Rodrigo Cesar Miranda (photo), a Spiritist since the age of 20, lives in his hometown of Jundiaí, in the Brazilian state of São Paulo, where he works as a Marketing and Commercial Manager in a bank. He also works as a volunteer at the A Caminho da Luz (Pathway to Light) Spiritist Centre in Jundiaí. He is a dedicated researcher of Spiritism and speaks in this interview about his experience and the lessons of the great French Spiritist author, Léon Denis.
How and when did you become a Spiritist?
It was in January 1997, when I was 20 and travelled to visit my grandmother. As I waited for the bus at the Jundiaí coach station, I got into a Spiritist bookshop and bought No Mundo Maior, dictated by the Spirit, André Luiz, to the medium, Chico Xavier. I read the book from front to back during the eight-hour journey and began my studies at the Operários da Verdade Spiritist Centre when I returned to Jundiaí.
On the third part of Léon Denis's book, Life and Destiny, we find a subtitle: The Powers of the Soul, with very important points. What would you like to tell us about this text by the great Denis?
Léon Denis shows us the pathway for our spiritual victory, the one we achieve when we face ourselves. As we activate the powers of our soul, our internal powers, we begin to redirect our existences to aspects that really nourishes us. In this continuous effort, we end up overcoming our passions, our weaknesses, our unfortunate habits and move forward towards a successful existence, one of unshakeable harmony, of faith and internal balance.
Of the items mentioned on that chapter, which ones draw your attention in particular?
I would put emphasis on the first power mentioned by Denis, which is desire. It is the desire that leads us into action, that pushes us forward and that provides us with the strength we need to reach our goals. The desire to do something prompts us to take the first step forward. The following steps will come eventually. We need to work with real dedication on our desired to change, to improve, to grow spiritually, to be happy and to overcome fear, insecurity and depression. And we need to bear in mind that good deeds have the power to sustain our energy levels.
What would you say about his proposal that we change our character for the better through thought discipline?
Thoughts are the living source of creation. We think constantly and we create all the time. It is essential that we get to know our typical thoughts, the ones that keep coming back to our minds throughout the day, in order to achieve our inner moral reform. As we find out that we are feeding some form of negative, destructive, ill thought we realise we need to renew it and enlighten our mind. Léon Denis highlights the importance of prayer in the process of mental renovation, as it elevates our thoughts. And I take the liberty of adding to that, stressing the importance of reading edifying books and actively working for the benefit of others in a consistent manner.
What would you like to say about pain and suffering?
When we insist on pursuing the pathways on imbalance and negative passions, when we feed bad tendencies ad dismiss the powers of our soul, which would enable to reach up to God, then pain and suffering emerge inevitably. It is a great blessing sent by the Father, through his laws, to redirect us towards the pathway of good. Pain is capable of putting an end to illusions, of changing plans of a material nature and of making pride and selfishness fall on their knees. It teaches us patience, as situations then are no longer solved according to our schedule, improves our faith and trust in God and invites us to resignation. We only leave that process victorious when we understand that it is in times of troubles and tribulations that we have more opportunities of fulfilling our spiritual potential.
What aspects of the work of Léon Denis have the bigger impact with the public during your talks and lectures?
Spiritism is the consoler by excellence and what really strikes me is the amount of hope and the potential for renovation the Teachings provide. It becomes clear that pain and suffering are temporary, that we have the strength to overcome the spiritual paralysis that we are suffering from, that difficult relationships have a reason to exist and that we were not attracted to a certain group of people by chance. Spiritism shows us that true happiness is in our hands and depends solely on us, that the biological death of the body does not sever the true links of the heart and that our loved ones remain alive. This divine flame called hope is what means the most to me: to realise that people who've been to my talks or lectures have left with a sense of being comforted and certain that it is possible to do things in a different and better way. All that encourages me to go on.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
In the difficult times the world is going through, and which only reflect the spiritual ignorance and immaturity still reigning over here, we are invited by Jesus to help him in the great regeneration work that has already begun. We must start it inside ourselves. We, Spiritists, are the workers of the last hour and, following the plan that was set up for us in this incarnation, we must stop being over sensitive to criticism, we must make sacrifices and move forward, always, on the pathway of good, which will provide us to spiritual plenitude as we haven't as yet been able through our successive reincarnations.