The old phrase: “There can be no sadness, when Life is born” was written about Christmas. It is either a potion of life or it is nothing but cod and French toast.

Many important people consider Life as a sack that is filled with a thousand activities and fatigues, entertainments and cares, journeys and commitments. According to Bernanos, today we have precisely the opposite of what happened two thousand years ago: “At Christmas, God became man; in modern civilisation, man became machine”.

Indeed, today we have machines to inform us, machines to distract us effortlessly, machines that transport us from one place to another, machines that, in the factory or in the office, impose “machine-like” gestures on us. The worst thing is that, when we live with machines, we are almost pure machines.

At least Christmas leads us to cultivate colourful dreams, in the midst of silly and hurried crowds. Christmas offers us a Child, to make us jump for joy again. That Child awakens the sleeping child in each of us.

For this reason, the text that a friend sent me from Brazil and which I turned around in my own way tasted like a Belém cake to me:


“I have come to officially resign as an adult.

I want to recover the charm of the small wonders of this land.

I want to believe that the world is fair and that all people are honest and kind.

I am sick of computers that also fail, of paper deluges, of depressing news, of appointments that can’t be postponed, of dreams that don’t sleep well.

I’m sick of competition and envy, of rivalry and, even more, of hypocrisy.

I want back the idea that God is in heaven and that, therefore, everything is straighter on earth.

I want to go to the corner pub and think it’s worth more than a five-star restaurant.

I want to travel around the world in a little paper boat, sailing through a puddle left by the rain. I want to throw stones into the stream and be in the mood to watch the waves they make.

I want to be happy when the first cherry ripens and spend summer afternoons in the shade of an oak tree, among wild roses and with my friends.

I want to go back to the time when all I knew was the names of colours, the multiplication table and the Hail Mary, and that didn’t bother me at all, because I had no idea how many things I didn’t know.

I want to believe in the power of smiles, of kind words, of truth, of justice, of peace, of dreams to sing; and to think that they bring more happiness than money and greatness.

I am fed up with questions about my career, how much I earn, how much my house is worth, what social relations I maintain. Nobody asks me about my butterfly collection, whether I can whistle or whether my house has flowers in the windows and swallows in the roof eaves.

I am fed up with this glacial society, run by bureaucracy and managed by bureaucrats. I want to light a fire of tenderness and simplicity.

So here are the car keys, the doctor’s prescriptions, the cheque book, the credit cards, the supermarket list, the diplomas and badges, the mobile phone, the diary, the watch.

I renounce this crazy adult life.

And I’m willing to discuss this matter, my friend, but on one condition: resign too!”.


Abílio Pina Ribeiro, cmf

(PHOTO: Alex Radelich)



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