Querida Amazonia 53-57: The Prophecy of Contemplation

Pope Francis, in his post-synodal exhortation, devotes five paragraphs to “the prophecy of contemplation.” What does he mean by that?

It is a Jesuit discipline to contemplate the world and our experiences. The Examen guides many people devoted to Ignatian spirituality. We let ourselves view our daily lives, and we attempt to relive them with new perspective. We look back. We look around. We do so with openness to what God might be trying to communicate through our thoughts, feelings, and imagination.

53. Frequently we let our consciences be deadened, since “distractions constantly dull our realization of just how limited and finite our world really is”.[Laudato Si’ 59] From a superficial standpoint, we might well think that “things do not look that serious, and the planet could continue as it is for some time. Such evasiveness serves as a license to carrying on with our present lifestyles and models of production and consumption. This is the way human beings contrive to feed their self-destructive vices: trying not to see them, trying not to acknowledge them, delaying the important decisions and pretending that nothing will happen”.[Ibid. 56]

It does require something of a sense of sin to admit this. Another quote from Laudato Si’

“Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right”.[Ibid. 33](QA 54)

Do the Amazon people offer us a way beyond scientific analysis and head-centered approaches? The Holy Father counsels we get beyond usage into love and respect. He reminds us “we do not look at the world from without but from within, conscious of the bonds with which the Father has linked us to all beings”.[Ibid. 220] (QA 55)

56. Let us awaken our God-given aesthetic and contemplative sense that so often we let languish. Let us remember that “if someone has not learned to stop and admire something beautiful, we should not be surprised if he or she treats everything as an object to be used and abused without scruple”.[Ibid. 215]

Calling to mind Jesus’ teaching on sparrows, Pope Francis advises:

If we respond … it will become clear that the creatures of the Amazon region are not forgotten by our heavenly Father. 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”.[Ibid. 100] (QA 57) 

A final conclusion of this theme:

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.

This document is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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