The Encyclical Laudato Si’ has become a declaration of values to be rescued. It proposes a new form of relationships with creatures and a profound questioning of how we have structured our societies. Our world is going through a socio-environmental crisis with serious consequences for the future of all forms of life on the planet, which is why a return to communion and balance is essential.
Pope Francis invites us to discover that everything is connected. Life in all its manifestations constitutes a network of fragile balances. In this framework, human beings have a responsibility to care for and seek communion. We cannot lose our relationship with the earth because we are created from the dust of the earth; we have been made in the image of the Creator, to be, like Him, friends of life and followers of His creative work.
In my personal experience, contact with the natural world has represented a possibility for contemplation and connection with God, those who suffer, and myself. This connection opens me to gratitude, confronts me with the mystery, and challenges me to join forces with so many people who, in different ways, listen and attend to the cry of the earth and the poor.
As a Franciscan, I feel invited to live the joy of cosmic brotherhood, to recognize the presence and voice of God amid creation, and to rediscover my vocation as a gardener and farmer of a world that needs to be embraced and protected from the selfishness of a few.
The Amazon region, from this perspective, represents a place where divine greatness is manifested and where human service becomes an invitation to care for and defend each one of the creatures. Native peoples, “rivereños,” peasants, and migrants fight every day to ensure their livelihood in the middle of this region. Water, mountains, and their cultures represent a heritage for the whole world, a wealth that contributes to the planet’s balance and refers us to the greatness of the Creator. The Amazon is a geographical place but also a symbolic one. Near us we find many “Amazons” that also constitute a possibility for the elevation of the Spirit, for communion with all creatures and for our faith commitment: Taking care of the balance of all ecosystems, embracing the diversity of cultures, and making decisions considering the new generations.