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Hope for the Earth. Hope for Humanity
A Contemplative Guide to Laudato Si’ Week 2023

Please join the Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids in this contemplative experience from May 21-28, 2023.

Thank you to the Office of Peace, Justice, and the Integrity of Creation, Sisters of Charity of New York and the Office of Peace, Justice and Ecological Integrity of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth. Art by Sr. Suzanne Faulkner, SC

There is no question that Laudato Si’ issues an urgent call to action in response to the cry of Earth and the cry of the poor. But our action, to be effective and appropriate, must be rooted in a profound conversion of heart and mind. You are invited during Laudato Si’ Week 2023 to a daily period of contemplative prayer. If you can, pray outside. Begin your prayer by becoming aware of your place in the communion of Creation. Press your feet into the ground. Become conscious of your breathing. Feel the sun or the breeze on your skin. Listen for the voices of other creatures. When you feel centered, read the daily quotes from Laudato Si’ and from other authors. How do they relate to each other? Pick a word or phrase that has an attraction for you. Let that word draw you into silence. Dwell there for a while. What call did you experience in this time of contemplative prayer?

Sunday May 21

This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we  receive life and refreshment from her waters. LS 2

“What would it mean to rediscover the biblical sense of the natural world groaning, hoping, waiting for liberation?” ~ Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ

Monday, May 22

Creation is of the order of love. God’s love is the fundamental moving force in all created things: “For you love all things that exist and detest none of the things that you have made; for you would not have made anything if you had hated it” (Wis 11:24). Every creature is thus the object of the Father’s tenderness, who gives it its place in the world. Even the fleeting life of the least of beings is the object of his love, and in its few seconds of existence, God enfolds it with his affection. LS 77

“The universe is composed of subjects to be communed with, not      objects to be exploited. Everything has its own voice. Thunder and lightning and stars and planets, flowers, birds, animals, trees, – all these have voices, and they constitute a community of existence that is profoundly related.” ~ Thomas Berry

Tuesday, May 23

The ultimate purpose of other creatures is not to be found in us. Rather, all creatures are moving forward with us and through us towards a common point of arrival, which is God, in that transcendent fullness where the risen Christ embraces and illumines all things. LS 83

“Christ has a cosmic body that extends throughout the universe.” ~ Teilhard de Chardin, SJ

Wednesday, May 24

A sense of deep communion with the rest of nature cannot be real if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion and concern for our fellow human beings. It is clearly inconsistent to combat trafficking in endangered species while remaining completely indifferent to human trafficking, unconcerned about the poor, or undertaking to destroy another human being deemed unwanted. This compromises the very meaning of our struggle for the sake of the environment. LS 91

“Will we swim and dance in a spirituality birthed out of the awareness, that we truly praise God when we build right relationships…with people and all other species on this planet and that sin is in destroying relationships. Will we let this sink into or souls and have it shape the way we touch our planet, our borders, the way we use, share all natural resources?” ~ Peggy O’Neill, SC

Thursday, May 25

“The external deserts in the world are growing, because the internal deserts have become so vast.” For this reason, the ecological crisis is also a summons to profound interior conversion. It must be said that some committed and prayerful Christians, with the excuse of realism and pragmatism, tend to ridicule expressions of concern for the environment. Others are passive; they choose not to change their habits and thus become inconsistent. So what they all need is an “ecological conversion”, whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them. Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience. LS 217

“We have no choice but to go forward into a global community and shape a sustainable world together, if the human project is not to choke on its own toxic waste and bury itself by its own destructiveness.” ~ Rosemary Radford Reuther

Friday, May 26

Many people today sense a profound imbalance which drives them to frenetic activity and makes them feel busy, in a constant hurry which in turn leads them to ride rough-shod over everything around them.

This too affects how they treat the environment. An integral ecology includes taking time to recover a serene harmony with creation, reflecting on our lifestyle and our ideals, and contemplating the Creator who lives among us and surrounds us, whose presence “must not be contrived but found, uncovered.” LS225

“Wisdom-Sophia, a lifegiving God-image for many women, gives us the ability to discern the source and terminus of our desires. She invites us to be at home in our bodies and in the body of God which is the created world. She awakens in us the power to speak freely and act boldly to help make God’s dream come true.” ~ Regina Bechtle, SC

Saturday, May 27

Let us sing as we go. May our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope. LS 244

“As long as we think we are here to win, to dominate, to constantly climb some ladder of hierarchy where we become more valuable than others— “our” needs trumping “theirs,” numbing ourselves to the impact of our privileges—we will continue to make the kinds of decisions that lead to our extinction. The truest victory would be our healing, our continuation, our longevity, and our joy. ~  Adrienne Maree Brown

Pentecost Sunday, May 28

The Spirit of God has filled the universe with possibilities and therefore, from the very heart of things, something new can always emerge. LS 80

“Black women come to understand what Zimbabwean theologian Edward Antonio asserts: “The Spirit is always the Spirit of Creation; it is God’s breath responsible for giving and sustaining life; it is realized and experienced in community; it is about the health of communities, of individuals, of crops and of animals. The Spirit is the vital force that animates all things and thus gives them life.” ~ Linda E. Thomas