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The video of the song Greater Love, shot between Israel and Turin, with which I represented Israel at the first edition of the Euro Christian Music Festival together with Nitsan Golan. 

You can also listen to it on Spotify HERE.

It’s night, the day has been heavy, the mind seeks God and for a moment flies into yet another dream, untamable hope for fullness and fulfillment, just momentum of desire toward something higher, but, let’s face it, also to try to escape and make reality more bearable.
But it is only my dream, which is not always equal to God’s dream about me and would not even make me happy. In fact, my happiness, God himself, is right here already, and there is no need to look for him in the future or anywhere else.

Fr. Divo Barsotti, one of the great mystics of the 20th century, used to say, “There is no holier place than the place where you are, there is no holier hour than the one you are living, in that place, in that hour for you the one, God, is present.”

It is quite true, we find our greatest happiness in a present charged with the divine presence, which is always available to us and also enlivens our relationships with others. the dream, however, with its projecting forward, retains an important role. It suggests new goals and targets, distant horizons but still within our reach; it gives us a momentum that prevents us from losing hope in difficult times where we do not glimpse the light.
Our dreams are sometimes futile, sometimes higher. If the Christian has grown in faith and discernment, his dream now approaches God’s dream about him.

God has desires for us that exceed our own; His dream about us is something even more beautiful than what we can come to in our own strength or imagination.

God’s dream for us is not something unattainable or imposed on us from the outside; to understand it we have to start with our own dream, but letting it be shaped and transformed by him, in a dialogue where he is present in what we are doing and intervenes to open new horizons for us.

The anesthetic effect of my dream, still far from being in unison with God’s, fades too soon.
However, I decide to shake off my proverbial inaction and send the article I wrote about the San Remo Christian Song Festival to their website email, hoping it will be of interest.

At the Gospel House, Euro Christian Music Festival 2022
Euro Christian Music Festival 2022

A few days later, unexpectedly the phone rings. It is Fabrizio Venturi, the artistic director of the Sanremo Christian Song Festival, who introduces himself very cordially and tells me that he is organizing the Euro Christian Music Festival, in Turin, at the same time as the Eurovision Song Contest. He offers me to participate and represent Israel, even better if paired with a singer of Israeli nationality, since I am Italian, resident in Israel for 13 years, but without being a citizen.

Fabrizio Venturi & Nothingless

Fabrizio taught me trust in God and others, only by trusting in God and through the cooperation of others can we accomplish projects that seemingly exceed our strength. Without Fabrizio the Eurochristianmusicfestival would not have even seen the light of day, and we must give him credit for this insight and for carrying it forward with courage and determination.

I sit in front of the tabernacle and, almost on the spur of the moment, write “Greater Love” the song I will bring to the festival, in Hebrew and English. I sacrifice the musicality of the verses to keep at all costs the words of Jesus in the exact order in which they are recorded in the oldest manuscripts of the Gospels, without any changes or additions on my part. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends, love one another as I have loved you” is the chorus of the piece, a compendious phrase for the entire Gospel.

 

 

GREATER LOVE– אהבה גדולה
written by Filippo Rossi (Nothingless)

.כְּשֵׁם שֶׁהָאָב אוֹהֵב אוֹתִי כֵּן גַּם אנִי אוֹהֵב אֶתְכֶם
As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you;
עִמְדוּ בְּאַהֲבָתִי
Remain in my love.
.אֵין אַהֲבָה גְּדוֹלָה -מֵאַהֲבָתוֹ שֶׁל הנּוֹתֵן– אֶת נַפְשׁוֹ- בְּעַד יְדִידָיו
Greater love has no one than this: that someone lay down his life for his friends.
אֶהֱבוּ זֶה אֶת זֶה כְּמוֹ שֶׁאֲנִי אָהַבְתִּי אֶתְכֶם
Love one another as I have loved you.
If you remain in My Word, you will be truly my disciples and you will know the truth
. אִם תַּעַמְדוּ בּדְבָרִי, תַּלְמִידַי אַתֶּם בֶּאֱמֶת; וְתֵדְעוּ אֶת הָאֱמֶת
and the truth will set you free
וְהָאֱמֶת תּשַׁחְרֵר אֶתְכֶם
.אֵין אַהֲבָה גְּדוֹלָה -מֵאַהֲבָתוֹ שֶׁל הנּוֹתֵן– אֶת נַפְשׁוֹ- בְּעַד יְדִידָיו
Greater love has no one than this: that someone lay down his life for his friends.
אֶהֱבוּ זֶה אֶת זֶה כְּמוֹ שֶׁאֲנִי אָהַבְתִּי אֶתְכֶם
Love one another as I have loved you.
I am with you always (till the world’s end)
אִתְּכֶם אֲנִי כָּל הַיָּמִים
עַד קץ הָעוֹלָם
.אֵין אַהֲבָה גְּדוֹלָה מֵאַהֲבָתוֹ שֶׁל הנּוֹתֵן אֶת נַפְשׁוֹ- בְּעַד יְדִידָיו
Greater love has no one than this: that someone lay down his life for his friends.
אֶהֱבוּ זֶה אֶת זֶה כְּמוֹ שֶׁאֲנִי אָהַבְתִּי אֶתְכֶם
Love one another as I have loved you.

