And Love once again prevails. He walks toward his destination, renews his arrival and reaffirms its permanence. And Love once again happens. He fulfills his mission, reaching who was far, nearing who was close by. And Love once again confuses. He puts the world upside down in his madness to go insane until the end. And Love once again reveals his name, his address, His way of love. And Love once again dies to give life, to heal the wound and proclaim victory over the pain. And Love once again shocks, shocks with the courage of not giving up, of trying once more and another time again. And Love once again rises, renews our hope and encourages us in the struggle of every day. It is the extraordinary Mystery allowing the experience of the ordinary. And Love once again restores, opens a new path and certifies our faith as true. And Love once again enters, reinvents, suffice, and faces the indifference of what was once lost. And Love once again defies understanding and thought, going beyond the limits of reason. The path has already been made, the doors have been opened, Love has been done and did it once again, so you are all welcome to the Holy Week of Love …
This is another translation from Denise Landim’s blog once more she said exactly what I was feeling, I ended it with tears in my eyes…
I do not know where you are now, but I want this letter to be a prayer to God for you.
You did not know me nor I knew you beyond, of course, of what I saw appear in newspapers, magazines and photos about your life. Lies and truths of a story full of speculation; overexposure of an intimacy devastated. However, I know that your life touched the lives of many, in other hand, for me, your death touched me deeply.
But I’m not here to judge you, to throw rocks on your “falls” or to play guess the day of your death, as many did. I’m no better than you at all. Also I am not here to investigate your death or trying to figure out how it happened, many others have it upon themselves to do this.
I’m here to apologize, because you passed away without knowing that while you sang “No, no, no ..”, God said “Yes, yes, yes ..” ‘ to the decision to love you until the last consequences. While you believed you were not good, Someone saw the best you had to offer. While you were throwing yourself in the pit, He waited for an opportunity to hold you. God ran against time, but He stopped on your freedom. And even if you made the decision to sink, freely, yet I need to apologize, because perhaps no one has told you that there was a much better life with Him and a much better song than the one that your life sang.
We were the same age, but I had an opportunity that you did not, even if you have had the opportunity to be much more famous and infinitely richer than me. I had the chance to meet the love of God, did not need drugs to fill my emptiness, this is our only difference, I had the opportunity and grabbed it.
Far from the bad taste jokes and relentless speculation, I join the suffering of God’s heart and the heart those who truly loved you. I ask God to make you hear, wherever you are, the song of His love for you.
The music of God’s love will never stop playing, even if one day your music, Amy, stop selling. The music of God’s love will never stop playing, even if no one sings, no one hears, it will never cease.
And I ask God for the grace to sing it stronger with my life so that others like you can hear it in time …
Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”
I see! What my eyes open! I need a deeper look and more time looking at what’s inside. I want my vision beyond the walls and do not stop at appearances. I want more than one sense, do not want to see without seeing. I need a closer look, a different way of seeing, a magnifying lens and an expanded horizon. I want to see the hidden and finding what is lost. I look at the sale without fear. I look through the heart. Want to learn to contemplate. I see hope, memories and aim to review the present. I see beyond me. I look over the other, at length, discovering who he is. I want the vision of complicity, the look of respect and love the glasses. I look concentrated, with the fixed point on the essentials. Do not want to do only with your eyes, I see by faith. I see with new eyes. I see what God wants.
I’ve been praying with this passage for a long time and I wanted to share with you some of the fruits the meditation of it has given me but I didn’t know how because it is so deep. Then My father gave me the idea of sharing some of his texts with you and here it goes.
For those who do not know my Father writes for Shalom Maná, a monthly magazine of the Shalom Community. Every month he gives some guidelines to help us in our Divine Reading, I hope it may help you.
Lectio Divina / Divine Reading
Translated from: Jose Ricardo F. Bezerra. (My Father BTW)
As we always do before start reading, let us ask the Holy Spirit’s help. Let us pray: “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. Let us pray. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.”
You who are a reader of the Shalom Manna Magazine know the purpose of this section is to get you to read, meditate and pray with the Word of God through the ancient and proven method of the Lectio Divina which consists of four steps: reading, meditation, prayer and contemplation.
Take today’s passage of the Letter of Paul to the Romans, chapter 5, verses 1 to 11 (Rom 5:1-11) and let us do our lectio this day. Read slowly, the middle voice, the verses indicated.
