How can I do such a thing knowing that I won’t be faithful to everything I promise?
I trust in the strengths of the One who called me. Actually I know that without him I can do nothing (John 15,5). The words of Saint Augustin sound very clear to me today: “Give me what you ask from me and ask me whatever you want” (this is not literal but it’s how I remember). I’m sure that I wasn’t I who chose Him but it was He he chose me.
I don’t deserve to be called, I didn’t do anything for God to love me. But I know where I would be if it wasn’t His love to touch me. So I’m giving myself to God in gratitude. “My heart can only have gratitude, eternal gratitude, and unite my entire being to thank the One who loved me so much.” (Moysés Azevedo, Founder of Shalom Community).
How can I not love Him? How can I not share to the whole world this love and peace He gave me, and grants me every day? I give myself to God because He gave Himself to me! I want to make my life an eternal offering to my salvation and for the salvation of the world. By salvation I mean this meeting of two people that looked for each other for a very long time, that longed for one another and will be very happy when they finally meet, God and you (and me). Salvation for me is leaving this house of egoism in witch I live and going towards the Other and the others.
I want to be the voice of the risen Christ that claims to the world: “Peace be with you!”(John 20,19) “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”(John 14,27)
Once more I’ll say: “Here I am, I promise to love you back Lord”.
Pray for me.
How to listen God’s voice? How do we know we’re in the right path? How to be sure about our vocation?
Those are though questions… Because there isn’t a recipe, it isn’t like a cake, there isn’t no formula… I’ll share a bit of my experience (which isn’t enormous either).
I was a missionary member of my community for more than 12 years and now I’m an “external” member. I passed from a full time missionary to another way of evangelizing. Now I’m studying management, teaching English and French for a living. I evangelize in my college, through my blog, through translations of prayers and so on…
What made me decide to change my way of life?
The holiness, I mean my desire to be holy, to be saint, to accomplish my Christian faith as good as I can. Since I came back to Brazil I could see God opening new doors right in front of me: I passed the exam for the college I am now in 5th place (I haven’t studied high school stuff for more than 12 years!), the Languages Course that hired me was in need of teachers the very day I went there to check about job opportunities…
Now I hope to go back to Canada one day but I know that the Lord has just the right door to open for me. In the mean time I study, I pray for wisdom (there is a beautiful prayer at the book of wisdom Chapter 9) but I have every day I can a long moment of Silent prayer before God. Just to learn to listen to His signs.
Other than just silence and being attentive to the circumstances is there other ways of finding Gods will?
Well yes. obedience. Having someone to help you discerning God will is a sure way to do it. In the community we have a personal formator and a communitarian formator. I’m lucky my personal formator is also a priest. For those who don’t belong to a community, I suggest a confessor. For more than 12 years I’ve been helped by an external view. I can tell it’s difficult but it’s comforting to know you’re doing no wrong.
Saint Theressa of Avila praised the goodness of obedience as the best source of wisdom.
I hope I could help. I don’t fell like I spoke what I wanted. Whatever questions you have please ask and I’ll be more than happy to answer.
If you liked this post please pass it on!
Another one from Deninse Landim
After reading a post on my friend Felipe Bezerra’s blog (https://shalomfelipe.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/is-pre-marital-sex-always-a-sin/), I wanted to write about chastity.
I also remembered a retreat promoted by the Catholic Community Shalom – to which I belong – I made last year and that helped me to dive in this huge Gift. I know this is a very important subject and discussed a lot in the Christian community, after all, live chastity in today’s world is increasingly challenging, isn’t it? And because it’s so challenging, to be chaste means to say yes to God daily, constantly, it’s a very “sweaty” yes. In this post I will try to talk about the issue in a more formative, next, I promise to write about chastity as poetry.
