Enviro Prayer Diary

The purpose of this Prayer Diary is to provide subjects for your reflection and prayer as the Spirit moves you)

May 2019 Environmental Prayer Diary

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Wednesday

 

1

“The new month reminds us of everything that we should be thankful for, which includes the precious gift waking up this morning.”Author unknown

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Thursday

 

2

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Friday

 

3

Prayer from Nigeria

God of Heaven and earth,
you have blessed us with the works of your hands,
The tall mountains and deep blue seas
Even wonderful creatures to adorn it
And have given us dominion over all of them
Help us to preserve and appreciate this gifts that others may benefit
Even generations to come, this we pray
through Jesus Christ, our Lord and the Holy Spirit
one God now and for ever.
Amen.

Chukwuemeka Roderick Oji
Preach Water Foundation

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Saturday

 

4

“The Church is like a great tree whose roots must be energetically anchored in the earth while its leaves are serenely exposed to the bright sunlight. In this way, she sums up a whole gamut of beats in a single living and all-embracing act, each one of which corresponds to a particular degree or a possible form of spiritualisation. “Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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Sunday

 

5

Loving Father, we do not understand why nature sometimes seems so cruel and harsh, and why people suffer from floods, earthquakes and man-made disasters. Help us to trust in your promises and to rest in the certainty that not even the smallest sparrow lies outside your loving care. Help us to do all in our power to relieve suffering and make us willing and eager to share the good things you have given us, for the benefit of all.

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Monday

 

6

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Tuesday

7

Goal 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

·        Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems

Pray that this Goal will be reached.

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Wednesday

 

8

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Thursday

 

9

The Christification of the Universe

The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world. John 6:51

Jesus the Christ did not talk in this truly shocking way (see John 6:60) so we could worship bread and wine. He came so that we would recognize his presence in all things, not just in the human body of Jesus, not just in the human body of God’s people (1 Corinthians 12:12ff), but even in the nurturing elements of the earth, symbolized by the ubiquitous food of bread and wine (1 Corinthians 11:23ff), and therefore to the very edges of creation (Romans 8:19). The mystery that was made personal and specific in Jesus was revealed as the shape of the entire universe. What else could the universe be but “the body of God”? Think about it. The Incarnate One is the stand-in for “everything in heaven and everything on earth” (Ephesians 1:10). This is not a competing religious statement as much as a highly symbolic metaphysical plan “from the beginning,” “from the foundation of the world” (see Ephesians 1).

God is not just saving people; God is saving all of creation. It is all “Real Presence.” We could call it the primordial “Christification” or anointing of the universe at Creation. This is not pantheism (God is everything), but panentheism (God is in everything!). Such a central message of cosmic incarnation was never seriously taught in the Western, overly individualistic church, except by a few like Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), and Bonaventure (1221-1274). It was much more common in the Eastern Church, especially in early scholars and mystics like Maximus the Confessor, Gregory of Nyssa, and Symeon the New Theologian.

Inspired by the more contemporary mystic scientist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Franciscan sister and scientist Ilia Delio writes:

Christ invests himself organically within all creation, immersing himself in things, in the heart of matter, and thus unifying the world. The universe is physically impregnated to the very core of its matter by the influence of his superhuman nature. Everything is physically “christified,” gathered up by the incarnate Word as nourishment that assimilates, transforms, and divinizes.

From the way we treat the planet, other humans, and sometimes even ourselves, it seems we don’t understand or really believe this. When you don’t recognize that the Christ Mystery is universal, that God is present in—and is saving—all of creation, you can choose what you respect and what you disrespect, what you love and what you hate. The full Gospel takes away from you any power to decide and discriminate where God is and where God isn’t. The old Baltimore Catechism answered the sixteenth question, “Where is God?” quite clearly: “God is everywhere.” But we never really believed it!

Gateway to Silence:
Brother Sun, Sister Moon, help me see God in all things.

