Lent calendar prayer and reflection for 26 March

Fausto, one of the 'River Guardians' of the Atrato River in Colombia.

Fausto, one of the 'River Guardians' of the Atrato River in Colombia.

They have been quick to leave the way I marked out for them; they have made themselves a calf of molten metal and have worshipped it...

Exodus 32:8

It is easy to say that we worship God alone. But the treasures of this world attract us and time for prayer gets lost. 

Contemplating God’s beauty in creation can be a good place to re-focus. 

Pope Francis says: “A spirituality which forgets God as all-powerful and Creator is not acceptable. That is how we end up worshipping earthly powers, or ourselves usurping the place of God, even to the point of claiming an unlimited right to trample his creation underfoot.’’ Laudato Sí' (#75) 

The beauty of creation 

Fausto remembers how beautiful the River Atrato, near his home in Colombia, used to be: 

“There was an immense variety of fish in the river. The water ran very clean and pure… in the summer we could see to the bottom of the river and drink it. There were lots of trees, and we saw animals all the time - deer, jaguars, leopards, tapirs.”  

The real cost of gold 

Fausto is one of 14 ‘River Guardians’ charged by his community with trying to protect the river from pollution, particularly that caused by large-scale businesses like gold mining companies. Chemicals from the mines have contaminated the river. Now the water is murky and the animals are gone. 

To Fausto’s community, objects made of gold – like the golden calf in today’s story from Exodus - are more likely to be symbols of what threatens their home, than objects of worship. 

Prayer as a priority 

Fausto told us that he often prays the Our Father before activities.  

“When I leave my house, I ask God for protection. I put myself in his hands and feel like someone is with me to protect me. Yes, there is danger. I could be attacked. River Guardians are doing the opposite of what some people want and for them we are an obstacle. Some Guardians have received threats. In some areas there are lots of armed people and we feel under pressure.”  

Yet he continues his work. “When I was young, I enjoyed the environment; I’d like future generations to do so too.” 

Lent prayer

God our Father, sometimes I find it hard to make time to contemplate the wonder and beauty of the world you have created. Yet I know that you are the Creator of all that is. Inspire in me a gratitude for your great gifts and lead me to care for your creation. Amen. 

Act

Watch this gentle prayer for our earth set to images and music. If you have children or work with them, share with them too.  

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