About the visit of Pope Francisco to Colombia
“LET US TAKE THE FIRST TO COLOMBIA”
The visit of any Pope to the countries with Christian roots like Colombia, in general, constitutes a very important historical and ecclesial event that marks the life of the people, which stimulates and leaves a good taste along with sincere commitment. This time it was more, in my view, because of:
– His being the first Latin American Pope, with what this means in our continent. And the third to visit Colombia.
– His charism as Pastor of our Church and who, with various prophetic gestures, invites us to live the Gospel of Jesus with greater coherence and from a very evangelical perspective: that of the poor, of simplicity, of the Church that goes forth, from commitment in the midst of the fragility of the human being, of joy and hope…
– The circumstances of the complex peace process that are reigning in the country … and that has politically polarized not a few Colombians.
Thus, the people of Colombia prepared for this great visit well in advance, both in parishes and in communities, and in civil, political, Church and social institutions in general. Songs typical of different regions were composed for this reason, posters of different types were made for our cities and parishes, and prayers for the pastoral success of the visit were raised to the God of life.
As his arrival drew near, and when I returned to my land, we were invited to pray with greater intensity; and on the eve of the visit, to hold a vigil in several parishes asking for the gift of knowing how to welcome the message that Francis would bring us.
There were some dissonant voices, fortunately in the minority and that in the end had little echo as they questioned his visit by the significant investment of money that it supposed… Phrases like this were heard: “if there is so much eagerness to help the poor, because with that money a good number of them can be helped…” They reminded one of a certain way of Judas before Jesus…
Personally, I followed the visit through the television with my family. The experiences and expressions of his passage through Bolivia, in 2015, along with several of my sisters Daughters of Jesus resounded in my mind and heart. Today, I pause to put words to the internal flavor left by these intense days lived and his passage through the different cities…
This visit of Pope Francis who, in the midst of the physical wear and tear that we have already noticed, but not of his great pastoral vigor, for me – and I know that for many people too – has been:
– A true gift of God amidst the intensity of the agenda for the five days and his age. An impeccable visit in several aspects. He showed to us Colombians that he knew to whom he was talking and from where. All his words, gestures and silences were consumed with the Gospel and coherence …
– Continuous and repeated invitation to build Peace, to always opt for it in the midst of differences, to end a war of so many years that we have lived in the country. To work in each heart, in families and diverse groups for genuine reconciliation, forgiveness, inclusion of every person, especially the most vulnerable in any aspect, for all to take the first step to continue in that direction.
– Sincere commitment so that everyone, from the place where we find ourselves and beyond parties, ideologies and creeds, may take ourselves seriously, in the country and the world, continue taking steps of justice and inclusion of all in the phase of post-conflict (which he never named) being lived in Colombia.
– Affectionate shaking, in a good sense, in his words addressed to Bishops, priests, consecrated persons, seminarians in Medellin, proposing to us three ways to make effective abiding in Jesus: touching his humanity as good Samaritans; contemplating his divinity in the Gospel and in prayer, learning to be silent worshipers, in need of God’s forgiveness and mercy in order to rise up every day. Finally, abiding in Christ to live in joy, that which infects and is the first testimony of the closeness and love of God.
Days before, he sent us a stirring message: “I will go as a pilgrim of hope and peace, to celebrate with you our faith in our Lord and to learn from your charity and constancy in search of peace and harmony… I thank you for the invitation to visit Colombia. I know that you have worked hard to prepare this meeting… “LET US TAKE THE FIRST STEP” is the motto of this trip… this encourages us to go out to encounter the other and reach out and give each other peace. That which Colombia has been seeking for a long time. A stable, lasting peace, to see and treat each other as brothers… not as enemies… we are children of the same Father … today’s world needs builders of peace and dialogue… “
And so it was! Feeling the warm and fraternal hug for each one, in which, as he himself wished, we would experience the consolation and the embrace of the Lord. We lived it with a joyful spirit… Now, we have to live the commitment with the grace of the Spirit, Him who sowed sincere desires in each heart, helping us to implement it personally and communally.
THANK YOU, POPE FRANCIS, FOR VISITING US, IN THIS MOMENT, OF THE LIFE OF COLOMBIA
Teresa Ramírez fi