Editor’s note: This was written 2014 November 9 and translated from the Portuguese for Forthright Magazine.
The low clouds moved like a gigantic river, slow and muddy, on this early Sunday morning, about 7 o’clock, promising to dump rain upon us, as I drank coffee and ate a fresh piece of toast in the padaria on the hill behind our house in Urbanova. The clouds reminded me of a memorable boat ride in the middle of the Amazon River, minus the tropical heat and scorching sun of the green jungle. This Sunday morning, it was pleasant to sit at the table outside, taking in the hills being occupied by housing construction. Not so many years ago, I taught my sons to drive on those asphalted streets and empty lots that gave the impression of abandonment. Today, the area is building up faster than the clock of time.
Observing such a quiet scene early on this Sunday morning, I saw a few bicycles glide up the avenue that circled the neighborhood. At my side, just off the fenced-in platform of the padaria, a rider waited impatiently for his friend’s arrival, arms stretching, his helmet already protecting his head. Within an hour, dozens of the lightweight pieces of exercise equipment would flood the area, and car traffic would increase. For now, a neighborhood yet to awaken.
I was alone on the platform. No other customer had yet arrived to enjoy the full breakfast buffet being prepared by the girls behind the counter. The table underneath the big screen was already covered with breads and meats and soon would receive still more goodies to tempt the larger appetites.
Between bites of my lightly toasted bread, I listed the day’s tasks in my notebook. Sunday is a work day for me, but it is a pleasure not a burden. Will this task or that one have greater effect? Will it be better to dedicate myself to this rather than that? Will there be enough time to implement this idea? Few are privileged to choose how to organize their day, their hours and services. With great freedom comes great responsibility.
With each sip of coffee (with a tad of milk and more sugar than I should add), a prayer. For myself. For my distant loved ones. For you. That Sunday may be not only for rest and recreation and family, but also for God. For seeking the eternal and lasting. For the spiritual and heavenly.
For, on a day not so distant, the clouds that this morning lazily crossed the sky will hurriedly part to reveal the Son of Man and the death of the living and the life of the dead. I long for that day in which he will be manifested, because the sight of his appearing will present greater glories than the hills of Urbanova and the fresh air of this Sunday morning. Instead of carriers of rain, the clouds will transport the faithful to the divine mansions.