CHRISTIAN NEWS MAGAZINE FOR KERALA MALAYALEE CHRISTIANS FROM INDIA AROUND THE WORLD
NOVEMBER 2003 ARCHIVE
VOL:2ISSUE:11
DEVOTIONAL MESSAGE


DO WE PRECISELY REALIZE JESUS ?

By BISHOP THOMAS MAR THIMOTHEOS EPISCOPA
(
DIOCESAN BISHOP KUNNAMKULAM-MALABAR, MARTHOMA CHURCH)

God call and designate each person for a distinct mission. The designated mission may consume our time, ability, wealth and even life. Unless we realize the invisible presence of Jesus and give way of our Godly knowledge for a spiritual experience, we can not accomplish our mission.



RT. REV.THOMAS
MAR
THIMOTHEOS

"Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. " (John 21:3)

In the famous play 'Macbeth' by William Shakespeare, Macbeth who was the second in the country, along with his wife, try to assassin the King Duncan, through their heinous secret plots. His driving jealousy and illegitimate ambition to become King of Scotland corrupted him and caused him to murder the King. From then on, after the murder of Duncan, Macbeth entered into a life of evil. Eventually, Macbeth realized that even all the water in oceans of the earth couldn’t wash away his guilt and blood on his hands. The ambition for becoming the King of tomorrow leads Macbeth to do this dreadful murder of today. To accomplish our aspirations of endowments of Tomorrow, we plan out our Today. Yesterdays and Tomorrows configure our Today.

Another play of Shakespeare 'King Lear', tells the story of a King dishonored by the cruel ingratitude of his two daughters. In Britain, King Lear, in old age, chooses to retire and divide up Britain between his three daughters. However, in a feeble moment, the King calls his three daughters and asks them the extent of their love for him. The two oldest, Goneril and Regan, both flatter him with praises to heaven. Lear's youngest and most beloved daughter, Cordelia, refuses to flatter her father, going only so far as to say that she loves him as much as a daughter should. Lear, unjustly enraged at her words, gives her no land. Lear rewarded generously his elder two daughters with land and marriage. He had divided his country into two parts and given to the two elder daughters. The younger daughter Cordelia was married to a far away King without a dowry of land.

The daughters who got the possession of the wealth of the King retracted to look after the King at his old age. Grieved of the actions of the daughters, the King went for ascetic life in a cave; driven out into the world of a homeless beggar. The youngest daughter Cordelia searched out for him and rescued him from the destitution to which he was abandoned and the King breathed his last in her lap. In the life of the King Lear, the yesterdays, of his own foolish derisions, had taken its turn for today.

In the referred scripture portion we read that Peter went for fishing. Peter forgot about the divine call, he received few years back. He had a structured call as his commission was in the drawing, but not perfected. “Donot be afraid, I will make you fishers of men." This was the delegation Peter received. Peter could not realize Jesus precisely. There are basically two reasons that Peter failed to involve the mission at first. Firstly, Peter could not realize the invisible God.

In the Bible we see that God call and designate each one for a separate mission. Abraham was called to receive the covenant of God and he firmly believed in the eternal promise of God. He obeyed God without questioning and did what is right. God called Moses in the burning bush. Reluctant Moses humiliated himself saying that he is not worthy for the call of God. In the same way Isaiah, Jeremiah, Nehemiah: God called all for vivid missions. Today, the entire community and society are being called by God to fulfill the Great Commission.

Individuals are the foundational factor of the society. In the New Testament, Jesus choose and separate the apostles. The Call starts from the individuals and they were called for the formation of the society.

In the Chapter 5 of the Gospel of Luke, Peter was called for catching men. Fishing is done for profit and it had secular interests of the self. It was their livelihood. The job entrusted to them by Jesus was very distinct from the vocation they had till yesterday. They were designated a responsibility which will consume their time, ability, wealth and even life. Outwardly it looked a unprofitable business. Peter was called only after he was elated by recompensing for the desperation of futile efforts of fishing in previous night. After creating self-confidence in him, he was chosen and separated for the new mission.

From the very day of his call till the Ascension of Christ, there were many incidences and developments he had witnessed. Healing of his mother-in-law, feeding the five thousand with five loaves, experiences in Caesarea Philippi and many incidences ensued in the past life of Peter. But the impetuous observations made him to go off on his expedition. Crucifixion of the Lord, who was visible and tangible till yesterday, bewildered Peter. Lord who was accessible till yesterday had become inaccessible all on a sudden. Peter could not contain the Lord in His reality. Today, when the difficulties and hindrances are augmented, we also become perturbed and question the reality of Jesus. The presence of the invisible Jesus is there in our midst as per His promise that I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

Many knowledgeable people are unable to comprehend Lord to the reality. In the childhood, Sadhu Sunder Singh was well-read and educated about God. But when his knowledge turned out to be an experience and conviction, he became the Apostle of Jesus from India. In Luke 19:1-10 tell about Zacchaeus whose knowledge also had given way to his experience and conviction. Today we climbed up to highland of knowledge and intellect, however we should be able to realize Lord to the trueness. Notwithstanding that Simon lived in the physical presence of Jesus, he could not reach out to the spiritual presence of the Lord.

[Maramon 2003: Original in Malayalam]
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COVER MESSAGE


BEING A ROLE MODEL IN POST-MODERN SOCIETY
CHRISTIAN NURTURING AND EDUCATIONAL RESPONSE

By THOMAS KOSHY WASHINGTON

The moral values are undergoing changes with advancement of time. Money, Reputation, Pleasure etc drive the newly accepted standards of morality. Parental Values are very loudly proclaimed in the use of Time, Talent & Treasures. The behavioral glorification and Christian values commence to grow from home and eventually influence the community.

Let us examine the current trends to understand what trends are changing and if it should matter to a Christian community.

The crime statistics by Federal Bureau of Investigation reports that the rate of crime per 100,000 people has increased to 4,160.5 in 2002 from 4,124.8 in 2001. This gives an increase of 0.9% or increase in crime in a country where Christians are a significant majority.

The moral values have also have undergone changes. In the 1980s, Senator Gary Hart’s illicit affair was recognized to a serious enough problem that made him withdraw his candidacy for presidential election. However, in 1990s, President Clinton’s extra marital affairs were viewed by the American public as a “never mind” matter through the election. Further, the Supreme Court banned prayer in public schools and continued to remove the 10 commandments from public buildings because it was objectionable Christian propaganda.

The widely accepted belief that uncontrolled freedom brings out creativity became basis to legally ban “spanking of children” in Denmark, Sweden, Austria etc., Religion that was the primary source of inspiration for Art and Music in the early days became object of satire from icons of success. “Religion is for the weak” was the statement from Jessie Ventura, the Governor of Minnesota, and Bill Gates, the worlds wealthiest proclaimed that he has no time religion.

Certain principles can be derived from the new social standards. Let us find the primary root cause that drives the newly accepted standards:

  • When the economy is doing well, the president’s moral values are not important. (Root cause: Money)
  • If the team is winning, Magic Johnson’s life style should not matter ( Root Cause: Reputation)
  • Making most people feel good is more important than being right (root Cause: Pleasures)

As Christians we should have greater appreciation for Godly values. Christian Nurturing is the primary way of transferring the unchanging Godly standards of Conduct to the next generation.

The following scriptural references substantiate the parental influence.

  1. “You are doing the things your own father does” John 8:41
  2. Timothy reminds Paul of his mothers and grand mothers faith (IITim 1:5)
  3. Joseph was taken away from home at a very young age but he endured all trials from the foundation he received at home.

How can we communicate the Godly value system? Parental Values are very loudly proclaimed in the use of Time, Talent & Treasures

Time: The use of time in the normal course of business is an expression of priorities. When the evenings are full of events and cannot find time for daily family prayer, we have indirectly proclaimed that family prayer is not a priority item. When parents cannot find time regularly to read God’s word, meditate or find time for fellowship regularly, the value of prayer and meditation slides to the lowest priority.

Talent: When the skills and capabilities are at work only for building financial assets and fame God’s work cannot be communicated as a required service of Christian discipline.

Treasures: When the purchasing budget is filled with buying entertainment and subscribing to status symbols and cannot find time for Christian service, charity or helping the needy another priority of home is forever engraved into the young hearts. Christian stewardship is not in the top list of budgeted expenses.

Christian values have to be taught at the “Home University”. In the young age the children are to be seen as “wet cement; make the right impressions” - Anne Ortlund. In the impressionable years, the parents are to control the environment to limit the level of risk. The approach must be not by saying “No-No-No”, but be finding and organizing increased opportunities to create occasions that are “Yes” in every way. The approach of carrot and a stick works when it is respectfully administered at an young age. The Word of God endorses physical punishment. “He that spareth the rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” Proverbs 13:24, “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not his soul spare for his crying” Proverbs 19:18. This teaching is contrary to the popular ideas of modern psychology.

As the children get older, the impact of the message depends on the character of the messenger. The practiced lesson of home is what is learned and retained, not the theoretical lesson. “Preach always; use words when necessary.” Francis of Assisi. Another approach is to engage in participatory decision making. It involves including the youngster in preparing the pros and cons of the issue and allowing to reach a decision with sufficient bases. This method removes the undue effect of passion and forces reason to influence the outcome while the process of decision making is taught.

One of the greatest behavior to be acquired is to admit one own mistake. “To admit that I have been wrong is but saying that I am wiser today than I was yesterday.” It is also founded on the Biblical principle “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Proverbs 28: 13. Never give the devil a ride; he always will want to drive.

Along with the discipline of home, Christian families should influence social and community values. Promote Christian values not just by voting but working for the candidate who will promote a Godly value system. Seek representation in School Boards and other community organizations and project our Christian Values. “If we do not stand for anything, we will fall for anything.” Our implicit or explicit approval of today, sets tomorrow’s standards.

The Christian Character needs to reflect in every endeavor. Our decision making is a critical area where we have to be extra careful. Following are some considerations.

  • Is it consistent with the Ten Commandments?
  • Will it deepen my relationship with Christ?
  • Is it an extension of Christ’s life, message and kingdom?
  • Will it glorify Him and enable me to grow as His disciple?
  • Is there scriptural basis for it?
  • Has prolonged prayer produced an inner feeling of “rightness about it”?
  • Is it something for which I can praise God?
  • Is it an expression of authentic love that brings good in the lives of people involved?
  • Will it be consistent with my basic purpose to love the Lord and communicate His love to others?
  • Will it enable me to grow in the talents and gifts the Lord has given me?
  • Will my expenditures in implementing this decision support tithing and helping others?

Concluding Thoughts:
Parents have greater influence as role models than anybody else. Our use of time, talent and treasures display a value system. The home is where our values are put to test and that become lessons of life for the younger family members.

Get involved to set Christian values for the community and bring the kingdom of God among us. We need to demonstrate our Christian discipline in our decision making, actions, reactions & interaction.




Forward your comments or questions to tomkoshy@aol.com

Thomas Koshy, of Washington Mar Thoma Church, is a Senior Nuclear Scientist serving US federal government. His primary service area is Sunday school where he held several offices for the Diocese and Southeast Region. He devotes most of his time in teaching and preaching the Word of God to reaffirm our faith. He lives in Maryland with his wife Elizabeth and two children Benjamin and Annie.

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ARTICLE 1


THE POWER OF PRAYER

By RAJU BABY THALUVACHIRE - MEHSANA GUJARAT

We need prayer as individuals and as groups to remain in God's friendship and fellowship. Without prayer we will lose the divine life we possess, and more obviously, we shall not grow in the life we already have. Prayer strengthen us in faith and links our souls, minds, and hearts up to the ultimate source of love and abundance in the Universe.

We need prayer as individuals and as groups to remain in God's friendship and fellowship. Without prayer we will lose the divine life we possess, and more obviously, we shall not grow in the life we already have. Prayer strengthen us in faith, it give courage to lead our victorious pilgrimage in this world.

Prayer links our souls, minds, and hearts up to the ultimate source of love and abundance in the Universe. Prayer is the key of the day and lock of the night. Prayer brings purity and stability to the mind. It helps us to know the self and from where we come, where we are going and before whom we shall have to give account and reckoning. It enhances our confidences and strengthens the power of determination. Prayer helps us to develop virtues like humbleness, liberal mind and fearlessness. It keeps the body and the mind healthy. We must get up before the sunrise and pray to the almighty, thanking him for all that He has given us. We invariably get our reward if we pray from the depths of your heart with tears and deep conviction. "If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it." (John 14:14)God Cares for those who trust in Him and depend on Him.

