Arquivo da categoria: English

Walking in this Joyful Season

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For those who are not Christian, Lent can be a bit of a mystery. For some other people, Lent is a period of going on a diet to lose some pounds. For others, it is when their weird Catholic co-workers and friends show up to work and school with ashes on their foreheads, when fast food restaurants start selling fish sandwiches. Listening to the prayers in the Liturgy, we clearly see the liturgical prayers referring to this time of Lent as a joyful season. How is Lent a Joyful Season? I am accustomed to hearing that Lent is a season of soul-searching and repentance. My family taught me that it is a period for reflection, self-denial, spiritual growth, penitence, conversion, and simplicity.

Last year, I heard liturgical prayers during mass that said: “Lord, each year You give us this joyful season.”  I started to think to myself: How is Lent joyful? Is this a joke? Lent was passing by and I could not see any joy about fasting, abstinence, and all those things that we usually do during Lent. I was struggling to understand and live the Lenten Season in its fullness.

“This season of grace is your gift to your family to renew us in Spirit.” Hearing this liturgical prayer, I did not really know how, but all things inside of my head started to make sense.   I suddenly realized that the joy Lent brings is a true joy, purifying and renewing our lives and souls. During Mass I heard: “Lord, You give us strength to purify our hearts.” Do I have this desire for purification? I saw that I did not really have it, but I knew that with all my questions and reflection, I was slowly entering into a spiritual journey of forty days with the Lord.

Concretely, in what way does this renewal of the Spirit work? I found myself, during those forty days, growing in freedom and love while purifying my heart and desires, so as to serve the Lord in freedom. A week and a half later, I realized that we are often unaware of our attachments, and we are not completely free.  By giving up things during Lent, we discover our attachments and can become free of them. I realized that freedom is not the goal in itself; it can be a temptation to pride. Freedom is only the condition that makes us able to love.

The question is, “What is my heart attached to?”  The goal is to attach ourselves to God alone. “Through our observance of Lent, we raise our minds to the Lord.” If we choose to fast and renounce earthly pleasures, we choose to say to the Lord, “You are my only joy.” And we finally come to give up earthly joy to experience the joy of the Lord.

Jesus spent forty days into the desert, and during this Lent He is inviting us to be in the desert with Him. It is in the desert we encounter the Lord. In the emptiness of every joy, the Lord can be our only joy. Lent always led renunciation so I may be alone with the Lord to experience His Love. His love is all that fills me. If we really live Lent, we will experience more of the Lord.

Renunciation diminishes our selfishness and opens our hearts to the poor. God’s mercy urges us to share our bread and the love that we receive from Jesus Christ with the poor. If I am free from myself, I am more able to give myself to the others. The renunciation allows me the inner-freedom to pray. Fasting becomes an amplifier of prayer and charity.

The time of Lent is a time of conversion. By fasting, Jesus conquered sin and gave us the strength and will to grow in holiness. During Lent, I decided that I would drink water in order to drink wisdom and would eat with limits in order to love without limits. The renewal that can occur in us during Lent is not our work, it is the work of the Lord.  Our task is to desire this renewal.  If the Lord sees our little efforts in fasting and renouncement, He will bless them and multiply them.

I love to think about St. Therese of Lisieux, who is  the Little Flower of Jesus. She believed she could not climb the stairs to holiness so she asked God to carry her up. If the Lord sees that there is a true desire in our hearts, He will renew us in abundance. Being honest with myself and with God is one of my goals in life. This Lenten time will help myself to integrate who I am and what I believe in and will finally lead me to holiness and perfect joy, not only during this season, but a joy that will last forever.

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What’s worse than failing?

Failing is something frowned upon. The term failure brings images of somebody who just didn’t quite make it, or somebody that tried but didn’t try hard enough, as Americans used to say, a loser.

I don’t understand how come people fear failure so much? But I think that It is because if you fail once, it looks bad, however, if you fail twice, nobody will trust your judgment anymore. But did you realize the people who failed aren’t the losers? Is that possible?

