Dear Friends,

Today I celebrate a very special day and I want to show my enormous gratitude to our DEAR GOD for presenting me with another year in my life.

Today, I am privileged to share a message, a reflection of an admirable, unmatched person. A lesson about humanity, fraternity, from my good FRIEND Father Anselmo Borges.

May we allow ourselves, with joy, be enlightened by the kindness and sensitivity of his words!

"During times of coronavirus...

My good friend Fátima Brízio asked me, with that kindness of hers, for a text, within the Covid-19 context. It is with pleasure that I correspond to her request:

  1. We thought we were omnipotent. After all, suddenly, we were invaded by an invisible virus, before which we feel all our powerlessness. We need humility. We are fragile. All of us. It was usual for people, when saying goodbye, to say: See you, see you tomorrow, by God’s will. It is what it is. We are not full owners of our life.

  2. It is from science, that we expect a solution to this infection, through drugs and a vaccine. But we also became aware that science itself knows less than we thought. We need to face with wisdom the uncertain future. Uncertainty is an invincible dimension of our unreliable human condition.

  3. With this virus, we also become aware that we are one Humanity, we depend on each other. We can infect each other. But it is also true that, only by helping each other, we save ourselves and survive. We either save ourselves or we sink together. Never has the need for solidarity been so strongly imposed.

  4. Perhaps we lived too lightly, inattentive to the essentials, in the vertigo of running in search of what we don't even know. We need another serenity and active vigilance in life, even economically speaking: thinking more about the future, which is always - we know it better now - unpredictable. Nobody insures us to guarantee that we will be happy and free us from uncertainty. Even life insurance is, paradoxical as it may seem, always insurance for when we die: others will eventually benefit from it.

  5. Regarding death, we lived as if we were immortal and did not want to think about it. Our society was even the first in history that made death a taboo: that is not talked about. But now, she goes round, is there, always enigmatic and mysterious, and compels us to think. It is the unthinkable that forces you to think and live ethically and intensely. When? Now.

  6. I note that, now that we can go out a little more, almost all people start to “finger” and look at their cell phones. And I wonder: Will we always have to live “abroad”? Don’t we have nothing inside of us, inside each one of us? After all, thinking is talking to ourselves. And it is there in the most intimate that God lives. And it is necessary to listen to the silence and speak with God who speaks in the most intimate way.

  7. Will we come out of this hecatomb better? That is my wish and my hope. But I am not at all sure that we will learn the lessons and change for the better. Better? Better would be the solidarity of all with one another and with planet Earth, which is our common home and our mother. But, in the search for endless consumption - consuming more and always more -, do we want to continue with a development that mistreats nature, as if it were a mere reservoir of energies that we must exploit until exhaustion, waiting for a new virus? When will we realize that, in a limited world, unlimited progress is not possible? When will we learn to live with less, with a more convivial lifestyle and with more moderation, knowing that more important than having is being?

  8. What about the Church? We now realize better that the Church, too, needs a profound reform, as Pope Francis wants. It cannot continue to be the Church of power, of cardinals, of bishops, of patriarchs, of canons, of priests. The Church is all baptized and, therefore, the Church must be simple, fraternal, all serving (each and every one according to their gifts) each other and serving all those who need it the most, even if not belonging to the Church. Like Jesus, who came "to serve and not to be served" and who revealed, in words and deeds, that God loves everyone. He is Father-Mother of all. We are all brothers. Is there any more congratulatory news than this, the message of Jesus, which is the Gospel? In it, we have the God’s promise of eternal life, who does not abandon us in death.

  9. Do I remember anyone in particular these days? So many people. But I want to especially remind doctors, nurses, health staff, who expose their health and even their life, to take care of those who most need immediate care. They are “the saints next door”, as Pope Francis says. I remember all those who died, victims of this tragedy, and who’s familys couldn't even say goodbye, with a caress. A bottomless and endless pain. I remember all those who, with transport, supermarkets, agriculture, cleaning, banks, bakeries, security, the post office - I don't know what else ... -, allow the country to continue to function. I remember all those who, in the most varied ways, in an immense and inventive creativity, are present to those who suffer the most, relieving loneliness that kills. I remember, that little girl in line to receive a bowl of soup. I remember all those who are tired of asking for and providing support so that the devastating hunger, already present and about to increase, does not make the suffering of so many even more cruel. I remember with emotion all those who read these short and simple words. Know that every day I pray for you. With affection.

Anselmo Borges. Priest. Professor at University of Coimbra and University of Porto. His most recent book: “Conversas com Anselmo Borges. A Vida, as Religiões, Deus”.

A tight and virtual HUG to you! Fátima C. Brízio

WE have your dream TRAVEL