Wednesday, May 24, 2017
As we battle for the life of innocent children we must also be cognizant of the life of earth which God has charged us with being the stewards of the fruits of his creative work.
Protecting the Fruits of the Earth
“The liturgy itself teaches us this, when, during the presentation of the gifts, the priest raises to God a prayer of blessing and petition over the bread and wine, “fruit of the earth,” “fruit of the vine” and “work of human hands.” With these words, the rite not only includes in our offering to God all human efforts and activity, but also leads us to see the world as God’s creation, which brings forth everything we need for our sustenance. The world is not something indifferent, raw material to be utilized simply as we see fit. Rather, it is part of God’s plan, in which all of us are called to be sons and daughters in the one son of God, Jesus Christ (cf. EPH1:4-12). The justified concern about threats to the environment present in so many parts of the world is reinforced by Christian hope, which commits us to working responsibly for the protection of creation.” ~Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, 2007, § 92
Events had happened in Europe only several years earlier, and this no doubt was still fresh in people's minds. Napoleon Bonaparte had jailed Pope Pius VI who died in goal, after which Pope Pius VII was elected. Just a short time later, he too was jailed by Napoleon, who kept him prisoner at Fontainbleau, 35 miles from Paris. The Holy Father vowed to God that, if he were restored he would institute a special feast in honour of Mary. Military reverses forced Napoleon to release the Pope, and on May 24th 1814, Pius VII returned in triumph to Rome. Twelve months later, the Pope decreed that the feast of Mary Help of Christians, be kept on the 24th of May.
Australia became the first nation in the world to have, Mary, Help of Christians as Patroness: the first church to celebrate May 24th on a national scale (elsewhere the feast was restricted to Rome and specified places); and the first country to have a mother-cathedral under the same title.