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Jul 052018
 

 

“While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul crossed the plateau and came to Ephesus. Then he met some disciples and asked them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you embraced the faith?’ They answered: ‘We have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit!’ “(Acts 19: 1f).

As we read this text of the Acts of the Apostles in its entirety, we perceive that the men questioned by Paul were disciples of John the Baptist, men who had been baptized by him, with the baptism of conversion which he administered to the people. John the Baptist himself preached to the people that after him there would come a greater one than he. And that this, in turn, would baptize with the Holy Spirit.

Credit: saiyood / by Getty Images

This one greater than John the Baptist was Jesus, of which John was the forerunner. These men knew the baptism of John the Baptist, but they did not experience the baptism of Jesus. Until the day they met with the apostle Paul. That meeting changed the lives of these twelve men! It is written that “Paul laid his hands on them, and the Holy Spirit came upon them. Then they began to speak in tongues and prophesy “(Acts 19: 6).

From that day on, from that prayer, the Holy Spirit was no longer a “stranger” to these twelve new Christians. From unknown to friend; from strange to intimate; from abstract idea to faithful companion. Not a “cosmic energy”, a simple emotion, but above all a Person!

An eternal message from God

The Holy Spirit is not “something” but someone! The Spirit of truth (so called by Jesus himself) comes to lead every man and man as a whole to the discovery of something that is nothing new – like the passing novelties of this world – but an eternal message from God, so the creation of everything we know.

What message is this? God loves us with everlasting love!

This is the divine message that the Spirit has always said and continues to say with the strength and authority that is proper to the four corners of the earth, through his Church, to the world insensible to God. Only the Holy Spirit can convince us and lead us to the experience of this unique love of the Father. Divinely human and humanly divine love.

The man who has this certainty within him, “Whatever happens in my life, God will always love me and take care of me!” Is a man who is certainly happy, who infects the desperate world with the overwhelming force of hope. The sure man of God’s love is like an oasis in the midst of the desert in which we live. But how to be firm and unshakable, all secure in this love of God, without the help of the Lord Himself, not counting His grace?

Without divine aid, we run the risk of easily being disappointed by the tragic discovery of how fragile the material we are made of. Hence the discouragement, the tiredness, the depression and the resentments.

Let us not ignore the Person of the Holy Spirit

I want to finish this article by addressing you, who reads these words: It may be that today, you are in the way of those men: ignoring the existence of the Holy Spirit. You may also say, “I did not even hear that there is a Holy Spirit!” Hence, I am forced to acknowledge that many of his mistakes and stumbles of the past have been committed out of sheer ignorance (in the sense of a lack of knowledge and not an aggressive attitude). After all, you had never been presented to the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps, today, you are like this, in the worst ignorance! What would it  be? To have been baptized, believed, to be inserted in the Church, to live piously the fulfillment of the precepts and everything else and to realize that there is still a void in the soul, a continuous feeling of impotence in the face of the injustices that surround you, a grief in the heart that cannot be explained with mere words?

What, then, happens? Why do you lack that sparkle in your eyes when you pronounce the name of Jesus? Because, unfortunately, we can instead of living having the Holy Spirit not only on our side, but, especially, within us; just simply live our lives ignoring His presence, pretending that He does not exist, not listening to His voice that speaks to the hardest heart?

Read more: 
.: The gifts of the Holy Spirit have the power to sanctify us 
.: Letting oneself be led by the Holy Spirit 
.: The Holy Spirit is Paraclete, especially close friend

The worst ignorance is to be of God and live as if we were not of Him, ignoring His “seal of property” on us! We are stubbornly fighting the Lord, defying His will, questioning His Word, trying in vain to point out “the finger that accuses” the face of the Creator and give Him all responsibility for the madness and suffering of this world. We live as if we have no owner.

So it is difficult to be a Good Shepherd sheep without ever having heard His voice. It is difficult to be baptized in the Spirit and not be led by Him.

How to deal with this longing for God?

Are you like me, longing for God? I think the recipe for us is to open ourselves to the action of the Holy Spirit, for He alone can bring us back to the essence of what we are in God’s design and what we need to be as witnesses to the existence of the Spirit in the eyes of all who still ignore him.

Accept the Holy Spirit! Let Him, once and for all, finally double you in your stubbornness and pride.Pass control of your life to Him! You will not regret it!

Only you can ask for it. No one can do it instead. It’s simple. It is necessary. Is it urgent. And everything will change for the better. Believe and ask yourself, “Come, Holy Spirit!” Ask for it now. Do not leave for tomorrow the gift that God has reserved for you today.

“He (the Holy Spirit) will teach you everything and remind you of everything I have said to you” (Jn 14:26).