 The piece is harmonically complex, with three key changes and some difficult notes to take. An ill-advised choice for someone like me, who has never sung in public in his life. The stage of the Gospel House, an evangelical church in Turin, will be the site of my absolute debut as a singer in a live event.

Finding the Israeli singer who would agree to duet with me was not easy. We had to overcome resistance and barriers and that atavistic distrust that Jews (rightly so, given the tragic persecutions they have suffered throughout history) have toward Christians. We will never ask forgiveness enough for the atrocities committed in the name of faith, in a total misrepresentation of the Gospel message. Nitsan Golan wrote to me at the very last possible moment to sign up for the festival, she threw her heart over the hurdle, agreeing to come with me to Turin to sing at a Christian festival, she a Jewish believer. Nitsan, besides being the bearer of uncommon vocal gifts and great professionalism, taught me enthusiasm, to say yes to others and to the opportunities that life offers us, without getting imprisoned by our mental schemes or fundamentalisms that end up limiting us and not bringing us closer to either God or others.

 

The Gospel House in Turin and our perfprmance at the Festival
The Gospel House in Turin and our performance at the Festival

I land in Turin and head straight to the apartment I have rented about 30 km from the city. I would like to be at the Festival site by 9 o’clock, but the Google navigator takes me around the Turin countryside for an hour and a half…finally I manage to get to the Gospel House. They are the other creators of this Festival, they all worked for free and with great sacrifice to make it happen, Gionathan de Stradis, his wife Simona, Piero Maniscalchi, famous sound engineer, the Band musicians, the choristers and all the people at work reminded me of the value of free service for others. Everyone is courteous and kind at the Gospel House and I will gratefully remember the positive atmosphere there.

I meet the Pastor of this evangelical church, Franco Drago, who on several occasions will show me affection and encouragement, and we get to talking about Mary-a sore point in ecumenical dialogue with us Catholics. Yet it seems to me that even this distance is more in our mutual pride and inability to listen seriously to each other than in anything substantial that really divides us. “What unites us is much more than what divides us,” is not just a rhetorical phrase: it is reality and it is up to us to draw all the consequences.

As soon as I arrive Fabrizio Venturi is rehearsing “Caro Padre” , his best-known hit, on stage, and I begin to wonder if I will be able to get on that stage.
The next morning I run to the airport and meet for the first time Nitsan Golan, the singer who is to duet with me. We have a quick rehearsal together before going to Sound Check, which precedes the semifinals, and thank God that she is there to teach me a few tricks of the trade. I get to know the other contestants.

Radio Interview at the Festival

Rivelino Dutch aka Blackrockstar proves to be very affable right away and his “You Give me reason”, really impresses me, God is the reason for our existence, his stubborn seeking us out even when we turn away from him because of the temptations that life is littered with, gives us the drive to persevere.

Equally affable is Meissa, from Calabria, who represents Italy along with Shoek, a seemingly tough rapper who nevertheless turns out to be the most good-natured and easygoing of all after a few moments of conversation. Their “Mi arrendo, ti arrendi” is a committed song with the profound message that there can be no peace unless we accept surrender. I also know the Swedish Daali with his “When the stars begin to fall”. I’m impressed by the wonderful lyrics and his performance, it’s like being at a concert of a real rock star, but when we talk I’m looking at a person who doesn’t want to impress or look like someone, he’s simply himself-rare virtue.

Here is South Africa with the duo Saul City, they are a young married couple, they will be the winners of the festival. There is something mystical about their persons, the result of their mutual union lived in the Lord, which ends up exuding in their music, beautiful and non-commercial. “Silence”, masterfully interpreted, is a description of the path of prayer lived in silence, which becomes the place of certainty that God is always by our side.