From Richard Rohr’s daily meditations
www.cac.org

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Friday

 

10

Lord God, you established the dance of creation,
you marvelled at the lilies of the field,
you transform chaos to order,
lead us to transform our lives and the Church
to reflect your glory in creation.Andrew Warmback and Brian Wilinson
Network of Earthkeeping Christian Communities in South Africa

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Saturday

 

11

World Migratory Bird Day

Annual bird migration one of nature’s wonders

World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated in the second week of May each year. It is an awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the protection of migratory birds and their habitats and is focused on the Eurasian and African flyways.

Birds migrate to find the best ecological conditions and habitats for feeding, breeding and raising their young. When changes in season make conditions at breeding sites unfavourable, migratory birds fly to regions where conditions are better, some flying distances of hundreds and thousands of kilometres.

Here in South Africa we are indeed fortunate to be the destination of many migrating birds, but of course, sadly we have to bid a temporary adieu to those seeking warmer climes.

Migration is a perilous journey that exposes birds to a wide range of threats, from natural predation and adverse weather, to man-made threats such as windfarms, powerlines, exposure to poisons and pesticides, and habitat destruction.  Sadly Plastic Pollution has even reared its ugly head with migrating birds – prompting the World Migratory Bird Day’s 2019 theme – “Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution!“.  So when you recycle responsibly and commit to Eco-bricking – you are in your own small way contributing to the safety of our travelling feathered friends!

  • Today, commit to “Protect Birds and Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution!“.
  • Give thanks to God for the amazing and beautiful birds that grace our Country!

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Sunday

 

12

 Mother’s Day

May the blessing of the Divine
Be an especially bright benediction
Upon mothers everywhere
On your blessed day –
On Mother’s Day!

Author Unknown

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Monday

 

13

God of wisdom,
showing us your love in the rising sun and waning tide,
you grace Earth with life in all its variety.
Everything has meaning, is blessing;
everyone is charged with care
for the smallest creature
to the ocean’s depth.Grant us wisdom
to know your ways of love and gentle kindness.
Give us the mind to learn what we do not know
but long to understand
so that we may honour and nurture
all that makes us one with you.
Amen

Diane Lopez Hughes
Franciscan associate of the Hospital Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis

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Tuesday

 

14

Creator God

Tune: For All the Saints

Creator God, your children’s voices rise,
Fed by your earth, uplifted by your skies,
Thankful for all its beauty and surprise,
Praise ever singing, ever singing.

Where forests range their canopies of trees,
May we sustain such vital gifts as these,
Let woodland shelter still resound with bees,
Birds ever singing, ever, singing.

Beneath the moon the ocean lifts its tide,
Help us to curb our poisoned human pride
Still may the whales, the fish and dolphins ride
Seas ever singing, ever singing

From south to north, from deeps to thinnest air,
Kingdoms of creatures flourish everywhere,
Open our hearts and let us learn to share
Life ever singing, ever singing.

God gave the word, and earth spins out in space,
Made us custodians of this glorious place,
Then let us give the future human race
Worlds ever singing, ever singing.

Jenny Baines
Moseley, Birmingham

Jenny Baines is happy for people to print this hymn for services and non-commercial publications etc provided that the exact words are printed, and that she is credited. She would be pleased to hear where it is being used. email Baines

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Wednesday

 

15

International Day of Families

Although families all over the world have transformed greatly over the past decades in terms of their structure and as a result of global trends and demographic changes, the United Nations still recognizes the family as the basic unit of society. The International Day of Families provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting them.

The Natural Environment in Development and Well-Being or the More Mud the Merrier!

The natural environment directly influences children’s well-being by playing significant roles in food and nutrition, water and sanitation, disease and immunity, physical and mental development, and hope and security. Indirectly, the natural environment influences well-being.

