John Paul II Foundation

John Paul II Foundation of the Irish Chapter

The Irish Chapter of the John Paul II Foundation met for their monthly meeting on February 12th at the Adoration Chapel in Ferns. The Rosary was prayed before Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, through the Intercession of our Blessed Mother and St. Joh Paul II and all the saints. The prayer of the Rosary was offered for all families, families in our communities and for the world wide family. As always, the prayers and petitions for the work and mission of St. John Paul 11 chapters were brought before the Blessed Sacrament.

Holy Mass was celebrated by Rev Fr. Billy Swan. Following the readings and the Gospel, Fr. Billy gave his homily in which he shared a few thoughts regarding how the timing and relevance of these readings were in today’s world.  How we need to prayerfully contemplate the accounts of creation in the First Book of Genesis.  It seems that everyday we hear on the news about climate change, changing Eco systems, changes in methods of agriculture, eat less meat, etc.

Why is all this happening? Why is there such a crisis in our Eco system and in our climate?

Part of the reason is because a development that took place back in the time of the industrial Revolution during the 18th Century. Not to overly complicate the story but there was a shift in that time away from God towards the powers of humanity to do what we like with creation. We see ourselves at the Center. There was a new confidence in the powers of humanity to make things, be self sufficient and there came an increasing attack on faith and the churches.  We could do what we wanted with the unlimited powers that we had. What happened then was a unlimited freedom that we conceded to, that we ourselves could do what we wanted with the Earth. What has begun now and is emerging especially over the last few decades is that Mother Nature is starting to bite back, and we see these signs when we abuse our powers, when we go beyond what God intended us to do. When we PLAY GOD. We stop been stewards of the created world. This is when trouble arises.

It’s when we become overly dependent on science and less on the religious perspective and understanding of the world that God gave us, to be good stewards of creation and not to abuse it. We need to see ourselves as part of God’s creation, not over and above.  We rejoice with all the created world.  Gods original intention for the created world was and is now that we are part of it and that we rejoice, give glory and contemplate the beauty given to us in the natural world in order to give glory back to God.

St. Francis of Assisi the great saint glorified God in all His creation and Beauty.  St. Bonaventure talked about St. Francis when he contemplated the beauty of the natural world. It was like a ladder that led him up to contemplate the beauty and Glory of God. So, it is very important that we take these passages of creation seriously and contemplate the great beauty of the natural world and Gods creation.

We may think that we are clever because of new technology, or going to the moon or Mars, but nothing compares to the spiritual awe and wonder that we have for instance in a beautiful nights sky, the felt immensities that impact us when we contemplate the moon and the thousands of stars that we can see with our own eyes, the distance between us and from us. They express the infinity of what God has created and the magnitude of God himself.

The great Saint Thomas Aquinas once said that “From created things can God be known.  God has His finger prints in all He has made in a way that reveals us to Him”. God reveals himself to us in Scripture and creation.  If you walk in the Garden, become sensitive to the changes in the Seasons, the flowers and the trees, the night sky, the animals and rivers. Let us see ourselves as part of God’s creation.  We are made in the image and likeness of God, not to be above or to use for our own means but to be good stewards of all of Gods nature.

When we think back on our Summer and the wonderful sunsets and glorious evenings we realize the Beauty of God and His closeness to us. What we do here at Our Eucharist at this Mass when we offer up the Body and Blood of Jesus we again contemplate all that He has made, the gifts of the Earth.  We offer them up in praise and Thanksgiving for all.  The Divine is in all of the creative world. Let us pray always in contemplation of all God gives us, of His great Beauty in the natural world and in all of creation.  He sustains us in our existence, in every moment of our lives, in every breath we take. May this Eucharist remind us of the sacredness of Food for our Bodies and Souls, not to be used or abused but as a way of Glorifying God.

The prayers of the Faithful were offered for Families, Marriages, Vocations and the Sick. A special prayer was offered through the intercession of St. John Paul II who was a great example to the world of His love, contemplation, respect and love for God’s creation. His love of the outdoors, the mountains, the quiet places in the garden where He could pray and be one with Nature and with God. The Mass concluded with the prayer to St. John Paul II and a closing hymn.

In the Book of Daniel 3 we have the beautiful prayer of thanksgiving, praise and exaltation of all of God’s creation. As Abednego, Shadrach and Meshach were thrown into the fiery furnace the three prayed aloud the glory and wonder of God.

They praised His Creation.

“Sun and Moon, praise and exalt him forever,

Stars of Heaven, praise and exalt Him forever,

Earth praise and exalt Him forever,

Mountains and Hills praise and exalt Him forever,

Everything that sprouts from the Earth, praise and exalt Him forever.

Springs of water, Seas and Rivers, Whales and Fishes

All the birds of Heaven, Animals wild and tame, praise and exalt Him forever.

All the people on Earth, praise and exalt Him forever.