Indigenous Wisdom, Indigenous Holiness

Last night ABC News reported on the secret war in the Amazon, as that region is being plundered by timber merchants, ranchers and other third parties. Pope Francis in his exhortation “Querida Amazonia” recently said the world should be outraged by what’s happening there. It’s an ecological and human disaster.

The loss of the Amazon region and great land forests in the Congo and Borneo will impoverish the earth and humanity, the pope writes. Already, the majority of the population of the Amazon have been driven away from their ancestral home to live in big cities where they experience exploitation, xenophobia, sexual exploitation and human trafficking. (10)

We’re losing a treasure of the natural world. The pope bemoans the “disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost forever. The great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity. 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” (54)

The pope calls the Amazon “a theological locus”, a place that awakens the sense of God, now so weakened by our technological world. “ Its loss diminishes our contemplative sense. “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’. On the other hand, if we enter into communion with the forest, our voices will easily blend with its own and become a prayer: “as we rest in the shade of an ancient eucalyptus, our prayer for light joins in the song of the eternal foliage’”

“Jesus said: ‘Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight’ (Lk 12:6). God our Father, created each being in the universe with infinite love, …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”.

An “indigenous wisdom” and “indigenous holiness” is being lost, the pope says. “The aboriginal peoples give us the example of a joyful sobriety and in this sense, “they have much to teach us”.[101] They know how to be content with little; they enjoy God’s little gifts without accumulating great possessions; they do not destroy things needlessly; they care for ecosystems and they recognize that the earth, while serving as a generous source of support for their life, also has a maternal dimension that evokes respect and tender love.”  (71)

Teach us to number our days aright, O Lord, that we may gain wisdom of heart.

1 thought on “Indigenous Wisdom, Indigenous Holiness

  1. isabel

    “Querida Amazonia” a title that will touch the hearts of so many and hopefully would be a wake up call to action. Thank you for posting.


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