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I have a call

Today I went to little Campo Limpo Paulista, 40 km from São Paulo, to meet two dear Syrian sisters, refugees for a year and three months in Brazil, to accompany the recording for a television program about the violence of the Islamic State. I usually do not respond to requests for these interviews, as we always end up exposing them to reliving their most traumatic moments, their deepest memories, sacred places where it is only possible to walk barefoot. But today I made an exception and, in fact, in the hours that I spent there, listening to their stories again, I remembered the afternoon where I found them ... and I was remembering many other stories, of so many new beginnings and restorations that, thanks to the Father, I was able to participate. Today I found it again with my calling, my convictions, the reason why I do what I have been doing for 30 years.


I'm a pastor. I take care of people, sheep that are not mine, they belong to the Supreme Shepherd. I believe in people that most do not believe, but the Eternal believes and for me, this is enough. I walk through shadows and existential alleys in search of the broken and displaced, inviting them to come to the light, encouraging them to come to the table again, hugging, listening, laughing, crying, sharing the Gospel, the good news of forgiveness, of communion, the freedom to follow the Nazarene.


Just as I learned from my teachers, special people that the Father placed on my road, I always try to minister hope, love, courage ... until grace makes its effect and the living life of the Eternal unfolds again. It was like that in my life. My call then is to walk in the desert with people, not to sell maps that take them to gospel amusement parks. I can wear several clothes…. I have that of musician, teacher, counselor, researcher, suitcase carrier, mission director, preacher, driver, missionary ... but under all these shells, I recognize that what I have, and received from Him, was a simple shepherd's heart.


I am poor, admittedly poor. I have nothing to offer anyone but Him, His Word, His example, His life, His grace. I seek intensely personal and vocational integrity. Not that plastic, artificial, superficial one of polite smiles. The integrity I carry is that of being openly broken. Having cracks and manufacturing defects that I have to deal with every day. I hope that through these cracks, the oil of the Eternal, spilled on me, can flow to those who are beside me.


Why did I decide to write all this? Because at today's meeting I was able to reflect on my call again… and it may be that others on this side are wondering if it is worthwhile, if He cares… Perhaps these lines are found by people close to throwing in the towel. People tired of being beaten up by themselves, the enemy, life, others, the church (institution)…. Maybe there is someone in a small, dark corner, in a small community on the corner of the world wondering if it's time to stop.


For you, especially for those who feel this way, I mean it's worth it! Despite everything, remember that the pastoral call is the most glorious thing that exists under the heaven. And He entrusted this privilege to you. He poured oil over his head. He called you, sent you ... Do not doubt, do not fear, do not tremble, do not be discouraged, do not give up ... Throw yourself headlong into the arms of the Eternal, in confidence and faith. He will support you! Don't look to the side, comparing yourself with others ... Look up, look inside. Only He can assess your worth and the importance of what you are doing. He does not use the standard of human success as a criterion.


Today I remembered again that, like our Lord Jesus Christ, we were not called to the stage, to the performance, but fidelity, to the arms of the Father. We do not do what we do because it assures us an advantage or will bring us some profit. . On the contrary, a ministry is a place of renunciation, it is a constant walk to the altar of sacrifice. We pastor people because, for us, it is the right thing to do. It is the only thing that we cannot fail to do. The Eternal decided to love the world, the people, each person, through people like us. So be it, one more time. Let's move on!


(In time, it has to be said that without the unconditional support and ministerial complicity of my wife, Val Prado, and children, and the prayers, encouragement, and investment of many brother-friends, this ministry would not be possible. gratitude to all who walk beside me).


(In time, it has to be said that without the unconditional support and ministerial complicity of my wife, Val Prado, and children, and the prayers, encouragement, and investment of many brother-friends, this ministry would not be possible. gratitude to all who walk beside me).


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