I begin with the words of the founder of Shalom, Moyses Azevedo, who says: “The will of God is not the easiest part, but is the most happy.” Therefore, at first, I start by telling you that you who knows God’s will for us is holiness, to be saints, and that we must be chaste, that it isn’t an easy path to choose chastity. For in a world that does not believe in purity, you are a brave fighter for choosing the most happy. Chastity is not a burden, is a courageous choice.
Chastity enables us to love, truly love. It protects us from ourselves and changes anxiety into patience . When we are divided by our feelings and desires, it unifies us and helps us to stay together . I’m sure many of our troubles would not gain inner strength if we were more pure. It may seem there is no connection between chastity and integrity, but is chastity what enables us to give ourselves entirely, to love entirely, and stay whole until the end without letting bits of ourselves falloff on the crooked roads of some relationships we’ve passed through in life.
The big fruit of chastity is to learn how to wait. It expands our vision beyond today’s date, beyond the “now”, beyond this moment. Chastity always expects tomorrow. The proof of love is not on today, it is on tomorrow. It’s easy to “spend”, today, the night with someone, it is difficult to live with that someone the “tomorrow” of an entire life! Only chastity makes us see this way, it only can lend us the glasses of God. Without chastity we are less confident and it becomes more difficult to expect promises, time and people.
And how to live chastely? God gave me a body to live in chastity. This body will one day be glorious! And that body was given to me to express love. And if I’m married, he gave me the body of my husband that I also take care of that body till the day i’ll return it to Christ “without spot and without wrinkle.” If I use my body and the body of another person just for my pleasure, I hurt not only my body and his body, I hurt my soul and the soul of another. What hurts the body, hurts the soul.
The good news is that God expects for a great opportunity to restore the virginity of our heart and with it, heal our bodies each day with His touches of pure love. There is no chastity without a start over, that’s why its always possible! If chastity empowers us to love, love enables us to chastity. On the day that we allow God love us fully, with our weaknesses and impurities; in the day He hugs and kisses our injured body with His mercy, filling the holes and gaps left in us by disaffection, chastity will no longer be and a desire but it will be a real path.
If our “yes” to God isn’t also a yes to chastity, the voice of true love will never be heard.
I just changed the order but the text is full here. Please visit the web site and comment. I want to make clear that this is an article directed to Roman Catholics in a very direct language. I suggest those who aren’t catholics to read my other post: “To kiss or not to kiss? (is that a question)” first. I’m open to have a dialog and answer the comments. I promise to post a text written by myself about this subject very soon.
From Marcel at: Aggie Catholics
Q – Is pre-marital sex always a sin?
A – It seems like a simple enough question – is pre-marital sex always a sin? The answers to that question given by Catholics might shock you. Here is a snip from an article on these results fromMsgr. Charles Pope:
In 1972, 39% of adult Catholics responded that premarital sex was “always wrong.” Among Catholics attending Mass at least once a week, 54% responded as such that year. In the most recent survey, conducted in 2008, only 14% of Catholics responded that premarital sex is “always wrong.” Among Catholics attending Mass at least once a week, 30% responded as such.
In other words, more than 70% of Church-going Catholics do not hold or agree to the teaching the Church and Scripture that premarital sex (fornication) is always wrong. Among Catholics who do not go to Mass the number is even higher at 86%.
I knew it was bad, I did not know it was this bad. We have a lot of work to do.
I agree, we have a lot of work to do. But, I am not shocked by the numbers. I see the results of such numbers all the time.
So, why is pre-marital sex always sinful? Because it is a selfish, unloving, use of another human being and a misuse of our sexuality.
Sex is something holy and beautiful – when done in the right context of marriage. Sex is something intimate and wonderful – between husband and wife. Just like anything good, it can be twisted to be bad. This is what happens in pre-marital sexuality. While it may “feel” like love, we would never risk another person’s future, virginity, pregnancy, disease, soul, broken heart, etc. if we loved them.
Another way to re-phrase the question might be to ask “where is the line between sin and not sinning?” Well, it depends on each individual. While all sexual activity (not just intercourse) outside of marriage is sinful, lust is also. This is the deeper issue. Lust isn’t just a passing sexual thought about another person. It is when we grab hold of that thought and use it for our own pleasure.
