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Beloved Amazon - Pope Francis

Pope-at-beginning-of-Amazon-Synod Pope Francis - beginning - Amazon Synod

​ A few days ago, Pope Francis released his post-synodal exhortation Querida Amazonia - Beloved Amazon. This week's blog is a 'taste' of a few gems of the four Dreams Francis offers us: a Social Dream; a Cultural Dream; an Ecological Dream; and an Ecclesial Dream. His concluding prayer is to Mary, mother of all creatures. The full text can be read   here   

CHAPTER ONE - A SOCIAL DREAM

"a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor". We do not need an environmentalism "that is concerned for the biome but ignores the Amazonian peoples".[8]

If we wish to dialogue, we should do this in the first place with the poor. They are not just another party to be won over, or merely another individual seated at a table of equals. They are our principal dialogue partners, those from whom we have the most to learn, to whom we need to listen out of a duty of justice, and from whom we must ask permission before presenting our proposals. [26]


CHAPTER TWO -A CULTURAL DREAM

That is in fact what education is meant to do: to cultivate without uprooting, to foster growth without weakening identity, to be supportive without being invasive. [28]

Human groupings, their lifestyles and their worldviews, are as varied as the land itself, since they have had to adapt themselves to geography and its possibilities.Each distinct group, then, in a vital synthesis with its surroundings, develops its own form of wisdom. [32]

"a consumerist vision of human beings, encouraged by the mechanisms of today's globalized economy, has a leveling effect on cultures, diminishing the immense variety which is the heritage of all humanity". [33]

let us sit around the common table, a place of conversation and of shared hopes. In this way our differences, which could seem like a banner or a wall, can become a bridge. [37]

CHAPTER THREE- AN ECOLOGICAL DREAM

In a cultural reality like the Amazon region, where there is such a close relationship between human beings and nature, daily existence is always cosmic.The Lord, who is the first to care for us, teaches us to care for our brothers and sisters and the environment which he daily gives us. This is the first ecology we need. [41]

To abuse nature is to abuse our ancestors, our brothers and sisters, creation and the Creator, and to mortgage the future". [42]

poets, contemplatives and prophets, help free us from the technocratic and consumerist paradigm that destroys nature and robs us of a truly dignified existence [46]

it is good to combine ancestral wisdom with contemporary technical knowledge, always working for a sustainable management of the land while also preserving the lifestyle and value systems of those who live there [51]

we can learn to contemplate the Amazon region and not simply analyze it, and thus appreciate this precious mystery that transcends us. We can love it, not simply use it, with the result that love can awaken a deep and sincere interest. Even more, we can feel intimately a part of it and not only defend it; then the Amazon region will once more become like a mother to us [55]

For Christians, Jesus himself cries out to us from their midst, "because the risen One is mysteriously holding them to himself and directing them towards fullness as their end. The very flowers of the field and the birds which his human eyes contemplated and admired are now imbued with his radiant presence". For all these reasons we believers encounter in the Amazon region a theological locus, a space where God himself reveals himself and summons his sons and daughters. [57] 

CHAPTER FOUR - AN ECCLESIAL DREAM

An authentic option for the poor and the abandoned, while motivating us to liberate them from material poverty and to defend their rights, also involves inviting them to a friendship with the Lord that can elevate and dignify them [63]

the principal proclamation, the one which we must hear again and again in different ways, proclaims a God who infinitely loves every man and woman and has revealed this love fully in Jesus Christ, crucified for us and risen in our lives. Without that impassioned proclamation, every ecclesial structure would become just another NGO [64]

the authentic Tradition of the Church, which is not a static deposit or a museum piece, but the root of a constantly growing tree. This millennial Tradition bears witness to God's work in the midst of his people and is called to keep the flame alive rather than to guard its ashes [66]

But let us be fearless; let us not clip the wings of the Holy Spirit. [69]

we have inherited great riches from the pre-Columbian cultures. These include "openness to the action of God, a sense of gratitude for the fruits of the earth, the sacred character of human life and esteem for the family, a sense of solidarity and shared responsibility in common work, the importance of worship, belief in a life beyond this earth, and many other values" [70]

Indigenous "good living" involves personal, familial, communal and cosmic harmony and finds expression in a communitarian approach to existence, the ability to find joy and fulfillment in an austere and simple life, and a responsible care of nature that preserves resources for future generations.They know how to be content with little, they do not destroy things needlessly; they care for ecosystems and they recognize that the earth, while serving as a generous source of support for their life, also has a maternal dimension that evokes respect and tender love. All these things should be valued and taken up in the process of evangelization [71]

In Christian experience, "all the creatures of the material universe find their true meaning in the incarnate Word, for the Son of God has incorporated in his person part of the material world, planting in it a seed of definitive transformation. He is present in a glorious and mysterious way in the river, the trees, the fish and the wind, as the Lord who reigns in creation without ever losing his transfigured wounds, while in the Eucharist he takes up the elements of this world and confers on all things the meaning of the paschal gift. [74]

A holiness born of encounter and engagement, contemplation and service, receptive solitude and life in community, cheerful sobriety and the struggle for justice [77]

women who in fact have a central part to play in Amazonian communities should have access to positions, including ecclesial services, that do not entail Holy Orders and that can better signify the role that is theirs. Here it should be noted that these services entail stability, public recognition and a commission from the bishop. This would also allow women to have a real and effective impact on the organization, the most important decisions and the direction of communities, while continuing to do so in a way that reflects their womanhood. [103]

 CONCLUSION - MOTHER OF THE AMAZON REGION

The Mother whom Christ gave us is also the one Mother of all.

Mother of life, in your maternal womb Jesus took flesh, the Lord of all that exists.

Risen, he transfigured you by his light and made you the Queen of all creation.

Show yourself the Mother of all creatures, in the beauty of the flowers, the rivers,the great river that courses through it and all the life pulsing in its forests.

Tenderly care for this explosion of beauty.

Ask Jesus to pour out all his love on [all] men and women, that they may know how to appreciate and care for [your creation]

Bring your Son to birth in their hearts, so that he can shine forth in [all] peoples and cultures, by the light of his word, by his consoling love, by his message of fraternity and justice.

And at every Eucharist, may all this awe and wonder be lifted up, to the glory of the Father.

Mother, look upon the poor of the Amazon region, for their home is being destroyed by petty interests. How much pain and misery, how much neglect and abuse there is in this blessed land overflowing with life!

Touch the hearts of the powerful, for, even though we sense that the hour is late, you call us to save what is still alive.

Mother whose heart is pierced, who yourself suffer in your mistreated sons and daughters, and in the wounds inflicted on nature, reign in the Amazon, together with your Son.

Reign so that no one else can claim lordship over the handiwork of God.

We trust in you, Mother of life. Do not abandon us in this dark hour.

Amen.


A letter from Thailand
World Inter-faith Harmony Week
 

Comments 1

Guest - Paul Frechette on Monday, 17 February 2020 22:44

Ben,
Thank you for posting the four Dreams of Pope Francis's Beloved Amazon : Social , Cultural, Ecological, and Ecclesial and with powerful images! This summary of yours is an incentive for the rest of us to read and ponder the whole document of Francis.
Thank you!
Paul Frechette

Ben, Thank you for posting the four Dreams of Pope Francis's Beloved Amazon : Social , Cultural, Ecological, and Ecclesial and with powerful images! This summary of yours is an incentive for the rest of us to read and ponder the whole document of Francis. Thank you! Paul Frechette
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Friday, 29 May 2020