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Oct 022017
 

Daniela Miranda. Photo: Paula Dizaró

Be brave, do not be afraid.
Daniela Miranda. Photo: Paula Dizaró
How is the Lord’s Mercy in our lives? It is carried from generation to generation. Let us repeat these words described in the diary of St. Faustina number 449: “I am your mother by the infinite mercy of God. The soul that faithfully fulfills the will of God is the one that pleases me the most. Be brave, do not be afraid of illusory difficulties, but set your eyes on my son’s passion and you will conquer.

What does courage mean? Courage does not mean absence of fear, but rather, to act even in the face of fear because trusting in the Lord we will move forward. The deeper we delve into the Lord’s Mercy, the closer we come to the Merciful Jesus.

In I Samuel 17, the episode of Goliath is told. Every day we face many Goliaths in our lives. What is our Goliath? What are we facing that is too big? Are we struggling to win?

On the other side we have David who was very small but had the courage to face the challenges. To be brave we must assume who we are and the qualities that God has given us. This is how we will serve the Lord, so let us enter confidently in combat with the gift that God has given us.

Often people will tell us words that discourage us, but we can not be discouraged and we must have the courage to say and do everything with humility and trust in God.

Most of the time we want to win battles using weapons, but we need to overcome them by proclaiming trust in Jesus.

Courage is linked to trust, because when we are with a confident heart we have the courage to face the daily challenges. In the face of  difficulties, the enemy wants to deceive us, but when we face obstacles with confidence in Jesus, a stone is enough to overcome.

Our confidence grows as we move forward in prayer, so it is important to have a life of prayer.

Daniela Miranda

Missionary of the Canção Nova Community

Aug 012017
 

Photo: Daniel Mafra / cancaonova.com

Try to identify the source of your sufferings. See if it is possible to alleviate or escape from them, then pray

When you suffer, you must keep two things in mind: 1) God does not want suffering, because He is the God of life, love and happiness. 2) Suffering is part of the finite, transient and human situation of our being.

We know that all sorts of suffering entered the world through sin. It is necessary to know how to look at him not with despair, escape, revolt, but with tranquility and inner peace .

 

It is not possible to live without disease, without suffering and conflicts, because they are part of our human reality. We find them present in the lives of all: saints and sinners, even in the life of Jesus, Our Lady and all people loved by God.

We can not escape the “deterioration” of our body that grows old, falls ill and dies. Faced with this, it is necessary to change our focus and contemplate all these as paths that lead us to maturity, enrich us with experiences and prepare us for “new heavens and new lands”, where there will be no more pain or tears.

Today, we no longer know how to be joyful, because we reject the wounds and we despair to the point where, to escape pain, there are those who preach death, euthanasia and suicide as remedy. Of course, these means are contrary to the will of God and against our human nature, which is made to live.Whatever your suffering, you must know how to love and accept it, and undoubtedly seek all means to alleviate it.

It is not necessary to go to find suffering or to ask for suffering, it is only to accept those we meet on our way.

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The worst service we can render to Jesus is to present Him as the One who goes in search of death, pain and suffering. Through the Gospels, we can see Jesus before the pain of which He teaches us to flee. Remember?

When Jesus is sought to be thrown down from the hill, what does He do? He flees, When the guards seek Him to bind Him in the temple, what does the Lord do? He flees.  When are they trying to kill Him?Jesus runs away too. He always runs away! But when the cross, death, suffering become the only way of fidelity to the Father, to the plan of God in his life, He assumes them.

Here are some Bible passages about

“When they heard this, all who were in the synagogue were furious. They got up, dragged him out of the city and led him to the top of the hill where the city was built, to be rushed down. But passing through them, Jesus went away “(Lk 4: 28-30).

“When he had thus spoken, he departed and hid himself from them” (Jn 12,36).

“Therefore, Jesus no longer walked in public among the Jews. And he went away to the region nearest to the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim, and there he lived with his disciples “(Jn 11:54).

“Again they sought to arrest him, but he withdrew from his hands” (Jn 10:39).

This should be our attitude. When suffering is the only way of fidelity to God and our brothers and sisters, we must accept it with love.

Identify the source of your suffering

Try to identify the source of your sufferings: physical, spiritual, and moral. See if you can alleviate them or escape from them, then pray, ask God for strength to be able to take the cross as a gift of the same love of God. After all, by faith we know that “we complete in our flesh what is lacking in the passion of Jesus Christ”. Listen to these words of Elizabeth of the Trinity:

“O my beloved Christ, crucified for love; I had wanted to be a wife for your Heart, I want to cover you with glory, to love you until I die of love! But I feel my impotence and I ask you to clothe me in yourselves, to identify my soul with all your movements, to submerge me, to invade me, to replace you with me, so that my life is a true irradiation Of yours “ (elevation to the Trinity).

And of John of the Cross:

“Crucified inwardly and outwardly with Christ, she will live in this life in abundance and satisfaction of her soul, possessing it in patience” (Sayings 85).

“Christ’s crucifixion is enough! To suffer and rest with Him; But to do this  all things interior and exterior must be must be annihilated” (Sayings 90).

Learn to resize things

Not all sufferings are the same, we must be able to distinguish them so as not to “make a storm in a glass of water”. Overreaching is never good for our physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health. It is necessary to always resize things. And, faced with the problems of life, know what we can change, because something depends on us; And what we can not change because it does not depend on us.