When we have a control of what is going on in our hearts and minds, then we will easily see where the line is drawn and will do all we can to avoid even approaching it. We want to try and change our hearts, not just our actions.
I know there are many Catholics who struggle with their sexuality and controlling their desires, but it is worth it. Here is the reason – you can’t give what isn’t your own. If you don’t have self-control, you can’t give yourself away fully. This means you can’t really love another person by being a gift to them. We can either be in control of our desires or allow them to control us.
Chastity is the virtue that allows us to give ourselves to another…remember the definition of love as “gift”. To give everything means we have no selfishness in our love and chastity frees us of selfishness. Unfortunately this understanding of chastity is not known well. Most people think that it means just not having sex. It is not a negative thing – it is a positive thing.
Sex should be saved for marriage, where intimacy (of all kinds) is supposed to be. Unfortunately in today’s world, we give our sexuality, our emotions, our bodies, and our lives to people we our not married to. We have lost the depth to what a intimacy really means. We end up deadening our sensitivity to it and putting present and future relationships at risk. To put it another way, I have never met a person who saved sex (of any kind) for marriage and regretted it, but I have met thousands who didn’t keep themselves pure and now do. You will never regret purity. Never. But, you will always regret impurity, eventually.
Pre-marital sex is selfish:
It is never about the other person. If it was, then we wouldn’t be risking the other person’s health, getting pregnant, spreading disease, emotional welfare, spiritual state-of-being, and future marriage. It is all about me and only me, whenever pre-marital sex happens.
Pre-marital sex is unloving:
Love = “choosing what is best for the other, despite the cost to myself” and could be summed up in one word = “gift”. We are called to love others by being a selfless gift for them. Thus, when we choose something that is about me and is not good for the other, then it is not love. Pre-marital sex, by definition, can NEVER be a loving act.
Pre-marital sex is use of another human being:
John Paul II said using another person as a means to an end (in this case your pleasure) and not as an end unto themselves is the opposite of love. It is reducing a human being to an object. Not treating them as a child of God.
Pre-marital sex is a misuse of our sexuality:
Why do we have these desires in the first place? It isn’t just to bring us pleasure. It is to be open to new life (procreation) and to bring a married man and woman together (unitive). These two ends are the purpose of marriage. Pleasure is a by-product of sex. A good by-product, but when it replaces one or both of the real purposes – it degrades the act and we are back at selfishness.
Living a life that is empty of regrets is a full and good life.
This girl is a poet. What makes the translation very hard. But as the other times I thinks it’s worth trying. For those who understand Portuguese please read the original.
from Denise Landim
“Organ axial or appendicular, hard and sharp (as found in orange), resulting from the modification of a branch, leaf, stipule, or root, consisting of lignified vascular tissue and, if plucked, destroy the underlying tissue.”
“1. Botanya. A modified branch in the form of a sharp, woody spine.b. Any of various shrubs, trees, or woody plants bearing sharp, woody spines.
2. Any of various sharp, spiny protuberances; a prickle.
3. One that causes sharp pain, irritation, or discomfort”
The thorn protects the rose as the suffering does for the soul. In proportion as it hurts, it seems to emphasize its beauty, that deeper one, the one that brings wholeness but not without pain.
When one recognizes the strength of love of the Cross, we understand the importance of the thorn and one can understand that a rose is complete only with it, as life becomes complete only when we challenge unfolds. The thorn that makes you cry teaches, trough the rose, you to smile. And the combination of this contrary richness exalts the delicacy of opposites who are united on a balance that only knows who planted them.
Who discovers the true beauty of a thorn have learned how to admire rose.
Whoever finds in the challenge an opportunity, have learned the joy to be happy.
And the one who picks welcomes roses and thorns have learned what is to live.
I do not want to live only with the roses. “I want everything.”