A HARD PRAYER FOR CARE

Today we observe World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. Let us ponder the awe and beauty of the created world, the healing that nature brings to our lives, and our responsibility of being better stewards of the gifts we were given.

we’ve had to hurt ourselves

not to care;

had to casket our better parts

and bury them in a field,

rent by angry rains,

that, even after selling all our goods,

we still can’t afford to buy.

we’ve come by it dishonestly…

our hands lying to our hearts

as they blindly strangled songbirds

or fumed as fists in the darkness

of our pockets.

the nature of flesh

is to want caressing

but we’ve shut our feelings

down and like orphans in

and after war we grow

stunted without touch:

no bark, no mullein fur,

no soft, slim green

of pine needles impersonating

rays of sun.

care is our middle name

no longer found on the forms we sign

and absent from our passports.

but take one look

at a September meadow,

one look that lasts at least an hour

and the tenderness will teach

you between the goldenrod and bees

how life carefully lives

ever rising from the stump of Jesse.

Greg Kennedy, SJ is a Jesuit priest working as a spiritual director at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre in Guelph, Ontario. His prayer often takes the form of poetry. Care of creation is central to his vocation. His recent publications include Joyful, Mournful Noises and The Hard Road Up to Hallelujah, volume 2 and volume 3, respectively, in the Reupholstered Psalms series.

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