The world today badly needs a renewed spirit of cross-cultural exchange. We need to be more like the Church’s great missionaries. Not only do cultural differences enrich us and lead us closer to God, but they also allow us to transcend the trivial factionalism that even St. Columban encountered.
There needs to be persistent common efforts to overcome machismo and clericalism in our Church in general and in the Church of Amazonia in particular.
St. Columban, known for his mystical relationship with the natural world, is quoted as saying, "if you want to know the Creator, know Creation." Today, Columban missionaries carry this spirituality of care and respect for Creation as integral to our missionary identity and way of participating in God’s mission.
In the face of a global climate emergency, massive forced migrations, global inequality and violence on a global scale, we are called to see in the “signs of the time” the seeds of a new future, of ecological conversion, moving forward with hope and courage befitting a Spirit that comes anew “to set hearts on fire” and “to renew the face of the Earth.”
The federal budget is a moral document that reflects our priorities as a society. One issue where our budget does not reflect our vision for a justice and peaceful society is immigration enforcement.
The United States is responsible for a portion of the deforestation happening in the Amazon, including the recent fires that made headlines. Many US manufacturers and other companies source materials from the Amazon region.
The call from border communities is for new leadership, that will defend human dignity, offer compassion, work for justice, celebrate diversity. We must continue to reject hatred and violence, racism and xenophobia, and immigration and refugee policies that exclude and punish the most vulnerable among us.
An image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and child behind chains, used during the process at the Catholic Day of Action against child detention in Newark, NJ (Sept. 2019)
At a time when we are witnessing our government build walls on the US – Mexico border and close the door to refugees and asylum-seekers everywhere, we need to pause and ask: “Why have our hearts grow so cold? Why are we so afraid?"
The military industrial complex and the fossil fuel industries are connected to one another. In relation to the ongoing destruction of the Amazon rainforest there is one company, BlackRock Inc., which encompasses all the concerns of Amazon peoples.
Illegal logging on Pirititi indigenous amazon lands with a repository of round logs on May 8, 2018 (Felipe Werneck/Ibama via flickr via AP)
We are challenged in this moment to ensure our global economic systems treat the Amazon not as a commodity for our use but as an integral region that supports life on Earth. This is not an easy task, but our first step must be to recognise our deep connection to the Amazon, no matter where we live.
Copyright © 2021 Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Washington, D.C.