By Vatican News
In a letter addressed to the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean, Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, OFM, President of the Latin American Bishops’ Council (known as “CELAM” from its initials in Spanish) and President of the Peruvian Bishops’ Conference, reflects on faith, hope and mercy in the face of the global crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
A moment of grace
In the document, Archbishop Cabrejos expresses the hope that this global crisis can be overcome if we all work together responsibly: “In the midst of experiences of insecurity and anxiety, of fear of loneliness, this time can also be a moment of grace to allow God to touch and heal our wounds, to transform and renew us interiorly, so that we can live with eyes, ears and hearts open to God, to our brothers and sisters and to Mother Nature”.
The President of CELAM also recalls the words spoken by Pope Francis during the “Moment of Prayer” celebrated on Friday, 27 March. “The Holy Father said that this pandemic ‘is not the time of your judgement, but of our judgement: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not’."
Sharing the merciful love of God
“In these circumstances,” Archbishop Cabrejos writes, “a true love for one’s neighbor and for the care of the most vulnerable people is shown in respect for the measures linked to physical and social isolation, but these restrictions should not lead us to erect walls and barriers in our hearts”. At the same time, the President of CELAM asks the faithful to extend “the generous, compassionate and merciful love that God has for us, especially for our brothers and sisters who live in conditions of great precariousness because they do not have sufficient financial income for their basic needs”.
“The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting all of us,” he adds, “it is an absolutely exceptional and unprecedented situation, which upsets our lives and generates great pain because of so much human suffering that makes us reflect and ask questions, and pushes us to discern: What is God’s message to the human heart about what is happening?”
Our hope in the Cross of Christ
Archbishop Cabrejos notes, “The Holy Father also pointed out that we have become accustomed to great inequalities and injustices, to lifestyles marked by the desire for power and prestige, and to the insatiable consumption of many superfluous goods; all this at the expense of the poor, of nature, hurting the dignity of the person and of entire peoples, condemning them to live in less human situations”. The current pandemic, on the other hand, “makes us aware that we have not heard the cry of the poor and of our seriously ill planet”.
He concludes his letter, “In this Lent and Easter season that we must live in times of pandemic, we place our hope in the Cross of Jesus, through which ‘we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from His redeeming love’.”