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Pope suggests contraception can be condoned in Zika crisis


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 has indicated that women exposed to the Zika virus may be permitted to use contraception to avoid pregnancy, in a departure from Catholic teaching.

However he reiterated the church’s staunch opposition to abortion, saying it was a crime and “absolute evil”.

His comments came as women in South America frantically try to terminate pregnancies for fear of giving birth to babies with microcephaly, which gives them unusually small heads.

Speaking to reporters on the papal plane as he returned to Rome after a visit to Mexico, Francis obliquely suggested that artificial contraception could be used in extreme situations to avoid pregnancy.

Unlike abortion, “avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil” and in certain circumstances it may be “the lesser evil”.

He referred to the exceptional dispensation issued by one of his predecessors, Pope Paul VI, who permitted Catholic nuns in Africa to take birth control pills in the face of the risk of being raped. He was thought to be referring to the conflict in what was the Belgian Congo in the 1960s and 70s.

But, Francis said, abortion could never be allowed, even for women who may be carrying foetuses with serious brain defects caused by the 

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. Abortion was “a crime”, he said. “It is killing one person to save another. It is what the mafia does … It is an absolute evil.”

Earlier the Vatican ruled out easing its ban on abortion in the face of the Zika virus. “Not only is increased access to abortion and abortifacients [abortion-inducing drugs] an illegitimate response to this crisis, but since it terminates the life of a child it is fundamentally not preventative,” the Vatican said.

The Holy See representative to the UN announced the Vatican’s response during the launch of a $65m (£45m) campaign by the World 

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 Organisation to tackle the spread of the Zika crisis. An estimated 4,000 babies have been born with microcephaly, which has been linked to their mothers becoming infected with the Zika virus by mosquito bites.

“It must be emphasised that a diagnosis of microcephaly in a child should not warrant a death sentence,” said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the UN. Such a response would be “the confirmation of a failure of the international community to stop the spread of the disease”, he added.

Abortion is banned or highly restricted in many countries affected by the Zika crisis. Earlier this month, the Catholic church in Brazil – one of the worst affected countries – said it strongly opposed a move to permit abortions for pregnant women exposed to the Zika virus. “There is no justification to defend abortion,” it said.

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      Mexico was the first country in the world to give regulatory approval to the vaccine in December last year. Seven others followed suit, including Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru and the Philippines.
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      According to data submitted by the countries for Zika and GBS, changes in Zika incidence in 2015 and 2016 were closely associated with the rise and fall of GBS. Differences from GBS baselines for some countries, however, were much higher than others, with the greatest percentage rises reported in Suriname and Venezuela.
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Donated blood at a bank in Indianapolis. The F.D.A. has recommended that all donated blood in the United States be screened for the Zika virus. CreditMichael Conroy/Associated Press
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      The F.D.A. provisionally approved two screening tests for Zika in blood donations on an investigational basis in March and June respectively. The first is made by Roche Molecular Systems, and the second by a collaboration between Hologic Inc. and Grifols.
      Neither test is fully F.D.A approved yet, and the facilities using them are enrolled in a continuing study. As part of Roche’s investigation, four centralized testing labs that screen blood for multiple banks in the South have been “collecting and testing blood for weeks now,” said Tony Hardiman, who leads the blood screening operations at Roche.
      For the 11 states that need to be ready in a month, he said, “we are pretty much locked and loaded.”
      “Our focus now is what do we do for the rest of the country to bring them up in 12 weeks,” he added.
      Officials at Blood Systems, which operates blood banks in 24 states, said they will be able to test blood donations in California and some Southern states like Mississippi in a month. The company will then work on getting sites in the Rocky Mountain States operational, said Dr. Ralph R. Vassallo Jr., the chief medical and scientific officer.
      Creative Testing Solutions, a large blood donor testing lab, already is using both experimental Zika screening tests. In Tampa, the company has relied on Roche’s test since the Zika outbreaks began in Miami-Dade County.
      In its Dallas and Phoenix outposts, C.T.S. has installed two so-called Panther machines to be able to screen tubes of blood with the Hologic-Grifols test, in case Zika-infected mosquitoes arrive along the Gulf Coast.
      In light of Friday’s F.D.A. recommendations, officials said they will have to train more employees to use new tests and significantly scale up.
      “We test 35 percent of the blood supply, so in order to be able to do that in all states in 12 weeks, we are going to need additional pieces of equipment,” said Marc Pearce, a spokesman for C.T.S. — 12 more Panthers and one more machine that runs the Roche test.
      Asked on a conference call with reporters about funding the new safeguards, Dr. Peter Marks, the director of the F.D.A.’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said, “I can’t speak to the cost of implementation at this time.”
      Hospitals may wind up paying more for each unit of blood because of additional screening costs, some experts said.
      “When hospitals hear this, they will be concerned that they could see a cost increase of up to $8 more per unit,” Dr. Vassallo said, which is roughly how much it costs to screen each unit for the Zika contamination.
      This month, after the first cases of local transmission in Miami were discovered, some blood banks near Zika hot zones in Florida began screening blood donations. According to Dr. Marks, one donation contaminated with the virus had been found in recent weeks in the state.
      The bag of contaminated blood was discarded. “The system worked correctly,” Dr. Marks said.

