Prayer guide to accompany our presence at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) and the Peoples’ Summit Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 2012

Prayer guide to accompany our presence at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) and the Peoples’ Summit Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 2012


The Ignatian family – inspired by our founding life-force, the spirituality of the Exercises of Saint Ignatius – takes on the task of promoting the values of a new world in the way in which the reign of Jesus has shown us; and it becomes increasingly clearer, as a true apostolic body woven around the call for the promotion of justice and preferential option for the poor.  In this sense, as Ignatian archetypes united in the mission, we actively participate in diverse social action networks.  This is why we feel called by the most pressing issues in the world today.  Environmental and ecological problems, and the many other issues preventing people from living a dignified life, are crucial for the way in which they reflect the vulnerability of creation and humanity today, and for their inescapable importance for the future of the coming generations.

It is in this context that some members of the Ignatian family – the Christian Life Communities (CLC), the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat, the social sector of the Conference of Jesuit Provincials in Latin America (CPAL), the Ecojesuit Network, the Equipo Itinerante Amazónico, and Fe y Alegría – have come together to participate in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, in June 2012.  A group of people from various countries will be participating, seeking to strengthen the Ignatian presence at this important UN event, in the People’s Summit (the parallel civil society event), and in activities of exchange and reflection.  This is a real opportunity to focus our actions on environmental issues, and on development models oriented towards the unlimited wealth accumulation and economic growth on a planet with finite resources, and to commit the Ignatian network to tackling these challenges.  For this reason, we hope that this will be a real experience of our presence as an extended apostolic body.  For this purpose, we present you this prayer and reflection guide so that all of the personnel of our networks that are interested can accompany us in this process.


This simple guide is presented below.  It seeks to facilitate prayer-reflection, through which all of us feel equally involved in the process.  The guide has been divided into four separate phases (moments), the preparation phase “contemplate” which we suggest you do until 19 June, and three subsequent phases (see, judge, and act) to be undertaken during the three days of Rio+20: 20, 21, and 22 June.

Each day of prayer-reflection, which we hope you will undertake as part of a community even though it can also done individually, includes:

A) a preparatory context for the day

B) a key phrase to inspire the moment

C) text for reflection

D) a simple guide for reflection

E) a closing prayer, and

F) complementary audio-visual material.

We ask everyone who participates to email us or the reflections which come out of theses communal and individual prayers so we can share disseminate them, together with our reports from Rio+20.

Moreover, together with this prayer guide, we will send you a daily bulletin of the main news from Rio+20; this will be done by the ecology working group, ECOJESUIT, coordinated by the international advocacy network of the Society of Jesus.

Prayer 19th June, Rio+20


A. Context in preparation for the day: the incarnation

The Three Divine Persons, contemplating the whole of humanity in so many sinful divisions decide to give themselves completely to all men and liberate them from all their chains.  Out of love, the Word became human and was born of Mary, the humble Virgin of Nazareth.

Inserted in this way among the poor, and sharing their human condition, Jesus invites all of us to offer ourselves to God and to work for a united human family.  Inspired by the Holy Spirit, we respond with gratitude to God for this gift of Jesus in every circumstance of our lives. (General Principles No. 1, Christian Life Communities)

B. Key phrase: “The Son, therefore, came, sent by the Father.  It was in Him, before the foundation of the world, that the Father chose us and predestined us to become adopted sons, for in Him it pleased the Father to re-establish all things. (Cf. Eph. 1:4-5 and 10)” (Lumen Gentium n.3).

C. Core text for pastoral reflection:

“The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.  Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts.  For theirs is a community composed of men.  United in Christ, they are led by the Holy Spirit in their journey to the Kingdom of their Father…  That is why this community realizes that it is truly linked with mankind and its history by the deepest of bonds” (Gaudium Et Spes n.1).

“Through his labors and his native endowments man has ceaselessly striven to better his life.  Today, however, especially with the help of science and technology, he has extended his mastery over nearly the whole of nature…  Hence many benefits once looked for, especially from heavenly powers, man has now enterprisingly procured for himself.  In the face of these immense efforts which already preoccupy the whole human race, men agitate numerous questions among themselves.  What is the meaning and value of this feverish activity?  How should all these things be used?  To the achievement of what goal are the strivings of individuals and societies heading?” (Gaudium et Spes n.33).

D. Reflection guide

–       What are our first reactions and perceptions about the issue of ecology?  How much do we understand and how do we feel about the issue?

–        As Christian members of the Ignatian family, what do need before we can take this issue on as a priority essential to our identity and what do we need to do to integrate it seriously into our work?

–        As Ignatian communities and individuals, what invitations have we received from the God of life with regard to the environment?  What can we do about this?

A. Closing prayer: All praise be yours, my Lord, through all you have made, and first my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and through whom you give us light.  How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor; of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.  The second death can do them no harm.  Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks and serve him with great humility. (St Francis of Assisi)

E. Support material: Principle and Foundation, Spiritual Exercises 23


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