From left, Nitsan, with at the center Saul City, the winners of the Festival

We encourage each other with Adele Zappia, the Festival co-host; we are both debuting. And as we talk, Melissa Lischer, a Swiss contestant who brings the beautiful “Always After You” -message of deep gratitude to God that cannot be totally expressed in words- also arrives. 
I am a little confused-I confess-next to these two women who look like something out of a fashion magazine, but I am reassured by a blessing. Melissa being a good evangelical-we Catholics are used to letting the priest do everything-she starts blessing us, asking God’s help for the success of the Festival and not only that, we in turn bless each other and proceed happy and spiritually strengthened to the debut stage.

Don Alfred Imonda for Congo brings a song in his Congolese language “Uniti si può”, song written originally in Italian by Fabrizio Venturi – Fulvio Vasarri – Marco Iardella for the victims of the earthquake that struck central Italy in 2017, but also to inspire all those who have to rebuild from the debris of something that has been destroyed. I am able to appreciate the depth of its lyrics.. “United we can move forward, all it takes is a gesture even a small one, and the help will come from whoever and you won’t know about the color of his skin or of his God” (https://www.eurochristianmusicfestival.com/diretta-tv/ ).. which deservedly will win the prize for best lyrics awarded by the press room, by Biagio Maimone.

Mikaela Sabrina is from Argentina and manages to communicate that human warmth and vitality that Latin Americans have written in their hearts, her song “Poesia” is a profound message about her father’s conversion: God writes a wonderful poem in the heart of every man who converts, saving him from his past. When she sings she is passionate and you can see that her lyrics move her and betray her love for the one for whom she wrote it.

The Mauritian singer Brian Minor sings beautifully, has a convincing voice, and it is no accident that he wins two awards with a catchy song “The Crack”.

Johnatan de Stradis also presents, out of contest, one of his songs “Tu mi hai amato per primo” which is very catchy, and I must admit that I saved it and went back to listen to it again on Spotify.

With Piero Maniscalchi, sound engineer of the Gospel House and of many Italian top artists

Karen Marra performs on stage and sings like a super singer, her vocal performance is impressive-no coincidence that during her time in London she was chosen as the vocalist for the spice girls. She also very kindly takes us on a tour of Turin
The international Christian music star present at the festival is Noel Robinson. He is an easy-going person, and his performance on stage reveals a long artistic career that has brought performance and worship-leading skills to perfection.
Josephine Belle is a free woman because she met Jesus. We have a deep spiritual exchange and I think I have found a true friend. She represents England…. “Free” she sings convinced. I want to be free, in the spiritual sense of the word, moving with ease on stage. Her track bring us musically into the marvelous world of London productions.

 

Visiting Turin with my new friends Josephine, Karen and Nitsan

 

Brother Vinicius is Brazilian and communicates that joy, a positive and festive approach that seems written in the genes of this people, his “Vale a Pena” already winner of the Sanremo Christian Song Festival, sung in Portuguese is even more beautiful…it is worth living, following Christ is the only certainty.

To Jesus Christ who has always been with us and inspired our actions goes the most beautiful prize and glory of this Festival.

I open my eyes again and everything has been so beautiful that it feels like a dream. However, this dream does not fade, its beneficial effect lasts, God’s presence and the love I received from others fill my heart. The Euro Christian Music Festival, this dream that I would not have even imagined and has already become a reality, has all the air of beeing the most beautiful dream, God’s dream.

MY ORIGINAL MUSIC AND SONGS

 

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I went to follow Jesus to the very place where he prayed on the mountain.

Watch the video to the end to see rare images of the Sea of Galilee at night and to hear the less convinced call on the entire web to subscribe to a YouTube channel

-and, I hope, to receive some grace and blessing

 

 

MY ORIGINAL MUSIC AND SONGS

 

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note to the English-speaking reader: this article was written to explain the significance of the Sanremo Festival of Christian Song. Contemporary Christian Music is not as well developed in Italy as it is in Anglo-Saxon countries. The Sanremo Festival of Christian Song was organized at the same time and place as the Sanremo Italian Song Festival, the most important musical event in Italy, followed by 65% share on TV, some 14 million people. This caused controversy, many felt it was a way to condemn the Sanremo Festival of immorality, as if to say that the “secular” festival had no right to be considered by believers and should be boycotted in favor of the Christian festival offered as an alternative. But the controversy has no reason to exist, as I tried to explain in the article.