Yes, because at least these people tried. They at least gave it a shot. They got up, risked failing but did it anyway. They faced their fears. Perhaps they didn’t win but they also didn’t die regretting. History might not glorify as well as put down.

What’s Worse Than Failing? In my opinion inaction, doing nothing, never starting, stagnation, all talk no action, being in the comfort zone (possibly forever.) Those who are worse off than those who have failed, are the ones who are too afraid to even begin.

History never picks on these individuals because there are so many of them. You see them everywhere. They’re the ones who tell you what they want to do, how they wish they could have more, how they wish they could follow their dreams – but the moment you ask them “why don’t you go for your dreams?” they’ll fire back with awesome excuses or blank promises of doing something about it one day.

Yeah it’s simple to pick on the guy who tried but failed miserably. However the man who died along with his dreams unfulfilled because of inaction is a bigger loser. Yep you heard that right. A bigger loser than a failure. I admire failures, not because they’ve failed but because at least they stuck their necks out to give something a red hot go. Whatever venture it is, it’s difficult risking it all for your goals and dreams. It’s challenging getting out of your comfort zone or security blanket and wade into unknown waters. Majority of people want the safe route, they’ll be satisfied with mediocrity rather risk trying and failing.

Why? Because failing is scary. I was afraid of failing. Our society has made failing a label left for the unfortunate. But seriously, the only failure you need to worry about is your salvation. Apart from that, it’s OKAY to fail provided that you give it all you’ve got.

Those who failed took the courage to go for what they wanted. It’s hard if the odds are stacked against you. And if you manage to succeed then fantastic! If not, congratulations because you did something interesting with your life rather than sit there talking about it. People who have tried need to observe that doing something is preferable to doing NOTHING. Nothing could be accomplished if everyone decided that doing something hard but rewarding, taking a risk or going for their dreams is too expensive, too difficult, or too time consuming. Few people realize that successful people are also failures.

Those who have were able to lose weight and stay slim have had moments of failure where they regained a few pounds. If they had quit, they wouldn’t be the shape they are today.

People who have wonderful relationships with their spouse or family have worked hard to maintain these bonds. They made sure they were reliable and trustworthy. They kept their promises. They were there for the people they care about. They might have had to make compromises or sacrifices for these people. They didn’t give up on their marriages because they had a disagreement or because it’s “too hard” to make it work. In any case, they worked on their relationship and didn’t take the ones they love for granted.

Do you know what’s the difference between success and failure? The difference is a pretty fine line. Successful people don’t give up on their dreams. They remain persistent till the end. They failed, picked themselves back up and went back in. They did what was required to achieve their success – even when it was too hard. Which would you choose? A life of mediocrity, watching others achieve their dreams or living your life to the fullest, doing what you’ve always aspired to do and casting your fears aside?

Society rarely celebrates failure. You don’t ever hear the failures of the successful. You don’t read about the work involved, the years of punishing effort, the poverty, the depression and all the downsides of going for your dreams.

It may sound horrible but it means success doesn’t come by without effort. It also shows, failing does not mean you’re not a success or that it won’t lead to success. Learning through failure is one thing that no text book can equip you for.

I use to be scared of failing. I didn’t tell people what I’ve failed in – in fear that they may question my judgment or skill. I worried that they would think history would repeat itself. I’ve seen my own father fail dismally and that fear of failing was ingrained within me even more. No one told me it’s okay to fail and that failure can still lead to success if one does not give up. If I could talk to my younger self, I would tell him that “it’s okay to fail and you’ll be okay. Just pick yourself back up and continue.

Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything than what I was, and began to direct all my energy to finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive.

I also realized that failure ought to be celebrated as a temporary stumble to success. Even if that eventual success resides in a different industry, venture or method. It dawned on me that the real losers are the ones who never try. The ones who fear failing so much that they don’t realize they’ve failed already because they’ve never begun. And that, to me, is worse than failing.