As you could have seen this passage is of great beauty and depth. But our goal here is not to know or study the theological ramifications that it offers. We want to, through this reading and meditation, pray and allow the Lord to enlighten us.
The Apostle explains the relations between faith, hope and love in the midst of tribulations we pass in life and after a chain of words he concludes by saying that “hope does not disappoint …” (v.5). How many times we have suffered disappointments, isn’t it? These unpleasing surprises are part of our day-to-day. We create expectations about things and people and when they do not happen, there comes disappointment. But God’s Word comes today to show us something that does not disappoint: Hope! You believe that? And there’s a reason why it, hope, does not disappoint. It is because, the passage continues, “God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us.” God’s love is the guarantee. God is faithful and when we put our hope in Him we can be sure that He will always give us the best. Have you ever felt that love in your heart? It Maybe pass through your head this thinking: “But I do not deserve …” Nobody deserves it! God’s love is free love, we haven’t done anything to deserve it. And it is the Holy Spirit received in our baptism who pours this love. And mind it, it is poured, giving the idea of abundance that is particular to God himself. Take a moment and think. Are you disappointed? Disappointed with something? Put your hope in the Lord, for He does not disappoint.
St. Paul goes on showing another truth. “Hardly anyone gives life to the just … But God demonstrates His own love toward us in that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners.” In the dialogue with Nicodemus, Jesus had already revealed that this is one of the greatest truths of the Bible: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (Jn 3:16). What an incomparable grace, isn’t it? The Father, moved by love, sent us Jesus who died to give us salvation, eternal life. Blessed love that gives us so undeserved gift! Meditate and pray about it.
Read the passage again. See other points. St. Paul says that faith gives us peace in God (cf. v. 1). How different is the lives of those who have faith … You notice the value he attaches to the trials. They generate perseverance. So do not be slaughtered when you go through great difficulties. Know that they will produce perseverance. And this will lead you to having a proven virtue. Well, the virtue will lead us to hope that will lead us to God. God is Love! God is our hope that does not disappoint! God is faithful!
How many things the Lord has inspired us to pray with this lectio, isn’t it? Resume your prayer by praising Him and thanking Him for this wonderful love of a Father. Keep thanking Him for the love of Jesus who gave His life on the cross for us. Praise the Holy Spirit, Who is the love of the Father and of the Son Who pours Himself into our hearts … Thank also for the trials and difficulties, however painful they are, because they can become powerful ways to draw us closer to God. Continue your prayer in the way that the Spirit leads you… Contemplate at last, the glory of heaven that God has prepared for those who love him …
At the end of the Lectio, remember to take your notebook and write down the prayer of thanks that the Lord made you experience. If you can write to us giving your witnessing . It is a joy to have you as a reader. (See the addresses on the back cover of this magazine or my email firstname.lastname@example.org.) (Or comment this post)
O God, Who has sent into this world your only Son to free mankind of old slavery, grant those who hope in your mercy to achieve true freedom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son in the unity of the Holy Spirit.
O Mary, Queen of Sinners and Comforter of the afflicted, pray for us!
See you next month!
For those who want to learn more about lectio divina this post may help.
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For us Shalom is obvious that sexuality implies the way you are man or woman, the way you think, act, react as man or woman. So it is a lot more than a relationship, is about being the way you were created to be, man or woman, accordingly to your age and state of life, celibate, priest or married.
The following text is the translation of a post by a friend and also member of Shalom community Tobias Cortez on his blog “Da esquerda pra Direita”
Some time ago, if you put on any Internet search site the word “asexual” only unicellular animals would appear, maybe some bacterias, plants, etc.. Try putting the word mentioned on Google today. What appears? Asexual, in postmodernity, are men and women who, according to what you read, give no importance, do not feel attracted and have no type of relationship that is sexually oriented. Generally, those people (like more than the half of the world) confuse sexuality to the use of the genitals , or think that the only way of exercising their sexuality is through sexual intercourse.
But the problems do not stop there. An “asexual” is not defined as heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual. It’s like the “asexual” is a fourth kind of sexual orientation. Many of them feel “disgusted by sex,” do not think that is important. They may even fall in love, marry and have children(!), so long as there is no sex involved to all this! Some of them practice acts of masturbation, but do not associate this practice with sex.
Some uninformed Christians might find this amazing, “they are living in chastity.” But logically, this is absurd! Firstly because an “asexual” understands sexuality as mere use of the genitals, or sex. In addition, this shares the worldly thinking, where a man or woman, gay, lesbian, indefinites or “no sex” is all the same thing, “a matter of choice” and nothing else.