We are in good hands....

"I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Heb.13:5).

Our Lord desires us not to be despondent, or ever to be given up, but He does want us to have faith, hope, love and healthy genuine parent child relationship with God. It is quite profound that all things are possible with God. He is called "Mighty God" and hence believe, God will do this for you. Faith has got tremendous power. The journey I am going on is a treasure chest of miracles and accomplishments. I believed and confessed that, God will do this for me...Yes, believe in miracles. Open the book of Hebrews to chapter Eleven.. " By faith Abel,,, By faith Enoch, By Faith Noah, By Faith Abraham, By Faith Sarah, By Faith Jacob, By Faith Joseph, By faith Moses, By Faith the harlot Rehab... : Every one through faith... Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God.

Jesus Christ Is Our Unmoving Beacon of Hope....

Jesus will do what He did yesterday, today as He is the same yesterday, today and for ever. He will continue to do what He did in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts. His words never fade away.

"Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away" (Mark 13:31)

God make impossible as possible...

Believe in the impossible. Prayer Moves mountains. God supplies more than we ask. God Heals. Nothing is impossible with God. Elizabeth, the wife of Zachariah, she became pregnant at an old age to have a child. After six months, God's angel Gabriel went to Mary who was a virgin. She was informed about God's plan, but Mary was startled by what the angel said and wondered how this would happen. But the Angel replied, "Now Elizabeth your relative is also pregnant with a son though she is very old. Everyone thought she could not have a baby but she is pregnant for six months. God can do everything (Luke 1:36,37). Dearly beloved, if God did any incredible thing for someone else, the same God will do the same thing for you. What is impossible, A Virgin becoming pregnant or solving your problems? Of course, it is much easier to solve your problems than a virgin Mary getting pregnant. God can do that. God will do it for you.

God is the strength and we do not have any fear...

The Christian life is not always going to be easy, but as long as you have Jesus in our heart, there is nothing to fear. Bible confirms this.

Gospel:
  • I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. (Matt 28:20)

St. Paul:

  • I can learn to be content in all my circumstances (Phil. 4:11)
  • Nobody can be against me when God is for me (Rom 8:31)
  • God is the author of peace and He gives me knowledge through His indwelling Spirit(1 Cori.14:33, 2:12)
  • I am a conqueror in all things through Christ ( Roma 8:37)

St. Peter:

  • I can cast all my anxiety on Christ who cares for me (1 Pete 5:7)

St. John:

  • I can take courage knowing that Jesus has overcome the world and his tribulations (John 16:33)
  • He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4)

Daniel:

  • But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. (Dan.. 11:32)

King David:

  • The Lord is the strength of my life and that I will display strength and take action because I know God (Psal. 27:1)
  • The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength. (Psal. 18:12)
  • God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. (Psal. 18:32)
  • For thou [art] the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? (Psal. 43:2)
  • God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psal. 46:1)

Isaiah:

  • Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. (Isa 12;2)
  • My God shall be my strength. (Isa 49:5)

God's Promises:

God's Oath to us is....I will dry your tears. I will comfort your fears. I will give you hope. I will help you. I shall be your beacon. No matter what your situation may be today, Jesus can deliver and help you in your situation. Give your life to Him today and ask Him to intervene in your situation, He will gladly do it. He will bless your life be full of Godly Peace. If we confess our sins to him, He is faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9)Yes, my Dear brethren, Jesus will help you. It is the Assurance. Develop a consistent prayer life. Study the Bible. Tell the others about Jesus as everyone needs to experience the love of Christ. Jesus said, I am the first and the last, who is who was and who is to come. Listen, I stand at the door and knock, if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to his house and eat with him and he will eat with me". We pray May this prayer note encourage you and your family to have very firm believe that God can work miracles in your situation.

Victory in God:

Victory is the key note of the Christian life and triumph is the divine destiny of every believer. Life does not have to be an ongoing struggle and a desperate battle just for survival. You can reign in life as more than a conqueror. Jesus Christ has absolutely triumphed over the powers of darkness. We can share in the glorious triumph of Jesus and how a life of real victory can become your experience. Yahweh alone is the True gracious God. God the Father loves us. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (St. John 3:16) Love one another, God is love, perfect love drives out all fear. God lives in those who are humble. Jesus is the creator of everything. See things in your imagination and pray them into existence. This is the secret of miracles. I have tested it in my own life. Praise the Lord, When we trust Him, our needs are met. We have all we really need. When we trust Him and honour Him with our substance, His name is exalted. Always keep positive faith in God. By faith we live, By faith the sick are healed. By faith everything has been done. My dearly beloved, nothing is impossible with Jesus. "Verily, verily I say to you, if you have faith, and doubt not, you shall say unto this mountain, be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done (Matt.21:22) " All things whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive". (Matt 21:22)

If you are not praying regularly early in the morning, you may start now. The saints and the devotees all pray early in morning. In the early morning, the environment around us is always calm, pleasant and serene and so is our mind. There is another benefit in getting up before the sun rises. It keeps us fit, both mentally and physically. This, the best time to pray is early morning. But it does not mean that one cannot pray at any other time. One should similarly pray on his knees in communion with God at night before one goes to sleep. It soothes the mind and helps one sleep well. One should also pray during the day before one starts day's activities. Mass prayer which is even more significant. The collective vibrations of benevolence and good thoughts naturally spread around and purify the surroundings.

One can pray on other occasions also, especially when one faces a crisis or a problem. In such situations, a prayer relieves us of our worries, be entrust all our affairs to the Almighty and feel relaxed. Prayer is also necessary to strengthen our efforts and to achieve a mental balance. Prayer is Heart to heart talk with God by Honouring and thanking Him. Prayer can help us to experience great spiritual heights when our hearts are touched by moments of inner beauty, giving us fresh insight into all lows in our life. People who make everyday prayer a habit are those who have surrendered their lives to the ultimate rescuing power of compassionate God and who bank on the external, healing powers of the Supreme being. Prayer helps us to think positively about future. Prayer and perseverance lead us Success, health, more energy, Joy, Safety, courage, smile, security, Absolute mental peace, profit, strength and confidence. We would lift our needs to God in prayer. The power of hearty prayer of boundless especially in healing the sick. Prayer is not restricted to only asking for personal favours and daily needs, though even this is legitimate and good.

All prayers can be expressed in a single word that is "Love". Prayer is meant to transform our lives to a sincere commitment to God. Prayer can help us overcome daily tribulation. It can infuse fresh hope and faith in us, enabling us to face every new challenge with renewed confidence. Faith is the corner stone. Jesus is more than enough. He is Almighty. He is our Father. Believe, there is nothing impossible to our God. Let us pray. We call upon Thee, Lord our Master, come to our help, hear our petition and have mercy on our souls. Give heed to me, O God, give heed to me and have mercy on me, Turn the hearts of the children of men to repentance. O Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the one true God for ever and ever, we believe and confess that Thou art our God ever lasting. We pray to Thee, accept our facts and our adorations, our offices and petitions and be merciful to us.

While praying, we confess our mistakes. We renounce all our sins and turn to God for mercy and forgiveness, I believe God do forgive. The Healing Power of Forgiveness. There is a reason saints have that beatific glow: Being able to empathize and forgive may heal the heart and mind. Forgiving someone can be a powerful antidote. The early signs that forgiving improves over all health. The gift of forget and Forgiveness, it seems, still divine. Confess before God all your Sins. Let us pray Now let us turn to some of the promises of healing." And the Lord will remove from you all sickness: (Deut 7:15)"Return, O faithless sons, I will heal your faithlessness (Jer.3:22) "For I will restore you to health and I will heal you of your wounds, declare the Lord, because they have called you an outcast"(Jer.30:17)."I will come and heal him" (Math.8:7)"I the lord, am your healer" (Exodus 15:26) (Psalm 51) Have mercy on me, God, in Thy loving kindness, in the abundance. For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.(Psal.107-9)Thy mercy blot out my sin. We feel compelled to make a decision that we shall keep away from vices and practice virtues.

If one prays from the depths of one's heart, one can overcome the negative feelings like anger, fear, worry, sorrow and sadness. As a result one can live a pious and stress-free life, both mentally and physically. God created man in His image to love and to have fellowship with him. The greatest experience that any human being can have on earth is to establish and maintain a close relationship and fellowship with the creator of the Universe by which we can have a two way communication with him, and truly love, praise, worship and obey please Him.

When we walk with God by ceaseless prayer we can have joy, safety and security, absolute peace, success in all endeavors, we can have influence on earth and in heaven, we can overcome any evil enemy or problem. We can have special strength and confidence and can have perfect peace, trusting and rejoicing the God. We can have a very close relationship with God, we can have conscious of God's presence in Holy spirit, being sensitive to the voice of God, flowing with the Holy Spirit, praising and worshipping God, discerning the move of Holy spirit, discerning the will of God, being in a state of praise and worship fellow shipping and close relationship with God like we do with our friends. Thus we can literally experience Heaven on earth.

Jesus said," If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to there and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you". Jesus said so and I believe that nothing is impossible for me (Matthew 17:20) Jesus said," With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible", Jesus said so. So what is impossible with man is possible with my God. Matthew 19:26) The Angel said, " For with God Nothing will be impossible (Luke 1:37).So there is nothing impossible on this earth. At this stage let us remember to recite the name of God every day for sometimes at least. As our Lord taught us (St. Mathew 6:9-13) let us pray" Our father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us, this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts and sins, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen (+). Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that you are the son of God and the only way to God, that you died on the cross for my sins and rose again from the dead. The love of God the Father, the grace of the only begotten Son, and the fellowship and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; and the intercessions and communion of Holy Mary, Mother of God (St. Luk 1:28-42)and all other saints be with us for ever and ever Amen.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, close not the door of thy mercy in our faces. Lord, we confess that we are sinners, have mercy on us. Thy love made thee descend from thy place to us. Lord, by whose death our death was ended: have mercy on us. Praise to the Holy Trinity; Praise to the Holy Trinity; we praise the glorious Trinity, eternal and everlasting and to Thee belongs the praise, O God at all times. I wish and pray May the Lord God Bless you, and make you worthy to renew your spiritual relation ship with him, glory to him,and give you joy, happiness, good health and great success in all ways of life. May His compassionate love and Grace be with you always.

Holy spirit is the key to Miracles When God ordered incredible things came into reality. He divided the 270 feet deep Red sea and made a road which was wide enough for 2000 people to walk at a time. He fed lakhs of people for forty years. He ordained a shepherd boy as a king. Jesus Said "According to your faith, be it unto you" If only you believe... If only you say that you believe... If only you expect what you believe and say Believe and be blessed. Pray for all ever & ever with love. Thank you, the Trinity, We praise you Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come. We give you the glory, you are worthy, O Lord, for receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things and by your will they were given existence and life. We give you the Thanks- ++In the name of the + Father and of the +Son and of the +Holy Spirit, Amen.

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ARTICLE 2


SURPRISES AT PAPAL ELECTION - 1978 : PART 1
(ELECTION OF POPE JOHN PAUL II)

By PROF. GEORGE MENACHERY

Front-runners in first ballets in the previous elections and many expectants entered the cobbled courtyard behind St. Peter’s Basilica surrounded of with admirers and supporters in their posh cars. A solitary figure now approached gateway of Basilica on foot, looked lonely, tired, and crestfallen. To whom all looked contemptuously, came out as per the prophetic word; 'He is the one chosen."

[Prof. George Menachery, a freelance Indian Journalist, had read and written much about PAPAL ELECTIONS. When he went to Rome as a free lancer for the October 1978 election where the conclave of Cardinals chose the present Pontiff His Holiness Pope John Paul II, he had merely wanted to experience at first hand the joy and excitement of a papal election as described in classics he had read many times over such as Morris West’s ‘SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN’, Irving Stone’s ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy’, and Henry Morton Robinson’s ‘The Cardinal’. But his Roman holidays turned into a memorable adventure. Read about it here:]

POPE JOHN PAUL II
H.H. POPE JOHN PAUL II

OCTOBER 14, 1978 MORNING:
The Cardinals were arriving one by one for the ‘Mass for the Election of the Pope’. They entered the cobbled courtyard behind St. Peter’s Basilica in huge cars and walked towards the special back door of the Basilica quite close to the main altar. After the Mass they would enter the Conclave (‘with key’) and proceed to elect behind locked doors the next spiritual leader of the crores-strong Catholic community of the world and the temporal head of the State of Vatican.

