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Lent and the Number 40

DesertOn the early days the church celebrated only Easter, and the whole liturgical year was time to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord. As the time passed the church felt the urge to have a special time to celebrate this happening that changed the course of history. It was on the council of Nicaea (325) that the Catholic church established a date for Easter. And it wasn’t a fix date. As the Jewish calender was lunar and the resurrection of the Lord happened on a passover, we should celebrate it on a similar basis. It is now that Lent appears  for two main reasons on pratical  as the date moves, it was a way to prepare the faithful to the Holy celebrations, but this wasn’t the main reason. The Church saw it as a great opportunity to prepare the newly converted to baptism, and a very good way to start anew, renewing the promises of the Baptism. So this time of 40 days begun to be lived on the very beginning of the history of the Catholic faith as a mirror of the 40 days that the lord spent in the desert.

Saint Thomas Aquinas says about the temptations of the Lord:

“Christ wished to be tempted; first that He might strengthen us against temptations. Hence Gregory says in a homily (xvi in Evang.): “It was not unworthy of our Redeemer to wish to be tempted, who came also to be slain; in order that by His temptations He might conquer our temptations, just as by His death He overcame our death.”

Secondly, that we might be warned, so that none, however holy, may think himself safe or free from temptation. Wherefore also He wished to be tempted after His baptism, because, as Hilary says (Super Matth., cap. iii.): “The temptations of the devil assail those principally who are sanctified, for he desires, above all, to overcome the holy. Hence also it is written (Ecclus. 2): Son, when thou comest to the service of God, stand in justice and in fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation.”

Thirdly, in order to give us an example: to teach us, to wit, how to overcome the temptations of the devil. Hence Augustine says (De Trin. iv) that Christ “allowed Himself to be tempted” by the devil, “that He might be our Mediator in overcoming temptations, not only by helping us, but also by giving us an example.”

Fourthly, in order to fill us with confidence in His mercy. Hence it is written (Heb. 4:15): “We have not a high-priest, who cannot have compassion on our infirmities, but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin.” (Ia IIIae Q41 a1)

Now lest get to the number fourty. After the text you can see a list of references to the number and I don’t want to meditate about every one of them here. But it is good to notice tha it is romaly related to penitence, to a path of becoming a better follower of God. The main reason is the time that the Lord spent in the desert. But this is also the number of years that the people of God was in the desert before entering the promised Land. And the days of penance annouced by the prophet Jonah. Periods of purification, times to review the way the people were living and change the direction back to God. I cherish the story of the prophet Elijah, he had had a great victory aganist the false prophets just before, now he is in the desert wishing death… after forty days fed by heavenly food (impossible not to think about Eucharisty) he goes up to the mountain of God to discover that God hides in the tiny wispering sound… I invite you to read the chapters 18 and 19 from the first book of Kings and meditate about what is realy success and what is failure in a Faithful’s life.

40 days – Jesus as on the desert to be tempted.
40 years – The people of God in the desert
40 days – Deluge
40 days to the destruction of Nineveh
40 days the spies were in the promised land (Nb 13:24)
40 days Moses was in the mount and received the law of God, (Ex 24:18)
40 days Moses was in the mount after the sin of the Golden Calf, (Dt 9:18,25)
40 days of Elijah in Horeb, (1Kings 19:8)
40 Days Jesus was seen before ascension


Pope proposes a ‘Christian Style’ of using internet

From Rome reports.


What to do between two relationships?

This is a very personal answer to a comment in the post about starting a new relationship. What to do between two relationships? I wrote about finishing one, starting a new one but in between? I don’t have all the answers but I have my opinion which has proven to be valid for some people that’s why I’m writing again…

I think there are some stages of engagement and levels of “mourning” (if I can use this word for the feeling we endure after breaking up… )

The first moment really depends on how you ended. If it was both or just one of you who decided to break up. If it came out of nowhere or if you’ve seen it coming… but I think the first moment is always to suffer the separation… to rethink the plans without the other… to accept that is over and to let the pain goes lighter to carry on.

I want to make clear that there’s no measure of time during these moments because it depends on ones feelings and this is too personal for me to say how long does it take to heal a wound.

I think the second moment is to move on. Accepting it is over continuing with our lives. Make plans, start new projects. But most important stay single! It is important to have a time for yourself. I don’t think it’s good for nobody to search another person to forget the one we had two weeks before. There is no feeling of self-sufficiency its just not fair to the new person to show affections we don’t yet have cause its impossible… Some of the most important things in life is to have it in our hands so we can be able to hand it to the One and the ones we love. If I don’t master my feelings it becomes difficult to give them to someone. So take a time to reassemble yourself.

Next moment. Don’t go hunting! Well to “hunt down” a boy/girlfriend is not a good idea… first because it might scare someone who’s close to us and may be interested. This behavior just shows a small lack of confidence in God who has just the right person for us, and pushes away a person who might be interested but “not so fast”.

So don’t go hunting but what to do?

A couple things, first live intensely your friendships and be open to new ones. We can kind of chose the perspective boy/girlfriends but in the same way we choose our friends. I think we can also be attentive to the signs and give an appropriate answer to those we get closer to. I don’t think it’s fair to show interest or feed the person with hopes of something more when we know we don’t feel the same way the person is showing to us. But at the same time why not give some signs of interest when we are…

When the sings are given and the answers are positive I think its time to read the post about starting a new relationship.


Christ the king

When I think about this feast there are two images that come to my mind. Both are the Christ “the image of the invisible God” (Col 1, 15); one made by an artist the other is His body the church (Col 1,24).

The first one is an actual image of Christ The king. In my Grandparent’s parish. I used to go there almost every Sunday. This big image is quite impressive to a seven years old boy. The artist was very successful when depicting the magesty of Our Lord. He Stands high above the main altar, Blessing us and sending us at the same time. He looks very sure of himself that inspires confidence even when we think everything is quite “messy” in this world He is still in control.

The second image is  the basement of St. Anthony’s Church at Toronto on the very Sunday of the feast. I see it as an image of the catholic church. Philipinos, Brazilians, Portuguese, Italians, Sri Lankans and other peoples together Showing a bit of their culture and sharing the same faith in the Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe.

This feast makes me think about how great God is and How small am I. The universe is 3×1080 square meters, I’m not even 2 meters tall How Can I think I know anything about anything. I have to put myself in my place and let Him command my life and the universe.

“Thy kingdom come thy will be done.”

What am I doing for His kingdom to really come? I see so many people in this world who have never had an experience with God, who have never experienced His love, and I think I have done nothing to make his kingdom come. It is at this point that today’s readings (specially th gospel) come in my help. Christ is king through His Cross and through his sufferings He reconciles the world with the Father. So it is also through my sufferings, my prayers, my hours of adoration, vigils before the Lord in the communions of the saints I am helping His kingdom to come too. Of course this is an aspect but shining the light of the joy I have received, spreading the Word around me. But most of all to make the values of the gospel more important than anything. To be capable of renouncing anything even good things that could be an impeachment to live the values of the gospel.

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Listening to God

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.

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Chastity as a yes

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.


Thanks for your support

This short post I wrote only to thank you guys for your support.

Thanks for coming here every day to check my new posts.

Specially those who the first language is not English!