Through seven weeks, we will be enlightened, challenged, and inspired through Francis' words and Aguchita's life as we continue our journey with her in light of Pope Francis' encyclical letter Laudato Si': On Care for our Common Home. In this third week, we will reflect on Chapter Two of the encyclical: 'The Gospel of Creation.'
In the second chapter, Francis talks of how when we can see God reflected in all that exists, our hearts are moved to praise the Lord for all his creatures and to worship him in union with them. In particular, he writes:
The entire material universe speaks of God's love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God. The history of our friendship with God is always linked to particular places which take on an intensely personal meaning; we all remember places, and revisiting those memories does us much good. Anyone who has grown up in the hills or used to sit by the spring to drink, or played outdoors in the neighborhood square; going back to these places is a chance to recover something of their true selves.
It was fifty years after joining the Congregation in 1940 before Aguchita had the chance to go back to the hills of her childhood in Coracora. On that occasion, together with her siblings, she had the opportunity to recall her childhood and the early years of her adolescence. She strolled through the places where she had once run as a girl, bursting with energy. She visited the banks of the dark blue Lake Parinacochas, watching the flamingos dance like flags blowing in the wind. She walked through the fields, setting foot on the land she had once helped to sow and harvest. She bathed her feet in the river to enjoy the crisp mountain water and visited the garden where she had once admired beautiful flowers.
For Aguchita, these places would have had an intensely personal meaning; they would have spoken to her about the history of her friendship with God. Just one year before she encountered martyrdom in La Florida, this trip allowed her to revisit memories and remind her of her true self.
What particular place speaks to you about your friendship with God? Go back there, even if in the silence of contemplation. Listen to what God said to you there, and what is he saying to you now? Be present to the caress of God's tender care and bring that comforting embrace with you as you return to the present.