I was the only Indian among the 1300 press reporters from all over the world in Rome that October accredited by Archbishop Pancharoli’s Vatican Press Office. Of these 300 belonged to the English-speaking group. The Italian group was 320-strong; the French were 200 odd, and the Spanish/Portuguese 140. In addition there were more than 300 TV crewmembers. Apart from two or three selected TV teams only fourteen of the 1300 reporters who had arrived to report the papal elections were permitted to enter the Basilica for the function to report and to take exclusive photographs. Vatican accreditation was given to George Menachery by the Vatican Press Office.

VATICAN ACCREDITATION
VATICAN ACCREDITATION

These were selected by lot during the briefing sessions and I was extremely lucky to get one of those fourteen coveted cards. Some well-known magazines and papers from the United States and France were willing to pay huge amounts for this card. In fact some of the fourteen photographers present now at the Basilica door represented the most famous magazines and newspapers of the world, having procured the cards from the original lucky winners paying quite hefty sums.

One of the very first to arrive to attend that crucial function before the all-important Conclave locked its doors against the outside world was Lawrence Cardinal Picachy of Calcutta. As he got down from the huge car on to the vast brick-paved yard and proceeded towards the Basilica my Minolta flashed twice or thrice. One or two other pressmen also photographed the Cardinal from India, I noticed with pleasure.

It was with a huge coterie of admirers and followers that Cardinal Siri arrived. So also Cardinal Benelli. Both were front-runners in the first ballots in the previous election and one of these two was expected to come out of the Conclave as the new Pope. Hence the Photographers vied with each other in taking their pictures. I also took one each. But I was now mainly waiting for the arrival of Cardinal Parecattil of Ernakulam, ‘my Cardinal’. Then came Cardinal Rossi of Propaganda in the company of Archbishop Lourdusamy (now a Cardinal). They talked serious business for a while before the Cardinal entered the Basilica and Lourdusamy went back. I didn’t forget to snap the duo.

CARDINAL PARECCATTIL
CARDINAL PARECCATTIL

But now the sound of music from inside the Basilica was growing louder and louder. Like the Wedding-guest in Coleridge’s ‘Ancient Mariner’ I had to still reluctantly tarry waiting for my Cardinal to arrive. There was still no sign of his car. Most of my fellow photographers were preparing to enter the church to cover the Mass and the decisive guide-line speech to the Cardinals. It was then that I noticed a solitary figure in red approaching from the huge gateway. This Cardinal looked lonely, tired, and crestfallen, yet somehow upholding the dignity of a prince of the Church. He alone among all the Cardinals arrived on foot, walking hurriedly towards the Basilica. No camera aimed to take his picture coming as he was without benefit of admirers and supporters. One or two of the big-time photographers from the US were looking at this pitiable figure almost it seemed contemptuously. “There are lots of unused frames in my Minolta. I need only a few more to cover Cardinal Parecattil. So why not snap him, whom nobody appears to care for?”, I thought. And so I took a photo of this lonely man. He raised his head in some surprise, and went in silently. Soon afterwards Cardinal Parecattil came from the gianicolo hospital where he was staying, smiled at me, and went in, the very last Cardinal to enter the Basilica.

OCTOBER 16, 1978 EVENING:
With thousands I stood in the Piazza San Petro between the colossal columns of Bernini near his fountain and the huge obelisk in the Vatican looking at the thin pipe raising its head to the left of Michelangelo’s mammoth dome from the famous fresco-adorned Sistine Chapel to see whether it would spit white smoke this time, fifty-six long hours and seven ballots after the Cardinals had been locked up inside to elect one, most probably from among themselves, as the new successor of St. Peter. Two days back I had the rarest of privileges to study the arrangements in the conclave area as the goddess of fortune had given me one of the sixty cards distributed by lot among the 1300 journalists to inspect the secrets of the Conclave. I was especially attracted to the pepper containers on the table of each cardinal who will be attending the Conclave. I told fellow journalists how two millennia back 100s of 1000s of gold coins minted by Caesar Augustus who forced pregnant Mary to travel all the way to Bethlehem, Tiberius Caesar the master of Pontius Pilate, and the ‘fiddling’ Nero had found their way into distant Kerala in exchange for Kerala’s pepper and pearls and how Alaric the Goth had asked for 3000 pounds of Indian pepper as ransom to free the Senate Fathers of Rome. From the stoves arranged to burn straw and chemicals to produce the white and black smoke I put some coal pieces into my coat pocket as mementos of this historic visit to the Conclave area.

Now, standing in the St. Peter’s square or piazza I looked at the balcony of the Basilica to test my newly bought binoculars. Some days back I had gone up to the roof of the basilica to examine the marvels of its architecture. As a student and teacher of art and Architecture this exercise has always given me immense pleasure. On this occasion however I had another motive also. I had always wanted to touch the thin white pipe that would inform the world the election or non-election of a Pope. So with the intention of touching the pipe I approached it. But many wooden barricades had been erected to prevent just such an attempt. While I proceeded towards the pipe disregarding the barricades I could see from the corner of my eye a policeman coming towards me to prevent my proceeding further. Pretending not to see the arm of the law coming nearer and nearer and now shouting something very loud, I walked quickly to the pipe and touched it. Turning around I saw the furious policeman who immediately caught hold of my arms. I innocently asked him in Malayalam what the matter was. He shouted again. I repeated my question in Malayalam again. Then in broken - very broken - English I told him I could not understand what he was saying. In despair he brought me out beyond the mobile barricades and pushed me in the direction of the staircase and shouted something like GOOOO! That was a week ago.

Now I was standing in the square or piazza looking at the balcony of the Basilica and the Sistine roof. Suddenly the tip of the pipe began to spit white smoke. The crowd began a deafening non-stop shout “Bianca! Bianca!” It’s white, it’s white. “We Have a New Pope! We Have a New Pope!” Tens of thousands were soon concentrating their attention on the balcony where the new Pope’s name would be announced and where the Pope himself would eventually appear. But within twenty-four minutes of the election of the Pope Osservatore Romano the official organ of the Vatican came out at 6.43 p.m. carrying a half-page picture of the new Pope. I bought a copy from the boy selling the paper like hot cakes among the crowd to see who had been finally elected. To my surprise I saw the lonely hero of my photograph keenly looking at me from the front page. He was the new Pope. But I didn’t know until then the name or country of Karol Joseph Woyitila. Even when Cardinal Felici announced the name in sonorous Latin very few in the crowd could recognize it. Once again the Italian adage was proved true: “He who goes into the Conclave Pope comes out Cardinal” - and the last and very least became the first, a Pole, a non-Italian in 400 years, that too from the underground of a communist country - from the fourth world, so to say - as had happened to Anthony Quinn as Kiril Cardinal Lakota in the Holywood version of The Shoes of the Fisherman.

The huge lamps of the Vatican Palace and the Propaganda College started to flood the St. Peter’s Square, together with the huge Roman moon lighting up the whole area and converting night into day. By this time the crowd had swelled to some two hundred thousand souls filling the whole square and the Via De La Conciliazione up to river Tiber. It was another half an hour before the Pope appeared on the balcony to give his blessing Urbi et Orbi - to the City and to the World. Before giving that Latin blessing he talked to the people in simple Italian - to their great delight and to the displeasure of the Curia officials. ‘Viva il Papa’ Long Live the Pope, the crowd shouted again and again. ‘ Polonnia! Polonnia!’ Poland, Poland. Bearing witness to the birth of a new era the bells in the four hundred churches of Rome began to ring, led by the eleven ton Kanchenone of the St. Peter’s Basilica.

[To be continued with Part 2 of this Article in next Issue...]

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ARTICLE 3


FIDELITY IN MARRIAGE - PART 2

By Fr. K.K. JOHN PHILADELPHIA

Honesty is the strongest factor of relationship in every successful marriage. Understanding the difference and necessary accommodation by the counterpart is a vital point for healthy marriage. Beyond all worldviews the essential ingredient for the couples and family is ‘God-fearing'. With out the spiritual element, life of individual, family or community is incomplete.

World-view: Readers Digest Feb 03 published the outcome of a survey on, “Importance to a happy marriage.” It says, in many ways, sex and romance become more significant to marital happiness over time, and sexual happiness is much more important during midlife than in early marriage.” Thoughtful, compromise, deep affection, both spouses holding the same values, balancing the work and home life, tensions built out of arguments, love-being physically affectionate, emotionally handling the spouse or the bad effects of being unemotional as in the case of workaholics, stress management, lose of identity as a couple, romantic involvement of outsiders, psychological down side when retirement is imminent, occasional vacationing, good sex and enough of it, making more attractive, confidence about other spouse’s love, intimacy, reassurance and urge for liberation beyond middle age, dependence due to ill-health, sexual urges even after the age of 77, and many things that benefit married life are discussed.

Another scholarly study explores various aspects of happy marriage; mostly based on studies of troubled couples. It says the old concepts are no more relevant in the changed circumstances. Listening to the other instead of fighting is more important to keep the marriage happy. According to psychologist John Gottman the real problem is the absence of both fighting well and listening well, for example, the wife brings up sticky marital issues and the husband avoids it. Problems are unavoidably integral part of married life, regardless of persons. Sixty nine percent successful couples live in constant fights over the same issues. Psychologist Linda J Waite says divorce is not at all solution because 75% couples that sustained through miserable marriage found they were happy after 5 years! Sharp difference in interest such as hobby or job can be a potential reason for divorce but not necessarily so if both offer independence and be tolerant to the other’s interest. The chief cause for failure is the inability to discover the differences after the initial romance. Good humor can be a good antidote to failing marriages. Even severe arguments could be changed to laugher if the couples are humorous. Couples working together in times of hardships could not only sustain the marriage but also could eventually attain great success in life. Staying connected with family, friends and community is another step to stay happy in marriage. Happy marriage is worth many sacrifices and requires strong faith in marriage to overcome struggles. Remembering the good times and positive things of the past can revitalize the marriage, Readers Digest, Nov 99.

Honesty is the strongest factor of relationship in every successful marriage; all unanimously agree. But how honest are the spouses or how strong is the relationship is an interesting matter of study. Dishonesty among spouses is heavily rampant beyond one’s imagination. Both men and women quite often fall in secret affections outside of marriage. Men are more prone to keep such secrets undisclosed. About 38% men hide their desire for affection, that is, they want affection from the spouse but are shy of putting it to them. 42% of men and 36% of women keep secrets from spouses. Most of them are from baby boomers and higher income bracket. Both men and women, about 48%, lie about money matters, which is crucial for stable relationship. About 18% of women keep the child’s grade secret from the spouse. About 20% men keep secret of their failure in the work place. Most people are curious about the sexual past of the partner (not to be confused for married partner). 38% women and 48% men keep their sexual past a secret. 19% men and 10% women have secret attraction outside of marriage while still live together in marriage. Having and sharing dreams, future plans rather, is the deepest part of emotional relationship but about 20% couples never share dreams and visions for future. Many people keep the marriage without knowing how to get out of it. 16% couple said they woke up every morning wishing not to have married which means that marriage is so hard for them. Psychologist Kramer says a good marriage is not based on just telling all about what bothers you most. According to psychologist Gottman brutal honesty without a foundation of closeness is always not appropriate, survey Aug 2001, Marriages in America.

Understanding the difference and necessary accommodation by the counterpart is a vital point for healthy marriage. There are biological, behavioral, taste and social differences between sexes, which merits sufficient recognition. While a sedentary man requires average 2200 calories same sluggish woman needs only 1600 calories daily. Laboratory standard measures of blood count and brain cell count are slightly lower for a comparable woman to a man. Certain food has protective effect on woman and prevent from ailments but that would not act the same way in men. Men are better with certain other food for the same effect. Tomato sauce consumption two or three times in a week reduces the risk of prostate cancer by 35%. Two or three oysters are considered a zinc therapy that would prevent testosterone deficiency and increase sperm count. Broccoli decreases the chance of bladder cancer in men. Peanut butter is found good for reducing bad cholesterol and triglycerides for a healthy heart. Watermelon contains lot of potassium, which would keep blood pressure under check.

