The Council of European Bishops' Conferences (CCEE) is staging a "Green Pilgrimage" in Hungary, Slovakia and Austria, Sept. 1-5, to foster what Pope Benedict XVI described as "binding respect for the divine gift of creation" in a telegram to organizers.
As part of the "Green Pilgrimage," an ecumenical prayer service is being held this evening in the Cathedral of St. Pölten, Austria. The following is the English text of a "Prayer for Creation" which is being read during the service. (The citations of "CV" refer to Pope Benedict's social encyclical Caritas in Veritate.)
A Prayer for Creation
Almighty God, who created heaven and earth and all they contain, come to our help at this historic moment in humanity’s journey from heaven to earth.
You are beyond all things. All things praise you, and all things give honour to you, both things that have intellect and those that do not.
The desires of all human beings are common to all, common are the groans of all those who surround you; anything that moves in the universe is thanks to You.
Lord Jesus Christ, who alone know what is in our hearts, just King, full of mercy, save us, all-powerful Word, You who came down to earth and was made flesh to redeem creation from the wound of Adam.
You placed the human person at the centre of the world as made in “your image”(CV 45): make us worthy of salvation. May our bodies be chaste and our souls and minds be intelligent and knowledgable. Bestow on us the gift of Wisdom, which is enthroned with you, that it may be at our side in our toil, that we may know what pleases you.
Come Holy Spirit, true light, eternal life, hidden mystery, ineffable treasure, untold reality, never-ending joy. Help us to live guided in space and time, so that we can discern the signs of the times.
Come to raise up those who are bowed down, to enlighten the path of the poor. You who are the true expectation of those who will be saved, come and enlighten our minds. You who are beyond the heavens, guide our steps along the path of justice and peace.
Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, reveal Your mercy and Your will to the Church and to your sons and daughters. True and eternal God, You have established the human person as “steward of creation” so that humanity might enjoy and protect creation, moulding the whole of nature to the Creator’s plan.
Dominion over the created universe does not provide “carte blanche” to plunder it or or foolishly exploit it.
But we have done so, Lord: polluting the air, contaminating the water, devastating the landscape, exploiting the earth’s resources. We who, in the twentieth century, have caused more damage to our planet than in the previous generations of humanity.
For this we ask forgiveness, convinced of the need for a radical conversion.
In this market system, Lord, where everything has a price but nothing is of value, where the future is sold in exchange for immediate benefit, help us to form in ourselves an appropriate ethical conscience, which sees in creation a richness of gifts for the whole of humanity and for future generations. Open us to a new culture which will make us feel to be adminstrators and not owners of the earth, which will make us responsible and ready to turn around those concrete situations everywhere, on our streets, in the factories and in our homes.
Since the global problem cannot be resolved without a global idea-project (CV19), give us the grace to understand that each of us contributes by their conduct to the life or death of the planet; inspire us, Lord, to new life styles which allow us to combine the duties we have towards the environment with those we have towards the human person, considered as an individual and in relation to others (CV 51).
Lord, open our hearts to fraternity: if the little is done by many, it will change the life styles, bring an end to aggressive action, the plundering of the natural resources and the fears of possible catastrophes.
Give us the light to know how to distinguish truth from falsehood, need from conceit. Give us the strength to know how to be able to renounce the goods of society which are meaningless, renounce the superfluousness and stupidity of fashion, the excessive obsession with appearances, social drugs (alcohol, drugs, binging, hedonism, etc.)
You, Lord, promised development and fullness to creation, you gave men and women and living beings that creative strength which is fertility and fruitfulness; and on the morning of creation You blessed all the generations on the earth.
The human person, Lord, is the only creature which retains the power to challenge nature and destroy your gifts; but the human person also has the power to give life to them, to value them.
We, pilgrims from Bishops’ Conferences of Europe, attending this ecumenical prayer service in St. Pölten, together with the participants at the 14Th Congress of Renovabis – gathered in Freising – ask the Lord to guide our steps and to give us the strength and the Grace so that our hearts may be even more converted to your will. Lord, bless all of us in this task.