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    • By The Librarian
      Pope Francis falls during Mass in Poland
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Scientists raised the possibility that the Zika virus can be transmitted by oral sex — perhaps even by kissing — on Friday in a letter to The New England Journal of Medicine describing one such case in France.
      A single incident may seem trivial. But until early this year, there was only one known instance of sexual transmission of the Zika virus — a 2008 case in which a mosquito researcher just back from Africa infected his wife in Colorado.
      Now scientists believe that sexual transmission is an important driver of the Zika epidemic in the Americas. Cases have been reported in 10 countries where no mosquitoes carry the virus, including France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and New Zealand.
      In the French case, a 46-year-old man returned to Paris from Rio de Janeiro on Feb. 10, shortly after experiencing Zika symptoms in Brazil — fever,headache and a rash — that had just ended when he reached France.
      He and a 24-year-old partner had sex seven times between Feb. 11 and Feb. 20, each involving vaginal sex without ejaculation and oral sex with ejaculation.
      The woman fell ill on Feb. 20. Both were tested for Zika infection on Feb. 23. The man had high levels of the virus in his semen and urine, but none in his blood or saliva. The woman had the virus in her urine and saliva, andantibodies to the virus in her blood. But a vaginal swab was negative for the infection.
      The two were using oral sex as a form of birth control, said Dr. Yazdan Yazdanpanah, an infectious disease specialist at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Paris and one of the report’s authors.
      “I don’t think this changes anything, but it shows you how elaborate the number of avenues of possible transmission can be,” said Dr. William Schaffner, head of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical School.
      He agreed that the most likely transmission route was oral sex, although he said it was possible that the woman was infected by pre-ejaculate during vaginal sex, or that the couple’s recollections of each sex act were imperfect.
      “It could be that it’s a moment of passion, it’s late at night and everyone’s had a few liqueurs,” he said.
      Dr. Yazdanpanah said the two were interviewed separately and their descriptions matched.
      Dr. John T. Brooks, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studying sexual transmission of the Zika virus, said he was “not particularly surprised” to see transmission that was probably by oral sex.
      Transmission through kissing is unlikely, Dr. Brooks said.
      “Casual kissing has got to be safe because, if it weren’t, don’t you think we’d see a lot more Zika? Every mom who kissed her baby would pass it on,” he said. “To be sure, we’d have to look for deep kissing in the absence of sexual contact, and that’s hard to find.”
      Source: 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Doctors are monitoring 279 pregnant women with confirmed or suspected Zika virus infections in the United States and its territories, federal health officials said Friday.
      Of those women, 157 are in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and 122 are in territories, including Puerto Rico. Public health officials are gathering data on the health consequences of the infection, including the rate at which fetuses develop abnormally shrunken heads and brain damage, a birth defect called microcephaly.
      Also on Friday, the World Health Organization confirmed that the strain of Zika virus in Cape Verde, just off the western coast of Africa, is the same strain that is spreading in Brazil. Almost 200 pregnant women in Cape Verde have been infected, and the virus has been blamed for three cases of microcephaly there.
      The rising numbers of pregnant American women testing positive — Friday’s figure is more than double the previous count of 113 — reflect a new case definition used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rather than a surge in cases, according to Dr. Margaret Honein, the chief of the agency’s birth defects division.
      No cases transmitted by mosquito have yet been reported in the 50 states. The number of infected pregnant women in this country began rising dramatically in February, probably reflecting the spread of the Zika virus from Brazil to more countries visited by Americans.
      Most of the 279 women are still pregnant, Dr. Honein said, and fewer than a dozen have experienced “adverse outcomes,” such as stillbirths, microcephaly or other congenital problems.
      A “relatively small number” of the infections clearly resulted from sexual transmission rather than mosquito bites, she added. But in most cases, it was difficult to determine how the women became infected because they had lived in or had traveled to areas where mosquitoes carrying the virus were biting.
      The C.D.C. previously reported only pregnant women with symptoms like rash, fever or bloodshot eyes. But “we’ve learned a lot in the last four months,” Dr. Honein said.
      At least four published studies have cited cases in which women with no memory of having symptoms gave birth to children with birth defects.
      The new case definition includes all women who have had a positive test for Zika virus, or a likely positive for antibodies to it.
      Antibody tests are not as accurate as tests for the virus itself because previous infections with dengue fever or shots to prevent yellow fevercan create false positives.
      “C.D.C. wants to make sure we are monitoring all women at risk for poor outcomes,” said Dr. Denise J. Jamieson, a co-leader of thepregnancy and birth defects team at the agency.
      Each Thursday, the agency will update the number of infected pregnant women in the United States, officials said.
      The outbreak in Cape Verde, a Portuguese-speaking country with close links to both Brazil and West Africa, has been a puzzle for months.
      The intense outbreak in the island nation started last October, just as Brazil’s surge in microcephalic babies was detected. But confirmation that it was caused by the Brazilian strain, rather than the much older African one, did not come until the Pasteur Institute in Dakar, Senegal, sequenced the genomes of the infecting viruses.
      Cape Verde’s outbreak is now fading, said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the W.H.O.’s regional director for Africa, and there has been no outbreak in Senegal, which she called Cape Verde’s “door out to other countries.”
      Although that might suggest that Africans have some immunity, “it’s never good news to hear that a virus with neuropathic effects is on your doorstep,” said Dr. Bruce Aylward, the W.H.O.’s chief of emergency response.
      “We don’t know what the level of population immunity is in Africa, and we don’t know if it will mitigate some of the impact,” he said. “So we have to work against a worst-case scenario.”
      Although laboratory capacity in Africa has been built up in the wake of the 2014 Ebola outbreak, the continent is still very poor and the response to the W.H.O.’s appeal to donors for a $50 million Zika fund has been “anemic,” Dr. Aylward said.
      A recent study in Clinical Microbiology Reviews looked at 80 sets of blood tests for the Zika virus in countries around the world between 1947, when the virus was discovered in Uganda, and 2014, when it was detected in French Polynesia — the last major outbreak before it reached South America.
      Some samples are small, some tests used methods that would confuse Zika with related viruses, and the results range wildly: For example, 12 percent of 261 Ugandans tested in the 1940s were immune to the virus, while nearly 60 percent of 2,457 Senegalese tested in the 1970s were.
      The authors concluded that the Zika virus was probably endemic to all of sub-Saharan Africa, although there was no way to know how many people had immunity at any given time.
      Although Dr. Aylward said it is still not known whether immunity to the African strain confers protection from the Brazilian one, Scott C. Weaver, the director of the Institute for Human Infections and Immunity at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and an expert on the Zika virus, said he would be “very surprised if there weren’t complete cross-protection between the two.”
      Genetically, the two strains are very closely related, he said. By contrast, strains of yellow fever have much more variation, and yet he did not know of a single instance in which the yellow fever vaccine, which is based on one strain gathered years ago, failed to protect against the other strains.
      Testing in animal models, including immune-deficient mice, has just begun, he said, but he could not name any laboratory trying to prove that infection with one strain of Zika protects against later infection with another.
      “We assume there’s cross-protection, and we’re interested in other questions,” he said, including whether microcephaly is typically caused by Zika alone.
      At the White House on Friday, President Obama pressured Congress to give him $1.9 billion for the fight against Zika.
      Americans should tell their Congressional representatives to “get on the job,” he said.
      “This is something that is solvable — it is not something that we have to panic about, but it is something we have to take seriously,” Mr. Obama said in the Oval Office after a briefing from top health officials.
      Congress should not take its scheduled Memorial Day vacation without passing the legislation, he said.
      His advisers have said the president would veto a House measure that provides only $622 million. The administration was “encouraged” by the Senate’s $1.1 billion version but is not promising to sign it.
      Referring to the funding Mr. Obama has requested, “anything short of that will be insufficient,” said Eric Schultz, the deputy White House press secretary.
      Source: 
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    • Guest Nicole
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      (CNN)The first commercial test for Zika virus has received emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
      According to the test's developers, Quest Diagnostics, the newly approved diagnostic tool will become available to physicians in the United States and Puerto Rico as early as next week. Puerto Rico is considered to be among the most affected areas, compared to the rest of the United States, with potential for hundreds more infections.
      Currently, people who suspect they are infected with the virus can only be tested through anetwork of laboratories approved by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The current process requires a visit to physicians who must then go through the health department to get samples tested. Results can take up to three weeks and some people in the United States have reported challenges in getting tested, despite meeting the testing criteria.
      This new authorization is hoped to increase capacity for testing in the United States as well as shorten the time taken to receive a diagnosis.
      "The availability of our new molecular Zika test provides physicians broad access to a diagnostic tool for managing the Zika outbreak," Rick L. Pesano, vice president of research and development at Quest Diagnostics, said in a statement released Thursday.
      How the test works
      The commercial test uses a process known as real-time RT-PCR to test for the presence of Zika virus in blood samples. This means it can only detect the virus when it is still present in blood. A negative test, therefore, does not conclude that the virus isn't still in the body.
      Additional tests -- including those that look for the presence of antibodies against the virus, known as serological tests -- can further clarify this, and are currently available through the CDC. Quest plan to offer such tests services in the future, if further emergency use is approved.
      Samples for the currently approved diagnostic by Quest will be analyzed by trained personnel in laboratories run by Quest's subsidiary, Focus Diagnostics Inc. All cases of Zika must continue to be reported to the CDC for surveillance purposes.
      How useful will it be?
       