 

The Christian, however, will never assume a “stoic and deterministic” attitude. He knows that in order not to be attacked by suffering, it is necessary to accept it in the way of love. What can help us is to meditate on the Passion of the Lord Jesus: see chapters 26-27 of the Gospel according to Matthew;Chapters 14-15 of Mark; Chapters 18-19 of the Gospel of John and the beautiful way of Jesus presented by the apostle Paul:

Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus,Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.

Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2: 6-11 NABRE).

My experience

In my life, as in everyone’s life, there has not been a lack of suffering or pain of all kinds, but with the grace of God and the help of the mystics of Carmel, I have come to understand that suffering is a “palace”, a “gift of God”. When I find myself in suffering, I take the crucifix in my hands and carefully, my eyes on Jesus crucified, and I receive all the courage and the strength to not be discouraged. And I see the truth of Jesus’ words:

“Verily I say unto you, Unless the grain of wheat fall into the earth, and die not, it shall be left alone; But if it dies, it will bear much fruit “ (Jn 12,24).

Friar Patrício Sciadini, ocd

Portuguese version

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

Mar 192015
 

“After Moses, the servant of the LORD, had died, the LORD said to Moses’ aide Joshua, son of Nun: Moses my servant is dead. So now, you and the whole people with you, prepare to cross the Jordan to the land that I will give the Israelites. Every place where you set foot I have given you, as I promised Moses. All the land of the Hittites, from the wilderness and the Lebanon east to the great river Euphrates and west to the Great Sea, will be your territory.No one can withstand you as long as you live. As I was with Moses, I will be with you: I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and steadfast, so that you may give this people possession of the land I swore to their ancestors that I would give them. Only be strong and steadfast, being careful to observe the entire law which Moses my servant enjoined on you. Do not swerve from it either to the right or to the left, that you may succeed wherever you go. Do not let this book of the law depart from your lips. Recite it by day and by night,e that you may carefully observe all that is written in it; then you will attain your goal; then you will succeed. I command you: be strong and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD, your God, is with you wherever you go. “(Joshua 1, 1-9).

It is a wonderful word which the Lord gives us, the theme of this preaching is, “Fear not, be strong and courageous.” There is one thing that scares us a lot in life because it catches us unprepared, it is the changing situation. This is not something easy to administer, God is giving Joshua a mission, before a change.

The Israel community is going through a time of grief, the great prophet Moses who freed the people of God from the hand of Egypt died. The people are without their leader without their reference. Joshua was a young warrior who could handle the sword, but was not prepared for what God was calling him to do.

If we want to walk in intimacy with God we can not forget three elements: purpose, promise, precept.

God has a purpose when he said: “Come on now, get up! Pass the Jordan, you and all the people into the land which I give the children of Israel “; The word purpose points to what is ahead, so God was speaking of something that was forward. God puts in front of Joshua the promised land.

“Every place where you set foot I have given you, as I promised Moses.” There is a promise to be fulfilled, but the way to achieve the promise is to go into the wilderness in a hard way. But God knows our sins, our miseries. Joshua was not the superman, he had fears. But God promised to be with him. This is what Jesus tells us in John’s Gospel, He remains with us.

The water that falls from  us,  God takes to irrigate the flowers that are in the way. In God’s economy, nothing is lost.

God is the God of promises, but He is also the Lord of the order. His Word is order, he commands Joshua to be strong and courageous. God makes us strong for us to manage the changes and accomplish what He commands us.

For you to accomplish what is needed in the midst of tribulation you need strength, is what God is saying in this word. You also need to be brave. Courage is to have the will to do what you need.

Preaching with Alexandre Oliveira - 595x420

Maybe you have a hurt in the heart after you heard several sermons that spoke of forgiveness, and the speaker has driven you to look for the person and ask for forgiveness, but it was not because you had no will.

When we heard of God’s order, we think that He gives us an order and along with it tells us, “Go”. But it is not so, God is with us to help us to keep the commandments.

In the Gospels we see that Jesus was the encourager par excellence. When the Lord tells us today: “Be strong and courageous,” he is giving us the grace to be strong and courageous. He gives us all this through the Holy Spirit who works now in our midst.

How do you have the strength and courage? By the power of the Holy Spirit. We fulfill what God asks of us, because this God is not outdone in generosity. This word is life, God is with us now.

Do not think you are alone, God is with us, the angels are with us. The Lord not only tells a beautiful word, he tells us the truth.

Prosperity in God comes from not ceasing to speak of His Word. In our midst the devil anesthetizes us, we cease to be men and women of the word. We can not walk without our Bible, warrior does not associate without sword.

We can not take the Word of God only when the “callus presses.” You want a happy marriage, a successful life? Entronize the Word of God in your home. Dispose of the bar you have, do not have in your house an altar to the worldly, make an altar to the Lord.

Alexandre Oliveira

Portuguese Version

May 102013
 

There does not exist many possibilities when we see before our weaknesses. We grow with them or they bring us to Hell.

Our limitations are, in truth, opportunities for us to discover who we are, which failures we commit and what roads we choose.

Our humility must make us capable of bowing our heads, looking toward ourselves, receiving lessons and proceeding better on our road. This virtue [humility] is the key for this moment!

Courage! I am praying with you!

With care and prayers!

Your Brother,
Ricardo Sá

translated from Portuguese

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