On the Pope's Heart: February 2016
Prayer for February 2016: Care for Creation and Encounter in Asia
Pope Francis' universal prayer intention for February 2016 is "that we may take good care of creation–a gift freely given–cultivating and protecting it for future generations".
A big focus of Francis' papacy has been concern for 'our common home'. In 2015, he even released a widely anticipated and highly celebrated "eco-encyclical" called Laudato Si (a reference to a prayer by St. Francis of Assisi). Of "sister Earth", Pope Francis writes:
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.
The Holy Father uses the strong language of sin to call our attention to the devastation all around us. We have abandoned the Earth, a gift freely given, and she has been laid waste.
We join with Pope Francis in praying that we may soften our hearts to creation, that our entitlement might be drowned out by gratitude to God for the beautiful gift of creation. May we each make changes in our own lives that promote life, and not death.
Switching gears somewhat, but still with a mind for the poor and vulnerable, Pope Francis prays "that opportunities may increase for dialogue and encounter between the Christian faith and the peoples of Asia."
Last month we prayed for "sincere dialogue among men and women of different faiths," and this intention continues in that vein. For sincere dialogue to occur, true opportunities for this encounter must exist.
We join with Pope Francis in praying for an end to all persecution of Christians throughout Asia. We pray that the Holy Spirit would lead Christians to fruitful encounters, that the Good News might be proclaimed to all, especially those who may not have truly heard it.
Lord, we thank you for the gift of your creation. You have given us a great bounty to steward and a vast Earth to fill. Fill us with grace, that we might be gentle with Your gifts. Deliver us from the sins of destruction that sow death, and lead us into a culture of life. Help us, too, to celebrate the diversity of your children on each part of the planet, differing in language and culture, but united in our being loved by You. Inspired by this love, move us to work love and peace by spreading the Gospel to all our neighbors, near and far.
To stay in touch with what Pope Francis is praying about, be sure to check in with Apostleship of Prayer, the Holy Father's worldwide prayer network. Thank you for taking a moment for the Pope's intentions this month. God bless.