Season of Creation with Francis (Days 10-12)
September 10, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.
September 10
[Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:15-20)

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. It is no coincidence that, in the canticle in which Saint Francis praises God for his creatures, he goes on to say: “Praised be you my Lord, through those who give pardon for your love”. Everything is connected. Concern for the environment thus needs to be joined to a sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society.

The natural environment is a collective good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone. If we make something our own, it is only to administer it for the good of all. If we do not, we burden our consciences with the weight of having denied the existence of others. That is why the New Zealand bishops asked what the commandment “Thou shall not kill” means when “twenty percent of the world’s population consumes resources at a rate that robs the poor nations and future generations of what they need to survive”. 

In the Christian understanding of the world, the destiny of all creation is bound up with the mystery of Christ, present from the beginning: “All things have been created though him and for him” (Col 1:16). The prologue of the Gospel of John (1:1-18) reveals Christ’s creative work as the Divine Word (Logos). But then, unexpectedly, the prologue goes on to say that this same Word “became flesh” (Jn 1:14). One Person of the Trinity entered into the created cosmos, throwing in his lot with it, even to the cross. From the beginning of the world, but particularly through the incarnation, the mystery of Christ is at work in a hidden manner in the natural world as a whole, without thereby impinging on its autonomy. (LS 2: 91,95,99)
Prayer of St. Francis (John Michael Talbot)
Lord, make me an instrument
of Your peace.
Where there is hatred,
let me sow love
Where there is injury,
And where there is doubting
let me bring Your faith.

And Lord, make me an instrument
of Your peace.
Where there is despairing,
let me bring Your hope.
Where there is darkness,
Your light.
And where there is sadness,
let me bring Your joy.

Oh Divine Master,
grant that I might seek 
not so much to be consoled
as to console.
To be understood
as to understand
And not so much to be loved
as to love another.

For it is in giving
that we now receive,
it is in pardoning
that we are now pardoned,
and it is in dying
that we
are now born again.

And Lord, make me an instrument
of Your peace.
Where there is hatred
let me bring Your love
September 11
Jacob left Beer-sheba and went towards Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the Lord stood beside him and said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.’ Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!’ And he was afraid, and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’ (Genesis 28:10-17)
So since one is first to ascend, rather than descend, Jacob's ladder, let us situate  the first step at the bottom, by considering that we perceive this entire world as being a mirror. Through this, we pass into God, the supreme creator, as true Hebrews, passing over from Egypt into the land again and again promised to our ancestors, as Christians, passing over with Christ from this world to the Father, and as lovers of wisdom, which says to us, Pass over to me all who desire me and be fulfilled by my generations, for by the beauty and the number of them can their Creator be seen.
Moreover, the highest power and wisdom and benevolence of the Creator shines in created things, announced in three ways to the inner perception by the physical perception. For the physical perception serves the intellect, either through rationally investigating, faithfully believing or intellectually contemplating. In contemplating, the intellect considers the current existence of things, in believing, it considers the habitual course of things, and in reasoning, it considers the potential perfection of things.
According to the first aspect, the person who contemplates sees things in themselves as possessing weight, number and dimensionality- their weight, as being where they are sited and their physical distribution, their number, as being how they are distinguished, and their dimensionality, as being how they are limited from one another. And so they are seen to have a modality, a beauty and an order, in addition to having substance, potential and activity. From these things, as from an imprint, there is seen to come together that which leads to an understanding of the immense power, wisdom and goodness of the Creator. (Journey 1:9-11)
Musical Selection (John Michael Talbot)
He who created
The Pleiades and Orion
Turning darkness into the light of the dawn
And darkens day into the night
Who calls from the waters
Renews the world in the falling rain
And who strides the height of creation
He is the Lord the God of Hosts by name
He formed the mountains
And created the wind
And through His Spirit
Declares His thoughts to men
He formed the mountains
And created the wind
And through His Spirit
Declares His thoughts to men

He who created
The Pleiades and Orion
And who strides the height of creation
He is the Lord the God of Hosts by name


September 12
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.’ And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.’ The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. And the Lord said, ‘Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.’ So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth. (Genesis 11: 1-9)
There is a tendency to believe that every increase in power means “an increase of ‘progress’ itself”, an advance in “security, usefulness, welfare and vigour; …an assimilation of new values into the stream of culture”, as if reality, goodness and truth automatically flow from technological and economic power as such. The fact is that “contemporary man has not been trained to use power well”, because our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values and conscience. Each age tends to have only a meagre awareness of its own limitations. It is possible that we do not grasp the gravity of the challenges now before us. “The risk is growing day by day that man will not use his power as he should”; in effect, “power is never considered in terms of the responsibility of choice which is inherent in freedom” since its “only norms are taken from alleged necessity, from either utility or security”. But human beings are not completely autonomous. Our freedom fades when it is handed over to the blind forces of the unconscious, of immediate needs, of self-interest, and of violence. In this sense, we stand naked and exposed in the face of our ever-increasing power, lacking the wherewithal to control it. We have certain superficial mechanisms, but we cannot claim to have a sound ethics, a culture and spirituality genuinely capable of setting limits and teaching clear-minded self-restraint.
Yet we can once more broaden our vision. We have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology; we can put it at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral. Liberation from the dominant technocratic paradigm does in fact happen sometimes, for example, when cooperatives of small producers adopt less polluting means of production, and opt for a non-consumerist model of life, recreation and community. Or when technology is directed primarily to resolving people’s concrete problems, truly helping them live with more dignity and less suffering. Or indeed when the desire to create and contemplate beauty manages to overcome reductionism through a kind of salvation which occurs in beauty and in those who behold it. An authentic humanity, calling for a new synthesis, seems to dwell in the midst of our technological culture, almost unnoticed, like a mist seeping gently beneath a closed door. Will the promise last, in spite of everything, with all that is authentic rising up in stubborn resistance?
All of this shows the urgent need for us to move forward in a bold cultural revolution. Science and technology are not neutral; from the beginning to the end of a process, various intentions and possibilities are in play and can take on distinct shapes. Nobody is suggesting a return to the Stone Age, but we do need to slow down and look at reality in a different way, to appropriate the positive and sustainable progress which has been made, but also to recover the values and the great goals swept away by our unrestrained delusions of grandeur.  (LS 3: 105,112,114)
Musical Selection
This is my song, 
O God of all the nations, 
A song of peace for lands afar 
and mine. 
This is my home, the country 
where my heart is; 
Here are my hopes, my dreams, 
my holy shrine; 
But other hearts in other lands 
are beating 
With hopes and dreams as true 
and high as mine. 
My country's skies are bluer than 
the ocean, 
And sunlight beams on clover-
leaf and pine. 
But other lands have sunlight too 
and clover, 
And skies are everywhere as 
blue as mine. 
Oh, hear my song, 
O God of all 
the nations, 
A song of peace for their land 
and for mine.