But these do not show equal result in women. For them certain other foods fair well. Papaya is an exemplary source to reduce the risk of common gallbladder disease in women. Flaxseed is powerful against breast cancer. Tofu-foods or soy reduces cholesterol, menopausal hot flashes and strengthens bones. Buffalo meat prevents anemia by supplying necessary iron and no fat. Collard greens vegetable is found very effective to fight osteoporosis, which afflicts many older women. These are the results of many scientific studies published in the Reader’s Digest, July 2001. I have summarized the gist for the benefit of the reader. So naturally men may be more aggressive while women may be global thinkers. Men may be single players while women may be team players. Men may not get upset as easily as women for smaller issues. Men may not give attention to details in as much as women in the given situations. Women may be more loving and caring than men about children and relatives. Women are more jealous about a husband who spends time alone rather more desirous to spend more time together Women can be emotionally easily disturbed than men such as an inappropriate gift, inopportune remarks, not sharing the household works or rearing children. Anger and anxiety cause severe loss of libido in women but for the same reason men suffer less in comparison, etc and the list goes on. “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus” as John Gray has put it. Freud was probably the first man who undertook a detailed study of gender difference. He found different anatomy and configuration in male and female and said, “For women the level of what is ethically normal is different from what it is in man.” Psychologist Janet Lever found that the gender difference is evident in and from the early childhood, boys played outdoor games more often, more in large groups, last longer, erupt more into disputes but solve quicker and enjoy more legal debates. In contrast eruption of disputes among girls marks the end of the game.

Piaget observed that girls have more pragmatic attitude towards rules, are more tolerant to rules and are early reconciled. While boys learn and practice competitive behavior girls learn to practice cooperativeness. Thus in short gender differences are enormous and worth learning.

Our people’s immense curiosity and ominous rapidity to Americanize marriages, especially youngsters who are too fond of western style rather than traditional Indian style, which according to them is old fashioned and monotonous, is no secret at all. It would be an interesting eye opener to know how Americans view these marriage styles and how different they are from ours. “I don’t understand why people who have little interest in spiritual life want to be married in a church. The music they request is blasphemous. Groomsmen come to the rehearsal drunk. Photographers behave as if the ceremony is a “photo opportunity,” and show no respect for the sacred nature of the service. Folks who have no spiritual life should do us a favor and get married at the beach, in a garden, on a mountain top, in Las Vegas or Reno and forget about the church,” says an organist at a Baptist church. Weddings are a pain. Bossy, overbearing mothers of a bride; groomsmen who don’t know their left foot from their right, arriving late and drunk, caterwauling sopranos, who see themselves as operatic divas, wanting to sing the theme song from Titanic; and pushy photographers who think the wedding is a show staged for their benefit. Once, I did a wedding on Saturday and saw the bride sitting alone the next day at services. “Where is your husband?” I asked. “Oh,” she replied, “The marriage was a mistake. We are getting divorced.” I would rather go through a hemorrhoidectomy than perform another wedding,” says a Florida Reverend. “I had a bride who insisted that the pews be unscrewed from the floor and moved to the side so she could get through the isle in her hoop-skirted wedding gown. Give me a funeral any day. The Europeans do it right-first a civil service, then the religious,” from Nashville, Tenn. “There should be a dress code for the brides-gowns with sleeves and shoulder straps. I attended a wedding recently, and the bride wore a strapless gown showing her huge cleavage. When the groom grabbed her for the “wedding kiss” her breast fell out. You can be sure that is the one wedding I’ll never forget,” from Los Angeles. “Wedding receptions have become so raunchy that most clergy refuse to attend. The bride places her wedding garter right up against her crotch for the groom to remove. The groom slow-dances with his tongue in her mouth. I am so offended by all this, I now leave immediately after the service,” from Toledo, Ohio. “May be there is something wrong with my weddings. They don’t seem to take. Ten of the 20 couples I married in the last three years are now divorced. I married two brides twice. I am through doing weddings. They don’t mean anything anymore,” retired Minister in Miami, “Ann Landers,” Inq dt 1/17/ 00.

Those who read various publications, see TV, etc know that in this country and in these times there are too many surveys for all matters from Sun to dust. I am cutting short for fear of length, suffice it to say, studies based merely on worldviews have so far proved futile because it could least alleviate the mounting problem of family unrest. As never before, we have these days too many highly qualified psychological counselors and yet family unrest is exploding in an unprecedented manner. For, the real unfortunate problem is that counselors themselves are in dire need of counseling. For example, Cathy and Bill are disturbed couple. They go to Mr. Wolf, a professional counselor for help. Mr. Wolf himself has a history of two divorces, one legal separation, and visitation-rights for his children, restraining order from the ex-spouse, and etc. Like a blind leading the blind how he can impart sound solution to the problem? People do not much bother about the moral standing of the counselor either. It is however a lucrative business.

The above worldviews lacks the basic ingredient, that is, ‘God-fearing. Not one study at least mentions the spiritual element without which life is incomplete, insignificant and void. No one ever disputes the fact that human being is composed of dust of the ground or elements from the material world and has ultimate destiny to return to it but that alone does not make him different from animal species. All living beings posses the ability to eat, move around, sleep, express concern in danger, make certain sounds, breathe, excrete, etc. But they have no freedom to choose, no faculty to innovate, laugh, or think. They do not recognize or distinguish morality, discipline and ethics. Only human being can exercise these sublime faculties because he has been accentuated with a rational soul, which other beings do not possess. I do not completely disregard the modern scientific studies such as electro-encephalograph test, which says animals and plants do have souls. May be or may not be, that is not the bone of contention here. Even if admitting for discussion sake that animals and plants do posses soul, they have no rational soul, it is argued, as that of human beings. That which they have, remain primitive and rudimentary in nature, limited to cosmic (environment) perception. Human soul is completely different. This difference is evident in the creation account itself. God created all living beings by the word of command. But God first formed man by His hands from the dust of the ground and when the body was complete God breathed into the nostrils the breath of life so it became a living soul. Man is exalted from all other creations in a very special way.

But today’s travesty is that man chooses to live in denial of this exclusive privilege and by immoral acts he negates his high calling. Nature gives man need but not contentment. Discontentment is a born attribute of man. There is an inexplicable feeling of bond that invigorates man as an integral part of the world but at times he also exhibits polar opposition to the world. However, a struggle within to reconcile the polarity is also evident, which is because of an outside agile component and we call it soul. Soul is not a part of God but a creation of God. Because man has rational soul he has consciousness, he can think, imagine, distinguish right and wrong and choose at free will. The physic which houses the soul is from the world but the soul is from God above and so he rightly belongs to a higher realm and needs be constantly connected to that higher power for nourishment and fulfillment. In the absence of rational soul human could not be distinguished from other animals. Physic has neither merit nor existence without rational soul and soul is more important than the physic.

But without physic how soul could function? So I do not intent to diminish the importance of material-body. Importance applies in mere comparison. As the physic is more inclined to the worldly matters the soul has an urge to seek the higher, God. Body requires regular discipline without which the soul cannot grow or attain higher values. Therefore a study without equal credit to both physical and spiritual aspects is inconclusive. Remedy based upon such imperfect one-sided study would be gross error. Worldview without God is like science without ethics, lame, immoral and without virtues. Thus secular learning, secular counseling and secular approach without the active involvement of spiritual aspect will not yield sound result. That is exactly the present predicament and the reason for a groaning society. The only way out is to equally balance world and God.

God-fearing is completely obeying and living according to His righteous standards. Intellectual understanding of who God is, reciting certain prayers or passages, regularly attending church services or certain good deeds, though are necessary human qualities, profits nothing. In other words, God requires perfect trust from a devotee. All human beings are variously bestowed with talents, wisdom and potentials. Let no one say one is born without talent or has no talents, may be he or she has not identified it or developed it yet and what is needed is a conscious and consistent effort to increase one’s abilities for the good of oneself and others. One may be gifted with sweet melody, the other with eloquence, yet another with teaching ability and yet another with certain other talents. Everyone thus endowed with certain talent is made a trustee of such talent and handling it with care and confidence is obviously imperative. When we analyze various talents in relation to ones duties and responsibilities, being a good husband, wife, parent, child, brother, sister, citizen, etc are administration of different talents. If one faithfully discharges one’s given duty that is doing the will of God rather such individual is faithful and God-fearing.

A God-fearing person is morally adept who holds high moral values and principles. Morality and sense of justice are the two basic qualities that make man different from the rest animals. Animals are subject to constraints of nature. Man without these qualities falls worse than the animal. Morality engenders manners. He shuns evil and keeps away from the ungodly. He thinks and acts not in terms of his self but the will of God. He is the one who is right with God when he is alone, for it is then wild thoughts plague and enslaves the mind. His thought and action both in public and in private are in harmony even when put in tantalizing situations. He embraces that which is good, adorable and holy, not out of compulsion or necessity but by free will and choice. He is the one of God’s own heart. This does not imply being sinless. David committed a series of serous sins such as, murder, adultery and yet the Bible talks about David as ‘man after God’s own heart, 1 Sam 13:14. He possessed godly qualities such as long-suffering, forgiving, mercy and kindness.

He completely leaned and trusted upon God in both good and bad times. Job is said to be, “perfect and upright, feared God and eschewed evil. He did not doubt nor forsake nor blaspheme God even in the midst of hard trials; lose of wealth, health and children despite being despised by his wife and close friends. As we do know now Job would never have known that Satan had bargained to test his faith and God was closely watching over the whole matter. It was in the midst of severe afflictions that Job saw God face-to-face. “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eyes sees thee, Job 42:5. God rewarded Job for his perfect devoutness and trust, replenished double of what he lost and wanted Job to mediate on behalf of his friends. Trusting in God is perfect obedience without questioning or grumbling. Such a test came to Abraham. He was fairly robust and wealthy man who happily lived among his relations. But God required him to sojourn from his father’s house to a land yet unknown. He immediately departed without doubt. Again, he confronted the worst nightmare a human being could ever imagine, sacrificing his only son Isaac. Abraham’s trust in God was perfect and complete that he did not waver least, undertook a three days’ difficult journey to Mount Moriah to perform the sacrifice. Thus we have a host of exemplary God-fearing role models who proved their unflinching trust in God. These holy men proved their fidelity by perfect obedience to God.

Fidelity is first and foremost quality of a God-fearing person. Fidelity is the basis of all covenants. Fidelity is the grouting cement upon which all covenants and the society is built and sustained. What would happen to a corporation headed by unfaithful managers, latest examples being Enron and WorldCom? During patriarchal times there were covenants between men, between countries and between God and men. God made covenant with Noah, Abraham, Jacob, David and many others. Covenants were valid and binding upon parties to the covenant only when the conditions are faithfully followed. If either party breaks the condition, the covenant becomes automatically invalid. God-Jehovah and Israel had covenant relationship. It was not in exact bilateral terms as generally understood. God stipulated certain behavioral pattern namely keeping away from sin. God would in turn deliver them from evils-enemies. For example, “You shall be my people and I will be your God,” Je 7:23. Identical to a Middle-east marriage contract, it was based on fidelity of Israel, a condition that Israel will not worship other Gods. If they became infidels God would punish them. He may withdraw His favor but never completely abrogates the covenant. Thus it was a covenant of eternity and abounding grace of God.

DDuring the prophetic times there was an increased awareness of a closer relationship between God and Israel, which was equated to the relationship of husband and wife because spousal relation was most intense form of sacrificial love, trust and mutual care. There is no other relation so private that it excludes all other relations. The relationship being highly charged with emotion there are more likelihood for corruption and thus demands vigilance and fidelity. “Your maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name” said Isaiah, 54:5. Trust in God was compared to the bond between husband and wife. People turned to other gods and committed idolatry, which was deemed adultery, a grave sin. The whole land has committed whoredom, Hosea 1:2. Hosea was a faithful husband but his wife Gomer was unfaithful and deserted him many times. Yet he loved her and brought her back. He found same infidelity on the part of Israel who sought after other gods. He says God-Jehovah loves Israel with the same emotion and passion of a faithful husband to an unfaithful and adulterous wife and God is ready to reinstate and forgive if Israel returns to God. His message is that fidelity is the chief bonding-factor in husband and wife relationship. When trust is lost relationship suffers and ends in most cases. Jeremiah lamented, ‘Israel, the wife, had been faithless and played the harlot’, Ch 3.

