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Easter Vigil; bully; TEC; Father Marvin Reif; Bet'sie; What makes a hero?; St. Mary of the Plains; tornado

Easter, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: SKYAC; Honorable courtship; footsteps of migrants; CHRISM Mass 2017; honoring priests; Encuentro Cross blessed; Daughters of Isabella State Convention; Fatima pilgrim statue; Mary Sharon Moore interview; Senate advances pro-life measures; love must be at the core of family life; Father John Forkuoh's car story; Confirmations; Sisters of Concordia; CNN hero Father Khalil Jaar

March 26, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: From the heart; kidney; Rother; Friar Carmelo; Schnauzer; Lauren Seachris; Lauren's Treat; fire; Guatemala; immigration; Lenten Regulations 1888; Hot Cross Buns; budget; Trump; Forkuoh; Seiwert; South Sudan; hot ashes

March 12, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Refugees; immigrants; Gilbert Herrman; When you give alms'; Lent; Call to Continuing Conversion, Rite of Election; Charell and Jeremy Owings; adoption; Our Growing Church; Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia; water; creation; Sudan; Darlow Lampe

Feb 26, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Night to shine; Immigration; immigrants; Knights of Columbus; Pete Gomez; this foreign mission; Creole; Robin Doll; Eagle Scout; Quest

Feb 12, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Catholic Schools Week; March for Life; Pro-life; Executive Order; Secular Franciscan Order; teachers; Down Syndrome; Eagle Scout; Bronze Pelican

Jan. 29, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Thank you, religious; SEEK 2017; homeless man to priest; Fourth Sunday; Secret Service to Sacred Heart; Dr. Gerard Brungardt; Martin Luther King; 110 year old nun; Toddler miracle; Letter from undocumented immigrant; health care; immigration

Jan. 15, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Mary helps us share; Tighe donates home to Birthright; Pro-life billboard; Theobald Hattrup; Helen and Steve Eck; Pearl Harbor; Reigning Grace

Dec. 18, 2017

KEYWORDS: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, 2016; Pope Francis Christmas schedule; 2016 high school youth rally; Aerospace engineer; Father Stanley Rother; Radio station; Dying girl's letter; Scout nominations; 12 days of Christmas

Dec. 4, 2016

KEYWORDS: Vocations Day; Pope Advent advice; Ex-prostitute; Spearville mission; Pilgrims v. Zombies; Face of God; Mission bazaar; Ness City fall festival; Rural health care; Archbishop Gomez; Bishops congratulate Trump

Nov. 20, 2016

Nov. 6, 2016

Oct. 23, 2016

Oct. 9, 2016


Sept. 25, 2016


Sept. 11, 2016

 
Aug. 7, 2016

July 10, 2016

June 12, 2016

May 29, 2016

May 8, 2016


 April 24, 2016

 April 10, 2016

 March 27, 2016

March 13, 2016

Feb. 28, 2016

 

Feb. 14, 2016


Jan. 31 , 2016

Jan. 17, 2016

Dec. 20, 2015

Dec. 6, 2015

Nov. 15, 2015

Nov. 1, 2015

Oct. 18, 2015

Oct. 4, 2015

Sept. 20, 2015

Sept. 6, 2015

August 9, 2015

July 12, 2015

Jun 14, 2015

May 17, 2015

May 3, 2015

April 19, 2015

Easter, 2015

 

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