Don’t just sit on the sidelines wondering, go out there and begin. If you’ve already started, don’t fear failing, for it could be a sign you’re almost there – so don’t give up on yourself.

It is impossible to live without failing at something. Unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all. In which case, you’ve failed by default. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift.

 

Be not afraid keep it up!

 

 

 

Adapted from: http://guidewhois.com/2011/04/whats-worse-than-failing/


When poverty showed me her beauty and made me the richest person in the world

 

Living together with others, in community, helped me to learn how to love, to understand and to be patient with myself and people around me. To be humble and experience the joy of being  helped is a very hard task nowadays. Life in community is always a challenge to everyone. Spending a year in Africa helped me to develop myself more fully and reflect the face of happiness wherever I go. I have in my heart a burning desire to serve amongst the smallest, those in need of hope, mercy and love. This was my goal during my time in Mozambique.

 

The desire to be a volunteer grew inside of my heart based on other people that I love and have as an example. Inspiration for me can be found in the life of some people who have overcome the obstacle of life regardless its challenge. A disabled child, a parent who takes time to love and enjoy their children, an act of sacrifice and self giving without expectations of receiving compensation of any kind.

 

My mother is a truly inspiring person to me. After my father died at age 30, Mom had to raise three kids on her own. She was faced with many trials and struggles, and yet somehow managed to keep us all fed, clothed and met all our needs. She taught us about God, love, respect, kindness, courtesy, importance of family, determination to work through our problems and never give up hope, caring, giving, self-sacrifice, encouragement and faithfulness. She would always say, ‘We will find a way’. I have always felt that I would be a very positive influence on others if I had even a tenth of her love and determination, which she so openly shares. Being a city boy in a metropolitan city in southeastern Brazil made me realize that to be a volunteer in Mozambique can be a very demanding experience but definitely one of the best time of my life.

 

My degree is in the area of Advertizing and Photography, and I worked in these areas for the last seven years, and being photographer didn’t help much over there. Suddenly, I found myself working as development instructor. How paradoxical could it be? I don’t really know if I was able helped them but I can certainly say that I was the one who got help from them, they showed me that development is about many things that I even could write about, and today I can testify that our growth as mature people is like the work of a craftsman, wire-to-wire and it takes time, patience, and diligence to continually work on it every single day.

 

To help others doesn’t have to be a huge event, either. Serving others is a way that my heart found to be close to a true love every day of my life. Everything I have experienced in Mozambique was kind of new in my life style and drove me to a totally different reality and life perspective. I have within me the strong desire to make a big impact on the world through small actions, and I believe that small gestures are able to change the world for the better. Everything is possible! The impact that I wish cause in the world begins with my own changing.

 

I had the chance to live with people who had nothing! Even essential things like water, basic food, health or love. People who are wounded and struggling in this crazy world of ours. Yet, many still find a way to smile, overcome, and move on. Maybe I should say that I became a better person because of the everyday people who know what life is truly about. I love the company of the poor, the rich smile of a Mozambican kid, and I really loved being loved by them. I like that because I give them nothing and they give me everything. I’m learning to do ordinary things with extraordinary love. I just want to say KHANIMAMBO (thanks) to Mozambique/Africa that helped me to finally find my vocation, my way in this world, fostering new generations with golden hearts, heads and hands.

 


Spread your Joy!


Till It Happens To You

I know what I said

Was heat of the moment.

But there’s a little truth in between the words we’ve spoken

Its a little late now to fix the heart that’s broken

Please don’t ask me where I’m going

Cause I don’t know

No I don’t know anymore

It used to feel like heaven

Used to feel like may

I used to hear those violins playing heartstring like a symphony

Now they’ve gone away

Nobody wants to face the truth

But you wont believe what love can do

Till it happens to you

Till it happens to you

Went to the old flat

Guess I was trying to turn the clock back

How come that nothing feels the same now when I’m with you

We used to stay up all night in the kitchen

When our love was new

Oooh love I’m a fool to believe in you

Cause I don’t know

No I don’t know anymore…

Tradução Português:

Eu sei o que eu disse

Eu estava aborrecido no momento

Mas existia uma verdadezinha entre as palavras que eu disse.