 

“Give thanks to the Lord on the harp;
offer praise to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully on the strings with joyful shouts.
For the word of the Lord is true,
and he is faithful in everything he does”. Psalm 33

 

The invitation to sing to the Lord and to praise him, even using musical instruments, recurs many times in Sacred Scripture, which contains the book of Psalms, designed precisely to be sung. Monks and nuns sing them at various times of the day. Sacred music, to which countless masterpieces of classical music belong, resounds in the churches. Then there is modern liturgical music, or songs designed for the liturgy, but in a modern style. But even more extensive is the panorama of Contemporary Christian and Gospel Music. This is also music that is not primarily intended to be performed in a liturgy, but is inspired by contemporary musical genres and has lyrics with a faith-inspired message that is almost always explicit.

This is not to say that mainstream music songs cannot also be “Christian”. There are very famous songs that have clear references to the faith, just think of “Where the streets have no name” by U2, “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, “Let it be” by The Beatles and we could continue at length including love songs because, after all, love for others and love between man and woman are deeply Christian themes.

Contemporary Christian music, however, also exists as a specific genre and there is no opposition to other genres. It can be expressed in different sub-genres: gospel, rock, pop, rap, country, metal, dance, progressive, alternative…. What unites it are the lyrics that refer to the Christian faith. The Sanremo Festival of Christian Song wants to be a showcase for this kind of music.

Continue reading “The Sanremo Festival of Christian Song”

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A Christian reflection on illness, what’s an orphan disease? (UBTF mutation disease)

I recently met a woman with a daughter who has a rare genetic disease that affects about 20 people worldwide. With great dedication and courage the mother has set up a foundation to fund research for this disease (which is called “UBTF mutation”), since the big pharmaceutical companies are not interested in investing in a disease that affects so few people.
I proposed to celebrate a Mass for the girl and the people affected by this disease at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and made a video to ask for prayers and offerings that, whoever wishes, can donate here:

https://almy-foundation.org/donations/

The foundation promotes research for the identification of a therapy, which is carried out by some of the most important laboratories in the world, among those the Weizmann Institute in Israel and the Jackson laboratory in the United States. This foundation has no collateral costs or salaries of employees to pay, since the secretariat is managed by the girl’s mother and the money – which by statute can not be used for personal needs- go directly to fund the various research projects coordinated by the foundation, that’s to say by the girl’s mother who is in direct contact with researchers for the experiments currently underway. The results of the research and the aims of the foundation can be found in detail in the website link above.
There remain unrealized projects, such as funding a researcher to study the disease as his main interest.
As in many fields of research, any progress in the treatment of this disease may also benefit other diseases and also provide a model of possible research for those diseases that are sadly defined as “orphan” or abandoned by the research, because of the poor economic interests at stake.

Continue reading “A Christian reflection on illness, what’s an orphan disease? (UBTF mutation disease)”

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The Only One Who Saves: Remembering the Victims of September 11

Among the people who were still inside the Twin Towers at the time of the collapse, that infamous September 11, 2001, only 2 survived.
This impressive documentary tells the story of one of them, Pasquale Buzzelli. 

He was still on the 18th floor of the building and collapsed along with it. The mass of 80 floors of debris above him and a 60-meter jump into the void were no match for the One who can do everything and evidently performed a miracle – but, as with any miracle, someone can always delude himself that it was “a mere chance“.

After the flight, Pasquale was unconscious for a few hours and woke up sitting on a pile of debris, a few feet above the ground, surrounded by rubble and flames, unable to move.

Nearly 3,000 civilians and 343 firefighters died in the 9/11 attacks, not counting the injured and those-about 40,000-who developed illnesses due to exposure to the toxic dust generated after the collapse. The firefighters-true heroes-had rushed to save people and were themselves victims of the collapse, along with their chaplain, the Franciscan Mychal Judge, the first verified victim of the tragedy, who was there to assist them.

Other firemen arrived after the collapse and, on their own initiative, without superior orders, ventured into the rubble in search of survivors. That’s how firefighter Michael Morabito found Pasquale and was able to get him to safety.

Pasquale’s pregnant wife Louise thought her husband had died in the collapse but instead saw him come home that same evening. The daughter that was born was named Hope. Continue reading “The Only One Who Saves: Remembering the Victims of September 11”

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Illusion

 

You can also listen to it on Spotify: click HEREfor Apple Music, iTunes and other stores click HERE

and download it for free on SoundCloud -click on the small arrow below

We’ve all feared an illusion, that we had made a mistake.
Was I wrong to trust that person? To make that choice? To follow what I thought was a good impulse? To commit to something, to devote my time to what, on the surface, failed?
The song was an outburst in one of these moments of doubt.