A fraternal hug.

Translation: Subscribe to the official Canção Nova YouTube Channel

 

Alexandre Oliveira

Member of the Canção Nova Community since 1997, Alexandre is from the city of Santos Sao Paulo, Brazil. Married, he is the father of two children. The missionary is also a preacher, presenter and producer of content on the ‘Formação’ [Training] channel of Portal Canção Nova.

 Posted by at 01:01
Jun 182018
 

Spirituality is a life of relationship with God
Spirituality is our relationship with God, as the founder of the Canção Nova, Monsignor Jonas Abib, defines. According to him, spirituality is what we live in our daily lives, not something disembodied or inconstant.

Elijah, an instrument of exhortation to loyalty
Elijah was a prophet that God raised to bring his word to the nation of Israel in a time of idolatry. There were many false prophets, altars to gods, and human sacrifices, all abominable practices before the eyes of God.

In this context, Elijah, as one of the only representatives of the true God, has his famous clash with the prophets of Baal. In a show of strength, God manifests his power, while the prophets of Baal are ashamed.

God’s message to the nation of Israel is clear: it’s time to make a decision! One must choose to serve God or Baal, for without loyalty one can not truly live spirituality.

Loyalty is coherence
Today we live in a time when there is a lack of loyalty, whether at work, in the family or even in the church. Loyalty is a hearty decision, rooted in character, to remain consistent in your attitudes towards others.

When we make our decision, when we make a commitment to God, we must have loyalty! Consistency with our choice, for if we choose to serve Him, we must be loyal to Him. If we are loyal to Him, how can we be disloyal to our brethren? It takes loyalty.

Loyalty is authenticity
Let us not be traitors to God! Let us be legitimate and authentic, we can not live in masks, let us be consistent with our choices. Being an example not only for outsiders but for those inside our home.

But what if we make a mistake? If we’re disloyal? One must be reconciled. Reconciliation with one’s neighbor is the way to approach God. The only obstacle that prevents us from this is our own pride, our own hysteria. When we learn to silence ourselves, not to argue, but rather to forgive, then we will find the way to reconnect with God.

You have to calm down.
Unrestrained words are sources of our worst regrets. With them, we push people away from the will of God. To reassure ourselves, our ego, and our need to be right is difficult. But God’s purpose for us today is for us to reach out to reconcile and fellowship. It is not possible to want to be loyal to God if we can not reconcile with our neighbor.

Let us, today, restore our altar and make a consistent choice to live a life of loyalty to God.

 

Alexandre Oliveira
Canção Nova Missionary

 Posted by at 01:01
May 102018
 

To evangelize is to communicate Jesus Christ
In this “Light of Faith” program, I want to reflect with you on number 74 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which teaches the following:

The Transmission of Divine Revelation
74. God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2: 4), that is, of Jesus Christ (58). It is therefore necessary that Christ be proclaimed to all peoples and to all men, and that in this way the Revelation reaches the ends of the world:

Credit: Wesley Almeida / cancaonova.com

God ordained, with the utmost kindness, that those things which he had revealed for the salvation of all peoples should always remain whole and be transmitted to all generations.

The Catechism of the Church in this issue, 74, is giving a word of order to me and to you: “It is necessary that Christ be proclaimed to all peoples and to all men.” What is the Catechism affirming? He affirms that it is necessary to evangelize.

We need to evangelize, my brethren, and not only as I do through the “Light of Faith” program, but we need to evangelize in our daily lives with our witness of Christian life at work; in school; at home; in traffic; finally, in the different realities that we find.

Monsignor Jonas Abib, founder of the Canção Nova [New Song] Community, teaches the members of the Community that evangelizing is more than preaching Kerygma, it is more than speaking about the Gospel; he teaches that to evangelize is to communicate Jesus Christ and to communicate Jesus Christ, it is necessary to be connected to Him.

So that you and I can evangelize, we need to be united, linked to God through prayer and adoration.

The rain that falls from Heaven, fertilizes the earth and causes it to bear fruit. As it is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah, the rain does not return to Heaven without having produced its effect (Is 55, 10-11). In the same way, the Word of God does not fail to produce the effect from its seed. You have to announce! God does His part, but there must be instruments – like you and me – that proclaim this prophetic Word, and it will have its effect, because the Word of God is always alive and effective.

