seasons of growth

Sep 3, 2021


For some weeks here in Aotearoa the earth has been telling us that the season of spring has arrived, and on Wednesday of this week with the arrival of September our NZ calendar caught up.

It is spring.

I had a reflection mostly written for Wednesday morning marking the beginning not only of the season of spring but also of what is widely known in the Christian community and beyond (the five weeks until the feast of St. Francis of Assisi on October 4th) the Season of Creation.

My written piece didn’t really come together too well and eventually I gave up until yesterday morning when the inspiration I needed arrived in the form of an email from Chiara, a friend who is a part of the architectural team on the basilica Sagrada Familia in Barcelona Spain.

Chiara and I met in Italy several years ago and became instant friends chatting about life and beauty and architecture and the great architect Antoni Gaudi, the holy man who is best known for his dream for this magnificent church of the Holy Family.

Chiara’s morning message was a great wake-up greeting for me: “Hi John. I’m waiting for you in Barcelona. I send you this mini video remembering your love for Sagrada Familia”

In the five minute video Chiara reflects:

Antoni Gaudi does not understand nature without humankind. He thinks that humankind is the highest point of nature. Humans are not here as a hierarchy to possess nature, to own nature. But instead humans are stewards of nature.

In this brief quote Chiara addresses precisely the issue I was wrestling with in my creation piece – the mistake we make in thinking of the world of creation as being the world apart from humanity. We think that there are people, then outside of people there is creation.

I remember a wise theology teacher asking: “do we live on the earth or in the earth? That question often comes to mind for me when I ponder God’s ongoing creative activity.

Now take five minutes to settle in for a dose of creative beauty and watch Chiara’s video. I have watched it several times and am moved at a deeper level every time.


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Excerpts of a Christian prayer in union with creation

Awaken our praise and thankfulness
for every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined to everything that is.

Praise be to you! Whakamoemiti ki te atua!

God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth, for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.

Praise be to you! Whakamoemiti ki te atua!

Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good, advance the weak, and care for this world in which we live.

Praise be to you! Whakamoemiti ki te atua!

The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light, help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your Kingdom of justice, peace, love and beauty.

Praise be to you! Whakamoemiti ki te atua!


For the full Christian Prayer in union with Creation in Laudato Si’ HERE


  1. What a beautiful church. And the light and the colours. Thank you also for the prayer of our union with creation.

    • Thanks John and Chiara! What joy this brought to my heart. I tried to guess the picture location before scrolling down. Barcelona and Family Church, Spanish I need to learn. What jaw-dropping work of Gaudi and the thousands and thousands of people involved over decades. A remarkable creation that glorifies our Heavenly Creator. Thank you.

    • Thank you, Father John, for letting me know about the Basilica Sagrada Familia! Amazing architecture! The video has taken me to an another world!
      Thank you again for the Christian prayer in union with creation!
      FFF is taking me to a whole new level of faith!
      While admiring nature and its marvels, sincerely praying for not even for a moment to forget about the Creator. Let all praise and glory be to the Lord Almighty forever and ever, Amen!

  2. Laudato Si’ Praise Be to you O Lord! The video gives us a sublime experience of one persons vision and imagination of living in this earth while mindful we are only visitors here. All is gift. Beautiful way to start this day.

  3. I was truly blessed in 2014 to be in Barcelona. I have 55+ years in structural design work and a day long tour of Anton Gaudi was a must do. The Sagrada is a Unesco Heritage site. From the outside the mind is blown away with the architectural style, simplicity, and ornate decoration. Inside it is surpising simple, and intimate, you feel a spiritual closeness to God, I was there in the afternoon, the sun streamiong through the modern art stained glass windows. It was a true ‘symphony of colour’. Gaudi died in 1925, distracted by a pesky detail in his mind he was standing on a tram track, and never heard the tram coming. The aim is to finish construction in 2025, 100 years after Gaudi died. Not many people know that a Canterbury architect, Mark Burry, born in Hamner, was a key architectural designer in the Sagrada team from 1979 – 2016.

  4. I visited La Sagrada Familia in 2005, and was awestruck then by Gaudi’s inspiration, even in its unfinished state, ( it was very much a building site inside)! This video has absolutely overwhelmed me with the beauty which has been achieved started by Guadi, and being completed by Men and Women faithful to Gods plan for a Cathedral dedicated to creation.
    I would love to return, but who knows what will be our future? Thank you for this Fr John.

  5. Thank you, Father John, for presenting the video of La Sagrada Familia as a contemplative gift today. It is quite a while since I have spent time with its beauty. My senior students were always fascinated by its oneness with creation, spirituality and humankind.

  6. OUR GOD IS, the
    Astounding for
    Everything made and given from HIMSELF And all given to us,
    May we humbly Thank OUR GOD,
    with every breathe We take.


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