[To be continued with Part 3 of this Article in next Issue...]

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ARTICLE 4


MISSIONARY JOURNEY OF ST. PAUL

By DR. M.S. ALEXANDER - LEEDS ENGLAND

When St. Paul was preaching he did not have copy of a written Gospel with him. He only had oral Gospel which he traditionally heard from others and what was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. His writings are full of brilliant Theology, outstanding Spirituality, very high Morality, a bit of controversial Sociology.

Many of us do not realize that St Paul began to write his letters long before the Gospels were written. When he was preaching he did not have copy of a written Gospel with him. He only had oral Gospel which he traditionally heard from others and what was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. His writings are full of brilliant Theology, outstanding Spirituality, very high Morality, a bit of controversial Sociology. Indeed he was indeed an excellent teacher, and a natural leader, a man of good knowledge of tent making trade. He worked tirelessly day and night with out fear or with out favour from any. In order to do the work of our Lord he was relentlessly traveling by dangerous land and sea.

He did not say much about the numerous miracles of our Lord. He wrote a lot about the teaching of our Lord- His death, Resurrection, life after death, and about the Promised Land waiting for the believers.

I was following the footsteps of St. Paul in the past one year and visited most of the places where he worked for his mission. This was a unique experience. Visiting the locations gave me an opportunity to understand what he wrote and why he wrote them. I like to share my insight on this subject with the readers of this article. I will begin with:

A CHRONOLOGY OF ST PAUL'S LIFE

Birth in Tarsus
6-10 Possible training under Pharisee Gamaliel
34 Conversion near Damascus.
34-37 Preaching around Arabia and Damascus.
37 Short private visit with Peter and James in Jerusalem.
38-46 Invitation to Antioch from Bernabas
Missionary activity in Syria and Cilicia
47-48 Possible first Missionary journey to Asia Minor
49 Visit to Jerusalem," fourteen years later" Council of Jerusalem
50-52 Second Missionary journey (into Asia Minor and Greece); Gallio episode in Corinth; Thessalonian Correspondence.
52-57 (Third Missionary Journey into Asia Minor and Greece; Corinthian correspondence mostly from Ephesus. Imprisonment in Ephesus and possible correspondence to Galatians, Philippi, and Philemon
57 Letter to Romans from Corinth
58 Visit to Jerusalem with collection for the poor. Arrest and appeal to Caesar
59-60 Sea voyage to Rome interrupted by ship wreck off Malta
62 Impresonment in Rome. Possible letter to Colossians and Ephesians
67 Death under Roman Emperor Nero.

I will now deal with the life of St Paul in various places I have visited during my Pilgrimage in search of the Foot Steps of St Paul

TO BE CONTINUED IN NEXT WEEK WITH 'ST PAUL IN EPHESUS'

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ARTICLE 5

SAINT TERESA OF THE CALCUTTA (1910-1997)

On October 19, 2003 Catholic Church Prelate, John Paul II had beautified Mother Teresa as 'Saint Teresa of Kolkata' in witness of a huge crowd of around 300,000. 83 year old, ailing Holy Pope had described her as the 'Icon of Good Samaritan' and said of her 'I am personally grateful to this courageous woman, who I always felt was at my side.'

On October 19, 2003 Catholic Church Prelate, John Paul II had beautified Mother Teresa as 'Saint Teresa of Calcutta' in the witness of a huge crowd of around 300,000. 83 year old, ailing Holy Pope had portrayed her as the 'Icon of Good Samaritan' and said of her 'I am personally grateful to this courageous woman, who I always felt was at my side.' The multifarious crowd, comprised of Monica Bersa whose tumor got cured at intercession of Mother, hundreds of Mother's Indian Nuns in white-and-blue habits of Teresa's order under the leadership of Sr. Nirmala, Cardinals in red silk, Statesmen in blue suits, Priests, Deacons, homeless and destitute, multi-religious admirers of Hindu, Muslim, Sikh religions etc. etc. All together it reflected the global appeal of the Mother of Calcutta. Indian girls danced with incense and flowers on the floor of St. Peter's Basilica spreading rose petals at the feet of the Pope during beatification mass. Mother was not only felt in her birth country of Albania or the vocational land of India but also at every nook and corner of the world. After the Holy Pope read the formula of beautification, when the giant tapestry of a smiling Mother Teresa was unveiled, the vast crowd cheered with big applause.

"Whoever would be first among you must be slave of all" (Mark 10: 44).
"As you did to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me" (Matthew 25: 40).

Jesus’ above words of basic principles of the universal religion recognizes that an essential element of evangelization is the witness of humility, Love and Compassion. To this reason, life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta speaks to so many hearts and draws them near to Jesus. She never preached from a pulpit or published any theological documents. She had put the Word of God into her actions, doing the proselytization of the Gospel to all those she encountered. Mother Teresa was a real Missionary of the centaury, preaching through the most universal language of love that surpasses all the boundaries and has no preference other than upholding the solidarity to the poorest of the poor. She was the chosen instrument of God like St. Paul to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus to the entire world by her heart and hands and not by the power of tongue.

Gandhiji had renounced his outer garments and clothed in one piece of cloth and had chosen to live in humble dwellings as he believed that he can not serve Indians unless he become one among them. Mother Teresa owned two saris. She preferred to live in abject poverty, a life as taught by Jesus. She became the attestation of a model of doing little things with great love. In all the pomp and circumstance of the consistory on the two days in which the new cardinals received their hats and rings from the Pope, Pope had reminded them that it was good to remember the example of the little nun with her two saris.

Life style of Mother Teresa was a big miracle we witnessed with our own eyes, and the secret for same was her ardent personal first love for Jesus. This irresistible urge had driven her out into the streets of Calcutta and to the world of sufferers, to touch and cure the sores of lepers, to give a loving touch to the dying destitute, and to caress the untouchables of societies. Sacrifice of her life for the downtrodden was the response to a call from Jesus. Her central message was her love to Jesus first and then to her neighbor. During a public function of Mother Theresa's honor, then Prime Minister of Indira Gandhi told 'In this world of today, so frenetic, it is easy to forget the most essential things. Mother Teresa teaches us that love is what is most essential.'

Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born on 26 August 1910 in Macedonia as the youngest daughter to Nikola and Drane Bojaxhiu. She was baptized as Gonxha Agnes, received her First Communion at the age of five and a half and was confirmed in November 1916. Her father Gonxha died at her age of eight, plunging the family to a financial strait. Her mother Drane raised her children lovingly, influencing them in good character and vocation. At the age of eighteen, moved by a strong desire to become a missionary, Gonxha left her home in September 1928 to join the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Ireland. She took the name 'Teresa' after St. Teresa of Avila, patroness of the Missionaries. In December, she departed for India, and reached Calcutta on 6 January 1929. She made her First Profession of Vows in May 1931 and took up an assignment as a teacher St. Mary’s School for girls. On 24 May 1937, Sister Teresa made her Final Profession of Vows, becoming, as she said, the “spouse of Jesus” for “all eternity.” She continued to teach at St. Mary’s School and in 1944 became the school’s principal.

Mother Teresa's voyage of sacrifice in India began, in Calcutta's Creek Lane, narrow for a pedestrian to pass a bicycle rickshaw. She arrived in Motijeel of Calcutta in 1947, asking slum dwellers whether there were children she could teach. Teresa soon had scores of students learning their lessons in tin-roofed shacks. The community later built brick-and-plaster classrooms. She came across a half-dead woman lying in front of a Calcutta hospital. She stayed with the woman and served her until she died. From that point on, she dedicated the majority of her life to helping the poorest of the poor in India, thus gaining her the name "Saint of the Gutters." In 1948 she founded her order of nuns called the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India at her age of 36, dedicated for serving the blind, the aged, lepers, the disabled, and the dying.

She had been granted permission to found her own order, the Missionaries of Charity, in 1950. In 1952, she founded the Nirmal Hriday Home for the Dying in a former temple in Calcutta, the first of many homes for sick and dying street people. It was there that they would care for the dying Indians that were found on the streets. Here, Mother Teresa and her sisters cleaned maggots from the rotting faces of leprosy victims, washed the emaciated bodies of the malnourished, held the hands of the dying. 1953, 28 other women had joined her work. Mother had seen Jesus in everyone that she met. It didn't matter whether they were dying of AIDS or Leprosy. She wanted them to be able to die in peace and with dignity. For over 50 years, she worked selflessly helping the poor. By this time the Missionaries of Charity have grown from 12 sisters in India to over 4,000 in 517 missions throughout 100 countries worldwide.

That devotion towards the poor won her respect throughout the world and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. In 1963 the Indian government awarded her the Padmashri ("Lord of the Lotus") for her services to the people of India, and in 1971 Pope Paul VI awarded her the first Pope John XXIII Peace Prize.

Over the last two decades of her life, Mother had suffered from heart problems. She suffered a heart attack during a 1983 visit with Pope John Paul II. She suffered another, and more serious, heart attack in 1989. It was then that a pacemaker was installed. During her last year, she suffered from malaria and was treated for a chest infection. Mother died in her convent in India at the age of 87.

During 1974 Mother told in an interview "I see God in every human being. When I wash the leper's wounds I feel I am nursing the Lord himself. Is it not a beautiful experience?" This quotation of Mother Teresa is enough for any God loving person to understand the meaning of real love Jesus taught to us and to get inspired. "This not enough for us to say 'I love God', but I also have to love my neighbor. St. John says that you are a liar if you say you love God and you don't love neighbor. How can you love God whom you do not see, if you do not love your neighbor whom you see, whom you touch, with whom you live?"...Mother Theresa.

Whom ever she met she said; "You must find out who your poor are." She was a personified universal emblem of love and Christian charity. As per her words: “By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus. ” “God still loves the world and He sends you and me to be His love and His compassion to the poor.” She was a soul filled with the light of Christ, on fire with love for Him and burning with one desire: “to quench His thirst for love and for souls.” During 1974 Mother told in an interview "I see God in every human being. When I wash the leper's wounds I feel I am nursing the Lord himself. Is it not a beautiful experience?"

New millennium is an occasion to affirm our commitment to make the face of Christ increasingly more visible within the Church and society through consistent witness to the Gospel that is Jesus Christ himself.

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ARTICLE 6


DISTINCT FAITH AND UNIQUE VISIONS OF
ST.GREGORIOS PARUMALA

By JOSE KURIEN PULIYERIL, ABUDHABI

[St.Geevarghese Mar Gregorios known as the Saint of Parumala is the first declared Saint of Malankara Orthodox Church. He is popularly and affectionately known as 'Parumala Thirumeni' Or 'Kochu Thirumeni'. He was born on 15th June 1848 and breathed his last on 2nd November 1902. In 1947 Malankara Orthodox Church canonized him as a Saint. November 2 is celebrated as the memorial feast of this Saint by Malankara Orthodox Church.]

St. Gregorios had many special qualities of his own. He was a man of constant prayer with a close link with God Almighty. He was a great Master and a good shepherd. Teaching mission was another important vision of the Saint. He was considerate towards the socially downtrodden and the so-called Dalits. Not the least he was a litterateur.

PARUMALA ST.GREGORIOS
PARUMALA ST.GREGORIOS

According to Orthodox Church tradition, one would be canonized as a saint on the basis of his pure and blessed life, merged with innocent and real love, associated with his own faith in Lord Jesus Christ the Saviour. Accordingly the Malankara Orthodox Church canonized St. Gregorios as a saint, as his life was almost identical to the life style of his Lord and Master. St. Gregorios had three special qualities of his own. The first and most important was that he was a man of constant prayer. The saint maintained a close link with God Almighty during mid nights, mornings and at times of prayers and even in between. The faith of the saint was so strong and firm and its blessing was seen on his face. Secondly he was a great Master. The life and activities of the large number of his followers witness the truth. Thirdly he was a good shepherd who had considered the welfare and well being of the Church as a whole.

All Saints always express the godly natures of compassion, love, forgiveness and other spiritual gifts through their glorified lives. They do pray earnestly for the entire universe and mankind while staying/remaining in Lord Christ. (As alive in body and even after the worldly lives.) When the faithful offer prayers for the departed saints and seek the intercessions of those saints, the mutual prayers turn as the expressions of the divine love of God, which was exposed to the world through Lord Jesus Christ. From the visions, life style, writings and exhortations of St. Gregorios, one could witness the brightness of the so-called Eastern Christian tradition.

