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Study Guide on the Care of Creation

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July 26, 2016

CuraCreato-IT-212x300REFLECTION - The resource booklet which you are about to read is likewise an exhortation to be open to the world around us, to listen attentively to all those creatures who inhabit this little planet, our common home. It arises from an urgent concern that the Cry of the Earth and the Cries of the Poor are being disregarded and that, as Franciscans, we must be partners in dialogue, making our specific contribution to the healing of our world, and of the people who live in it…

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THE CRY OF THE EARTH AND THE CRIES OF THE POOR

An OFM Study Guide on the Care of Creation

FOREWORD

“But ask the animals and they will teach you, or the birds of the sky and they will tell you. Or speak to the earth and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea declare to you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, in whose hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all the human race?” (Job 12:7-10)

In these lyrical phrases, the Book of Job exhorts the human person to be open and ready to be taught by animals, birds, fish, and indeed, the earth itself. It is a passage that resonates with people of goodwill, and in particular with those who have been touched by the wonderful richness of the Franciscan tradition.

The resource booklet which you are about to read is likewise an exhortation to be open to the world around us, to listen attentively to all those creatures who inhabit this little planet, our common home. It arises from an urgent concern that the Cry of the Earth and the Cries of the Poor are being disregarded and that, as Franciscans, we must be partners in dialogue, making our specific contribution to the healing of our world, and of the people who live in it.

While this short document is rooted in the Franciscan and biblical traditions, it intentionally expresses that same tradition in partnership with contemporary science. This was the express desire of the 2015 General Chapter, which asked for a Study Guide on the care of creation that is built upon a biblical, ecclesial, Franciscan and scientific foundation. Theology and science are two different perspectives that together allow us to see the universe in its three-dimensional depth. As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks says, “Science is the search for explanation. Religion is the search for meaning.” We Franciscans must engage intelligently with all of the sciences in order to complement our own insights.

In conjunction with previous documents of the Church and the Order – pre-eminently with Laudato si’– this booklet aims to provide guidance so that our Entities and all of you, my brothers, might be able to respond to the ecological challenges of our time. I would like to emphasise this particular aspect of our Franciscan commitment to the world. Inspired by the example of St. Francis, we Friars and Lesser Brothers are challenged to ‘do’ in order that we might understand more deeply the cries of God’s people, the cry of God’s creation. We are invited through our actions to become mystics, men of faith who are capable of perceiving the beauty and wonder of God’s handiwork in the lives of our brothers and sisters, and in every living thing, all created to participate together in giving glory to God and in offering a service of love and care one to the other. I encourage all who use this resource to reassess their manner of perceiving and acting, and to restructure their lifestyles in order to allow the Spirit of God to fashion within each of us an ‘integral ecological vision’ that embraces all, in charity and justice. May we allow God to work the wonderful mystery of love and mercy within us so that we might remove the obstacles that deafen us to the Cry of the Earth and the Cries of the Poor. There is urgency to our response. Humanity and the planet cannot wait any longer. We must act now!

“Let us begin again for up to now we have done little or nothing.”

Rome, 25 July 2016
Feast of St. James the Apostle

Br. Michael Anthony Perry, OFM
Minister General and Servant

Source: ofm.org, July 25, 2016

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