Klaus Hart Brasilientexte

Aktuelle Berichte aus Brasilien – Politik, Kultur und Naturschutz

“Happy 2010″ and “State of Mind”. Frei Betto, Brasiliens wichtigster Befreiungstheologe.

Happy New Year to the craftsmen of utopia whose calloused hands dig up sunflowers from the swamps of ambiguity; to women in search of secret passion, miraculous divas of gratuitous friendship; to children who survive in the hearts of all ages and to the guardians of meditative silence.
Happy New Year to the magicians of sensitivity and to those who use the threads of time to tie ribbons into bows; to those who listen to the murmur of angels and to those who carry luminous pride riding on fiery horses.

Happy New Year to pilgrims on paths which lack darkness; to shell seekers on the sunny beaches of ethical satisfaction; to those who untie knots in the folds of the spirit; to heralds of good news and to scarecrows of misfortune.




Happy New Year to those who rest at the window of the soul contemplating their own sunrise; to seamen whose sails move thanks to the breath of the Spirit; to those who sow translucent horizons and to those who embroider tenderness on the pebbly ground of our misadventures.

Happy New Year to those encamped on the vast ground of foolishness, hostage to inflated egos; to acrobats of extravagant conjecture, slaves to their pompous illusions; to authors of civic incongruence, inveterate gamblers of bluff.

Happy New Year to hearts seduced by the touch of divine love; to those who volunteer generosity and show the way on the labyrinthian paths of our mistakes; to prophets inflexible towards intoxicating monotony, intrepid cultivators of hope.

Happy New Year to the confectioners of sweet predictions amid so much disillusion; to artists of sobriety opposed to the limelight of hypocrisy; to goldsmiths of beauty pregnant with subjective density; to masters of wisdom impelled by the soft breeze saturated with the taste of honey.

Happy New Year to those who have become illiterate philosophers of knowledge, attentive to flights of intelligence which transcend reason; to those adept to the empty mysticism of images and words; to God™s gypsies whose steps roam the mysterious pathways of ineffable love.

Happy New Year to those who refuse to utter bitter words to diminish others; to the inhabitants of lyrical villages where dawn canticles of goodness resound; to the hermits of unhappiness nourished by the Word who became flesh; to able explorers of the imagination in whose actions life is transformed into allegories.

Happy New Year to the hunters of trivialities who pay attention to details of gentility; to goldsmiths of elegance whose words exhale perfumed fragrances; to sentinels of wonder graced by the gift of identifying life as a miracle and to craftsmen of fantasy who transubstantiate our most telluric emotions.

Happy New Year to those who are silent about the faults of others and do not  transform their own tongue into a stumbling block; to mariners of romantic daydreams intoxicated by poetry; to the architects of the future, dedicated to the project of the  nuptials of freedom and justice.

Happy New Year to artists of absurdity capable of bringing drollness to life; to gentlemen dedicated to the philosophy of laughter who emanate the joy of living and to troubled lamp lighters, indignant disciples of Diogenes.

Happy New Year to those who go against the traffic of cowards and have the audacity to reinvent their existence after every failure; to the lighthouse keeper in the middle of rough seas whose gleam opens golden channels on the surface of the waters and to women whose hearts are rocked by Cupid™s lullabies.

Happy New Year to watchful eyes of environmental decay, whose tears are dried by the ashes of lucrative chimneys; to those who free birds from cages, fearless pilots of hallucinating flight and to the servers of gratuity, militants of compassionate altruism.

Happy New Year to those whose year was unhappy, wounded by pain and tears, mired in hopelessness and dark pathways “ may God help them to salvage the best of themselves and reunite with the Transcendent making love the reason for their rebirth into life.

*Frei Betto is a writer, author of ”Um Homem chamado Jesus (A Man Called Jesus “ a novel) (Rocco).


He is a Brazilian Dominican with an international reputation as a liberation theologian.

Within Brazil he is equally famous as a writer, with over 52 books to his name. In 1985 he won Brazil™s most important literary prize, the Jabuti, and was elected Intellectual of the Year by the members of the Brazilian Writers™ Union.

Frei Betto has always been active in Brazilian social movements, and has been an adviser to the Church™s ministry to workers in Sáo Paulo™s industrial belt, to the Church base communities, and to the Landless Rural Workers™ Movement (MST).

