A choice to be made

In Latin America and the Caribbean, at a time when many of our peoples are preparing to celebrate the bicentenary of their independence, we find ourselves facing the challenge of revitalizing our way of being Catholic and our personal options for the Lord, so that Christian faith may become more deeply rooted in the heart of Latin American individuals and peoples as founding event and living encounter with Christ. He reveals himself as newness of life and mission in all dimensions of personal and social existence. This requires, on the basis of our Catholic identity, a much more missionary evangelization, in dialogue with all Christians and at the service of all people. Otherwise, “the rich treasure of the American Continent … its most valuable patrimony: faith in God who is love” risks being increasingly eroded and diluted in various sectors of the population. Today a choice must be made between paths that lead to life and paths that lead to death (cf. Dt 30: 15). Paths of death are those that lead to squandering the goods received from God through those who preceded us in the faith. They are paths that mark a culture without God and without his commandments, or even against God, driven by the idols of power, wealth, and momentary pleasure, which end up being a culture against the human being and against the good of Latin American peoples. Paths of true and full life for all, paths of eternal life, are those traced by the faith which lead to “the fullness of life that Christ has brought us: with this divine life there also develops the fullness of human existence in its personal, family, social and cultural dimension.” This is the life that God shares with us out of his gratuitous love, for “it is the love that gives life.” These paths of life bear fruit in the gifts of truth and love that have been given to us in Christ in the communion of the Lord’s disciples and missionaries, so that Latin America and the Caribbean may indeed be a continent in which faith, hope and love renew the life of persons and transform the cultures of peoples.