      The CDC recommends testing for anyone with symptoms of Zika infection who has traveled to an area with transmission within the past two weeks, as well as any pregnant women who have lived or visited affected regions. Testing is also recommended for males who have lived in, or visited, an affected region, in case of any sexual transmission of the virus. Infants born to mothers who lived or traveled to transmission areas during their pregnancy should also be tested.
      The CDC recently confirmed that Zika virus infections in pregnant women can cause microcephaly and other birth defects, further increasing the need for improved testing capacity.
      "As the period (in) which the virus is present in the bloodstream, is transient, access to testing via the CDC network may not be possible for frontline physicians," said Rosanna Peeling, professor and chairwoman of diagnostics research at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
      Peeling has seen challenges in diagnosis, particularly due to the presence of dengue and other viruses in the same family, within transmission regions.
      "Having a US FDA approved test that is commercially available will not only improve access to diagnosis, but will provide a useful tool for broadening our understanding of the infectivity and transmission dynamics of Zika virus infection," she said.
      Source: 
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    • By Jack Ryan
      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Puerto Rico could see "hundreds of thousands of cases of Zika virus." Officials also said the rest of the country needs to be prepared for possible outbreaks. (April 11)
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The World Health Organization says there is now scientific consensus that the Zika virus is connected with microcephaly — a condition in which babies are born with very small heads and brain damage.
      Scientists have been working for months to confirm a link between Zika and microcephaly, ever since Brazil reported a startling increase in cases last fall.
      Zika infection during pregnancy appears to increase the risk for several types of birth defects and miscarriages, a recent study found. And scientists have found the virus in the brains of affected babies.
      But all this evidence is circumstantial. So the big question has been: Is Zika really the culprit?
      Now WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agree there's enough evidence to say, yes, Zika is linked to microcephaly.
      "At this point the most pressing question people want answered is, 'If I get a Zika infection during pregnancy, what are the chances my baby is going to be affected?' " says Dr. Anne Schuchat, the deputy director of the CDC. "We really feel a sense of urgency to both answer that question and to help stop the spread of the virus."
      Currently the Zika virus is circulating in 33 countries in the Americas and has sickened hundreds of thousands of people.
      Source: 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The Zika virus now spreading widely throughout the hemisphere probably arrived in the Americas in a single traveler in the second half of 2013 — almost a year earlier than previous estimates — according to a new study of the virus’s genome led by Brazilian and British researchers.
      Experts were divided in their opinions of the new study, published Thursday in the journal Science. Some praised the work, while others said it was too limited to draw such a specific conclusion.
      By counting mutations in the viral genomes in different blood samples over time, the scientists created a “molecular clock” that estimates how fast the virus mutated.
      The researchers then compared new samples with earlier ones from Asia, where the Zika virus had circulated for decades, and from the South Pacific, where it began circulating in 2007. The team calculated that the Zika virus arrived in the Americas between May and December 2013.
      They also concluded that it probably — but not necessarily — arrived in Brazil first.
      The virus was not positively identified in Brazil until May 2015. But by then it had clearly been circulating in the country’s northeast for many months, because cities there were experiencing large outbreaks of a mysterious disease causing rash, fever and bloodshot eyes.
      (The virus did not become headline news around the world untilDecember, when health officials in Brazil, alarmed over a surge in infants born with tiny heads, warned women not to become pregnant. The World Health Organization declared a global health emergency on Feb. 1.)
      The new study relies on just 23 viral genomes. They include samples of Zika virus obtained in Thailand, French Polynesia and the Cook Islands and 20 in the Americas, including nine from Brazil and the rest from Colombia, Martinique, Haiti, Guatemala, Suriname and Puerto Rico.
      The Haitian virus was noted as being particularly unusual, because it was collected in December 2014 — more than a year before the virus’s presence in Haiti was confirmed by the W.H.O. this past January.
      The gene sequences from the Americas were all closely related, and most resembled one collected in French Polynesia in November 2013.
      Two earlier studies have suggested that the virus reached Brazil either with the influx of athletes and tourists arriving for the 2014 soccer World Cup, which was played in host cities all over Brazil in June to July that year, or for the Va’a World Sprints, a set of outrigger canoe races held in Rio de Janeiro in mid-August of that year.
      Source: 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The president will submit a request to Congress on Monday
         
       
       
      President Obama is asking Congress to provide $1.8 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus, the mosquito-borne illness that could be causing the proliferation of a rare birth defect in some Latin American countries.
      The president will submit a formal request to Congress on Monday requesting money to up increase mosquito control programs, help build response and support capacities in states and territories where transmission is possible, expand research into the link between the virus and birth defects, and help countries currently facing the virus keep it from spreading.
      “There is much we do not yet know about Zika and its relationship to the poor health outcomes that are being reported in Zika-affected areas,” a White House Fact Sheet reads. “We must work aggressively to investigate these outbreaks, and mitigate, to the best extent possible, the spread of the virus.”
      Brazil has been hardest hit by the virus, which has been detected in 26 countries and territories in the Americas. World health officials believe it could spread to three or four million people this year, including in the United States.
      The request also includes an additional $250 million in federal assistance in Puerto Rico for women and children who are at risk for or have been diagnosed with microcephaly, the birth disorder linked to the virus. A public health emergency has been declared in the U.S. territory because of the virus.
      Democrats in Congress pushed the president to formulate aproper response plan for the virus and called for additional resources and an interagency response to fighting the virus. The White House has been insistent that the administration is 
      responding aggressively to the virus, which has not yet been transmitted via mosquito in the U.S. The virus has already been transmitted on U.S. soil via sexual contact.
      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been actively working to keep the public informed about the virus. Officials are now advising pregnant women and their male partners to use condoms or abstain from sex if either have traveled to or live in Zika infected areas.
       
      Video Source: http://time.com/4211801/zika-virus-obama-congress/         “There is much we do not yet know about Zika and its relationship to the poor health outcomes that are being reported in Zika-affected areas,” a White House Fact Sheet reads. “We must work aggressively to investigate these outbreaks, and mitigate, to the best extent possible, the spread of the virus.”
      Brazil has been hardest hit by the virus, which has been detected in 26 countries and territories in the Americas. World health officials believe it could spread to three or four million people this year, including in the United States.
      The request also includes an additional $250 million in federal assistance in Puerto Rico for women and children who are at risk for or have been diagnosed with microcephaly, the birth disorder linked to the virus. A public health emergency has been declared in the U.S. territory because of the virus.
      Democrats in Congress pushed the president to formulate aproper response plan for the virus and called for additional resources and an interagency response to fighting the virus. The White House has been insistent that the administration is 

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
      In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. The outbreak in Brazil led to reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes.
      In response, CDC has issued 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Symptoms
      About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill (i.e., develop Zika). The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for a few days but it can be found longer in some people. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. Deaths are rare. Diagnosis
      The symptoms of Zika are similar to those of Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  and Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , diseases spread through the same mosquitoes that transmit Zika. See your healthcare provider if you develop the symptoms described above and have visited an area where Zika is found. If you have recently traveled, tell your healthcare provider when and where you traveled. Your healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viruses like dengue or chikungunya. Treatment
      No vaccine or medications are available to prevent or treat Zika infections. Treat the symptoms: Get plenty of rest. Drink fluids to prevent dehydration. Take medicine such as acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain. Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen. Aspirin and NSAIDs should be avoided until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of hemorrhage (bleeding). If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication. If you have Zika, Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  for the first week of your illness. During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people. Prevention

