September 2, 2014
‘Tis the Season of Creation
The coming of September means the end of summer for some people in another part of the world. In the Philippines, it marks the coming of the so-called “ber” months. Further, it means that Christmas is in the air! Not so fast. Some dioceses (Manila, Antipolo, Pasig, Cubao, Novaliches, Caloocan, Paranaque, and Imus) decided on another season, the Season of Creation. It is meant to focus on God as Creator of all. It is also an opportunity, both liturgically and secularly, to increase the awareness of the faithful on the care for the environment.
Yesterday, close to two thousand representatives from the different dioceses led by some priests, bishops, and His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal G. Tagle, D.D., Archbishop of Manila, gathered together in Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish, Baclaran, Paranaque City, to launch the Season of Creation with the theme “Maging Bayani! Mahalin, Ipagtanggol at Pagyamanin ang Sangnilikha!” Leaders of different advocacy groups like Save Sierra Madre Network, Save the Water of Indang Movement, United Paranaque Marketing Association, and the Ministry of Ecology of the Archdiocese of Manila were also present to express their objections to the abuses happening in their respective areas.
The launching was highlighted by a Eucharistic celebration in the church. His Eminence, during the homily, reminded everyone that it will be a five-week celebration which will culminate on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron for the environment. While he cannot elaborate on all the things involved in the season, he cited three important things:
CELEBRATE AND THANK GOD FOR THE GIFT OF CREATION
He asked the congregation if they take close notice of what God had created and gifted us with like the leaves of plants, drops of rain, birds in the air, the air we breathe, the sunset and the sunrise, etc. So many things are left unnoticed everyday that we fail to appreciate all the things God has given to us. It is wrong to regard Creation as a given. It is a gift which we must thank God for.
BE RESPONSIBLE STEWARDS OF GOD’S CREATION
In Genesis, God had tasked us to be stewards of His Creation. God is the owner, thus, God decides what to do with them. As stewards, our mandate is to manage Creation according to God’s will. We use them for physical and spiritual nourishment and well being. Abuse and misuse of God’s Creation is against our nature and God’s economy of salvation. Cardinal Tagle told the story of a place which was so hot and yet he noticed that the road was so wet! According to the driver, that road used to be a river! It was a clear case of violating the true nature of the river. His Eminence cautioned everyone that continuous disrespect to Creation may lead to dreadful consequences.
HUMILITY AND CONVERSION OVER VIOLATION OF GOD’S CREATION
More than pointing fingers on others, His Eminence reminded everyone to reflect on our contribution to present malady of Creation. Sometimes, environmentalists are the first violators of Creation. He admitted being pained when after a procession, the streets are left laden with all kinds of debris and thrash. Liturgical celebrations are not exempted from maintaining cleanliness and proper disposal of thrash. The faithful must live what they believe.
Finally, His Eminence reminded everyone of the relationship between sin and disrespect for Creation. When we celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we also include to confess and resolve not to commit again disdainful acts on Creation.
The Catholic Liturgical Calendar allots some days for the Advent and Christmas seasons which focus on preparation and celebration of the faithful for the Incarnation of the Son of God. The Lenten and Easter Season are days of penance and joyful celebrations respectively. The rest are considered Ordinary Time. Celebrating the Season of Creation adds another season and provides an occasion to feature God as Creator. Starting this Sunday, expect churches to feature the care for the elements of creation like water, soil, air, trees, animals, fire, etc. On our part, let us be conscious of how we regard these elements and commit to protect and harness them starting today.
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