A piece of sunshine

Querida Amazonia

As all of us know, our planet is the most marvelous creation of God, but now, because of climate change, we are not sure of its destiny. Now the whole world is trying hard to present various countermeasures.


Following "Laudato si" (Praise be to you, my Lord) that invites us to take care of our "common house" with ecological conversion, another post-synodal apostolic exhortation by Pope Francis, "Querida Amazonia" (The beloved Amazon: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology) was published on Feb. 2, 2020, as a result of a special meeting on the Amazon region in Rome from Oct. 6 to 27, 2019.


Through four chapters, such as "a social dream" for a sense of community, forgiveness, social dialogue, the protection of the rights of the poor and the least and the original peoples from injustice and crime; "a cultural dream" for the preservation of distinctive cultural riches, the beauty of our humanity, caring for roots, intercultural encounter; "an ecological dream" for the conservation of natural beauty and the superabundant life; "an ecclesial dream" for the communities with generous commitment and inculturation of various fields in the Amazon region, "Querida Amazonia" cries for the dignity of Amazon people and the recovery of their happy life.


As the lungs of the Earth, the Amazon is "a multinational and interconnected whole, a great biome shared by nine countries" (Art. 5) such as Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Surinam, Venezuela and the territory of French Guiana. The Amazon is a region with its distinctive cultural riches, natural beauty, and superabundant life.


Living in this world "without being swallowed up by its immanence, its spiritual emptiness, its complacent selfishness, its consumerist and self-destructive individualism" (Art. 108) will surely lead us to unity, collaboration, and solidarity.


In order to change our way of living, good publications and wise talk are not enough ― conscious individual practice is needed in our daily lives.


Group by group, our congregation used to make pilgrimages to several Biblical places. This year, it was my turn. I could have joined in the pilgrimage, but our group couldn't make it due to the pandemic. I don't know when we can resume this inspiring initiative, but I don't feel like taking an airplane that produces so much carbon emissions…


Let me introduce you to the closing prayer of "Querida Amazonia" (Art. 111) to Mary, Mother of the Amazon region:


"Mother of life……

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.


Bring your Son to birth in their hearts,

so that he can shine forth in the Amazon region,

in its peoples and in its cultures,

by the light of his word,

by his consoling love,

by his message of fraternity and justice.


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!


Do not abandon us

in this dark hour. Amen."

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