It is September 15, 5 p.m. I just woke up from a nap after lunch. In a couple of hours I am going to preach via the Internet to the La Salle Theater* in Brasilia.
I slept and dreamed I was crying.
I said, “Oh, Dad… We still had so much to say… You were gone before we could talk about the last things.”
Then I saw him laugh cheerfully and filled with love, as always. It was glory in simplicity.
“No, my son. Everything was said. Why do you think I was in the desert for almost forty days? Ah, my son, things only happened that way so you would all be prepared and filled with faith for my passing and afterwards.”
“So you knew it all along?!”
“Of course! Little by little, the Lord told me!”
Then I jumped out of bed. The dream was as real as anything real can be. I was crying a lot. I cried while sleeping and woke up bathed in tears.
The delay was meant to strengthen us…
The miracles were meant to strengthen us…
His patience was meant to strengthen us…
And all the wonders happened because of us…
Then, all of a sudden, I recollected 31 phrases he used to say quite often, and I wrote them down right away.
1. Without love nothing is life.
2. Without faith no one pleases God anyway, so you’d better not try…
3. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what already is although we do not see it yet.
4. Only what is spontaneous has worth.
5. Irrational fear is the worst disease.
6. When fear gets in through the door, faith gets out through the window.
7. Everything is possible to the one who believes without doubting.
8. Life is the miracle. The rest is a gift of joy to be enjoyed.
9. Forgiving is a liberating privilege.
10. Obeying God is a pleasure.
11. Having to defeat someone is not good for you.
12. Delighting in your enemy’s misfortune is bad for you.
13. By the mouth men bring great judgment on themselves.
14. By his acts a man becomes either an angel or a devil.
15. Patience is the feeling of trust.
16. Buy again and again what is already yours, but don’t pick a fight.
17. Don’t defend yourself when accused. You would be trying to do God’s job.
18. Everything that builds good inside us hurts.
19. Pain and bitterness are not linked in any way but to those who are bitter already.
20. Meekness inherits the earth because the meek always carry on.
21. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness should not lead us to eat anybody.
22. He who is truly humane is a Christian even unknowingly, and a true Christian life necessarily makes us deeply humane in love and mercy.
23. Never be proud. You are my son, and I am a worm. What would you be proud of? Being a worm?
24. If it is absurd to men, then it is quite possible by faith.
25. A grateful spirit, lifted up in worship, can touch heaven.
26. I’m so glad you’re back. (This was the only thing he said after I told him the [seemingly catastrophic] things that happened to me in 1998.)
27. In youth, people mistake love for free sexual favors.
28. When something suddenly comes over me, I catch it and place it in glory. Then everything loses the power to harm me. The Lord of glory deals with it.
29. If you have to fight, fight against the impossible.
30. Love Jesus and everything else will follow you.
31. Paul was wrong. It is allowed for a man to utter what is seen in glory. It is not allowed just because it is unutterable.
In Him, with the most grateful saudade ** of a son,
From the original “UM SONHO E 31 LIÇÕES DE PAPAI – Entre milhares”
Translated by F. R. Castelo Branco | September 2007
* La Salle is one of the main high schools in Brasilia. The Caminho da Graça meetings have been held in its large lecture theater.
** “Saudade is a Portuguese word for a feeling of longing for something [or someone] that one is fond of, which [or who] is gone, but might return in a distant future.” (Taken from http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Saudade, 09/18/07)