capa-blog copy
Jul 312017
 
Photo: Daniel Mafra / cancaonova.com

Photo: Daniel Mafra / cancaonova.com

It is important to understand what to do after a difficult day.

The Word of God teaches us:  In my spirit faints within me, my heart is consumed. Tell me the road that I must follow, for to you I lift my soul. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your good spirit guide me on a flat road “(Psalm 143,4,8b.10).

 

He knows those days when we think in our hearts: My God! Why did I get out of bed today? I should have stayed home sleeping! Well, those complicated days indeed do exist and happen even if we do not want them. Days when everything seems to run against us, where we spend the hours crossing people who are more distracting helping, so that everything gets under our skin and anything, no matter how small, is cause for irritation and whining. Hence the question: what do I do on a day like this?

As we read Psalm 143, we realize that the psalmist also had his moment of wanting to “lie in bed” and forget that such a day had existed. But what did he do? Murmured? Did you become a victim? Put the blame on everyone? The answer is “no”. At the very moment when he could no longer bear it, when his heart was consumed and his spirit faint, he prayed to God and asked that the divine will be fulfilled in his life. Instead of blaming “government,” the people around him, and the “system,” he begged the Lord to show him the way to go. He asked the Lord to be his teacher and, like an applied student, wished to learn to fulfill the divine will.

At this difficult time the psalmist goes on, he does not complain, but wants to learn to extract the sovereign will of God from the troubled environment, like a gold digger who finds grams of gold in the midst of tons of earth.

However, discovering and fulfilling the divine will, just at that moment when our desire drives us to want to “squeeze” someone, is not as simple as it seems. But I believe that the Holy Spirit can and wants to do a new work in our heart. It is up to you and me to ask the Divine Spirit to educate us in the concrete situations of each day, whether it is difficult or not. Let us ask Him to lead us always to discern the will of God in every moment, person or situation with which we face. Believe: God will do His part. He always does it. Then we will reap beautiful fruits of conversion and holiness.

I repeat: it is not as simple as it seems, but it is, without a doubt, something wonderful. I shared with you, in this article, something that God taught me to read this psalm before the tabernacle. And why was I standing before the tabernacle reading Psalm 143? Because, just like you and the psalmist, I also have my difficult days.

Let’s pray?

“Reinflame our hearts, Lord Jesus! Give us a heart tender and attentive to Thy holy will. May we learn by listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, to find the peace that comes from the certainty of being in communion with God’s desire, even in the midst of the most complicated and distressing situations that we can face day by day. Teach me to complain less and to listen more to Your voice, to learn, more and more, to grow more and more and serve more and more for love. Amen.”

A hug and my prayers for you.

Alexandre Oliveira 
Missionary of the Canção Nova Community

Portuguese version

Jul 302017
 

Last week locally there was  a Catholic weekend where the youth celebrated their Christian faith. Much of what happens in these events is an Americanized version of what the Latino Community from Mexico to Argentina has been doing for decades. There is, in the American version, Christian rock music, a celebration of the Eucharist in adoration and powerful talks about the faith.

 

This is a great way to invite people into a deeper relationship with faith. However, our faith is not about super parties in the name of Jesus. These events succeed when they open the door to a deeper faith in Christ; they fail if these people abandon their faith when the party is over.

 

Long after we have established or practiced our faith, after we have developed a prayer life, after we have chosen to live our Catholic faith. We may even encounter difficult times, painful times and even radical evil. That is the time that the rubber meets the road. That is the time when we know the fruit of living the faith. It is not in Jesus parties or when every thing is going well. It is when we don’t abandon our faith but  we embrace Christ more deeply during those times when everything is going wrong.

 

There is a saying that there are no atheists in foxholes, but their are plenty of atheists out there who have given up on their Catholic faith. Do we have to let them experience a foxhole to know that Christ lives? No But what we have to do is understand that people abandon their faith when it does not match their expectations.

 

“If God existed my grandmother would not have died, therefore, He does not exist.” “If God existed there would be no war.” “If God existed Kim Jong Um and the rest of that family would be nice people and evil would never happen.”

 

Catholic radio in Boston has a slogan Try God. But the Boston cartoonist mocked it by writing “Try, God” again from that atheistic perspective that if God exists then the world would not contain evil.

 

Your grandmother may have died, there is war, North Korea is run by an evil monster and evil exists and at least one cartoonist  mocks God saying couldn’t you have done better?