St. Gregorios believed in the deepness of love and hence the saint taught that a real devotee would love his fellowmen well. St. Gregorios tried his best to identify with the tradition of the Church Fathers. As a matter of fact it is very difficult to identify the theological visions of St. Gregorios separately from that of the Church Fathers before and after him. The Eastern Church fathers before him have totally ignored the importance of the secular education and the peaks in this field where one learner could reach. The Church Fathers were of the opinion that the interpretations of the Holy Scriptures and the religious practice must be practical in word and deed, which could be easily practiced in the daily life. They were eager to find the roots and base of the faith of theology in the lives of the ordinary people.

When St. Gregorios says that all creations of God are beloved while the saint is leading our attention to the nucleus of the Eastern Christian theology. And he is explaining the deep meaning of the great tradition. The Holy Bible provides us enough evidences of God's nature of goodness, love and freedom. For example, 1 John 1:15, James 1:17, 1 John 4:16, St. John 3:16 etc. St. Basil of Caesaria, St. Gregory of Nazianzi and St. Gregory of Nyssa are considered as pillars of Eastern Christian tradition, as these three were well versed in God's goodness, love and freedom. In addition to the above faith, they taught about the share of those virtues vested in the entire creation. St. Gregorios of Parumala had identified himself to the above theological version of the Eastern Church fathers, who are generally refereed as Cappadocian fathers. And in fact the vision of St. Gregorios of Parumala had something more.

St. Gregorios of Parumala formed the divine theology connected with the creation, on the basis of the Biblical statement that after each creation "God found it good". The saint of Parumala defined that the goodness, beauty and truth of God are there in each creation of God. So also the saint exhorted the faithful to lead a life to attain the perfection of God's divine virtues. St. Gregorios used to pray for the entire mankind with real repentance, for and on behalf of the entire mankind with plenty of tears. The saint was confident that we are supposed to love all the creations irrespective of caste, colour and creed. The feeling to love everyone and everything created by God enables man to get freedom from sorrow and desperation. When a faithful offers prayer with tears for his fellowmen, it would enable others to achieve more and more blessings from God. In the total life, St. Gregorios gave the priority for prayer. So the saint emphasized to pray as and when time would allow. The saint taught: "prayer is the enthusiasm of childhood, the dependence of the youth, and peace of the old age. One, who loves his fellowmen, is a real devotee. Because what all are created by God deserves love. Many things more than what we could dream are possible through prayer".

Teaching mission was another important vision of St. Gregorios and the mission undertaken by the saint. In those days the media for mass education was the worships in the Churches, in addition to the practical teaching expertise by the elders in the joint families. In those days education in Kerala meant learning a few lessons of Sanskrit. And it was available to the high-class Hindu male members only. This system was radically changed by the effort of Christian Missionaries. In Kerala, English education was started in Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam for the first time. The introduction of the “education for all” resulted in a great social revolution. In the Missionary Schools, there was no caste system. St. Gregorios was greatly influenced by the good effects of the activities of the Missionaries in the educational field. The saint desired that his own church should also be active. So the saint utilized his influence to open as many English Schools as he could.

St. Gregorios was considerate towards the socially downtrodden and the so-called Dalits, as the high-class people had not allowed the Dalit children to have education with their children. The saint started separate schools for the children of Dalits. St. Gregorios gave inspiration and the needy financial aid to so many Dalit youth for their Education, even though many of the Syrian Christians of those days had objected the saint’s attempts to raise the standard of the socially down trodden people. During the period from 1895 till 1902, St. Gregorios gave the final shape for his visions like social reformation, Educational activities as well as freedom struggle of the Dalits. St. Gregorios was able to establish English schools in Mulamthuruthy, Tiruvalla, Kunnamkulam, Niranam and Thumpamon. The efforts to establish the schools are the evidences for the saint’s attempts for the social reformation of Kerala. One could find the saint’s reactions against the poor status of the social system, from the private letters, sermons and articles of St. Gregorios. The saint only had started the mission works in the Indian Orthodox Church for the first time. He gave priority and exhorted the Church to give due importance to mission works both inside and outside the Church. It seems that he had instructed his followers to maintain the following:

  1. To start Sunday Schools and prayer meetings in the parishes.
  2. The priests must deliver sermons on the Holy Biblical portions with interpretations.
  3. Priests must continue the mission woks in the society. They must establish schools and churches in accordance with the need.

The life of St. Gregorios was converted as a message to the entire world where one could witness the message of Christian love and holiness of life. The prayers of different occasions of the worship were systematically arranged to remember and also to meditate the events that took place in the life of Lord Jesus Christ from childhood. The Holy Bible readings for an entire year are also set likewise for the use of the faithful from the beginning of the year till the end. St. Gregorios was of the opinion that the spiritual education could provide the knowledge in three shapes. l) As a weapon to fight against Satan. St. Paul compared the spiritual education as a sword of Holy Spirit to fight against Satan and the evil powers. (Read Ephesians. 6:11-18) St. Gregorios confirmed that the spiritual education is the spiritual weapon to fight Satan. 2) As a lamp which Satan cannot distinguish? All world religions consider light as the symbol of wisdom and darkness as the symbol of illiteracy. 3) As a treasure which Satan cannot inherit or rob. The saint considered the spiritual wisdom gained by each and everyone as eternal treasure. (Read St. Mathew 6: 19-20) St. Gregorios was the first in the Malankara Church to initiate mission works among the gentiles. So also the saint gave equal importance for the protection of orthodox faith.

St. Gregorios always expressed a religious vision, which was illustrated and illuminated through Jesus Christ. The same vision had likeness to the teaching of all world religions. When we attempt to analyze each religion through the vision of St. Gregorios, we could see Christ's picture drawn in different colours. When we would watch such a picture, we will make sure that there are no limits and boundaries for the glory of God. In addition to being the spiritual head of a Christian church, St. Gregorios had a vision towards other religions, which could be accepted by one and all. The following points could be considered as a sign acceptable to all religions.

  1. A life style that is aimed to attain the final goal of life.
  2. Service to mankind is a means to worship and please God.
  3. There is a common spirituality in all men.
  4. Prayers, fasting etc. must enable one to achieve purity of life.
  5. There is a life after life (after the worldly death).

The five statements mentioned above are acceptable to all religions as a means to enrich one's spirituality. St. Gregorios was a veteran in all these aspects and hence one could say that the saint maintained the vision of religions acceptable to one and all.

St. Gregorios was the first person in the Orthodox Church to take initiative to translate the liturgies and prayer books from Syriac language to Malayalam. The saint had extra ordinary interest in compiling, translating and publishing the prayer books as well as many other similar books from the Syriac language. At the same time he had given inspiration and guidance to his own disciples and close associates to do so, independently. St. Gregorios had a special liking towards books and other publications.

Dr. Samuel Chandanappally had collected almost all writings of the saint after the research of a very long period and published them with the title ‘Holy writings’ (Pavithra rachanakal) in 1980. The most important writing among others is the saint’s speech named ‘Pious verses’. In this speech the saint first explains his experiences during the journey to Jerusalem and secondly reminds his followers about their responsibilities. The saint gave importance for the freedom of the Dalits; need of English education and the significance of spiritual revival in his prophetic sermon named the pious verses. In the private and common letters of the saint, one could find the sound of affection, love, and care as well as the strictness for discipline, fear of God, etc. During the spare time after the prayers and worships, the saint used to write a lot as letters to individuals or to the parishes.

From the writings of the saint we could understand that he was a veteran of the popular Malayalam literature of those days, which is generally known as the Missionary Malayalam. In fact the Malayalam literature became prominent as well as common due to the arrival of the missionaries as well as their contributions to the language. The saint had followed the missionary Malayalam, as it was very simple for the common man to use. The books of Christian priests have contributed a lot of means for the progress of Malayalam language especially the prose. The experts of the language and the prose consider the period from the time of Udayamperoor Synod (1599) till the release of the ‘Holy Land Travelogue’ of St. Gregorios (1895) as the time of Missionary language.

The Holy Land travelogue is very rich in the value of literature. In this book the saint explains about his journey to Jerusalem, sights during the journey, blessings and experiences at Jerusalem, return journey to Kerala etc in the unique manner and style. St. Gregorios gives us a detailed description about the traditions, rituals and rites, cultures and civilizations etc, which he had seen and studied, in a very influential language and literature. The saint explains about the places of importance in the Holy Bible, as if he is standing there and showing us the location. The desire to visit the Holy Land, which was touched by the feet of Lord Jesus, was the intention of the saint’s visit. When the saint visited the Holy Land, he longed to write a book for the sake of his sheep in India that were less fortunate to visit the Holy Land. It is a fact that all will agree to the statement that the travelogue of St. Gregorios has to its credit all the significant features of a perfect travelogue.

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ARTICLE 7


MOTHER TERESA'S BEATIFICATION

By REV.DR. VALSAN THAMPU

On October 19th Vatican had authenticated her sainthood. Whole the world, cutting across religious barriers, has involved the Mother for years to hail her a saint even before her death. The life style of Mother itself was a big miracle.

Catholics all over the world were waiting eagerly for the beatification of Mother Teresa. October 19th Vatican had authenticated her sainthood. Now we who used to know and love her as “Mother” got her as “Saint”. Ironically, the Catholics are bound by their quaint tradition, to wait in uncertainty to welcome the dead Mother to be proclaimed a saint. The rest of the world, cutting across religious barriers, however, has been free for years to hail her a saint long before her death. The Vatican and the Missionaries of Charity have done their best to assemble the prescribed number of miracles to clinch the issue in the Mother’s favour. In this process they seem to have forgotten the fact that the Mother is the greatest of all miracles; and that none else really matters.

If only the Vatican had the eyes to see this transparent fact, the current unsavoury controversy about the miraculous healing of Monica Besra could have been averted. Did the healing of this erstwhile patient of ovarian tumour and tubercular meningitis, result from medical treatment, as the rationalists in Kolkotta allege? Or is it attributable to the spiritual mediation of the Mother, as the Missionaries of Charity claim? According to the Vatican version of the episode, on October 5 1998, Monica’s pain left her soon after she prayed to Mother Teresa at Missionaries of Charity home in Kolkotta. It is a fact, though, that Monica was under treatment for a period of time under three doctors. On that basis the rationalists insist on ascribing the credit solely to the efficacy of the treatment that Monica received. Accordingly, they smell a rat in the invitation that the Vatican has extended to two of Monica’s physicians: Dr. Tarun Biswas and Dr Ranjan Mustafi. They derive further mileage from the allegation by Dr. Manzur Murshed, the third doctor who treated Monica, that he has been approached by some interested parties to persuade him to endorse the cure as a miracle wrought by the Mother.

This controversy unveils a host of issues pertaining to religion, reason and public morality that need to be addressed. That is of greater importance in the long run than deciding whether or not Mother Teresa merits sainthood. The first of these is the over-dependence on the miraculous and the corresponding de-valuation of reason and common sense in the practice of religion. It is a tragic and archaic misconception that faith is proved or enabled by miracles. It is an even more senseless and unbiblical assumption that the miraculous is an essential ingredient of saintliness. The craving for miracles proves the infantile nature of faith at the popular level. It signals not religious maturity but spiritual bankruptcy. A faith that needs the crutches of the miraculous is no faith at all. And those who care for spirituality should desist from popularizing such tastes. Popular religiosity, conditioned miraculously, is indeed the opium of the people. It exiles reason from religion and renders the masses vulnerable to manipulation by religious charlatans and god-men. Once the aura of religion and, especially, miracles is conjured up around a person, the masses accept and venerate him, even if he is a scoundrel or worse. As the great German philosophers of religion, Immanuel Kant and Hegel, warn us the miraculous suppresses the ethical in the development of religion.

Allied to this is the gross misunderstanding of miracle itself. The key miracle, according to Jesus Christ, is not healing the sick or even raising the dead to life. It is, instead, the appropriation of “life in all its fullness” and living out its glorious potential both for oneself and for others. A life well-lived, as Mother Teresa’s was, is the foremost miracle. It was this miracle that mesmerized the world in the person of Mother Teresa. This, and not any papal stamp of approval, endeared her to the global community. She has been, rightly, acclaimed as one of the two greatest persons of the 20th century; the other being Mahatma Gandhi. The Catholic Church does the Mother an unwitting injustice by focusing its attention on a couple of posthumous miracles, in a way that occludes the great miracle that the Mother was. Those of us who have met and interacted with her can vouch for this: no other miracle imaginable is greater than her life was. It is unfortunate that the Vatican has to put together a case and prove her sainthood, as though her life and mission were not adequate for this! When I visualize the consecrated bureaucracy of the Church sitting in judgment over the authenticity of the Mother’s spiritual status, I cannot help feeling a trifle amused.

