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A reflection on the Pope's visit in Colombia

The Carmelite youth group at the Visit of the Pope in Columbia

Father Pedro Arenas, O.Carm

(Colombia - 09/12/2017)

The recent visit of Pope Francis to Colombia was a blessing. Just two days ago he returned to Rome and here we are experiencing how sad and difficult to be able to return to everyday life, to be without him. Everything smells like Francisco. We all continued thinking and saying something about him. He spoke the truth of the Gospel from his heart to the hearts of all and we all understood him, from the youngest to the most reluctant. Colombia was different. For five days, after more than seventy years, we began to feel brotherhood again and to be moved by the dream of being reconciled. There seems to be no opposition, a strange thing in a polarized country. We wept with him before the testimonies of the pain and resistance of the people. The fervor and joy of the millions and millions of Catholic believers who followed him step by step, live and on television, joined the admiration, the respectful silence, the sympathy and even the curiosity of most of the rest of our town. The Carmelites were moved, and we melted into that joyful and prayerful crowd. We only know how to live in the midst of the people. Like Mary at the Cross, and then at Pentecost, we had no role. Only presence and spirit.

One day the Lord said of Nathaniel that he was a true Israelite, and another day that in no one as in a centurion had he found such faith: Wow! Yesterday a lady called me and told me that seeing the Pope had thought a lot about us, the Carmelites, because of the simple presence and the way of speaking. I thought of that gospel of "Who do the people say that I am?" that changed the life to Jesus. I felt happy, I confess, and I reaffirm that it is the only way that presents us for living in the following of Jesus Christ and that Francis reminds us of. Ah, and in Cartagena, in his last Eucharist in Colombia, the image that was next to the Cross was that of the Virgin of Carmen, the Star of the sea, our Sister.

As Carmelites We live our life of allegiance to Jesus Christ and to serve Him faithfully with a pure heart and a clear conscience through a commitment to seek the face of the living God (the contemplative dimension of life), through prayer, through fraternity, and through service (diakonia). These three fundamental elements of the charism are not distinct and unrelated values, but closely interwoven. 

All of these we live under the protection, inspiration and guidance of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whom we honor as "our Mother and sister." 


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