In pain-filled and hopeful memory of the youth died in Santa Maria. Leonardo Boff

In pain-filled and hopeful memory of the youth died in Santa Maria


As the ancients said: «vivere navigare est», that is, «to live is to navigate», to take a voyage, a short voyage for some, a long one for others. All navigation involves risks, fears and hope. But the ship is always attracted to a port that waits on the other side.

The ship starts out to sea. Family and friends say farewell and follow them on the beach. Some let furtive tears fall, because one never knows what may happen. And the ship slowly goes away. At the start it is very visible, but as it continues, it appears, to the eyes, to become ever smaller. Finally, it is only a point. A little more, and it disappears on the horizon. Everyone says: It is gone!

It was not swallowed by the sea. It is there, even though it is no longer visible, like the star that shines even when obscured by the clouds. And the ship continues its voyage.

The ship was not meant to remain anchored and secure on the beach, but to navigate, to confront the waves and reach its destiny.

Those who remain on the beach do not pray: Lord, free them from the dangerous waves, but, give them, Lord, the courage to face the waves and to overcome them.

What is important is to know that there is a safe port at the other end. The ship is being awaited. It is getting nearer. At the beginning it is just a point on the horizon that appears larger as it approaches. And when it arrives, it is admired in its full dimension.

Those at the port say: Here it is! It has arrived! And they go to meet the passenger; they embrace and kiss him. And they rejoice because it was a happy voyage. They do not ask about the fears or the dangers that almost drowned him. What is important is that he arrived in spite of all the afflictions. He has arrived to a happy port.

That is what happens with all who die. Sometimes it is maddening to know the conditions under which they departed this sea of life. But what counts is the certainty that they have arrived, yes, that they really arrived at a happy port. And when they arrive, they fall, blessed they are, they fall into the arms of God-Father-and-Mother of infinite goodness, into the infinite embrace of peace. God awaited them with saudades, because they are His beloved sons and daughters, navigating beyond their home.

All is finished. They have no need to navigate anymore, to confront the waves and overcome them. They rejoice at being home, in the Kingdom of life without end. And they will live this way for the centuries and centuries to come.

Leonardo Boff



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