Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

True joy

22 Dec

The word used for “joy”, in the original Greek, is χαρά (chara), which is related to the words χάρις (charis), which is usually translated as “grace”, and χάρισμα (charisma), which means both a gift of grace, without cost, as coming from grace.

Thus there is something of “grace” in joy that differentiates it from happiness, due to the distance in understanding this term with an unnatural and objective aspect, there are those who prefer happiness as something more “solid” in times of liquid reductionism consecrated by a certain type of thought and that has even entered religious environments and thus seek it and what is objective, solid and which comes from idealism and Eurocentric thought.

Joy, peace and true asceticism are only found in hearts that have found true and divine wisdom.

The appeal to earthly goods, human achievements and all types of fleeting happiness, increasingly common in the idealist narrative, has nothing to do with joy, and if there is happiness it is fleeting and will have a cost.

Christmas and the end of the year festivities can be part of this fleeting happiness or give space to the hearts and souls that have already found perennial and eternal joy: the divine in the midst of the human.



Success and joy

06 Jan

Anselm Grün begins this chapter making a counterpoint, as both the German Jewish philosopher Martin Buber who said “Success is not a term from God”, and the famous psychologist Carl Jung who said that success is the greatest enemy of the transformation of the human being is a life full of successes, the monk ends by saying that “success is part of life” and we should be happy about it (Grün, 2014, p. 73).

He considers that we can “enjoy the moment”, a joy of gratitude, a “free gift, not a merit, it is something that I perceive and am happy knowing that it happens and passes” (Grùn, 2014, p. 74).

Then he corrects and says that joy is mainly associated with creativity, quoting Aristotle and Erich Fromm, “we are satisfied with a job well done and when we realize that we have accomplished something today” (p. 75), and completes that artists are “great connoisseurs of this joy”.

Thus, there is a difference between Euphoria and true Joy, what is sought today at concerts, gyms and beauty clinics is a fleeting, fleeting success, especially when one is not looking for health and well-being. this joy that remains, I would call joy.

Recognition is also important, but it will not come from the powerful, greedy or vain, they look for spotlights and committed or even purchased success, it is not wrapped in true joy because it arises from ephemeral values ​​and truths and therefore, that pass, but that wise minds and hearts know how to find.

In the biblical passage, the birth of Jesus, in a humble place in a small town of Bethlehem, and the recognition first by humble shepherds from the countryside and later by “kings” from the east, a clear allusion to distant peoples and of other beliefs, which announces a real joy, a jubilation and what we should remember at Christmas and the year that begins, this that can give us real joy.

This day is Christmas in Russia and declare stop war for this days. 

Grün, Alselm (2014) Viver com Alegria (Life with joy). Brazil, Petrópolis: Vozes.


So it’s Christmas

24 Dec

This is how an English song began, the singer Simone sings a Brazilian versionof the original lyrics by John Lennon and Yoko Ono and then a question: “And what did you do?”, I liked the song, but the lyrics sounded strange to me because after using a mystical expression from the indus.: “Harehama” she provoked with Hiroshima and Nagasaki, of the atomic bombs, and later still of Mururoa which is a Polynesian island, which in the Maori translation means patient.

Recently, about 11 years ago, when the Fukushima incident happened, the tsunami that affected the atomic power plant in Japan, I started to understand and only now with the nuclear danger of the war in East Europe has the sense been completed, we cannot talk about peace in a world undermined by hatred and bombs.

Yes, hopes are renewed, but now amid mistrust, it is as if a veil were lifted from our eyes (in my case literally because I had already operated on one of the eyes), and a clear world presented itself, clear, but full of doubts and conflicts.

I would say that it is a Christmas of Mururoa, of the patience that waits and that achieves everything, but apprehensive and worried.

This is a small text that I manage to write while my eyesight is recovering, merry Christmas to those who believe, patience to those who understand the present situation and that the spirits of war and hatred disarm.

The light exists, a simple candle needs to be lit, and Christmas is light.




Christmas in China

20 Dec

Christmas has different connotations all over the world, the idea of ​​a date for the birth of Jesus is the commemoration of a God who became flesh, who was among us and by divine whim was born just on a census date so that he could be contact between the men, and in David’s village where Joseph and Mary went because the census takers should be in their home towns.

Also fulfilled is the prophecy (Isaiah 11:1-16) “There will come a descendant of King David, son of Jesse, who will be like a branch that sprouts from a stump, like a shoot that sprouts from the roots” and also a more incredible prophecy even though a virgin would conceive (Izaiah 7:14): “therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign, a virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him ‘God with us’”, indicating the manner of Jesus’ coming.