This notwithstanding, the abundant caution the Church wants to exercise in stamping sainthood on someone is indeed commendable. That is because religion is a twilight zone in which sham and spirituality co-exist in a state of sublime confusion. From the beginning of times till now, enlightened ones and charlatans, true prophets and false prophets, wolves and lambs, have abounded in this region. The sense of the sacred is at the root of human consciousness; and it stands in perpetual danger of being manipulated and exploited. The common man is poignantly vulnerable to the wiles of religious wolves. It is enough to record a recent event with which the present author is personally familiar. An ambitious and clever religious person (never mind his religion), tried for a few years in vain to make a big break into popular religiosity. Having failed and beginning to be desperate, he had his chelas to spread the word that a tile with some religious markings emerged from the floor of his place of worship. This had a most salutary effect on the influx of devotees and, consequently, his personal income.

So we are grateful to our rationalist friends. But we would have been obliged to them all the more if they were reasonable, not less than rational. What is their rationality worth if it only makes them blind to the blessing that the Mother had been to their city, transformed by her into the City of Joy? Do they have to deny the truth, in their very eagerness to defend it? The truth, they cannot but know, is that the Mother was a living saint. Does the verity or otherwise of the Monica event belittle that blessed truth? Purblind rationalists of this kind -fundamentalists of rationality, if you like- are the country cousins of their counterparts in religions. The task of reason is not only to expose counterfeit religiosity, which is a laudable thing to do. Reasonable rationality must also be an acknowledgement, indeed a celebration, of what is great and glorious in our midst. And that includes among other things the empowering fact that every human being is a potential saint. I do not have much use for the Mother as a saint. But, despite the Vatican, she will continue to challenge me as an exemplar of what I too can be, if only I would respond to the call of true spirituality. A rationality that fights shy of this will never know when its skepticism degenerates into soulless cynicism. The words of G. K. Chesterton are eminently relevant here, “A mad man is not one who has lost his reason, but one who has lost everything else except his reason”.

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ARTICLE 8


DEMOCRACY OR DEMONOCRAZY

By E.S. JOHN AUSTRALIA

In all the existed or tested forms of regimes democracy is seemingly the best form of government. The image and likeness of God, cannot be excelled by any other rule.

In all the existed or tested forms of regimes democracy is seemingly the best form of government. ‘Of the people, by the people and for the people’ concept of democracy that gives dignity, respect and nobility to the individual, the image and likeness of God, cannot be excelled by any other rule. Despite God has been confronting a duel fight from His archenemy from the very outset, God created Adam with the gift of free will in judging and choosing between good and evil. “Freedom of thought is the life of the soul”. The Athenian democracy, the cradle of democratic rule, which flourished centuries ago, is the role model of the evangelical and global democracy of the modern world. The free will given under a simple commandment not to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge with a strict condition was renewed by inescapable conditional severity after the fall of Adam.

THE SET CONDITIONS OF FREE WILL: What were the conditions of contract between man and God for the escape of eternal damnations under the conditional provisions of free will after the fall? While woman’s son bruising the head of the serpent, man’s punitive responsibility is to eat bread in the sweat of his face and woman’s to bring forth children in pain (Gen3: 14-21). While woman’s domain is in the household giving birth children and bringing them up, man’s field of work centres around in earning bread and butter for the family and get involved as the shepherd of the household in the social intercourse of life. Freedom is a sugar coating abstract concept over the bitter pill of sweating bread and labour pain of bringing forth children. The conditions of starting sacrifices by the blood of chosen animals as precursor of the Lamb’s sacrifice (food) and clothing themselves to hide the nakedness (1.Tim.6:8) that was imported from Hades have laid down in the Garden of Eden. Hence man’s obligation to keep the conditions clothed in the commandments as statutes and covenants is perpetual with the renewal of the same from time to time till the close of the Age. While the former part of the Ten Commandments centres around the worship of God, the latter part focuses on the commitments to the brethren. The covenants and statutes with Abraham and Moses were further renewed and expanded in course of time culminating by the dimension of love added by Jesus. If you love me, you will keep my commandments (Jn.14; 15). This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you (Jn.15: 12). The net gain of observing these commandments is: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. The harvest of this peace is imbedded in the good relationship between individual to individual. Hence the democratic freedom has multidimensional and multifunctional responsibilities and duties to oneself and to others individually and collectively. Living by worshipping God and serving man is the noblest duty that is expected of each individual.

The real spirit of religious democracy flourished only during the time of the apostles, or a few years more during the time of persecution. When the infernal power crept into the church in the form of heresies that invited factional fights to divide the Body of Christ in different fragments since the time of Constantine espousing the way of new worship. The Dark Ages witnessed the corruption of the clergy and the church and great implosions of filth spilling around for the onset of a sinister kind of apostasy during the renaissance period. Colonialism subsequently added more vigour and fuel for the rival evangelization for the exposition of a different Jesus that was not preached by the apostles.

MODERN SECULAR DEMOCRACY: There have been iron dictatorships, fuelled by suppression and oppression from the beginning of history, disallowing people to express their opinions and demand the basic human rights granted by the Creator. Yet, there have been benevolent dictatorships allowing people to lead a normal human life, cherishing all their religious and moral rights and traditional value systems, which have been bequeathed to them. However, in comparison to dictatorship, including the theocratic system of government, versus democracy there are multiples of plus points to the latter. No man has the right to stand in the way of freedom that is once being granted by God, but in real life things are entirely different from what we dream and experience. The alleged excuse is that it became imperative for the Colonialists confronted by the iron idealism of the Marxists to choose a different line of rule by serving the same wine from a different bottle of the colonial past. Democracy is the new religion championed by the protagonists of the new world order that is being challenged by the new wave of religious fanaticism fomented by militant theologies and liberation theologies of some churches and Marxism on a global basis.

THE IMPACT OF MODERN DEMOCRACY: The democratic way of life planted in the Garden of Eden no longer exists anywhere in the modern world. The elected governments and the opposition parties cook stories and backgrounds by hook or by crook for theirs and their party’s carnivorous survival. There are leaks of secrets of very confidential matters from the government circles and vice versa. There are sleek mud throwing techniques to bring down governments to their knees. In order to grab money and power parties are divided like amoeba and giving way for the degeneration of the moral web of life of the society at large. The vote catching bait of politicians is to liberalize the moral ethos of the religious and family values so far maintained by the societies from time immemorial and have been potentially effective for integrating the community at large. The Equal Opportunity Act, which envisages equal rights in our secular life, doesn’t give license to do everything in public with nakedness that bloomed in the Garden of Eden. This Act violates the set conditions in the Garden of Eden for women and men to play their particular roles in their daily life. Eating the forbidden fruit becomes a common social reality if man and woman work and move together in the same venue. The resultant of such profligate life style is the fireplug for the moral decadence of the social order of today. We have reached to a stage of fruitful animal life where “ there is nothing good or bad but thinking make it so” situation.

The moral rock on which the social life and ethics that based is dynamited by the deviant rules and regulations regimentalised by the new lawmakers. The universally accepted Mosaic commandments and Creed these days are nothing but good for filling the wastebaskets. Instead of ethics of life run our entire life activities it is the passions of our body propels us. The lawmakers of the land led us into such an intractable dilemma. The sex energy that runs and propels the whole lifetime activities has become only a fast consuming cheap fuel for deriving the ephemeral nervous pleasure. The nakedness that was implanted in the forbidden fruit has trampled over all other moral precepts. Despite there have been sexual profligacy all along the course of history; never has it been demonized by legalizing the same. The sanctity of matrimony is buried by the legalizations of adultery, defacto relationship, divorce, same-sex relationship, abortion and the like. Sex vandalism that starts before or by the onset of puberty disintegrates the whole personality, the determinant factor for one’s moral web and physical health. The concept of religion has been to worship the Holy Father by maintaing these entire moral menu, the foundation stone of keeping and maintaining the dignity of the Creator and the creation. Man plus God is a demi-god and man minus God is a dog, reading the word God in reverse order. Reverting back God to the state of god of bodily lusts in one’s life is the source of energy for the inspiration of suicide and Euthanasia.

MISCONCEPTION OF THE PRIVACY ACT: Detachment from all the fleeting pleasures is needed for man to nourish his inner being with enough nutrients for enhancing the quality of life. Silence is the first ingredient for the same. Mad music and pornographic materials that corrupt his private life is a good recipe for his moral degradation. The Privacy Act is nothing but a nursery of vices that allows practicing all the sexual and epicurean deviations and perversions of life where nobody has any right to encroach into, ignoring the fact that every moment of life is meant for the cultivation of charitable life. The addiction to hard drugs, perversions of all types and gambling are the blessing of unwarranted freedom enjoyed by the Privacy Act. When freedom is misused, we sign up the warrant for slavery of body passions, the commander of which is the devil. The artificial and superficial freedom that we assumingly enjoy the laxities of morals can only accelerate our health bill and torpedo the quality and beauty at the unripe time of life. Nothing is private and secret with regard to the confidentiality of our personal details and identities, where the tentacles of technology have kept open everybody’s movements and activities. People interfere in everything if we don’t earn cheap popularity by hook or by crook.

Is there any secrecy in this age of computer hacking? Serious things are decided by the survey conducted by the mass media. What can a law abiding civilian do when his phones are tapped, emails are intercepted, correspondences are read, monitored and circulated by the postal department, banking and financial dealings are penetrated into, local secret service members hire locals to spy by underhand methods, chasing up every moment by the big Boys’ cronies, poisoning and torturing the family members, administering wrong medicines, seeking the assistance of hit men, and so on as a reaction against the prejudices gathered from hooligans? The main aim of these people is to force the individual into a social solitary confinement by slow torture and giving some superficial assistance while he disintegrates himself, so that he becomes their crony and stereotype eventually. The imposition of Mad Max technology comes to fruition at every moment of our life. Since direct confrontations are illegal and met with force, character assassination, gossip, insults and laughter are other methods to subdue the victim.

Political detainees and other categories of people are injected with lethal poisons on the pretext of medical treatment. Strikes, picketing, roadblocks, hartal, political revenge killings are the naked realities of our every day life. The political minefield is only the last resort of scoundrels who fish in troubled waters for their gains and cement their power. In one system, the death is slow due to the imposition of afflictions slowly but continuously, but in the dictatorial set -up it is quick and secret. Torture and killing is a routine pattern of life that affects the innocent civilians’ life in democratic and autocratic setups in most of the nations of the world. I know one person who was treated medically with lethal injection suffered from Parkinson’s disease and died. How many are in like situations? Extermination of the Opposition and vice versa by hook or by crook is the hidden agenda of political parties, converting our every day life as a procession similar in tune with the confrontations of Ayodhya on a basis on religious fanaticism, religious anarchy in Belfast in connection with the IRA and secular scandals of Watergate affairs. Everybody is scared of one another as there is no longer any bond of love. Money is the lingua franca of everything; it is money that speaks for everything for everyone. It is a sin to spend billions of taxpayers’ money extravagantly for satisfying the ego and eccentricity of the secret service in chasing the innocent people for years. There is no one to oversee and supervise such things meticulously because of the militant actions by the radical Unions. This culture of the survival of the unfittest of the moral imbeciles that fuels pernicious anarchy in the secular and religious dictatorship is synonymous with the prolitarianism that destroyed the corrupt Czar regime in Russia.

