Season of Creation
Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor
Spring is here across Australia, and there is a burst of colour around every corner as we begin our celebration of the annual Season of Creation across Christian denominations in September. If “flowers are the music of the ground,”  then there are many places that are singing a vibrant visual song right now!
As we appreciate the beauty and gift of our natural environment here in Australia, we are also mindful of the real hardships many people are facing: the COVID-19 pandemic; exposure to ongoing violence; systemic racism; and entrenched structural inequality. There are serious threats to the earth and her creatures through over-consumption and a lack of care and responsibility by individuals and corporations. We are asked to intentionally renew our commitment to preserve, protect and restore the beauty of the earth through this Season of Creation. The Australian Catholic Bishops express their long-term commitment to this life-giving way of being in the world in their Social Justice Statement for 2021-22: Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor.
The Statement acknowledges the signs of these times, and how the cry of the suffering earth is connected to the cry of the suffering poor. In Laudato Si and Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis has reinforced that everything and everyone is connected: what affects one part of our world impacts across countries and communities. The Bishops commit to working towards total ecological sustainability, inviting the whole Catholic community to be part of the journey. The Statement affirms that “we human beings need a change of heart, mind, and behaviour”, and also gives steps to make this change visible and lasting.
The Laudato Si Goals form the guide to moving forward in Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor: responding to the cry of the earth; responding to the cry of the poor; ecological economics; sustainable lifestyles; ecological spirituality; ecological education; and community engagement and participatory action. The Statement is the fruit of deep listening, drawing on Scripture, the theological tradition, Catholic Social Teaching, the insights of Australia’s First Nation Peoples, and the lived wisdom of people most affected through policies and practices at the local, national, and international level. It reflects on creation in and through the Trinity; the sacramentality of all created things; the wonder and beauty available to the contemplative eye; and the need for conversion and change of life.
As we move into the Season of Creation this year, we also look to how we will make listening and responding to Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor part of our own living in the years to come, especially in adopting the Laudato Si’ Goals.