January 1st, 2018:
A new year begins and I want to start by wishing to my dear readers, who faithfully follow my work, an excelent 2018. I hope this is a year of conversion; for conversion I mean: a year of transformation – a year in which finally, with a fresh and renewed attitude, we return to the new path – a new journey with renewed confidence and strength. The year 2017 was a great year for me. However, I wanted to be more human… Athlete life requires a selfish attitude toward your goals; we are constantly thinking about the hours of rest that must be fulfilled, in the training sessions in which we will take our body to the limit, in the competitions that are painted in the horizon, in the medals that we want to win … In fact, a vortex is generated feeding the ego – this force does not allow us to have the capacity to return outside of ourselves, to turn to others.
I felt swallowed up by 2017 in the sense that I was a slave of my ego. There were moments that I could have given more to others and I did not have the courage. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the exponent of this Charity that is being drawn in me, says:
“I know my work is a drop in the ocean, but without it the ocean would be smaller.”
I have been reduced to the punishment of my projects and ambitions. I was poorer. In this impoverishment of soul, I shone less, I was smaller. I did not contribute with my work to this ocean in which we are all plunged. But in 2018, on this first day of the year, which is World Peace Day, I want to ask God for this courage in which the true spirit of Charity is enveloped. I want to challenge you to do the same. In this way, with the candor of a newborn child, we can ask: In this year that will begin how can I contribute to a more generous world – how can I be a Champion of Service?
This year, to realize my desire to be more human, I have embraced three volunteer projects. I’m going to work at Padre Amadeu Pinto Youth and Community Center – a brave mystic who was famous for the quote “Let’s do the good well done” – with young people and children giving classes in different disciplines. I am responsabile for two kids, Lucas and Miguel – two human beings in whom curiosity is greater than the consciousness of existing. In this same direction, at the invitation of the NEP (Psychology Student Group) I will work in Clínica Psiquiátrica de São José (with my three hospitalizations due to my mental illness, I will certainly have something to add to this project!). Finally, working with the youth population, I am going to embrace a mission in the ghetto of Zambujal at the invitation of my former Mathematics teacher at Colégio São João de Brito. I am full of hope and convinced that all these experiences will bespeak the Humanism that is inherent in me. I want to be external to myself. I want to turn myself to the service that we are invited to practice through Jesus Christ. (I ask the blessing of God so that the selfishness that segregates us in a minority will never be betrayed in my spirit!).
On this World Day of Peace – which marks its 51st anniversary – we are invited to reflect on our actions to ask ourselves if we are agents that promote Peace – a Peace that allows the building of the kingdom of God (Stop for a moment: to be drenched by this consciousness …).
I think that in this reflection an enlightenment develops in the spirit, in all things similar to that of the eighteenth-century philosophers, which allows us to approach the Humanism present in the verse 39 of the Gospel of Saint Matthew. In this approach to the God who became the Verb in flesh, we are enlightened in this New Year that begins to build a more generous and congregative reality that breathes a spirit of Charity. In fact, the theme embraced by Pope Francis for the beginning year”Migrants and Refugees: Men and Women in Search of Peace” is evidence of this need in a world where there is a lack of reconciliation with Peace.
When we give ourselves to others, we meditate on our individuality. It is this gigantism of soul that I desire for 2018; this matter which is pleasing in my understanding and in it expresses the will of God. We can all contribute for a better world, but that work has to start in ourselves. I hope that in 2018 we will all be able to contribute (in the most convenient way) to Peace. Many of us do not have the time (due to the urgency and ephemerality of real time!) to dedicate ourselves to volunteer work, but certainly we can be peacemakers in our families, with your friends, in our workplace … This is my challenge for you: How can I be a Peace Agent in my day-to-day life? It’s all in you!
CARTER B REY
Photographer: Tomás Monteiro
Photographer Assistant: Irís Liliana
Make-up: Ani Toledo
Hair: Rui Rocha
Styling: Carter B. Rey