What happens in the free countries is the democratic prolitariansm (survival of the unfittest), which roots out all the remaining religious and ethical values of the past. This is a planet now with full of the spirits of confusion. As multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism conquered the world, every body is a stranger to everyone. Consequently, a mob culture of mobocracy fuelled and aligned with all the passions of the flesh by Epicureanism and gambling and pop culture bring together people for nurturing a club culture serving all the promiscuities and vivid and wild sports under the same roof. All the major vices and their related exercises are electrified within the premises of the same podium. If one is not a part of this infernal culture, the writing on the walls with regards to the counting of his days in this planet is not far off. People go to any extent of ill-treating their opponents by hideous and brutal means. Once when the two creative passions love and fear are extinct, nothing good can come out from any system of government or social outfit. Individualism is a detrimental time bomb that explodes without any warning. Individualism and pride of Lucifer that distances man from man and all the essential qualities, he tends to choose the wrong things in life, as he is free to do anything anywhere while the accessibility to the fruits of money and technology reigns. While man is free to do any wrong things in life, he is chained everywhere by the divine and moral code of ethics for which he has to answer in this life and life beyond. Capital punishment used to be a good deterrent, but if inflicted by a corrupt system cherishing all unfair and underhand methods, it becomes inhuman and unjustifiable. The war on terrorism now is a plausible means of betraying and persecuting the likely friends and foes by the same yardstick.

RELIGIOUS VITUES: A true religious person’s untold miseries and vexations of spirit are of many dimensions. He can’t please God and mammon at the same time. Such a person analyses by sifting through before making a leap; he is not a mob pleaser; he likes to give to the Caesar only what is due to him. He may analyze the man- made laws and do according to his pure conscience, the governor of his life. The club culture maniacs will find some faults of the man who has religious and moral sensibilities, and transmit them over to the secular and religious hierarchies of the land in which he is a part and parcel of. To err is human; everybody is prone to make mistakes impulsively; repentance is the only remedy to it. Freedom of expression is a democratic right provided he confines within the sub-cultural limits these days, otherwise he will be haunted to his perdition if he stands for religious ethics and criticizes their profligate life style. The time is not conducive for the evangelization of true faith, nor to practice right morality and religious virtues. The true religion and moral value system is dead; those who cherish the religious ethics are mere anachronisms to the perverted and crooked generations. Jesus asks us not to betray a person but reconcile with your opponent before he drags him to court (Mt.18: 15; 5:25).

It is also equally culpable of casting aspersion against anybody and making judgement on others (Mt.7: 1-2). How can one correct or reconcile with a person unless he is made aware of his crime. We can correct a person only if we directly discuss it with the many-sidedness and pros and corns of a problem. Instead of doing any such didactic exercises everybody in any system of government these days expects everyone as a whistle blower, an abhorrent job, reporting to the authorities anything that they feel sinister or abnormal in others. Is everyone a sane person capable of making a just judgment by seeing only a particular episode? People cook up stories about others and make use of them for their personal advantages. It is said that a wise man understands many things from a fool, whereas a fool doesn’t understand anything from a wise man. Just as there is a union for everything, there is a whistleblower’s association, rampant and known with various names in different parts of the world, keeping awake to report about others. Such people and authorities hire neighbors to work as their accomplices for the ritual of continuous reporting. Evil thoughts and slanders are sins. (Mk.7: 22).

MOBOCRACY: The brotherhood and affinity taught by religions is replaced by unionism, a climate of intimidation and club culture where there is no love, or concern between individuals and fight like cats and dogs to gain power and glory for certain persons despite their supposed main aim is to get better working conditions. These political unions are proponents of radicalism, which tries to wipe out the religious values propagated for centuries. Even the police, judiciary and spying agencies are also not exceptions in certain countries. Mobocracy is the order of the day. Using the same law, they help their cronies and favoured ones while tormenting and persecuting the ones who are not in their good books. Work place life also makes life impossible on account of a pop culture prevailing in and around the institutions unless we go in tune with the culture there. One who barks for nothing has recognition and power. There are whistle blowers there also with in the unions, doing their part well to harass and bring people into their line. Independent thinking, freedom, individuality and the like have no meaning anymore except in vandalizing the enshrined value system. One should be a slave wherever he is in the present backgrounds.

Recruitments, job appointments, transfers and many other routine things are done on the basis of religion, colour, creed, ethnicity, geographical locations and above all on sexual favours while preaching in the name of freedom and the birth right of every two-footed animals. Discriminations and disparity are everywhere. Justice seems to be an alien stuff in every field. Every institution, whether religious or secular, runs on these club culture and favourtism derived out of irreligious concept of satisfying the craving of the flesh, buttressed by the sweet fruits of technology and bridled by the money- craving business community which supplies many- sided venue to whet the passionate life of the flesh. False individualism that thrives by the emanations of duplicities and multiplicities of character at the spur of the moment reflects the emergence of the beast from the land of gloomy silence. The true religion seemingly is the adoration of Cupid who rules even in the realm of religious venues, too. The international treachery and lechery is the key for trade and arms race. Nothing is true and real; everything is poisoned for a cosmetic look.

The true religion of love that taught by Jesus is killed and buried. The religion of celestial love only can kindle the beauty and passion of real life. Judiciary and law making venues that substitute the living God is corrupt to the core. In some countries, the blind law made by the Pharisees are only meant for the down trodden, not for them, too. Justice emanating from pure love is banished from every walk of our private, public and family life, which only exists for sucking of our craving passions and cronyism. The many-fronted battlefield is a nightmare for a true believer of God at the fag end of the time (Eph.6: 11-13). The brotherhood of man flourishes only when we are permeated with the radiance of Godly love. We are mere bastards (lack of brotherhood) because of the absence of the Fatherhood of God. There are such innumerable deficiencies in our system that run nations and United Nations of the world which cannot win the hearts and minds of innocent destitute living in squalid conditions all around the world. The fake democracy, together with the theocracy and autocracy, is at the throes of its deathbed. The pseudo democracies that instilled and cultivated the animal instincts are nothing but demonocrazies, the craziness of demons (demons+craziness). Any rule based on hypocrisy and falsehood will end up into the mouth of a monstrous world ruler, passionately waiting at the doorstep to grab the key from our hands (Dan.11; 21-43).

Nothing can save mankind and the earth from the impending peril of doom and gloom. God’s patience is running out as we approach to the dead end of the time. As all the promiscuities of deviant lifestyle have been brought under the perimeter of secular and religious laws and venues, the encroachment of the same corroded and eroded the piety and chastity of the institutions and members. The subversion of religious life in the democratic Christian nations which apparently, it is alleged, plunder the wealth by exporting the filth and corrupting the non Christian nations with frivolous and reprehensible morals by the past imperial world powers saw the resurrection of other faiths to embrace any means of sabotaging the lax theology of the conquerors. Just like the creation of vacuum by the rise of hot air in a place and blasting in cold air from the vicinity, the empty space created by the evaporation of religious morals in the Christian countries that advocate and preach for high ethics and morals invite and embrace automatically an alien religious life incompatible to our way of life. These alien religious cultures, which follows their religion at least in a superfluous way, will swallow the world democratic governments that encourage an amorous culture at the expense of their religion and grabbing their wealth by indirect means in order to bring them down to their knees. Thus, God has set a time limit for the duration of our life here and the subsequent culmination in the redemption of the race. Every thing has a life span and for each fragment of that span of life God has set a spirit of delusion in progression for the accomplishment of His plan during that set time limit.

Democracy, however, that once proved to be the best form of govt. which triggered later a global ape culture that multiplied the traffic of immoralities of all kinds: sex trade coupled with pornography, drugs and all forms of profligate life on a global basis, corrupting the quality of life, inner and physical, with the aid of scientific and technological inventions. These vampire autocratic or democratic or socialist or Marxist governments working like Damocles’ sword accomplish the Pharisee’s role of straining out a mosquito and swallowing a camel (Mt.23: 24). Every regime during this doomsday is infected with the spirit of Lucifer in one form or another. They waste and swindle the poor man’s tax money and write it off for the balance of accounts, while a helpless and hungry worker who picks up some crumbs of bread where he works to quell the hunger is dragged to the court and jail to get him corrected and penalized. Is there any difference between the police and the military when spying and gunpowder is their routine common menu? Mere naked humanism corrupts values, chaste way of life and morals. Had not there been a democratic type of life style catered on a global basis, cultivating all forms of immoralities, the end of the world would have been only a long way far off into the future. Any totalitarian or theocratic or plutocratic govt. would not have been the kitchen to cook and cater the present permissive culture that paves the way for the ‘end of days’ to the entire world. It is alleged that the cosmetic democracy of certain countries that harness the entire world economy of today drives the under developed nations as their concubines who, in turn, hijack the fanatic stream of religious cults as their weapons to put hooks into the nostrils of their enemies, giving way for the Beast to bridle the entire world under his control, which hastens the Redeemer to come and collect His flock into His fold and dump the foe and his followers into the bottomless Pit.

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SATIRE

Long time ago, before Christ, there was a Rabbi in ancient Judia by the name Solomon who was very famous for his wisdom, honesty and generosity. Every day of Sabbath many youngsters, both man and woman of Judia, after worshipping Yahweh, gathered in the shade of the trees of Synagogue, to hear and discuss with Solomon whose wisdom they appraised as comparable to that of Wise King Solomon. Rabbi Solomon was so scholastic to answer any questions of the Youngsters with reference to the Holy Scriptures. Yohanes, Martha, Ezekiel, Esther, and Ahaz were some of the active participants of the group discussions with Rabbi. Esther, an young girl, of the group recorded all the sweet discussions with Rabbi day to day As:


QUESTIONS OF LIFE AND DEATH - SERIES 5

ESTHER RECORDED ON THE FIFTH DAY:
HOW TO MEND BROKEN RELATIONSHIP ?
Authored By: JOHN D. KUNNATHU

Ahaz came today with a gloomy face. It was clear that he was upset about something. We asked him what was wrong, and he said:

Ahaz: Well, there was an incident at my home, and my father got very upset about me. He had asked me to water some of the plants in the mornings as he goes to work very early in the morning. Although I did it for some time, I have not been that regular lately. Without enough water, many of those plants couldn’t survive. He asked me about it, and I had to tell him what happened. He got very upset.”

After listening to the story, the Rabbi asked, “So, what did you do then?

Ahaz:Well, there was not much to do. I just can’t face him. I am trying to hide myself from him.

Rabbi:Ahaz, your story I just heard sounds like another version of the story of Adam and Eve. They were living in God’s garden just as you live in your father’s home now. There was a certain agreement between them and God. In your case the agreement with your father was that you would water the plants every morning. In their case the agreement was that they would not eat the fruit from a certain tree. They broke the agreement just as you did. You feel like you can’t face your father, and you try to hide yourself from him. That is exactly what they did: they hid themselves behind a tree.

A relationship between any two parties involves an agreement . Whenever an agreement is broken, the relationship is broken. You don’t have the same relationship with your father any more-that is what makes you feel that you can’t face him. When Adam and Eve ate those fruit, they broke their agreement, and it broke their relationship with God as well.

Is it possible to mend a broken relationship? Though it is hard, it is not impossible. The party that broke the agreement has to apologize sincerely, and promise that anything like this would never happen again. If the other party is willing to forgive, their relationship will be re-established. This did not happen in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve did not apologize for their mistake. They were quick to place the blame on someone else. Hence, they could not mend their broken relationship with God.

Adam placed the blame on Eve and God when he said, “The woman you gave me gave me the fruit.” This broke his relationship with God and Eve. He should have apologized to both God and Eve to mend the broken relationships. Instead, he only justified himself. Eve was not willing to take the responsibility either. She placed the blame on the snake, and thereby God for letting the snake be in the garden. She didn’t apologize either. At the end of the story we see a world in which all relationships are broken-a disintegrated world.

[Ahaz with tears in his eye]

Ahaz:I understand my mistake now. I am going to see my father right away, and apologize to him. I am sure he is going to forgive me. This way I can re-establish the broken relationship.

Rabbi:This is something all of us need to do in our everyday life. We are human beings, and we all do mistakes. The all-knowing God is the only one capable of avoiding mistakes. We break agreements with our fellow beings as well as with God in our day-to-day life. However, we should not let our mistakes break our relationships. We should be willing to apologize as soon as we realize the mistake. Similarly when someone apologizes some mistake, we should be willing to forgive him/her right away. Imagine how the world would be if all people in the world are willing to apologize and to forgive! That is when the world becomes the family of God!

“Will our world ever become that way?” Someone asked.

Rabbi:When I learn to apologize and to forgive, I experience being in the family of God in my own personal life, as well as spread it around me wherever I am. It seems that we, human beings, are here primarily to learn this lesson. We don’t know if all the people in the world would ever become willing to apologize and forgive. However, once more and more people learn to do this, it can become the standard behavior of a community or nation.

Our meeting and discussion today was a transforming experience to all of us!

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