The translation of the word girl as virgin is contested in some Christian beliefs, but the text is clear that Mary says she does not know any man (Lk 1,34) and Joseph moves away from her so as not to denounce her as the Jewish law said for adulteress, and later returns advised by an angel, none of these facts is a coincidence due to its originality, but all are providence so that men could believe.

Christmas in China is not an official date, other festivities such as the Spring Festival or the Chinese New Year are much more celebrated and remembered, but in the city of Yiwu, for producing Christmas products for the whole world, it is seen as where Christmas is the year-round, including the lights and decorations typical of everyone, in the last ten years Christmas has started to gain popularity, but far from being a date where the birth of Jesus is celebrated, it is the traditional western consumerist period that also arrived there with the big companies that today are international in automobiles and home appliances.

However, in the city of Macau, which has Portuguese origins and influence until today, for example, the street names are in Chinese and Portuguese, some memories of the real Christmas are seen there, such as the nativity scene in Vila Coloane de Macau ( photo courtesy of a friend in Chine).

I will be undergoing eye surgery these days and unable to use a laptop, so I leave you with a Christmas message of hope in a world of peace, that men may return to the difficult path or the narrow door through which Love, Mercy and Hope pass, a fairer, more fraternal world is possible if men disarm and join hands.



The greatest of all signs

16 Dec

Most of those who don’t believe in a superior being think “if God is alive why doesn’t he send us a sign”, also the passage of the rich man who had Lazarus always at his door, asked Jesus to send a sign to his family, to to know that God existed, and Jesus answered them: “they had the prophets and they did not believe”, but it is clear that they speak of a concrete visible sign.

The reading of that time also said (1Cor, 22-24): the Greeks want wisdom (they would be today’s scientists) and the Greeks want signs (they would be today’s religionists), but divine madness is wisdom and weak things are the strong, it is not like merely human reasoning.

There is no greater madness than a God wanting to reduce himself to a man to rescue everyone, misunderstood and unwelcome, he is born in a manger and will die on the cross, the apostle Paul says pride of Christians (only the true ones, of course) and scandal for men, will he be the adult of the same child who is born in a manger and then has to flee to Egypt to avoid the slaughter of (painting by Guido Reni (1611/12) ).

Herod was confused because he imagined (like many today) that when he said that the king of the Jews was going to be born, he imagined that he would take the throne from him, and he wanted to kill him from birth, not having found him he orders to kill all the children who are still alive. on her lap, but Mary Joseph and the child had fled to Egypt.

Thus, it was not just a visible sign, it was also a human sign, says the Reading of Matthew (Mt, 1, 22): “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin will conceive and will give birth to a son. He will be called by the name of Emmanuel, which means God is with us”, but Joseph who, having turned away from Mary because of this great sign, is warned by the angel and gives him the name of the child Jesus.

There could be even more signs in our times, some mystics believe so, but it will be preceded by much suffering, just like the revelation of Jesus we have described, and then the clearing will come.



What to look for and where to find

15 Dec

bad tree cannot be expected to bear good fruit, even those who seek truth and wisdom seek to vent compulsions for power, wealth or temporary pleasure.

There is an enormous amount of literature available and the law of attraction, techniques of power and enrichment, magic formulas for happiness and youth, etc., have already penetrated common sense.

The central problem remains if one does not look for where one can actually get wisdom, power to serve those close to us more and better, wealth and full and non-temporal happiness.

It is easy to perceive the fruit of these trees of false happiness, of rotten powers and of passing pleasures that are transformed into despair and unhappiness, they are exposed among the current idols, among the parties and orgies that even have high patronage, the disregard for the public money, justice for the powerful and unhappiness for the immense majority of the population, which is often swallowed up by bad misleading advertising.

One can parade countless false wisdoms, but two called my attention about power techniques: “all my wishes come true”, yes at what cost it is necessary to think, “my routine is always prosperous”, there are no moments to pause and to enjoy what has prospered then prosperity is an end in itself and will not bring happiness, rest, contemplation and elevated state of soul.

The central question that needs to be answered is where all these false promises come from, which can even come true, but temporarily, they imply enrichment at any price, pride confused with self-esteem, lack of self-criticism, and when one seeks in fact, in correct places, what is sought there if it is not true asceticism, with time it will fall to the ground and disappointment will follow.

