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I was reminded a few days ago of a prayer I had discovered and used almost 30 years ago. I was delighted that it popped up in my life again. The prayer began with the words “Lord, my God, when your love spilled over into all creation you thought of me. I am from Love, of Love, for Love.” When I saw this prayer again and reflected on the words, “when your love spilled over into all creation” I also thought of the message of Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si – on the “Care of Our Common Home.” The letter of the Holy Father was not just about the en-vironment and the challenges we face in trying to protect and save creation. It was also very much about the fact that all that we have is a gift from God. “God’s love spilled over into all creation”. God wants us to enjoy and delight in the creative world around us. That prayer went on “let me hear O God, al-ways recognise, cherish and enjoy your goodness in all crea-tion”. It is God’s goodness in creation, and we are asked to take care of it and to leave it such a way that those who will come after us can also enjoy it. That is why we are also challenged to do small things daily to protect the beauty of our world and the bounty of creation. We are privileged to live in Aotearoa, New Zealand. We don’t have the problems that some countries face but we are chal-lenged to ensure that we love and cherish the created world around us and not just use it as a resource to do with as we please. Pope Francis’ encyclical is focused on the idea of con-necting care of the natural world with justice for the poorest and most vulnerable people. Therefore it is only by radically reshap-ing our relationship with God, with our neighbours and with the natural world that we can hope to tackle the threats that face our planet today. The Pope insists that science is the best tool to listen to the cry of the earth, that dialogue and education are two keys that help us to escape the spiral of self-destruction which currently engulfs us. At the heart of the reflections of the Pope is this question. What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us? To children who are growing up? He challenges us and suggests that we need profound changes to the political, econom-ic, cultural and social systems as well as our own individual life styles. We will make those changes only when we know that God’s love “spilled over into all creation and he thought of us”.
With blessings to you all + John