        No vaccine exists to prevent Zika virus disease (Zika). Prevent Zika by avoiding mosquito bites (see below). Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus bite mostly during the daytime. Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses. When 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  to countries where Zika virus or other viruses spread by mosquitoes are found, take the following steps: Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Use Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  insect repellents. All EPA-registered insect repellents are evaluated for effectiveness. Always follow the product label instructions Reapply insect repellent as directed. Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing. If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent. If you have a baby or child: Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age. Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs, or Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting. Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin. Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face. Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items. Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See product information to learn how long the protection will last. If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully. Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing.
      If you have Zika, protect others from getting sick
      During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people. To help prevent others from getting sick, avoid mosquito bites during the first week of illness. Source: 
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    • folens  »  Eric Ouellet

      Hello Eric merci pour tes sujets et partages. Bonne journée Michel
      12 SECRETS POUR MAINTENIR LA JOIE DANS l organisation de Jéhovah.pdf memoire_vivante56.pdf Un athée.pdf
      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Que nos sacrifices de paix venant du coeur soit pur aux services de Dieu
      Le Lévitique a été écrit il y a 3 500 ans, mais Jéhovah l’a préservé pour nous instruire  (Rom. 15:4). Ce livre nous aide à comprendre ce que Jéhovah pense et ressent. Nous devrions donc nous y intéresser de près. En fait, nous pouvons tirer beaucoup de leçons de ce livre inspiré de Dieu. Examinons-en quatre.
      COMMENT OBTENIR L’APPROBATION DE JÉHOVAH
      Première leçon : nous devons avoir l’approbation de Jéhovah si nous voulons qu’il accepte nos sacrifices. Chaque année, le jour de la Réconciliation, la nation d’Israël se rassemblait et des sacrifices d’animaux étaient offerts. Ces sacrifices rappelaient aux Israélites qu’ils avaient besoin d’être purifiés de leurs péchés. Mais avant d’entrer dans le Très-Saint avec du sang provenant des sacrifices, le grand prêtre devait d’abord accomplir une autre tâche, une tâche dont l’objectif était bien plus important que le pardon des péchés de la nation.
      (Lire Lévitique 16:12, 13.) Imagine la scène : Nous sommes le jour de la Réconciliation. Le grand prêtre entre dans le tabernacle. C’est la première des trois fois où il va entrer dans le Très-Saint ce jour-là. Dans une main, il tient un récipient contenant de l’encens parfumé, et dans l’autre un récipient à feu en or rempli de braises. Il s’arrête un instant devant le rideau du Très-Saint. Puis, avec un profond respect, il entre et va se placer devant l’arche de l’Alliance. De façon figurée, il se trouve en présence de Jéhovah lui-même ! Puis il verse avec soin l’encens sacré sur les braises, et la pièce se remplit d’un parfum délicat. Plus tard, il va de nouveau entrer dans le Très-Saint avec du sang provenant des sacrifices pour le péché. Remarque qu’il brûle l’encens avant de présenter le sang des sacrifices pour le péché
      Qu’apprenons-nous de ce que le grand prêtre devait faire avec l’encens le jour de la Réconciliation ? La Bible montre que, pour Jéhovah, les prières de ses fidèles adorateurs sont comparables à de l’encens (Ps. 141:2 ; Rév. 5:8). Comme nous venons de le voir, c’était avec un profond respect que le grand prêtre apportait l’encens jusque devant l’arche de l’Alliance, qui symbolisait la présence de Jéhovah. De la même façon, quand nous nous approchons de Jéhovah par la prière, nous le faisons avec beaucoup de respect. Nous sommes très reconnaissants au Créateur de l’univers de nous permettre de nous approcher de lui comme un enfant le fait avec son père (Jacq. 4:8). Il accepte que nous soyons ses amis ! (Ps. 25:14). Nous apprécions tellement cet honneur que nous ne voudrions jamais le décevoir.
      Souviens-toi que le grand prêtre devait brûler l’encens avant de pouvoir offrir les sacrifices. Ainsi, il faisait le nécessaire pour avoir l’approbation de Dieu au moment où il les offrirait. Qu’est-ce que cela nous apprend au sujet de Jésus ? Avant de pouvoir offrir sa vie en sacrifice, il a fallu qu’il fasse quelque chose d’essentiel, dont l’objectif était bien plus important que le salut des humains. Qu’a-t-il dû faire ? Il a dû rester fidèle à Dieu et obéir à ses commandements durant toute sa vie sur terre, ce qui permettrait à Jéhovah d’accepter son sacrifice. En restant intègre, Jésus prouverait qu’accomplir la volonté de Jéhovah est la meilleure façon de vivre. Et il justifierait la souveraineté de son Père : il apporterait la preuve que sa façon de gouverner est bonne et juste.
      Durant sa vie sur la terre, Jésus a toujours obéi parfaitement aux normes de Jéhovah. Aucune tentation ni aucune épreuve, ni même la mort atroce qui l’attendait, n’a pu affaiblir son désir de défendre la façon de gouverner de son Père (Phil. 2:8). Dans l’épreuve, Jésus priait « avec des cris puissants et des larmes » (Héb. 5:7). Ses prières intenses venaient d’un cœur fidèle à Dieu, et elles renforçaient son désir de lui rester obéissant. Pour Jéhovah, les prières de Jésus étaient comme le parfum délicat de l’encens. Par sa façon de vivre, Jésus a grandement réjoui le cœur de son Père et a justifié sa souveraineté.
      Nous imiterons Jésus en faisant le maximum pour rester fidèles à Jéhovah et obéir à ses lois. Et dans l’épreuve, comme nous voulons lui plaire, nous le supplierons de nous aider. Nous montrerons alors que nous soutenons sa souveraineté. Nous savons qu’il ne répondra pas à nos prières si nous avons une conduite qu’il n’approuve pas. Cependant, si nous respectons ses normes, nous pouvons être sûrs que nos prières sincères seront pour lui comme de l’encens au parfum délicat. Nous pouvons également être certains que notre fidélité et notre obéissance réjouiront notre Père céleste (Prov. 27:11).