É um pouco tarde para concertar o coração que foi quebrado.

Por favor, não me pergunte aonde eu estou indo.

Pois eu não sei,

Eu não sei mais….

Isso costumava me fazer sentir no céu

Isso costumava parecer possível

Eu costumava ouvir aqueles violinos que tocavam meu coração  como uma sinfonia

Agora eles não existem mais

Ninguém quer encarar a verdade

Mas você não quer acreditar no que o amor pode fazer

Até isso acontecer com você

Eu fui ao antigo apartamento

Acredita que eu estava tentando fazer o relógio voltar?

Como pode ser que nada parece ser o mesmo agora que eu estou com você?

Nós éramos acostumado a ficar acordado toda a noite na cozinha

Quando nosso amor era recente.

Oh amor, Eu fui tolo em acreditar em você

Pois eu não sei

Não sei mais…


Música da semana!

Everyone needs compassion,
Love that’s never failing;
Let mercy fall on me.

Everyone needs forgiveness,
The kindness of a Saviour;
The Hope of nations.

Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.

Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

So take me as You find me,
All my fears and failures,
Fill my life again.

I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in,
Now I surrender.

My Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.
Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

Shine your light and let the whole world see,
We’re singing for the glory of the risen King…Jesus (x2)

My Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.
Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

My Saviour, you can move the mountains,
You are mighty to save,
You are mighty to save.
Forever, Author of Salvation,
You rose and conquered the grave,
Yes you conquered the grave


The struggle for inner growth – Part I

It is interesting for me to see that over all these years in my inner growth process, I have found several “I’s” that have lead me, in this path of personal development, to lose the real I.

I believe that in this journey in search of who I am, that I gently call ‘the process of getting to know myself better’, I have rejected and refused many times to accept my weak existence, and indeed, I end up hidden from myself. Being hidden from this real self forces me to be always in defense against its untamed presence.  It always tries to mask the effects of its presence, and so I find myself once again in a fruitless, sterile struggle.

This repression that I create for myself always leads to bitterness and hatred. The effort I make to tame my inner rebellion produces in me a personal violence difficult to bear.  Today I understand that living under this constant tension tires me out and I easily give up the fight.  I have found myself in a struggle to resolve the opposing forces that move violently inside of me: Good and evil.  Sweetness and bitterness.  Gentleness and aggression.  Love and hate.  Peace and war.

After a while in this battlefield, perhaps I can say that the true human maturity consists in following the variety of flows and streams to a river still and deep, which is full of life.

The mature human being is the one who knows how to balance the various opposing forces.  He is the one that can balance the internal forces that govern his personality.

Sometimes we fool ourselves into believing that we entrust our lives to God because one day we have taken a formal act of consecration or reconciled ourselves with someone after a prayer of forgiveness or anything like that.  But in fact, most of the time, only one side of us performs these actions.  The rest can live in apathy with that decision or even in opposition to it.
For me, the solution is to unite the different forces that dwell in us, leading us to a common project of life that allows us to coordinate and combine these forces. Fighting for a concrete purpose is what will make us well-structured and prepared, rebalancing the forces within us and redirecting our history.
Sometimes I think that this is the strategy of God: give us a mission and in there we find the strength to drag our whole being for this purpose.  Therefore, who we are in truth we will do the impossible to accomplish this mission, as there is within us the seed of divine grace that leads us back to the One who created us.  Consequently, there is something to fight for, a purpose to work for and an ideal for which to die: God’s plan.
We are not fruit of an accident.  God created us with a specific purpose.  No doubt we are part of a divine plan.  God calls us to a mission and gives us a specific charisma, which is our way of salvation, so therefore, the way in which we find ourselves with His love.
May the God of love and mercy strengthen us in patience, in the pursuit of self-knowledge and teach us to love as much He does!