The Heart of ‘Querida Amazonia’: ‘overflowing en route’


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How does Francis propose to solve problems, and in particular those posed by the Amazon? The answer is found in a Spanish word that recurs five times in the Apostolic Exhortation Querida Amazonia that is the motor or, rather, the beating heart of the text.  It is essentially Pope Francis’ own way of seeing. The term is (in Spanish) desborde or, as a verb, desbordar. It is hard to translate it into other languages using the same word. It suggests “overflowing”, “flooding”, “super abundance”, or “spilling over”.

Faced with great problems, such as the one that humanity faces in Amazonia, “solutions are found in ‘overflowing’” (la salida se encuentra por “desborde”),[1] says Pope Francis. And he adds that, in order to recognize the “greater gift that God is offering,” one must “broaden horizons beyond conflicts” and transcend the dialectics that limit vision. It is not enough to put order into existence; rather, life must open to God, whose presence is always beyond — “overflowing.”

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