The American journalist Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods” coined the term “nature deficit disorder” to describe how children no longer spend time exploring nature.  Louv describes a world in which we are detached from the source of food, where there are no biological absolutes, where there is an ambivalent relationship between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom, in which new suburbs constantly shrink open space. “A kid today can likely tell you about the Amazon rainforest – but not about the last time he or she explored the woods in solitude, or lay in a field listening to the wind and watching the clouds move … For a whole generation, nature is more abstraction than reality.”

What can we do to counteract this situation?  We need to let our children explore all the wonders of the natural world (first hand – not via television/computer programmes).  Nature, whether in a wonderful National Park, local nature reserve or in your tiny back garden, is beautiful.  Deny your child nature and you deny them beauty.  Get them outside into the garden or park or even further afield and shoo them to what you regard as a safe distance …. and let them play!

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Thursday

 

16

“We have fallen short of God’s intention that we should enact our resemblance to God through the exercise of benevolent dominion over the creatures.”Ellen F. Davis,
“Knowing Our Place on Earth: Learning Environmental Responsibility from the Old Testament” (Introduction to The Green Bible)

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Friday

 

17

9You care for the land and water it;     you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain,
for so you have ordained it.
10 You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
11 You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness.
13 The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.
Psalm 65

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Saturday

 

18

Many invasive species of flora and fauna are inadvertently introduced into our environment, but many more are introduced for economic or ornamental reasons.  Animals were imported for agriculture, aquaculture or mariculture, for recreational fishing or hunting, and to supply the pet trade. Some of the alien species that have become invasive were deliberately released into nature with the intention of establishing self-sustaining populations, for example, trout and bass into streams and rivers.”

  • There are currently 2,034 alien species which have established themselves in South Africa.
  •  775 of the 2,034 alien species are invasive.
  • 103 of these have caused substantial environmental damage.
  • 80 of this103 species are terrestrial or freshwater plants.

Biological invasions pose an enormous threat to South Africa’s ecosystems and the services they deliver, such as clean water and air, and biodiversity.

It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to combat the invasive scourge – assess your environment to ensure you are not harbouring an alien!  …. Also make a conscious choice to plant indigenous!

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Sunday

 

19

Prayer for Biodiversity

Creator God,

We pray for our brothers and sisters of the air: secretary birds, shrikes, owls, doves, thrushes, seagulls…
Give us a sign through them to decrease the pollution in the air we breathe.
Creator God, let us pray.

Creator God, we pray for our brothers and sisters of water: shells, algae, tilapia, galjoen, frogs…
Wake our compassion at the sight of their wounds so that we cease polluting the water.
Creator God, let us pray.

Creator God, we pray for our brothers and sisters of the earth: meerkats, buck, leopards, yellowwood trees, ferns, the tomato plants and the worms…
May their humility and simplicity inspire us to live according to your will.
Creator God, let us pray.

Creator God, we pray for the leaders and ministers, Parliament, for mayors and CEOs of companies. May they hear the call from God through other creatures and make sustainable, wise decisions.
Creator God, let us pray.

Creator God, we pray for our community.
We ask of you the courage to act regarding our environment and not to succumb to the temptation of wasting.
Creator God, let us pray.

By the Green Church Project, Montréal, Canada
(Adapted for South Africa)

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Monday

 

20

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Tuesday

 

21

Reflection:

Pope Francis – Laudato Si

“195. The principle of the maximization of profits, frequently isolated from other considerations, reflects a misunderstanding of the very concept of the economy. As long as production is increased, little concern is given to whether it is at the cost of future resources or the health of the environment; as long as the clearing of a forest increases production, no one calculates the losses entailed in the desertification of the land, the harm done to biodiversity or the increased pollution. In a word, businesses profit by calculating and paying only a fraction of the costs involved. Yet only when “the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations”, can those actions be considered ethical. An instrumental way of reasoning, which provides a purely static analysis of realities in the service of present needs, is at work whether resources are allocated by the market or by state central planning.”