      NOUS SERVONS DIEU PAR RECONNAISSANCE ET PAR AMOUR
      Deuxième leçon : nous servons Jéhovah parce que nous éprouvons pour lui de la reconnaissance. Pour développer cette idée, parlons des sacrifices de paix, un autre aspect important du vrai culte dans l’ancien Israël. Dans le livre du Lévitique, nous apprenons qu’un Israélite pouvait offrir un sacrifice de paix « pour exprimer sa reconnaissance » à Dieu (Lév. 7:11-13, 16-18). Il offrait ce sacrifice, non pas parce qu’il était obligé de le faire, mais parce qu’il le voulait. Il s’agissait donc d’un sacrifice qu’une personne faisait volontairement parce qu’elle aimait son Dieu, Jéhovah. Cette personne ainsi que sa famille et les prêtres mangeaient ensuite la viande de l’animal sacrifié. Mais certaines parties de l’animal étaient réservées exclusivement à Jéhovah. Lesquelles ?
      Troisième leçon : par amour pour Jéhovah, nous lui donnons ce que nous avons de meilleur. Jéhovah considérait la graisse comme la meilleure partie de l’animal. Il a aussi fait savoir que d’autres parties de l’animal, comme les rognons, étaient particulièrement précieuses pour lui (lire Lévitique 3:6, 12, 14-16). Cela lui faisait donc très plaisir quand un Israélite lui offrait volontairement ces parties de l’animal et la graisse. Cet Israélite montrait qu’il désirait vraiment lui offrir le meilleur. De la même façon, Jésus a offert à Jéhovah ce qu’il avait de meilleur en le servant de toute son âme et par amour (Jean 14:31). Pour Jésus, faire la volonté de son Père était un plaisir ; il avait un amour profond pour la loi de Dieu (Ps. 40:8). Comme cela a dû réjouir Jéhovah de voir son Fils le servir avec autant d’enthousiasme !
      Comme ces sacrifices de paix, notre service pour Jéhovah est une façon de lui montrer ce que nous ressentons pour lui. Nous lui donnons ce que nous avons de meilleur, et nous le faisons parce que nous l’aimons de tout notre cœur. Comme cela doit le réjouir de voir des millions de personnes le servir avec plaisir parce qu’elles ont un profond amour pour lui et pour ses normes ! Cela nous réconforte de savoir que Jéhovah voit non seulement nos actions, mais aussi nos mobiles, et qu’il y accorde de la valeur. Par exemple, si tu es âgé et que tu ne peux plus en faire autant qu’avant, sois certain que Jéhovah comprend tes limites. Tu penses peut-être que tu n’as pas grand-chose à lui offrir. Mais lui, il voit que ton profond amour pour lui te pousse à faire ce que tu peux. Il accepte avec plaisir ce que tu as de mieux à lui donner.
      Que nous apprennent les sacrifices de paix ? Alors que le feu consumait les meilleures parties de l’animal, la fumée s’élevait vers le ciel et cela faisait très plaisir à Jéhovah. Tu peux donc être sûr que Jéhovah est vraiment content de toi quand tu fais tout ce que tu peux pour le servir (Col. 3:23). Imagine son sourire d’approbation. Il considère comme très précieux les efforts que tu fournis à son service, qu’ils soient grands ou petits, et il ne les oubliera jamais (Mat. 6:20 ; Héb. 6:10).
      JÉHOVAH BÉNIT SON ORGANISATION
      Quatrième leçon : Jéhovah bénit la partie terrestre de son organisation. Rappelle-toi ce qui est arrivé en 1512 avant notre ère, quand le tabernacle a été dressé au pied du mont Sinaï (Ex. 40:17). Moïse a présidé une cérémonie durant laquelle Aaron et ses fils ont été établis prêtres. La nation d’Israël s’était rassemblée pour voir les prêtres présenter leurs premiers sacrifices (Lév. 9:1-5). Comment Jéhovah a-t-il montré qu’il approuvait cette nouvelle prêtrise ? Alors qu’Aaron et Moïse bénissaient le peuple, Jéhovah a fait descendre du ciel un feu qui a complètement consumé le sacrifice sur l’autel (Lévitique 9:23,24)
      Dans quel objectif Jéhovah a-t-il provoqué ce spectacle impressionnant à la fin de la cérémonie durant laquelle Aaron a été établi grand prêtre ? Il voulait montrer par là qu’il soutenait pleinement la prêtrise aaronique. Et les Israélites ont clairement vu qu’elle avait son approbation. Ils avaient donc toutes les raisons de la soutenir eux aussi. Est-ce important pour nous de savoir cela ? Oui ! La prêtrise en Israël n’était qu’une « ombre » d’une prêtrise bien meilleure. Le Christ est le Grand Prêtre par excellence et 144 000 humains seront prêtres et rois à ses côtés au ciel (Héb. 4:14 ; 8:3-5 ; 10:1).
      En 1919, Jésus a choisi un petit groupe de frères oints pour former l’« esclave fidèle et avisé ». Cet esclave dirige la prédication et donne aux disciples du Christ « leur nourriture au bon moment » (Mat. 24:45). Avons-nous des preuves que Dieu l’approuve
      Satan et son monde font tout ce qu’ils peuvent pour empêcher cet esclave d’assumer ses responsabilités, à tel point que, sans l’aide de Dieu, il n’y arriverait pas. Toutefois, malgré deux guerres mondiales, des persécutions incessantes, des crises économiques mondiales et des traitements injustes, il continue de fournir de la nourriture spirituelle aux disciples du Christ sur la terre. Pense à toute la nourriture spirituelle qui est aujourd’hui disponible gratuitement dans plus de 900 langues ! C’est une preuve incontestable du soutien de Dieu. Et voici une autre preuve encore : la prédication. La bonne nouvelle est prêchée « sur toute la terre » ! (Mat. 24:14). Il n’y a pas de doute, Jéhovah guide et bénit abondamment son organisation.
      Demandons-nous : « Suis-je reconnaissant à Dieu de pouvoir collaborer avec la partie terrestre de son organisation ? » Jéhovah nous donne des preuves qu’il la soutient, des preuves aussi convaincantes que le feu qui est descendu du ciel à l’époque de Moïse et d’Aaron. Nous avons de nombreuses raisons d’être reconnaissants à notre Dieu (1 Thess. 5:18, 19). Comment pouvons-nous soutenir l’organisation qu’il utilise ? En suivant les conseils basés sur la Bible qui nous sont donnés dans nos publications, aux réunions et aux assemblées, ainsi qu’en participant le plus possible à l’activité de prédication et d’enseignement (1 Cor. 15:58).
      Soyons déterminés à appliquer les leçons que nous avons tirées du livre du Lévitique. Cherchons à obtenir l’approbation de Jéhovah pour qu’il accepte nos sacrifices. Servons-le par reconnaissance. Continuons de lui donner par amour ce que nous avons de meilleur. Et soutenons de tout notre cœur l’organisation qu’il bénit. Nous lui montrerons alors que nous chérissons l’honneur de le servir et d’être ses Témoins !
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    • Eric Ouellet