It’s Christmas time, few are really looking for happiness, it’s true it’s a period that increases fraternity, welcoming and good intentions, but what we really want at the end of this search

Says the biblical passage, which we started in the last post, the disciples went to ask Jesus if in fact it was him, then the master corrects him by asking what they went to look for in the desert, since they were disciples of John the Baptist (Lk 7, 24-27) : “After John’s messengers departed, Jesus began to speak about John to the crowds. “What did you go to see in the desert? A reed shaken with the wind? What did you go to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? Now those who are dressed in fine clothes and live in luxury are in the palaces of kings. So what did you go to see? A Prophet? I tell you, yes, and someone who is more than a prophet. It is of John that it is written: ‘Behold, I send my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare my way before you.

It’s not enough to look in the right place, you need to know what you’re actually looking for, if they’re temporary things, many are the places, if they’re true things few and you need to have the right question of the search.



The Christmas Scandal

14 Dec

One can only think of negative scandals: corruption, immorality or wars, but there is no greater scandal than a God becoming mortal and coming into the world through a normal birth.

It is not just the fact that he was born, but in a simple way, at a time when a census was being taken and this is important because it was contact between mortals, with a strong persecution of Herod who had heard that the king of the Jews would be born, and thought into a human power, which means it would lose its power given by the Roman Empire.

In addition to this scandal of a God who lowers himself by coming to inhabit the land of mortals, his life will be marked by many extraordinary facts, cures, deviations from the religious power established by the Jews, even though they were the promised people, after all Jesus was born a Jew, adopted son of the descent of David by Joseph and his mother the Jewish Mary.

Many were the prophets of that time, and many proclaimed themselves the messiah, and even among those closest to Jesus, doubts continued about who he really was, Jesus himself asks his disciples who the people think he is who the disciples think he is, in fact he is not and ‘something simple to believe, it is a scandal for a God to become mortal.

Even John the Baptist who is the last prophet, and the one who announced the coming of the Savior, sends his disciples to personally ask Jesus if in fact he is what everyone expects at that time.

Jesus’ response is based on facts (Lk 7:20-23): “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise and the good news is announced to the poor “, happy is he who is not scandalized because of me!”.

In fact, today it is no longer a scandal, indifference or contempt predominates, even within cults and temples there is a certain normality and they confuse the divine Christian culture with the worldly one, the scandal is even those who say they believe invented a God so human , which is no longer the one who came into the world (an advent), but a normal period of festivities and passing joys.



More than prophecies and miracles

09 Dec

The time of pain and suffering is a harbinger of a time of grace and great changes, but they cannot come without a change of mentality, if men do not change, what changes is apparent.

This feeling is in the air and ranges from incitements to war, hatred and violence to false prophecies and miracles that have nothing religious or divine in them.

Although at the birth of the child-God, many suspected the coming of the one who was promised to the Jewish people, many were also the prophets and who announced themselves as the savior, also as today in the political field due to the oppression of the Roman empire, but the surprise it was great although the readings of the time announced exactly how it would come, even indicating the place that was Bethlehem.

So, if we expect changes and they will certainly come, it will not be as the majority of men, sages and prophets think, but as divine wisdom acts, which waits for human illusions to pass.

The disciples of John the Baptist, although he announced the coming of Jesus, and the urgent need for change, mainly in the religious mentality of the time, also had doubts, and John himself, who was in prison, sent his disciples to ask him who he belonged to. Jesus indeed, and whether he was indeed the promised one.

Jesus’ response corrects the human mentality of John’s disciples: and the first response is a question (Mt 11:9): “So what did you go to see? A Prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet. 0It is of him that it is written: ‘Behold, I send my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you. 11 Truly I say to you, of all men who have ever been born, none is greater than John the Baptist. However, the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he”, to make it understood that the announcement is beyond the evidence and merely human views of the facts.

In our time, more is needed than explanations and mundane realities, which are important but limited, they do not have the true clarity that even philosophers and deep thinkers ask for, most hover in a shallow culture and change, where it is difficult to reach really superior realities and needs of a humanity adrift and with enormous civilizational risks.

For good readers, the reading of the passage that we have indicated is clear in the previous verses, Jesus says to the disciples of John (Mt 11,4=6): “Jesus answered them: “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind recover their sight, the paralyzed walk, lepers are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the poor are evangelized. Happy is he who is not offended because of me!” and of course this is more than miracles and demonstrations of ‘divine power’, this is not how the divine acts, but with the clearing and the truth, even if it scandalizes some.

To those who do not believe, it remains to say that divine action is beyond human action, it acts in the extraordinary, it does not act as a palliative for pain, but its complete elimination, but it comes after the pain and suffering of the cross.