 Prayerfully reflect on this

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Wednesday

 

22

International Day for Biological Diversity

2019 Theme – “Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health”

Today, we have a greater variety of food than our parents or grandparents once did. But we are cautioned that the global diet as a whole – what people actually eat – is becoming more homogenized, and this is a dangerous thing.  This year’s celebrations of the International Day for Biological Diversity focus on biodiversity and healthy eco-systems as the foundation for our food, health and well-being.

Reflection on International Day for Biodiversity

“May 22 marks “International Day for Biodiversity.” What is biodiversity and why is it important? The term refers to the diversity and variety and interconnectedness of the biological world. This contributes to ecosystem productivity where each species of plant and animal, no matter how small, all have an important role to play.

A healthy range of biodiversity offers us many natural services like the breakdown of pollution and climate stability, medical resources and research, soil formation for farming, and even the range of nutritious food we need to survive.

The definition of biodiversity above is formed by our human scientific perspective on nature, that biodiversity exists to serve all. If we allow this to limit our understanding, we tend to objectify the natural world. We often forget that as human beings, we are part of the biological world; we are part of this biodiversity.

St. Francis, in his poetry, invited us to expand our vision and to see all of God’s creation, plants, animals and people as a magnificent book in which God speaks directly to us with a glimpse of God’s infinite beauty and goodness. The variety of plants and animals that comprise one aspect of biodiversity are not just resources to be exploited. They have value simply in themselves, as they share God’s creative goodness. They, like us, give glory to God. 

We’re the “New Kids on the Block”

God has been working slowly but continuously for about 15 billion years since the Big Bang began the creative process

  • Between 10 -14 billion years ago, the universe began to break into galaxies
  • About 4.5 billion years ago, Earth and its atmosphere were formed
  • During what we now call the early Paleozoic Era, about 500 million years ago, vertebrate animals appeared
  • Human emergence began about 2.6 million years ago with homo habilis using stone tools

Ancient cave paintings have been found dating back 18,000 years ago

This long story of God’s slow but loving evolutionary work is humbling for us. We are “the new kids on the block.” This gives us a better sense of where we fit into God’s creative work. We have consciousness. We know that we know. And with this knowledge should come respect, reverence and a sense of responsibility for our role on this planet.  Nature is not here just for our exploitation. Biodiversity is part of God’s overall plan and as such is to be used with wisdom, not with arrogance and greed.”

Prayer 

Dear God, you gave us this beautiful planet with all its variety of life forms.
Let us receive it with thanks and respect it with care.
Lord God, you lovingly spoke all creation into existence,
Fill our hearts with wonder and our mouths with praise.
Almighty God, whose Spirit hovered over the waters,
Bringing order out of chaos and whose love for all living things is everlasting,
Help us to live in such a way that we care for your creation with grateful hearts,
Marvel at its beauty and use its resources intelligently and respectfully.
Amen.

Sister Theresa Rodgers, CSJ
Sisters of St Joseph of Toronto

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Thursday

 

23

World Turtle & Tortoise Day

Some 350 species of tortoises, terrapins and turtles exist on Earth, representatives of a lineage dating back to the dawn of the age of dinosaurs. While not obviously visible as birds or ecologically dominant as large mammals or fish – these animals fulfil important roles in the ecosystem, including seed dispersal and vegetation management, control of insect & snail populations, and keeping water clean & populations healthy by scavenging dead animals and preying on weak and sick individuals. These animals feature prominently in human culture and legends and are eaten in some societies.

Sadly, without concerted conservation action, many of the planet’s turtles and tortoises, iconic survivors from the Age of Dinosaurs, will become extinct within the next few decades.

A Prayer for a tortoise!

By the late K.A.Gray, Exmouth, Devon

 We are thy creatures – helpless, dumb, Brought from our land of warmth and sun.
Bless us in thy tender care, and listen to our voiceless prayer

Stretch forth thine own protective hand, and keep us in our native land.
We love our climate – England’s cold, yet men import us to be sold.

We’re tethered by a leg when caught, and wait and wait whilst more are sought.
Spare us, O God, this awful pain and being packed for boat and train.