      Soyons remplis de gratitude envers autrui 
       
      AVEZ-VOUS déjà reçu un petit mot de reconnaissance auquel vous ne vous attendiez pas ? Si c’est le cas, cela vous a certainement fait chaud au cœur. Après tout, il est naturel de vouloir être apprécié. — Matthieu 25:19-23.
      Toute expression de gratitude tend à renforcer les liens entre celui qui en est l’auteur et celui qui en est le destinataire. En outre, quiconque manifeste de la gratitude suit les traces de Jésus Christ, qui n’a jamais manqué de remarquer les belles œuvres des autres. — Marc 14:3-9 ; Luc 21:1-4.
      Malheureusement, exprimer sa gratitude, de vive voix ou par écrit, semble se faire de plus en plus rare. La Bible avait annoncé que, durant “ les derniers jours ”, les hommes seraient “ ingrats ”. (2 Timothée 3:1, 2.) Si nous n’y prenons pas garde, cette tendance si répandue aujourd’hui risque d’étouffer en nous tout sentiment de reconnaissance.
      Quelles mesures concrètes les parents peuvent-ils adopter pour enseigner à leurs enfants à manifester de la reconnaissance ? À qui devrions-nous exprimer notre gratitude ? Et pourquoi devrions-nous être reconnaissants, même si ceux qui nous entourent se révèlent ingrats ?
      Dans le cercle familial
      Les parents ne ménagent pas leurs efforts pour subvenir aux besoins de leurs enfants. Mais il leur arrive d’avoir le sentiment que ces efforts ne sont pas appréciés à leur juste valeur. Que faire pour remédier à cette situation ? Trois paramètres sont à prendre en compte.
      1) L’exemple. Comme cela se vérifie souvent en matière d’éducation, la réussite passe par l’exemple. La Bible disait jadis d’une Israélite travailleuse : “ Ses fils ont voulu la féliciter. ” Où ces enfants avaient-ils appris à exprimer leur reconnaissance ? La suite du verset nous éclaire : “ Son mari est le premier à la louer. ” (Proverbes 31:28, Bible des Peuples). Les parents qui s’expriment de la reconnaissance montrent à leurs enfants que ce genre de témoignage procure du plaisir à celui qui en est l’objet, améliore les relations familiales et constitue un signe de maturité.
      Stephen, un père de famille, déclare : “ Je me suis efforcé de donner l’exemple à mes enfants en remerciant ma femme pour le dîner. ” Qu’en est-il résulté ? “ Mes deux filles l’ont remarqué, et cela leur a fait prendre conscience de l’importance de se montrer reconnaissant ”, dit-il. Si vous êtes marié, remerciez-vous régulièrement votre conjoint pour les tâches quotidiennes qu’il accomplit et qui auraient vite fait de passer inaperçues ? Dites-vous merci à vos enfants, même lorsqu’ils font ce qu’on attend d’eux ?
      2) L’éducation. Le sentiment de reconnaissance est comme une fleur. Il a besoin d’être cultivé pour produire les meilleurs résultats possibles. Comment les parents peuvent-ils aider leurs enfants à cultiver et à exprimer de la reconnaissance ? Le sage roi Salomon a mis en évidence un principe clé lorsqu’il a écrit : “ Le cœur du juste médite pour répondre. ” — Proverbes 15:28.
      Pouvez-vous apprendre à vos enfants à songer aux efforts et à la générosité qui ont précédé chaque cadeau qu’ils reçoivent ? Ce genre de réflexion constitue le sol dans lequel la gratitude s’enracine. Maria, qui a élevé trois enfants, constate : “ Cela prend du temps d’expliquer à ses enfants tout ce que signifie recevoir un cadeau : qu’une personne a pensé à eux en particulier et qu’elle a souhaité leur montrer à quel point elle s’intéresse à eux. Mais je suis convaincue que ça en vaut la peine. ” Grâce à de tels échanges, les enfants apprennent non seulement quoi dire pour exprimer leur reconnaissance, mais aussi pourquoi ils doivent le faire.
      Il est sage, pour des parents, de faire en sorte que leurs enfants n’aient pas le sentiment que tout ce qu’ils reçoivent de bon leur revient, finalement, de droit. L’avertissement figurant en Proverbes 29:21 à propos de la manière de traiter son serviteur s’applique tout autant aux enfants : “ Si l’on gâte son serviteur dès sa jeunesse, par la suite dans sa vie il deviendra un ingrat. ”
      Comment aider de très jeunes enfants à témoigner de la reconnaissance ? Linda, mère de trois enfants, explique : “ Mon mari et moi avons encouragé nos enfants à s’associer à nous quand nous écrivions des cartes de remerciement, en y joignant un dessin ou en les signant. ” Naturellement, le dessin sera peut-être simple, et l’écriture approximative, mais la leçon que les enfants tireront de ce geste restera gravée en eux.
      3) La persévérance. Nous avons tous une tendance innée à l’égoïsme, qui risque d’étouffer en nous tout élan de gratitude (Genèse 8:21 ; Matthieu 15:19). Mais la Bible adresse aux serviteurs de Dieu cette exhortation : “ Vous devez être renouvelés dans la force qui anime votre intelligence et revêtir la personnalité nouvelle qui a été créée selon la volonté de Dieu. ” — Éphésiens 4:23, 24.
      Les parents expérimentés savent, toutefois, qu’aider les enfants à “ revêtir la personnalité nouvelle ” est plus facile à dire qu’à faire. Stephen, cité plus haut, déclare : “ Il nous semblait que nos filles mettaient du temps à dire spontanément merci, sans qu’on ait besoin de le leur rappeler. ” Mais lui et sa femme n’ont pas abandonné. “ Notre persévérance a payé, poursuit Stephen : nos filles ont retenu la leçon. Aujourd’hui, nous sommes fiers de la manière dont elles manifestent leur gratitude aux autres. ”
      Envers les amis et le prochain
      Lorsque nous oublions de dire merci, ce n’est pas forcément par manque de reconnaissance, mais parfois simplement par négligence. En définitive, du moment que nous éprouvons de la gratitude, est-il si important que cela de l’exprimer ? Pour répondre à cette question, considérons ce qui s’est passé un jour où Jésus a guéri des lépreux.
      Alors qu’il se rendait à Jérusalem, Jésus a rencontré dix hommes atteints de lèpre. La Bible relate : “ Ils élevèrent la voix et dirent : ‘ Jésus, Instructeur, aie pitié de nous ! ’ Et lorsqu’il les vit, il leur dit : ‘ Allez vous montrer aux prêtres. ’ Or, comme ils s’en allaient, leur purification eut lieu. L’un d’eux, quand il vit qu’il était guéri, revint sur ses pas, glorifiant Dieu d’une voix forte. Et il tomba sur sa face aux pieds de Jésus, en le remerciant ; or, c’était un Samaritain. ” — Luc 17:11-16.
      Jésus n’a-t-il accordé aucune importance au fait que les autres n’aient pas exprimé de gratitude ? Le récit poursuit : “ En réponse Jésus dit : ‘ Les dix ont été purifiés, n’est-ce pas ? Où sont donc les neuf autres ? Ne s’est-il trouvé personne pour revenir rendre gloire à Dieu, que cet homme d’une autre nation ? ’ ” — Luc 17:17, 18.
      Les neuf autres lépreux n’étaient pas des hommes méchants. Auparavant, ils avaient ouvertement exprimé leur foi en Jésus et avaient suivi de bon gré ses instructions, qui exigeaient qu’ils se rendent à Jérusalem pour se montrer aux prêtres. Or, même s’ils ont indéniablement éprouvé une profonde gratitude pour ce que Jésus avait fait, ils ne la lui ont pas exprimée. Leur comportement a déçu Christ. Et nous ? Quand quelqu’un se montre bon à notre égard, sommes-nous prompts à dire merci et, si cela s’y prête, à lui montrer notre reconnaissance en lui envoyant une petite carte ?
      La Bible dit que l’amour “ ne fait rien d’inconvenant. Il ne cherche pas son propre intérêt ”. (1 Corinthiens 13:5, Bible du Semeur.) Par conséquent, un témoignage de reconnaissance donné avec sincérité non seulement traduit un respect des convenances, mais aussi est une preuve d’amour. Comme nous l’apprend l’exemple des lépreux, ceux qui souhaitent plaire à Christ doivent exprimer un tel amour et une telle reconnaissance à tous, indépendamment de leur nationalité, de leur race ou de leur religion.
      Posez-vous la question : ‘ Quand ai-je pour la dernière fois remercié un voisin, un collègue de travail, un camarade de classe, un membre du personnel hospitalier, un commerçant ou qui que ce soit d’autre qui me soit venu en aide ? ’ Pourquoi ne pas noter pendant un jour ou deux le nombre de fois où vous dites effectivement merci ou exprimez votre reconnaissance d’une façon ou d’une autre  ? Peut-être verrez-vous la nécessité de vous améliorer dans certains domaines.
      Bien entendu, celui qui mérite le plus de remerciements de notre part, c’est Jéhovah Dieu. De lui vient “ tout beau don et tout présent parfait ”. (Jacques 1:17.) À quand remonte la dernière fois où vous avez sincèrement remercié Dieu pour avoir fait quelque chose de particulier en votre faveur ? — 1 Thessaloniciens 5:17, 18.
      Pourquoi se montrer reconnaissant même quand les autres sont ingrats ?
      Nos témoignages de reconnaissance ne seront pas forcément payés de retour. Par conséquent, pourquoi manifester notre gratitude si nous sommes les seuls à le faire ? Arrêtons-nous simplement sur une bonne raison d’agir ainsi.
      Faire du bien à ceux qui ne sont pas enclins à la gratitude, c’est imiter notre Créateur bienveillant, Jéhovah Dieu. Que beaucoup ne soient pas sensibles à l’amour que Jéhovah leur témoigne ne l’empêche pas de leur faire du bien (Romains 5:8 ; 1 Jean 4:9, 10). Il fait “ lever son soleil sur les méchants et sur les bons et [...] fait pleuvoir sur les justes et sur les injustes ”. Si, bien que vivant dans un monde ingrat, nous nous efforçons d’éprouver et d’exprimer de la gratitude, nous nous montrerons “ fils de [notre] Père qui est dans les cieux ”. — Matthieu 5:45.