A life that evangelizes
Working at the store, during one of our retreats at Canção Nova, a lady found me working at one of the cash registers in our store and she said to me, “Are not you going to preach on the stage today?” I said to her, “No, ma’am. This weekend, I’m helping in the store. ” Then the lady said to me, “Wow! I look at your life fromCanção Nova, and it is a testimony to me. Your life evangelizes me! ”

I confess to you that in listening to the words of that pilgrim who came to visit us, I felt very responsible. Because, that lady looked at my life and told me: “Your life, Alexander, evangelise me. Your way of being a husband; to be a father; to be a missionary is what evangelizes me. ” And that’s a big responsibility! For it concerns a witness of life, of being connected with Jesus, and of communicating it to men and women. This is evangelizing!

I am asking God: May he grant you the grace to communicate Jesus to all people, and that your evangelization be fruitful! May you, more and more, have that ardor, this fire of the Holy Spirit and the deep desire to evangelize and thus to rescue many souls for God, through a coherent Christian witness.

A big hug!

Alexandre Oliveira
Missionary of the Canção Nova Community

 Posted by at 01:01
May 022018
 

God reveals Himself, because He wants our good
In this ‘Light of Faith’ program, I want to reflect with you on number 50 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which teaches the following:
God comes to meet man
50. Through natural reason, man can know God, with certainty, from His works. There is, however, another order of knowledge that man can not attain by his own powers: that of Divine Revelation (22). By a totally free decision, God reveals himself and gives himself to man. He does this by revealing His mystery, His benevolent design, which he has conceived from all eternity, in Christ and for the sake of all men. It fully reveals His plan by sending His beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

Alexandre Oliveira

Credits: Wesley Almeida / cancaonova.com
This number 50 says something wonderful: God reveals Himself to man. Previously, we reflected on the ways of knowing God, which are the creation and the human person. Now the Catechism teaches us that “there is another order of knowledge which man can not attain by his own power, that of divine Revelation.”

This Divine Revelation is a free initiative from God. In John 3: 16-17 it is written, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send the Son into the world to condemn him, but that the world through him might be saved. ” God took the initiative for our salvation! And He does it only out of love.

The Catechism teaches that “By a totally free decision, God reveals himself and gives himself to man”. And how does He do it? The Catechism explains that God takes this initiative by revealing his mystery, his benevolent project. This benevolent word is very important. This word, in its origin in Latin, means to want the good of the other. It is not just about doing good, but about wanting the good of others. Therefore, we begin to understand that God reveals Himself, because He wants our good.

My brother and sister, God wants your good! To you, who today are suffering in a bed of pain, facing this illness, undergoing an exhausting treatment, I affirm: God wants your good. To you who are in debt, I say: God wants your good. To you who are suffering in your marriage because of a terrible betrayal, know: God wants your good. To you who suffer the pain of the loss of a loved one, I also affirm: He wants your good.
The Lord has a plan for your life, and this project is benevolent, because it has as goal, as our ultimate goal, our happiness, that is, our good.

The three trees
It is said that there were, at the top of the mountain, three small trees that dreamed what they would be after they became big ones.
The first, looking at the stars said:
“I want to be the most precious treasure chest in the world, full of treasures. For that, I even want to be cut.
The second looked at the stream and sighed:
“I want to be a great ship to carry kings and queens.”
The third tree looked at the valley and said:
“I want to stay here, high on the mountain, and grow so tall that people, looking at me, raise their eyes and think of God.

Many years passed and one day a lumberjack came and cut down the three trees. All eager to be transformed into what they dreamed. But woodcutters do not usually hear or understand dreams.
The first tree ended up being transformed into a lame animal, covered with hay.
The second, turned into a simple and small fishing boat, carrying people and fish every day.
The third, even dreaming of staying on top of the mountain, was cut into thick beams and placed in a warehouse.
All three asked themselves disillusioned and sad: “Why this?”

One night, full of light and stars, where there were a thousand melodies in the air, a young woman placed her newborn son in that lame animal. Suddenly, the first tree realized that it contained the greatest treasure that exists: the Son of God, who incarnated to save us.

The second tree, years later, ended up carrying a man who ended up sleeping in the boat, but when the storm almost sank the small boat, the man stood up and said, “Peace!” At a glance, the second tree understood that it was carrying the King of Heaven and Earth.

Some time later, on a Friday, the third tree was astonished when its beams were united in a cross and an injured man was nailed to it. Then she felt horrible and cruel. But on Sunday, the world vibrated with joy. And the third tree understood that the Savior of mankind had been preached in her, and that people would always remember God and His son Jesus Christ as they looked at her.

Like these three story trees, we also bring dreams. It is true that God has infinitely greater and better dreams for our lives. It is necessary to realize that these divine dreams are part of this benevolent project that the Lord has for each one of us, after all, God wants our good.
A big hug!
Alexandre Oliveira
Missionary of the Canção Nova Community
(22) Cf. Conc. Vatican I: DS 3015

 Posted by at 17:24
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