We suffer hunger, thirst and fear and death itself is very near.
Oh, listen to the voiceless cry of piteous babies doomed to die.

We’re stacked in pet shops tray on tray or in the window for display.
People stop and look and stare, they know it’s cruel – but do they care?

Living playthings for a child. Little creatures from the wild!
When we are hurt, we cannot cry to ask from help from passers-by.

The climate’s altogether wrong – the summer’s short, the winters long
So few who buy us know our needs and give us most unusual feeds.

And when we have to hibernate – to wake in spring, the spring is late.
And some of us will wake no more until we reach the heavenly shore.

And there we’ll find the warmth and sun, and fresh green food for everyone.
Free to roam as thou intended, little tortoises befriended.

Oh, bless the work of those who try to stop the wretched men who buy.
Helpless creatures thou hast made.  Please God, stop the Tortoise Trade!!!

Oh, bless us in thy tender care and listen to our voiceless prayer.

(Miss Gray was the original lone voice protesting about the cruelty involved in the worldwide trade in chelonians which eventually resulted in the importation ban into the UK in 1984. She wrote a number of poems to be sold and used to raise funds for her work and for other animal conservation organisations)

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Friday

 

24

“We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.”

Albert Schweitzer

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Saturday

 

25

“Nothing in creation has erred from the path of God’s purpose for it, save only man. Sun, moon, stars, water, air, none of these has swerved from their order, but, knowing the Word as their Maker and their King, remained as they were made. Men alone, having rejected what is good, have invented nothings instead of the truth, and have ascribed the honour due to God and knowledge concerning Him to demons and men in the form of stones.”St. Athanasius the Great (ca. 297-373)

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Sunday

 

26

Litany for the Planet

Grasses multiply and wild flowers proliferate
Because you God in Christ set the earth free
Vegetables colour the garden and herbs give aroma to the spiral
Because you Spirit led us into the new creation
The lion and the lamb are making friends; the worms love the lettuce
Because you Wisdom inspired new natural companions
The insects live in diverse croplands with birds sharing the spoils
Because you Lord of Love taught us to share
Every part of the creation is significant from flies to mosquitoes
Because you Creator of all, reasoned everything into being
Now teach us triune God to transcend ideology to sustainability
Because Christ you are the peace between us

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Monday

 

27

“Every breath is a sacrament, an affirmation of our connection with all other living things, a renewal of our link with our ancestors and a contribution to generations yet to come. Our breath is a part of life’s breath, the ocean of air that envelopes the earth.”David Suzuki
The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature

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Tuesday

 

28

“Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives. “Thomas Berry

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Wednesday

 

29

”Now what must we do about Creation?

Our ultimate purpose is to honour God as creator in such a way that Christian environmental stewardship is part and parcel of everything we do.  Our goal is to make tending the garden of creation, in all its aspects, an unquestioned and all-pervasive part of our service to each other, to our community, to God’s world.  The framework for our response can follow these three steps:

  • Awareness – we must consciously make ourselves aware of what is happening around us in God’s creation.
  • Appreciation – awareness leads to appreciation.  Tthe earth and everything in it has value because God made it so.  As we become aware of the order of creation, we will see God;s valuing of his works.
  • Stewardship – appreciation leads to sewardship.  Stewardship includes loving, caring, and keeping what God has given us to hold in trust.

Rev. Dave Bookless
National Directir, A Rocha UK
Introduction to the Green Bible.

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Thursday

 

30

Christ has no body now on earth but ours,
No hands but ours, no feet but ours.
Ours are the eyes through which looks out Christ’s compassion to the world;
Ours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good;
Ours are the hands with which he blesses his people daily.
Lord, make us instruments of your peace.    Amen

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Friday

 

31

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2019 Enviro Prayer Diaries in PDF
2018 Enviro Prayer Diaries in PDFanuary 2018
2017 Enviro Prayer Diaries in PDF

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