MESSAGE FOR THE AUGUSTINIAN YOUTH ENCOUNTER, PANAMA, 2019
The Augustinian Youth Encounter (AYE) is always a special moment for young people drawn from different circumscriptions of the Augustinian Order around the world. It is an event of grace that brings young people together to celebrate in faith, hope and love their life experiences of the joy of the Gospel. The forthcoming AYE takes place from 15th to 20th January 2019 in David and Tolé, two cities of Panama where nature speaks and invites to the contemplation and praise of God. The theme of this A YE 2019 ”Heavens and Earth Proclaim your glory, Lord!” (Confessions 10, 6. 2) fits in perfectly with the venues.
God is the architect and source of all that exists visibly and invisibly. All creatures and environment bear His mark. He cares for them unceasingly. Human beings, through their unique participation in God’s life, share in the responsibility of caring for and promoting nature and the well-being of the environment. God reveals Himself through creation and we come to know Him through it. The book of Wisdom attests to the knowledge of God from nature (Wisdom 13, 5). St. Paul enunciates: ”Ever since the creation of the world, the invisible existence of God and his everlasting power have been clearly seen by the mind’s understanding of created things” (Romans 1, 20). In his confessions, St. Augustine lauds God’s infinite goodness and beauty in creation. He also affirms that created beings recognize God’s power. Our concern and respect for nature and the environment are manifestation of our praise, worship and adoration to God.
Pope Francis stands out today as a critical voice in the world for raising more awareness and sensitivity of human stewardship to nature and the environment. This stewardship is also a divine call to be guardians of creation. We, the young people, should take this as a challenge and be at the forefront. ”All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents” (Pope Francis, Laudato Si, n. 14 ).
As we look forward to seeing you, to experiencing the warm hospitality and kindness of the good Panamanian people, the beauty and wonder of PANAMA and sharing our life in the unity of mind and heart, let us resolve to be committed and proactive in the promotion of care for the environment, a concrete sign of our communion with God in order to build a better world of solidarity where harmony can reign supreme in the environment.
INTERNATIONAL YOUTH COMMISSION