What a reversal of values! The world gets to misrepresent what looks good! A young Christian struggling to live in chastity because he believes that this will lead to a way of ordering his sexuality. We know that sex is something willed by God and is made to unite man to woman in the sacrament of marriage, for life. We understand sexuality as a vital force that accompanies your whole being and is expressed in the way you talk, dress, relate, think, etc.. You know that sex is a gift given by God to unite the couple (man and woman!) and generate new children of God.
Live chastity in this relativistic world is an act of heroism that all young people are called to live. And as we live it, we can express to the world that we are, yes, men and women, sexual, and we want to live our sexuality intensely, but not as messy and distorted what the world offers us. We want and we’ll swim against the tide imposed in a dictatorial manner by the media that wants at all costs to convince us that we are like animals or even as bacteria! We say no to disordered sex, the ideology of gender and also this false sexual abstinence! And so we say yes to the project of Jesus Christ for each one of us in search of the state of life that God calls people to live in and the free exercise of sexuality and chaste!
In response to my post “The Prince Charming”
Here is a feminine vision of the history by Denise Landim.
I want to make clear that the goal here is not to destroy the memory of our “sweet girl dreams” and neither discourage people who watch romantic comedies (I particularly like them too). But I would put a more real vision of what a Christian woman called to marriage, expect or should expect form someone with whom she wants to build a future and be unite with forever.
A Man of God
An overwhelming passion, an unforgettable love and dream wedding, it is difficult to find any woman who doesn’t want that. It’s also difficult to find someone who doesn’t want to live a “romantic comedy” that ends with that kiss in the rain or the” happily ever after”, after all, at all times and in all forms, films and TV insist on promoting the dream of “the Prince Charming” and the “Fairy Tale”. Often, ourselves, we feed the idea of a perfect relationship with someone perfect who loves us perfectly.
But real love, the one for the whole life, in the real world, it needs more than beautiful eyes, charming smile and a flower on the first date.It needs more than just opening the car door and to remember the anniversaries of the first date. Gestures of kindness and attention are important to nurture a relationship, they certainly are, but they aren’t enough to make it last.
When we know the Great Love Of Our Lives, the One who surpasses all our expectations, the one that fills us with care, attention, the one who loves us just as we need to be loved, the expected “Prince” turns into a frog and what we seek in a relationship changes. God changes everything! I still want to get married, but not for my own happiness, that too, but that, first, I make the other happy and for us build a holy family. The inversion of values is large, even though the romance still there, and I think it’s important to keep it up and make it resist to the end.
Really? Christian women who want to build a saint family seek a man of God rather than a character in a novel. We want respect more than charm and prefer a God-fearing heart than any wealth. We expect and hope for someone we can trust more than someone who has a well defined body. We expect loyalty and we promise unconditional support. We want someone who, despite his weaknesses, is a fighter(!) rather than someone with a mask of perfection. We accept mistakes when we are not only wanted because of the measure of our waists. We are capable of a great love when we have a “three way” relationship (me you and God ). Ah! And we know that we will not find a spouse who is already a saint (isn’t it women?), but we seek a husband who wants a lot to be one. We would rather build a saint than finding one ready. Women of God do not fear an unfinished work, we fear having to finish it alone.
We really need to ask God constantly and with great faith, the grace to learn to love others as He loves us. For men and women, this will always be the great challenge and at the same time, the right measure for the true “Happily Ever After.”
Here is the original in Portuguese:
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I republished this post because people were asking again. This was actually my second one on this blog.
Why is this Brazilian man writing in English?
First of all welcome to my blog!
Well, before people start to ask I’m going to answer, this blog is in English so more people can read and share their point of view. When it was still a project I was talking to someone about it and the answer that came the first to my mind was: “Because the Gospel was written in Greek”. I know that I have to explain the phrase. Greek was the language use to everyone by the time of the apostles (even though the Romans ruled the world it was Greek they spoke to the conquered peoples) so they had to write in Greek in order to speak to the whole world.
In my point of view something like it is just about to happen; in a few years the US will no longer be the greatest economy of the world but people will continue to speak English as an international trade language. So I wanted to use this tool (the language) to have a point of unity to talk to as many people as I can about my points of view. Which aren’t only mine because I share and learn from the Roman Catholic Church.
I’m going to talk about a lot of things, not only christian stuff but everything that’s part of my daily life, and some of my points of interest.