In 2003-2004, he was Special Adviser to President Lula and Coordinator of Social Mobilisation for the Brazilian Government™s Zero Hunger programme.


Frei Betto*

Friends ask me what to do regarding their adolescent son who is indifferent to religion and to spirituality. I reply that the question comes about ten years too late. If the son were 6 or 8 years of age I would know what to tell them: celebrate with him the religious meaning of Easter and Christmas, pray as a family and introduce him to the writings of the mystics.
The feast of Christmas provokes in us a mixture of anxiety and frustration. In some corner of our nostalgic unconscious a flavour of sun appears. Symbols like the tree, the manger with the Child Jesus, the Virgin and the shepherds echo in the child we no longer are but who nevertheless inhabits us. Like Proust, we grope in search of forgotten or lost joys, atavistic flavours, faces loved and lost.

There is also a taste of salt. The reification of human relations, compulsive consumerism, the fear of giving of oneself, make us gravitate around the spectre of Santa Claus. Giving something in order not to give, retaining affection hermetically wrapped, a thousand ropes tying us in our own hell which, as defined by Dostoyevsky, is the suffering of no longer being capable of love. Many gifts attest to how much we cheat ourselves. We do, however, give the receipt of how much we are in debt to the challenge of loving and being present in the life of another.

The Christmas feast originated in the 11th century when theologians wanted to determine the date of Jesus™ birth which is not given in the Gospels. John the Baptist had been conceived during the autumn equinox and born in the summer solstice. According to Luke 1:26, Jesus was conceived six months before John, in other words, during the spring equinox in the Northern hemisphere (March 25). He had therefore been born on December 25 when in the East the Sun returns to its ascending movement.

Another more probable hypothesis makes Christmas the Christian version of the pagan feast of ”natale solis invictus introduced in the year 274 by the Emperor Aurelian and fixed on December 25, the European winter solstice. In the prologue of John™s gospel Christ is ”the light of the world. Thus Christian faith recovers the pagan celebration when it reinforces, in the early Church communities, the conviction that they celebrated the feast of the true Sun.

Today a new recovery occurs in the pagan and mercantile figure of Santa Claus who sacraments social inequality when it offers gifts to children who are well bred and leaves the poor ones empty handed (exactly opposite to Mary™s canticle in the Magnificat, where the Lord ”has filled the hungry with good things; the rich he has sent away empty).

Christian Christmas inherits the spirit of justice and reconciliation of the Jewish sabbatical system and of the jubilee year when debts were pardoned, the slaves freed and lands equally redistributed. An inheritance which is today robbed of its social dimension and reduced to the private, distorted by the exchange of gifts camouflaging the resistance to an encounter between persons. It leaves us with that inner emptiness which lasts for many Christmases, hungry for sincere joy and the outpouring of the spirit. Wine, nuts and turkeys do not satiate the hunger for beauty which opens a deep hollow in our heart.

Christmas is rebirth, beginning with our own selves, starting from the solar plexus where intuition captures our most intimate truth. There is nothing more challenging than faithfulness to ourselves. However we fear solitude because it brings us silence and, with it the voice which repeats the verses of José Regio: ”I don™t know where I am going, I don™t know where I am going, I know I am not going that way! And it is ”that way that we have gone, without the strength to change our course.

Christmas also presents itself as a collective moment for starting again. We are today a nation pregnant with itself. However, Brazil is not reborn, like Jesus, in the manger of the poor where millions of Brazilians excluded from benefits and elementary economic and social rights like sanitation, formal employment and quality education and health are to be found.

It is rebirth for a few thanks to the elitist organisation at the top which assure the continuity of Herodian proposals of neo liberalism under the naïve optimism of those who believe that quality of life can be acquired from a shop counter.

Life is gift, it is quality and love. Less Santa Claus and more Child Jesus would make Christmas into a feast where presence would replace presents.

*Frei Betto is a writer, author of ”Um homem chamado Jesus (A Man Called Jesus “ a novel) (Rocco)



Dieser Beitrag wurde am Dienstag, 05. Januar 2010 um 01:43 Uhr veröffentlicht und wurde unter der Kategorie Kultur, Politik abgelegt. Du kannst die Kommentare zu diesen Eintrag durch den RSS-Feed verfolgen.

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