Many times ours were not illusions at all, the insensitivity and evilness of others caused us to perceive them as such, the hardness of heart of those around us can kill and cut off our legs. Yet, even in the most painful situations, a glimmer of that light that comes from above never ceases to invite us and lead us towards what is eternal and will have the last word on human wickedness. Continue reading “Illusion”

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An Omer of love for the neighbor

Just after Easter, I received a gift of a “barley omer” from Yisca Harani, a Jewish woman who is much more than an ordinary tour guide. She specializes in Christianity and gives seminars and lectures as well as being a university level researcher.
For anyone interested in Israel and Christianity I recommend following her website (https://www.yiscaharani.com/en) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/YiscaHaraniInfo). Her Jewish perspective in explaining Christianity is always incredibly enriching.
Yisca, with a group of participants in one of her very popular seminars, came to visit me and offering me a barley omer, she made a surprising and courageous gesture towards me, let’s see why.
The omer (“sheaf”) is an ancient biblical volumetric measurement of grains. On the day following the Sabbath during Passover – on the second day of Passover (Feast of Unleavened Bread) an omer of barley was offered at the Temple in Jerusalem.

“Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest, and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, so that you may be accepted. On the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. And on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt offering to the LORD”. (Leviticus 23) 
Continue reading “An Omer of love for the neighbor”

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Your Love Will Keep Me Strong

Songwriting is certainly an art and something fascinating that I have recently discovered.
Music is a gift from God through which we can reach others by touching very deep “chords”. All of us have listened to the songs we love dozens of times – and perhaps for years and years – because music reaches deep down, reaches the spirit.
The song “Your Love will keep me strong” was born in collaboration with two of my friends, Ann Ammar and Marianne Eichhorn.

Download the HD version for free (click on the small arrow below):

On the following link you find the song on Spotify, you can add it to one of your playlists

https://open.spotify.com/track/7nTGJoNcQ77v6esBTmuJo6?si=bf2492e4c1bc4a7c

The song is released in many other online stores as Apple Music, I-Tunes, Google play, Amazon, and Bandcamp

In collaborations we are able to achieve something different than writing alone. The presence of others with their input and advice determines a unique result that we would never have been able to achieve on our own. The song is entirely produced and sung by me at my hermitage in the small home studio I put up. The video shows original images from the Sea of Galilee.
It was a rewarding experience that cemented our friendship, and now I hope the result says something beautiful to you as well.
The song is about God’s faithful love, which keeps us in the different seasons of life.
His Love will always “keep us strong” no matter what happens!!!

 

I attach also my social accounts where I post usually the same stuff I post on the blog

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onenothingless/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/onenothingl…

Twitter: https://twitter.com/onenothingless

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5yMof…

https://nothingless1.bandcamp.com/

https://music.apple.com/us/artist/nothingless/1518596056

https://www.deezer.com/us/artist/97886772

Nothingless

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Storm at the Sea of Galilee

 

On Ash Wednesday I went to Capernaum. In the video you see the dock of this town of fishermen, home of the Apostles John, James and Matthew (Peter and Andrew, as probably Philip, had also moved there from their earlier home of Bethsaida). Jesus, at the beginning of his public ministry, moved from Nazareth into Peter’s home in Capernaum, where so many episodes reported in the Gospels took place.

 

 Today you can visit the ruins of this ancient Jewish city, the Synagogue where our Lord preached and a Church built on the house of Peter, where Jesus was living. The present-day pier on which I walk is built on top of the authentic pier of Jesus’ time, which forms its foundation.
Such a storm was certainly enough to get the boats of the time into trouble, as evidenced by the Gospels which tell of the famous storms on the lake, miraculously calmed by Jesus.
I hope the shower was good for my cleansing and even if it wasn’t I had a lot of fun!!! 

I attach also my social accounts where I post usually the same stuff I post on the blog

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onenothingless/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/onenothingl…

Twitter: https://twitter.com/onenothingless

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5yMof…

 

Nothingless

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Christmas is first and foremost the feast of goodness.

 

This year has been hard for everyone, and this is no time for homilies. Often we just need to understand that God is good and accepts us as we are.

Don’t buy, no to the consumerist Christmas, don’t spend, do this and that to please Jesus….
I think that God is happy if we buy, if we give each other presents, if we exaggerate a little… and even if in the end we do almost nothing of what he has taught us.

God is happy all the same because he is good.

This is the fundamental message of Christmas:

God is far more good than we ever dared to hope for

 

Merry Christmas to all !!!

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                           

Nothingless

 

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