The presentation of "Where is God?" in Rio

Brazil: "Jesus, the most human man who ever lived”

In Rio de Janeiro, the presentation of the Portuguese edition of Julián Carrón’s “Where is God?”. Alongside Marco Montrasi, the national responsible of CL, was businessman Pedro Solomão. The result? An intense dialogue, even with the audience...
Isabella Alberto

The evening of Tuesday, February 11. People were worried about the rain that had flooded Rio de Janeiro the day before, and were a little reluctant to leave their homes. In fact, it did not rain that much, and although many people preferred not to go out, almost one hundred people gathered at the XP Theatre and were surprised by the dialogue between Pedro Solomão, known as "Pedrinho", and Marco Montrasi, "Bracco", about the book Onde está Deus? (Ed. Paulus, 2019), the Portuguese translation of Julián Carrón’s book ‘Where is God?’

A few months ago, Montrasi, national responsible for Communion and Liberation, was introduced to Pedrinho by a mutual friend. A friendship was born within which a dialogue on the theme of faith in the age of uncertainty opened out. Pedrinho, forty years old, is a successful entrepreneur. He is a founding partner of Radio Ibiza, which makes personalized jingles for companies. Very charismatic, in recent years, he has begun to publicly recount his experiences at work, and of his personal life, to other managers and entrepreneurs.

In this meeting, we witnessed two hours of dialogue, moderated by journalist Elizabeth Sucupira, who immediately asked the first question: "In this moment of great turbulence, so secularized, Carrón affirms that it is possible to have faith, and that this is promising. How do you perceive it?"

Pedrinho, who is also author of two books (Empreendendo felicidade and LYdereZ), was very challenged by this subject: "I understand that we have enormous difficulty in dealing with faith, because it basically consists of believing in something that we are not sure will happen. I think that if we do not do this exercise of understanding the need to wait, we will lose ourselves. In a hectic world where we have a million instruments to lead an ever better life, we are living a crisis of global anxiety. We have to look at this behavioural problem in order to look at faith. In order to wait, one must be certain of something that has already been experienced.

Bracco then spoke about his relationship with young people, their openness and their questions. That is why he wanted to promote this meeting: in a world marked by polarization, when the big questions are asked, people find themselves united. "Speaking about faith, I think about my life. I was not a young boy who went to church. When I was a child I had to go to catechism, for my first communion, confirmation... I found it boring, so much so that I left. But the experience I had, at a certain point, was to understand that those words I had heard had something to do with my humanity". Faith is finding a connection: "With someone who speaks of the human. It is this gaze that marks you the most: a way of looking like nobody has every looked at you". And this is precisely the point where one realizes that God can still be interesting today.

In his subsequent interventions Pedrinho spoke in a very informal way, recognizing several friends among the audience and also citing examples of his relationship with them. "Faith is not born of a great "divide," he said again, explaining that he inherited it from his family, through Sunday Mass and devotion to the Saints, whom his mother still invokes to protect him. Today, he is married and father of two children, Benedict and Mary.

Someone from the audience, Luiz, asked to speak about his “estrangement from the Church, but not from faith”. Inspired by Pedrinho, who lives near him in the same neighbourhood, he changed his attitude in order to listen to others, "whoever I meet on the street.”

Montrasi then stressed the need that we all have "to be looked at," and quoted a phrase from Carrón's book: "The Samaritan woman had five husbands, and the man she lived with was not her husband, but Jesus did not start from that: He began to ask her for water to drink, and then He spoke to her about living water. Jesus introduces a different gaze towards man, reveals human nature as a structural relationship with something else, shows that thirst is the authentic fabric of the I".

Another person from the audience, André, said that during a difficult time, after losing a loved one, he was depressed and, helped by his wife, he returned to faith. Today he is fine.

Bracco responded by talking about meeting some people who awoke him to life. "I was living at home, bored, and I did not know why. I found out that boredom is not a disease but that it is the infinite inside you that screams. It is the desire for infinity. And you have to find someone to help you recognize it." Pedrinho stressed the difficulty of finding this help because "we cannot humanize relationships and pay attention to others if we spend an average of three hours a day looking at the screen of our mobile phone. We exclude tenderness and affection from relationships, and this also complicates our relationship with Jesus, who is the ‘most human’ man who has ever lived”.

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The evening ended with the testimony of a mother, also from the audience. She said that her husband had died when her daughter was ten. At that moment, the girl had asked her questions that she could not answer, only to add that she had no faith because God had let her father die. But, over time, the girl, who always saw her mother praying, began to pray for herself, when she had exams at school. And the mother always said: "Yes, but if we pray together, it is better!". At first, the young girl was not convinced, but today, at the age of twenty, "my daughter has returned to pray".