Under those circumstances, how can we  believe that God exists?

 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that not only did God create the world, the world is still in the throes of creation. However, regardless of what happens when all goes wrong, St. Paul reminds us in the second reading that all things work for the good for those who love God. Evil exists because it is part of the pain of creation still in progress, but for those who encounter it and love God, they know that even the worst of all they could endure will lead them to the greatest of all places which is eternal life in Heaven. It is during those times that one discovers more powerfully the love of Christ. It is those times when at the end of the day, one not only realizes that he or she survives but is thankful to God for the strength to survive regardless of what difficulties, struggles and even evil itself he or she may be suffering at the hands of this world in the throes of creation. They do not abandon the faith, they embrace it. They do not reject the mass, the attend more attentively. They do not give up on prayer, they discover God’s comfort in prayer. St. Peter reminds us to cast our cares and anxieties before the Lord as he cares for us.

 

Let me remind you I am not only speaking from experience from past histories of struggles and pain, but also from learning from others who struggled through their difficulties in faith. There is a passage in Sirach 2 which I invite everyone to commit to memory. My son, when you come to serve the Lord prepare yourself for trials. Be sincere of heart, undisturbed in this time of mercy, for thus will your future be great. For it is fire that gold is tested and worthy men in the crucible of humiliation.

 

Your biggest struggles are how God makes you more brilliant as Christians. You know the word brilliant comes from the root word to shine. It is not through evil that we grow as Christians, it is coming to Christ when  we encounter pains, anxieties and even evil and bringing it to Him that He strengthens our relationship with Him and our ability to be strong in Him. Those horrible and maybe even horrifying struggles are what recreate us completely in Christ, even when we feel we have been abandoned by Him.

 

This week, I had a conversation with a friend of mine of deep faith. Several years ago he had a stroke and today has recovered. But take yourself to that time. The future would be completely unknown, and even one’s very being is affected by a stroke. Panic can spread and even make the situation worse.

 

In our conversation we were sharing how much knowing that we are loved by God is more important than anything else in our lives. Literally, nothing else matters than that one fact. You come to that point, not through a party celebrating Jesus, but through one disaster or another in which all you have is your relationship with Jesus and holding on to that simple truth is what helps you survive. When that painful time is over you recognize that your faith has been so strengthened that you have been changed in a way that you could never imagine. Why, because you recognize that one simple fact, all things work for the good of those who love God.

 

Believe in that, live in that prayer, bring your troubles to Christ when all goes wrong and know that every syllable of that statement is true. All things work for the good of those who love God, but only those who encounter the worst of all things can ever fully appreciate it.  

Fr. Carr is member of the Segundo Elo  of the Canção Nova Community. He is the parochial vicar of St. Michael’s Parish in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA and is the editor of this blog. He is the author of several books, blogs and hundreds of videos all of which you may find on Youtube You can follow him on twitter as @frbobcarr and on Google plus as+FrRobertCarr, his website is Carrbooks.com. Thoughts, comments on the homily? Let us know at Facebook

 

 Posted by at 06:47
Jul 292017
 

Saint Peter's Square from the dome v2.jpg
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=166810

After Gnosticism, Aryanism, Apolinarism and Macedonism the Church had to face some other heresies concerning Jesus Christ. These new heresies deeply disturbed the life of the Church but were eventually overcome in Catholic Councils.

Nestorianism. Nestorian (dead on 426) was the Patriarch of Constantinople and he defended the misconception that Jesus was in fact two people (a human and a divine person) with two different natures; therefore Mary was merely the mother of the man Jesus but not the Mother of God (as the protestants also affirm). That implied in the fact that Jesus might have two Selves. Nevertheless, Christians have called Mary as “Theotokos”(Mother of God) since the First Century.

That heresy was condemned in the Council of Ephesus (431 A.D.), mainly due to the efforts of Saint Cyril of Alexandria (dead on 444 A.D.). This Council established that Jesus is One Only Person (a Divine One): Jesus Self is Divine and He has two natures (a human one and a divine one) harmoniously united though distinct in this One Person Who is also the Word of God. The Council also thoroughly confirmed the Christian belief of the first centuries that Mary is Saint and “Theotokos”(Mother of God).