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    • Eric Ouellet

      Enracinons nous dans la foi comme un arbre luxuriant.
      EN ISRAËL pousse un arbre presque indestructible. Même lorsqu’on l’abat, sa souche ne tarde pas à produire de nouvelles pousses. Par ailleurs, ses fruits fournissent une grande quantité d’huile utile tant pour la cuisine et l’éclairage que pour l’hygiène et les soins de beauté.
      Selon une parabole des temps bibliques consignée dans le livre des Juges, “ un jour les arbres s’en allèrent pour oindre un roi sur eux ”. Quel arbre choisirent-ils ? Le résistant et fertile olivier. — Juges 9:8.
      Il y a plus de 3 500 ans, le prophète Moïse décrivait Israël comme “ un bon pays, [...] un pays d’olives ”. (Deutéronome 8:7, 8.) Aujourd’hui encore, du pied du mont Hermôn à la campagne de Béershéba en passant par la plaine côtière du Sharôn, les pentes rocailleuses de la Samarie et les vallées fertiles de la Galilée, le paysage est parsemé d’oliveraies du nord au sud.
      Les rédacteurs de la Bible ont souvent parlé de l’olivier dans un sens figuré pour illustrer, par exemple, la miséricorde de Dieu, la promesse de la résurrection ou encore le bonheur familial. L’examen de quelques-unes de ses caractéristiques nous aidera à mieux comprendre ces références et à apprécier cet arbre exceptionnel qui fait honneur au Créateur. — Psaume 148:7, 9.
      Un arbre robuste
      L’olivier n’est pas spécialement impressionnant à première vue. Il n’a pas la majesté des vertigineux cèdres du Liban, son bois n’a pas la qualité du genévrier ni ses fleurs la beauté de celles de l’amandier (Chant de Salomon 1:17 ; Amos 2:9). En fait, sa partie la plus importante demeure invisible, puisque le secret de sa résistance et de sa grande prolificité réside dans ses longues racines, qui peuvent s’enfoncer jusqu’à six mètres sous terre et rayonner plus loin encore.
      Ses racines permettent à l’olivier poussant sur des versants rocailleux de survivre à la sécheresse quand d’autres arbres situés au fond de la vallée sont déjà morts de soif. Elles lui permettent également de produire des olives des siècles durant, même lorsque son tronc noueux ne semble plus bon qu’à servir de bois de chauffage. Tout ce dont cet arbre rustique a besoin, c’est de place pour pousser et d’un sol aéré pour respirer, loin des mauvaises herbes et autres plantes qui peuvent abriter des parasites. Si ces conditions simples sont réunies, un seul arbre peut fournir jusqu’à 60 litres d’huile par an.
      Cette huile était manifestement appréciée des Israélites. Ils s’en servaient pour éclairer leur intérieur à l’aide de lampes à mèches, pour cuisiner, pour protéger leur peau du soleil et pour fabriquer du savon (Lévitique 24:2). Étant donné que le blé, le vin et l’olive constituaient les principales productions de la région, une mauvaise récolte d’olives était une catastrophe pour une famille israélite. — Deutéronome 7:13 ; Habaqouq 3:17.
      Cependant, en général, l’huile d’olive ne manquait pas. Sans doute Moïse a-t-il décrit la Terre promise comme “ un pays d’olives ” parce que l’olivier y était l’arbre le plus cultivé. Au XIXe siècle, le naturaliste Henry Tristram a d’ailleurs qualifié l’olivier d’arbre emblématique de la région ”. En raison de sa valeur et de sa profusion, l’huile d’olive servait même de moyen de paiement dans tout le bassin méditerranéen. De là, l’allusion de Jésus Christ à une dette de “ cent baths d’huile d’olive ”. — Luc 16:5, 6.
      “ Comme des plants d’olivier ”
      L’olivier illustre de façon appropriée les bénédictions divines. Comment l’homme qui craint Dieu serait-il récompensé ? “ Ta femme sera comme une vigne qui porte du fruit tout au fond de ta maison, a chanté un psalmiste. Tes fils seront comme des plants d’olivier autour de ta table. ” (Psaume 128:3). Que sont ces “ plants d’olivier ”, et pourquoi le psalmiste les comparait-il à des fils ?
      L’olivier a ceci de particulier que de nouvelles pousses sortent continuellement de la base de son tronc. Lorsque, en raison de son âge, le tronc principal ne produit plus autant qu’auparavant, les cultivateurs peuvent laisser plusieurs plants, ou nouvelles pousses, se développer jusqu’à devenir partie intégrante de l’arbre. Au bout d’un certain temps, trois ou quatre nouveaux troncs vigoureux entoureront celui d’origine, comme des fils autour d’une table. Ces plants issus de la même souche produisent ensemble une grande quantité d’olives.
      Cette caractéristique de l’olivier illustre bien la façon dont les fils et les filles peuvent devenir fermes dans la foi, grâce aux robustes racines spirituelles de leurs parents. En grandissant, eux aussi portent du fruit et épaulent leurs parents, qui se réjouissent de les voir servir Jéhovah à leurs côtés. — Proverbes 15:20.
      “ Il existe un espoir même pour un arbre ”
      Un père âgé qui sert Jéhovah se réjouit que ses enfants adorent Dieu. Mais quelle tristesse quand ce père finit par ‘ s’en aller par le chemin de toute la terre ’ ! (1 Rois 2:2.) La Bible nous aide à surmonter pareille douleur en nous donnant l’assurance qu’il y aura une résurrection. — Jean 5:28, 29 ; 11:25.
      Job, père de nombreux enfants, était très conscient de la brièveté de la vie, qu’il a comparée à une fleur qui se flétrit rapidement (Job 1:2 ; 14:1, 2). Job désirait la mort pour se soustraire à ses souffrances, considérant la tombe comme une cachette d’où il pourrait revenir. “ Si un homme robuste meurt, peut-il revivre ? ” a-t-il demandé. Et d’exprimer sa confiance : “ Tous les jours de ma corvée, j’attendrai, jusqu’à ce que vienne ma relève. Tu [Jéhovah] appelleras, et moi je te répondrai. Tu languiras après l’œuvre de tes mains. ” — Job 14:13-15.
      Comment Job a-t-il illustré sa conviction que Dieu le rappellerait de la tombe ? Au moyen d’un arbre, dont la description correspond apparemment à celle de l’olivier. “ Il existe un espoir même pour un arbre. Si on le coupe, il bourgeonnera encore. ” (Job 14:7). Pour peu qu’il ne soit pas déraciné, l’olivier peut effectivement être coupé sans que cela le fasse mourir. Si ses racines demeurent intactes, il repoussera avec une vigueur renouvelée.
