Querida Amazonia 79-80: More On An Amazonian Holiness

In the post-synodal exhortation, Pope Francis looks at the starting points for an Amazonian holiness, and after a small break for the Paschal Triduum, we will continue with him here.

79. It is possible to take up an indigenous symbol in some way, without necessarily considering it as idolatry.

As with Christmas trees, it is quite possible.

A myth charged with spiritual meaning can be used to advantage and not always considered a pagan error. Some religious festivals have a sacred meaning and are occasions for gathering and fraternity, albeit in need of a gradual process of purification or maturation. A missionary of souls will try to discover the legitimate needs and concerns that seek an outlet in at times imperfect, partial or mistaken religious expressions, and will attempt to respond to them with an inculturated spirituality.

Some key points here: that “missionary of souls,” that person who is devoted to the good of the people she or he serves. And more, the people she or he lives with in a bond of community, solidarity, and friendship. People outside of the community may have a stance of skepticism, but they are not permitted to pollute and sow division in the wider Church for it.

80. Such a spirituality will certainly be centered on the one God and Lord, while at the same time in contact with the daily needs of people who strive for a dignified life, who want to enjoy life’s blessings, to find peace and harmony, to resolve family problems, to care for their illnesses, and to see their children grow up happy.

This is a good list of virtues. People who aspire to union with God, either as a Christian, a pagan, an agnostic or whatever, would all be in agreement with one another on these. As Christians, we believe Christ is the sure path for dignity, blessing, peace, interpersonal harmony, conflict resolution, healing, child-rearing, and the like. It does us well to see that other people manage to find a lot of these outside of the Church. That, we should be willing to explore.

The greatest danger would be to prevent them from encountering Christ by presenting him as an enemy of joy or as someone indifferent to human questions and difficulties.[Cf. Gaudete et Exsultate 126-127] Nowadays, it is essential to show that holiness takes nothing away from our “energy, vitality or joy”.[Ibid. 32]


This document is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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