Between the ordinary and the extraordinary

08 Dec

The immense universe and the images and research that the James Webb telescope is revealing show us more than the greatness of science, how much nature and human knowledge are tiny compared to the organic and mysterious richness of the universe.

These are not discoveries of other planets inhabited by organic beings like ours, but rather the limits of the very laws of physics to the point of questioning what absolute time and space is the greatest revelation of modernity and rationality, which is now changing by the laws of relativity and guided by the more exact notion of what we call eternity.

Also in everyday life there are extraordinary facts, not those proclaimed by soothsayers, false prophets or oracles of a wisdom that is already known to be limited, by the correct view of science itself, uncertainty and error is its safest path, or as Bohr wrote to Einstein : the root of all evil is the human idea that someone holds all the truth.

The Christmas period is for Christians the revelation of a new and extraordinary truth, in the sense that it is beyond all reason and human science, by divine desire God became man, in a Trinitarian relationship, desire of God the Father, conception of Holy Spirit in a virgin (see previous post) and a divine-human God among us enters the story.

The fact is extraordinary because history has changed and will change even more as the space-time dimension in which human life is immersed passes, everyone dies and others are born and a divine truth is revealed through the noosphere, the sphere that mind or spirit inhabits and which no one can deny, because even philosophical and theological errors and conceptions are immersed in it.

The biblical characters, sincere men despite being followers of Jesus, also doubted his conception, his life (walking on the waves of the sea, the multiplication of the loaves, the healing of the man born blind, the resurrection of Lazarus) in all 36 acts extraordinary works, of which 22 are cures, all of this will one day be known to science, it is possible, but they were done before this time, when science was taking its initial steps.

But there are only divine acts, such as crossing the sea on dry foot, seeing Moses’ burning bush, and the greatest of all extraordinary acts, the one that only divine revelation can confirm, and perhaps one day will bring about some phenomenon. extraordinary, the virgin conceived and God came to dwell among us, he too died, but the Christian belief is that he rose and lives in eternal life.

Even the virgin who conceived, the young Mary betrothed to Joseph, who, upon hearing the news announced by an angel, doubts what is happening to herself (Lk 1:29): “Mary was troubled by these words and began to think what the meaning of salvation would be”, so the biblical characters idealized by theologians and pastors, were actually very human and not superstitious (painting of Leonardo da Vinci, around 1472).

It is true that later Mary will sing her Magnificat, knowing that God has made her great, but only after walking kilometers to Cousin Izabel’s house, who also received the grace of remaining a virgin in old age, but in her case there is nothing so extraordinary, they are known cases in the history of women of advanced age who have conceived.

Faith is believing in the extraordinary, even if you don’t have it, knowing that God’s intervention in history is possible, and what Christmas represents is the great intervention that is the very coming of the God-child.



Christmas gift

24 Dec

In December 1947, right around Christmas, three Bell Telephone engineers (William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain) invented the transistor (TRANsfer reSISTOR) that revolutionary communication and later computing, also ICs (Integrated Circuits) have as a base the transitor.

The big event this Christmas will be the launch of the James Webb Space Observatory (jwst, James Webb Space Telescope) from the Kourou space base, in French Guiana, at 9:20 am EDT, which will be taken to the Ariane 5 spacecraft. made at the cost of $10 billion, the most expensive space project in history.

What are we going to look for in space, in addition to other puzzles, the origin of the universe in its early stage, and it’s curious why this happens this Christmas, and why it is so special.

Lights decorate cities even in attention with a possible new wave of the pandemic and also a new flu, they light up hope and make us look to the future and to the beginning of our lives, our planet and humanity.

There is no way to escape from utopians, cosmogonies and religious eschatologies, even if we can solve many enigmas, the philosophical question remains: why there is everything and not nothing.

The answer can only be ontological, there is a reason for being and there is a promising future, where there is hope if we return to the logic of Being, of dialogue and of the encounter with the Other.

The message cannot be any other than that which speaks of brotherhood and peace, both not yet fully achieved by humanity, Christmas reopens this hope.

This is the prophecy that Isaiah announces (Is 52,7 when there will be true peace: “how beautiful they are, walking on the mountains, the feet of him who proclaim and preach peace, of him who proclaims good and preaches salvation, and says to Zion, ‘Reign thy God,’” the message that believed in the coming of the Savior, the birth among men of the Messiah.

The lights in the city not only announce this light visible to the eyes, but those that open the heart to friendship and peace (Jn 1:4-5): “in her was life, and life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness could not overcome it”, because a tiny point of light already dissipates the darkness, and this is our hope.

May Christmas renew hopes for a possible and sustainable future for humanity, and may justice and peace reign in a new world.