Monophysicism. Eutiches of Constantinople and Dionysus of Alexandria defended this heresy, which was in fact a magnified copy of Nestorianism and fell in the opposite misconception: they affirmed that Jesus had one only Nature and was one only Person. They affirmed that His Divine nature had absorbed his human nature and therefore He had not been a man in the strictest sense. That heresy was condemned in the Council of Calcedonia (451 A.D.) that re-affirmed that Jesus is one only Person (Divine) with two natures (human and Divine). During this Council Pope Leo Magnum sent a letter to Patriarch Flavianus of Constantinople re-affirming the dogma of Jesus’ double nature. The Council approved the Pope’s words and the Bishops said that: “Peter spoke through the mouth of the Lion”.

Monotelitism or Monoenergism. Serge, Patriarch of Constantinople (VIIth Century) defended that Jesus was one only Person with two natures, though one only Will (“theletes” in Greek) and one only Action. That idea also denied that Jesus was a perfect man and put the mysteries of Incarnation and Redemption in great risk. That heresy was condemned in the Constantinople Council III (681 A.D.). That Council established that Jesus is One Only Person, two natures, two wills and two acts. In other words, Jesus is perfectly human and perfectly Divine. During His earthly life He acted as God (in the miracles) when He wanted, though He totally redeemed mankind when He perfectly and totally took upon Him our human nature. The Letter to the Hebrews affirms that Jesus: “has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin” (The Letter to the Hebrews 4, 15) and that “he had to become like his brothers in every way” (The Letter to the Hebrews 2, 17).

 

Professor Felipe Aquino

 

Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s page:www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino

Jul 282017
 

God loves you, so much, He sent His Son Jesus to the earth to show you that it is possible to love

Padre Márcio José celebra Missa Solene da Festa da Exaltação da Santa Cruz“Then open yourself totally, there is the statement, God loves you surely, and Jesus is your brother!” (Excerpt from the book ”Refletindo em Deus”).

What a beautiful joy to be part of the divine family of Christ! If we all understood the meaning of the true word “family,” then we would never cease to love our neighbor, for within us we would have a ceaseless love for all.

If that still does not happen, do not give up, because God loves you and sent His Son Jesus to Earth to show you that it is possible to love independent of anything.

May this day renew your call to be the child of God, who is Love, and thus lead you to make a demonstration of love for those around you.

God bless you!

Embrace from your brother,
Shahir Rahemane

Portuguese version

The Importance of Silence to Hear the Lord

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Jul 272017
 

Silence is important for listening to the Lord’s guidance

Adoração ao Santíssimo Sacramento no #PHN2017

Yesterday, I talked about our inner turmoil and how far it keeps us from God. Today, I want to meditate on the importance of silence. We must have a moment to be with God alone. Even spouses need this moment of solitude, for it is necessary to have their moment to listen to the Lord’s directives.

We should take days of rest, yes, but also retreats.

My brothers, our relationship with God is too important not to keep the flame of faith alive. If we turn away from Him, our faith will cool. That’s the secret!

I always pray for you.

Your brother,

Wellington Garden (Eto)
Co-founder of the Canção Nova Community and administrator of the FJPII

Portuguese version

Jul 262017
 

Pregação com Pe.Márcio José - Festa do Pai das Misericórdias

God be glorified in sickness

“Lord, the one you love is sick.”

That’s what they told Jesus when they told him that his friend Lazarus was sick. It is a word of great consolation, told to someone who is truly loved. For this message, Jesus has an answer:

“This sickness does not lead to death, but it is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by him” (Jn 11,4). God, by loving us, calls us to believe in this great truth.

Jesus expresses the will of God. Whatever disease or situation we present to the Lord will serve His glory, because in this way the Son of God will be glorified. I have seen how the Lord has healed people who are deceived by doctors because of serious illnesses.

By entrusting and crying out to the Lord, people in the terminal phase, in extreme situations and affected by incurable diseases were healed; True miracles have happened. What will guarantee us faith in the word is constant and persistent prayer. We can exercise acts of faith in prayer:

“This disease will not end with death, it will serve the glory of God: it is through it that the Son of God is to be glorified! I believe, Lord, but increase my faith; Strengthen my faith. This disease will not end with death, it will serve the glory of God: it is through it that the Son of God is to be glorified. I believe in this truth, Lord.   I will always repeat it, for the righteous will live by faith; The children of God will live by faith. By faith I will live your miracles. Amen!

This is how we will partake of the greatness of God as our ancestors: because they believed, they sang the praises of God.

Your brother,

Monsignor Jonas Abib
Founder of the Canção Nova Community

Portuguese Version

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