By Deacon Eric Gurash
This week saw the release of the long-awaited post-synodal apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia (Beloved Amazonia) from Pope Francis. With this document, Pope Francis offers his official presentation of the final text of the Amazon Synod as well as his dreams for the future of the people, cultures, ecology, and Church of this rich and diverse multinational biome that "stands before the world in all its splendour, its drama and its mystery."
Within the exhortation's 40 pages, Pope Francis outlines for the People of God, and all persons of good will, a series of four dreams the Holy Father holds for the region itself and the global community;
"I dream of an Amazon region that fights for the rights of the poor, the original peoples and the least of our brothers and sisters, where their voices can be heard and their dignity advanced.
I dream of an Amazon region that can preserve its distinctive cultural riches, where the beauty of our humanity shines forth in so many varied ways.
I dream of an Amazon region that can jealously preserve its overwhelming natural beauty and the superabundant life teeming in its rivers and forests.
I dream of Christian communities capable of generous commitment, incarnate in the Amazon region, and giving the Church new faces with Amazonian features."
Cardinal Michael Czerny, special secretary of the Synod for the Amazon, in an interview with Vatican Media, spoke of the intentional use of this 'dream language' underlining the vital role dreaming plays in expanding our horizons, opening the heart to new possibilities, and cultivating hope. "Dreams awaken you; they sweep you away; they are the most luminous stars, those that indicate a different path for humanity...The Bible tells us that great dreams are those capable of being fruitful," said Czerny.
As an official presentation of the Amazon Synod's Final Document titled "The Amazon: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology" Pope Francis is clear in his desire to not replace or duplicate the synod's text. Instead, he seeks to propose content for reflection and provide a synthesis between ideas stemming from the synod and those expressed in previous documents.
The faithful of the Church, pastors, consecrated men and women, lay faithful of the Amazon, and indeed, every person of goodwill are encouraged to read and reflect on this Apostolic Exhortation as well as the Synod Final Document in the hopes that God may provide inspiration and that the "the entire Church be enriched and challenged by the work of the synodal assembly."
Amazon Synod Document and Materials:
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