Here it is a reflection by a Spiritual Counsellor from this enormous SR, Monsignor José Albuquerque, on the most recent Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis: “Dear Amazon”. Who better than a Bishop of the Amazon region to help us reflect on the Pope’s words?
The PanAmazonian Synod is, was and will be a historical moment, a true ecclesial “Kairós” that sought, with the participation of thousands of people, new directions for the Church and for an Integral Ecology. Called by Pope Francis in October 2017, it was an expression in so many different ways, of how the Second Vatican Council continues to be implemented, with the aim of assuring and guiding the mission of Christians in the Church and in the world, in the context of their hopes and challenges.
Dear Amazon! These are the opening words and the title of the new Apostolic Exhortation presented in February this year. In 111 paragraphs distributed in 4 chapters, Francis speaks of what he calls “Dreams”. These begin with what he saw, heard and felt on the journey towards the realization of the Synod for Amazonia. It is a letter of love addressed to the heart of all believers – women and men of good will, who want to collaborate in the creation of a fraternal, just and supportive world, especially for those who live in this continental immensity.
At the beginning of the Exhortation, the Pope makes it clear that he does not intend to develop all the issues dealt with during the Synodal Assembly (October 2019), much less replace or repeat the Conclusive Document (approved by a large majority of the Synod Fathers). On the contrary, he legitimizes all the work done and encourages its reading with attention and depth, highlighting the conclusions expressed in it. These reflect the appeals of reality, stimulate the search for an authentic conversion, and seek to respond to the urgent situations that threaten the Amazonian peoples and its biodiversity.
In the chapters of the Exhortation, the Pontiff formulates the great dreams that Amazonia inspires in him:
“I dream of an Amazonia that fights for the rights of the poorest, of native peoples, of the least, so that their voice is heard and their dignity is promoted. I dream of an Amazon that preserves the cultural richness that characterizes it and in which human beauty shines in such a varied way. I dream of an Amazon that jealously guards the seductive natural beauty that adorns it, the overflowing life that fills its rivers and forests. I dream of Christian communities capable of devoting themselves and incarnating themselves in the Amazon, to such an extent that they give the Church new faces with Amazonian features” (QA, 7). It is impressive that instead of presenting theoretical conclusions or dwelling only on concrete proposals for action on Evangelization in the Pan-Amazon, Francis prefers to share his dreams with us, inviting us to walk together, because “everything is interconnected”.
As he asks us, let us welcome and meditate on this beautiful Exhortation, visualizing the Amazon and its inhabitants. Taking it as a reference, may we reflect on the situation of all the biomes of our planet, especially on the reality in which we live. Let us share these dreams in our families, base teams, parish communities, social networks and society. May the commitment to take care of our “Common Home”, a gift given to us by the Creator, grow and strengthen among us, preserving the ecological, ethnic and cultural diversity of the Amazonian peoples.
Bishop José Albuquerque
SC Eq. O8 – NS Queen of Apostles
North I – Sector C – Manaus/AM – Brazil