Season of Creation
September 1 – October 4
The “Season of Creation” is an ecumenical liturgical season celebrating the generous and awe-inspiring creativity of God and inviting us to embrace the mission entrusted to the human family, a mission to celebrate this creation with gratitude and to care for it with reverence and love. The theme for 2019 will be “The Web of Life.”
In May of 2019, for the first time, the Vatican issued a letter to all pastors and their communities extending “a particular invitation to join the ecumenical family in celebrating the Season of Creation.” Indeed, all people of faith are encouraged to plan special events, recognizing creation as sacred.
In 1989, Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios 1 initiated the World Day of Prayer for Creation, celebrated on September 1st each year, as an ecumenical effort to respond to the ecological crises facing the human community. In 2015 Pope Francis joined the ecumenical effort, adding this day of prayer to the Catholic liturgical calendar. Faith communities around the world have since developed the celebration into the Season of Creation, extending the prayer for creation to the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, whose love of God in creation is legendary and widely revered in many faith traditions globally. In his Message for the World Day of Prayer for Creation in 2016, Pope Francis urged Catholics to embrace the mission of caring for creation as a timely corporal and spiritual work of mercy. The Season of Creation is a time for prayer and reflection focused on growing in awe and gratitude to the Creator and in loving care for creation.
Many throughout human history have looked to nature as a primary Self-revelation of God. For almost two and one-half million years, from the Early Paleolithic or Old Stone Age, we have clear evidence that the power and beauty of Creation have touched the human heart and stirred it to reverence and worship.
Saints, Mystics, and Poets throughout human history have been transfixed by their encounter with the Sacred in nature. Jesus himself found God through contemplative attention to wild flowers, weeds like the mustard tree, and birds of the air that neither sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns.
Recent generations have had their images of creation expanded by the sight of planet Earth from space, by pictures taken in space of galaxies of stunning size and beauty, and by growing awareness of the unimaginable vastness of time and space. As we enter the Season of Creation, we do so knowing that we are the current evolutionary fruit of 13.8 billion years of cosmic development. At the same time, the evidence is overwhelming that the way we are living on this planet is depleting its essential resources dangerously and warming it – with devastating results. 16 of the warmest 17 years in more than a century of meteorological records have occurred since 2000. As a result, storms are more violent and rainfall is unpredictable, water scarce in many areas, and food production is failing in many places;
It is time to join together to protect our common home and all of creation. The created world reflects the Creator in its unimaginable beauty, awe-inspiring complexity, incredible diversity, and fullness of life. We hold all creation as sacred; each leaf, star, drop of rain, flower, bird, mammal, and human companion teaches us of God. Let us care for one another.
For more information, visit http://www.seasonofcreation.org/
Reflections celebrated on Sundays and special feasts during the Season of Creation will be found under Scriptural Reflections. https://www.dominicancenter.org/spirituality/scriptural-reflections/
James E. Hug, S.J.