      Même si une sécheresse prolongée dessèche profondément un vieil olivier, la souche ratatinée peut repartir. “ Si sa racine vieillit dans la terre et si sa souche meurt dans la poussière, à l’odeur de l’eau, il bourgeonnera, oui il produira une branche comme une plante nouvelle. ” (Job 14:8, 9). Job vivait dans une région aride et poussiéreuse où il avait probablement dû observer beaucoup de vieux oliviers complètement desséchés qui semblaient morts. Cependant, dès qu’arrivaient les pluies, ils revenaient à la vie, et un nouveau tronc émergeait de leurs racines “ comme une plante nouvelle ”. Cette résistance hors du commun a conduit un horticulteur tunisien à déclarer : “ Il n’est pas exagéré de dire que les oliviers sont immortels. ”
      Tout comme un cultivateur espère voir renaître ses oliviers desséchés, Jéhovah languit de ressusciter ses serviteurs. Il attend avec patience l’époque où des fidèles comme Abraham et Sara, Isaac et Rébecca, et de nombreux autres seront ramenés à la vie (Matthieu 22:31, 32). Comme il sera merveilleux d’accueillir les ressuscités et de les voir mener de nouveau une vie productive !
      L’olivier symbolique
      La miséricorde de Dieu est manifeste dans son impartialité ainsi que dans la disposition qu’est la résurrection. L’apôtre Paul s’est servi de l’olivier pour illustrer comment la miséricorde de Jéhovah s’étend aux humains indifféremment de leur race ou de leur origine. Pendant des siècles, les Juifs se sont enorgueillis d’être le peuple choisi de Dieu, “ la descendance d’Abraham ”. — Jean 8:33 ; Luc 3:8.
      Il n’était pas nécessaire d’être né au sein de la nation juive pour obtenir la faveur divine. Les premiers disciples de Jésus, cependant, étaient tous Juifs et ils ont eu le privilège de figurer parmi les premiers humains choisis par Dieu pour constituer la semence promise d’Abraham (Genèse 22:18 ; Galates 3:29). Paul les a comparés aux branches d’un olivier.
      La majorité des Juifs de naissance ont rejeté Jésus, se privant ainsi de la possibilité de faire partie du “ petit troupeau ”, ou “ Israël de Dieu ”. (Luc 12:32 ; Galates 6:16.) Ils sont devenus comme des branches d’olivier qui auraient été coupées. Qui allait prendre leur place ? En 36 de notre ère, des Gentils ont été choisis pour faire partie de la semence d’Abraham, comme si Jéhovah avait greffé des branches d’olivier sauvage sur un olivier domestique. La semence promise d’Abraham inclurait donc des gens des nations qui pouvaient désormais devenir ‘ participants de la racine de graisse de l’olivier ’. — Romains 11:17.
      Pour un cultivateur, greffer une branche d’olivier sauvage sur un olivier domestique serait impensable et “ contre nature ”. (Romains 11:24.) On lit dans La terre et le Livre (angl.) : “ Greffe le bon sur le sauvage, ont coutume de dire les Arabes, et il dominera le sauvage, mais tu ne pourras pas revenir en arrière. ” Les chrétiens d’origine juive ont été surpris lorsque Jéhovah, “ pour la première fois, s’est occupé des nations pour tirer d’entre elles un peuple pour son nom ”. (Actes 10:44-48 ; 15:14.) C’était la preuve évidente, toutefois, que la réalisation du dessein de Dieu ne dépendait pas d’une nation particulière. En effet, “ en toute nation l’homme qui le craint et pratique la justice est agréé de lui ”. — Actes 10:35.
      Paul a souligné que puisque les “ branches ” juives infidèles de l’olivier avaient été coupées la même chose pourrait arriver à toute personne qui, par orgueil ou désobéissance, perdrait la faveur de Jéhovah (Romains 11:19, 20). Cela montre sans l’ombre d’un doute que la faveur imméritée de Dieu ne devrait jamais être considérée comme définitivement acquise. — 2 Corinthiens 6:1.
      Enduire d’huile
      Les Écritures mentionnent l’utilisation de l’huile d’olive non seulement au sens littéral, mais également au sens figuré. Dans les temps anciens, les blessures et les contusions étaient “ adoucies avec de l’huile ” pour accélérer la cicatrisation (Isaïe 1:6). D’après un exemple de Jésus, le bon Samaritain a versé de l’huile et du vin sur les blessures de l’homme qu’il avait trouvé sur la route de Jéricho. — Luc 10:34.
      L’application d’huile sur la tête est rafraîchissante et relaxante (Psaume 141:5). Lorsqu’ils ont à traiter un cas de faiblesse spirituelle, les anciens peuvent ‘ enduire d’huile un membre de la congrégation, au nom de Jéhovah ’. (Jacques 5:14.) Leurs conseils bibliques pleins d’amour et leurs prières sincères en faveur de leur compagnon sont comparables à de l’huile versée sur des plaies. Détail révélateur, en hébreu, “ huile d’olive pure ” est une expression imagée qui sert à désigner un homme bon.
      “ Un olivier luxuriant dans la maison de Dieu ”
      Compte tenu de ce qui précède, il n’est pas surprenant que les serviteurs de Dieu puissent être comparés à des oliviers. David désirait ressembler à “ un olivier luxuriant dans la maison de Dieu ”. (Psaume 52:8.) Tout comme les familles israélites avaient souvent des oliviers autour de leur maison, David souhaitait être proche de Jéhovah pour produire du fruit à sa louange. — Psaume 52:9.
      Tant qu’il est resté fidèle à Jéhovah, le royaume de Juda était comme un “ olivier luxuriant, beau par le fruit et par la forme ”. (Jérémie 11:15, 16.) Mais ses habitants ont perdu leur position privilégiée lorsqu’ils ‘ ont refusé d’obéir aux paroles de Jéhovah et ont marché à la suite d’autres dieux ’. — Jérémie 11:10.
      Pour devenir comme des oliviers luxuriants dans la maison de Dieu, nous devons obéir à Jéhovah et accepter de bon gré la discipline par laquelle il nous “ taille ”, afin que nous puissions porter davantage de fruit en œuvres chrétiennes (Hébreux 12:5, 6). En outre, tout comme un olivier doit avoir de longues racines pour survivre à une période de sécheresse, nous devons fortifier nos racines spirituelles pour endurer les épreuves et la persécution. — Matthieu 13:21 ; Colossiens 2:6, 7.
      L’olivier symbolise bien le chrétien fidèle, inconnu du monde mais connu de Dieu. S’il vient à mourir dans ce système, il reviendra à la vie dans le monde nouveau à venir. — 2 Corinthiens 6:9 ; 2 Pierre 3:13.
      L’olivier, presque indestructible, qui continue de donner du fruit année après année nous rappelle la promesse de Dieu : “ Les jours de mon peuple seront comme les jours d’un arbre ; et ceux que j’ai choisis profiteront pleinement de l’œuvre de leurs mains. ” (Isaïe 65:22). Cette promesse prophétique s’accomplira dans le monde nouveau de Dieu. — 2 Pierre 3:13.


      · 0 replies
    • folens  »  Eric Ouellet

      Hello Eric merci pour ces bons sujets. Bonne journée Michel

      JAH pas un collectionneur.docx
      · 1 reply
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