A few weeks ago I watched a video drama of the life of Chico Xavier. He was a Brazilian mystic who could sense very concretely the spirit world. Of course, with gifts like these, he grew up as a very different child, being viewed as odd at best, of-the-devil at worst.
In adulthood, he was able to hear messages from the spirit world, and write them down. He became widely popular, as people sought him out to seek messages from departed loved ones. He did thousands of “readings” during his long life (he died in 2002, age 92). In 2012 a Brazilian TV show named him the greatest Brazilian of all time, based on a viewer survey.
Xavier was heavily influenced by the works of Allan Kardec, a French educator, who became famous for systematizing Spiritism. Xavier never claimed to compose any of his writings, which numbered in the hundreds of books, saying he was only a channel, writing what the spirits dictated.
One of his most famous writings, Nosso Lar (Our Home), was made into a movie in 2010. In English it is called Astral City. It is the messages from Dr Andre Luis which comprise this story, a phenomenal account of the heavenly realm we enter upon dying. This profound movie is certainly worth searching out and watching. It will affect your views of dying and the afterlife.
Back to the dramatized video of Chico Xavier’s life, one of the most powerful scenes occurs when he receives messages from a murder victim which exonerate the shooter. Communicating through the writing of Xavier, the spirit/soul of the victim tells his parents, and the shooter’s parents, that his death was the result of an accident and was not a murder at all. This evidence was entered into a court, and the perpetrator was absolved of his crime. The two mothers, who had been good friends before the accident, and then became estranged, were reunited in their friendship. It was a ground-breaking case, receiving much publicity, especially in Brasil.
Chico Xavier’s life was a difficult one, from beginning to end. From his childhood, right through his adulthood, he was surrounded by people who either wanted to take advantage of his gift, or who wanted readings. His health suffered. Since he claimed to not be the author of anything, he refused to take money for any of his readings, books or writings. He was only the writer and messenger, penning what others, in the spirit world, were saying. So, even with growing popularity, he remained relatively poor all his life. And he struggled with health issues, especially his eyesight.
But what he gave the world has continued. Many of his writings have been translated into English and other languages. I have read just a couple of these writings. The quality of the translations is not consistently good. Some of the writings are quite readable, others abysmal.
When I visited Brasil recently, I found out that there is quite a large following of Xavier and Kardec’s works. There are groups of people who meet in homes or small meeting places to discuss their works, to pray for each other, and to continue some of the traditions. These “spiritists” do not claim to be a religion as such, but merely people who have accepted the validity of these writings. It was not clear to me how much mediumship continues today. It sounds like most of what happens in these meetings is based on what has already been written down.
I have seen a few instances of evidence that the organized Church feels threatened by this spiritist movement (which to my mind lends credibility to the truth of the movement!). In fact, the video of Chico Xavier’s life shows some of this resistance by the Church. In Brasil, of course, “the Church” is mostly the Roman Catholic Church. But I have seen some criticism of spiritism from evangelical churches as well. It would appear that the organization which claims to be the closest follower of God’s truth does not really want to hear what God has to say to us today! They want to persist with the comfortable platitudes which have been handed down through the centuries. No new revelations can be allowed. The Church would have us believe that God is not the same today as he was a few thousand years ago. He spoke then through prophets and teachers, but today speaks only through what was written down way back. Any revelation which comes to gifted ones in today’s world gets labelled as devilish, evil, and must be stamped out. Xavier himself always claimed to be operating within the confines of Christianity, and began his “ministry” with the blessing of a beloved priest who had known him as he grew up.
So, through most of his life, he struggled with this dichotomy. People loved him, and sought him out to hear wisdom from beyond. But the Church largely persecuted him, labelling him as being of the devil (where have we heard that before?!!!).
My own personal view is that I have no trouble accepting Chico Xavier for what he was and claimed to be. As with any mystic gifts, there is never a guarantee of 100% accuracy. Thus there is a bit of inconsistency from one mystic to another. Xavier’s words do not always completely agree with revelations from other sources. But overall, we can receive wonderful messages and glimpses of the life-beyond through the words of Chico Xavier.