Digression from God, defeat any effort for conciliation among Churches. To accede with unification, we should be conscious of the underlying sin involved in separatism. Churches can reconcile each other only through the cross of Christ and in the model of Trinity.


Digression from God, defeat any effort for conciliation. Contemporary world is witnessing the existence of many deep and painful divisions. Since then, Cain killed his brother; a natural instinct is wound in man's inmost self to kill each other. It is quite alarming to learn that the stockpiling of conventional, atomic and other mass destructive weapons of various nations is large enough to annihilate the entire earth and mankind.

Though we see divisions in the relationships between individuals and groups, nations against nations and blocs of opposing countries due to the conflicts of economic interests to political polarization, the sporadic division and repercussions in the structure of Christian churches had become more penetrating. But we read in epistle of Peter: "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:" (1 Peter 2:9)

There is only one race and no doctrine of multiple castes. In Eph 4:4-6 'One' is used seven times. "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." There is only one creator and only one God. The divisions and separatism are the effect of sin. To accede with unification, we should be conscious of the underlying sin involved in separatism.

Messiah had come to this world to reinstate the fallen man. He had stretched his hands towards two sides on the cross, to involve a united mankind. The thief on right side realized it and caught His hands for his salvation, while the one on left side rejected him. Even today, Jesus is stretching out his two hands and put forward once more this subject and this invitation.

Men and women who are to catch hold of His hand and acquire Paradise, are going astray from God. This is the foundational reason for all division and separatism. We should realize that separatism is the effect of sin and reconciliation is the way of salvation. In Rom 5:10 we read that there is no reconciliation with out the cross. The death of Jesus is leading us to the eternal life. Jesus has come to this world, to reconcile the earth and heaven. He stretches his one had to us in this world and the other hand to the Father God in the heaven. Jesus hand is like the hand of a loving child in between the husband and wife who seek for a divorce.

Through out the scriptures we see cross as the focal point. Messiah has unified the world and heaven through the cross. Churches also can reconcile each other only through the cross. (Eph.2:14) He is our peace, and he unified both the parties and created a new man. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new." (2Cor 5:17) Once it is unified there is no two, always it is only one. The world should become one through the Cross. Jesus should be made a central point of the church. Unfortunately it is a fact that church is going away from Jesus. The Christmas celebrations of our time are a splendor which is no fit of Jesus Birthday, but it looks that of King Herod. There is no relation with Christmas celebration with life style of Jesus. The Christmas with liquor and dance party is fit only as birthday of Herod who had beheaded the forerunner Baptist John.

Currently we see Capitalistic Churches which had lost many of its virtues. The sacrifice, love, and cohesion of the cross which unified the two sections is lost somewhere. Sixteenth century is known as the age of Reformation. 17-19th centuries are known as the age of division. The recent centuries are known as the age of ecumenism. Why these discrimination for the ages? At the age of the global growth of the Church, divisions were created. Each Church is allergic to others. Each one is trying to gather more and more people. The love and unity between the churches are lost. That is the reason William Temple is calling the new centuries as the centuries of ecumenism. John Paul II Mar Pope had opened the windows of ecumenism through the Vatican council. The entire Rites of Catholic Church stand united in allegiance to the Pope. There are five oriental orthodox Churches of Coptic, Syrian, Indian, Armenian and Ethiopian. Byzantine Orthodox Churches are more than twenty.

God's will is that all the churches are to be united. The journey to the cross is the only way I look forward for this unity. The main element that caused these divisions is that the motivation has changed from cross to crown. The tendency to raise money and to establish big organizations in a headlong quest for domination is more prevalent in the current churches. Collegiality of the Church should be always Trinity.

Churches can unite only if it becomes poor of its own accord. A rich Church can not conceive the idea of conciliation. Here I am not referring to the poverty created out of any economic systems. The poverty created by these systems are heinous and the self accepted poverty originated out of the love of gospel is noble. Church should attain same through self renunciation. Church can not reunite without endurance. A candle can not give light unless it shortens in its length. All early Church monks delightfully confessed poverty. In A.D. 313, at the time when Edict of Milan was declared, Christians were only ten percent of the total population and they were in the midst of persecution. The courage and hope exhibited by those under persecution had led the persecutors to become Christians. But in the dawn of the fourth century after Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity, persecution of Christians came to an end. Christians started getting noble positions in the States services. They got honor and position in the society. Many were attracted to the Christian Churches and Capitalistic Church is formed. Then onwards, Church started to grow materialistically and reduced in spirituality. With around ninety percent Christians, Church started to grow in the Roman Empire. Church turned out to be with a worldly touch. Then onwards it started with the divisions in the Church.

The second alternative to make the possibility of ecumenism is in the model of Trinity. "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:" (John 17:21-22) The reality of Trinity is the unity in diversity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Father beget, not begotten; Son is begotten, do not beget; The Holy Spirit prepare but do not beget or not begotten. Even with these differences, they are one in its essential, eternity and equality. The Church should be formed based on the Trinity. With out basing on the Trinity, the pyramidal hierarchy cannot reunite the Church of the current century. The unity should be achieved in social collegiality.

It is worth for consideration to know where from the Conciliation should start with. St. Paul writes in Ephesians 2, where we were before we came to Christ. Unless we all reach to the humanized Christ, we can not reconcile. Before we came to Christ where we were? :

  1. Uncircumcision who are not circumcised in the flesh.
  2. Without Christ and unheard about Christ.
  3. Aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.
  4. Strangers from the covenants of promise.
  5. Having no hope
  6. Without God in the world.
  7. At far off.
  8. Strangers and foreigners.

We are recreated as a new human from the darkness. In a spiritually inspired Church, once a child is baptized and christened, he/she is created as a new human. He is our peace and he unified us both so that the new man should come to the peace. What is peace? Peace is not only the evasion of war. The presence of God is the peace. What is the significance of the peace in the presence of God? The matter is relevant in the words of Jesus on the Cross. Peace attained on the pain of the cross is the peace by the presence of God. In a portrait of the peace, an artist had drawn: down the side of a mountain a tumbled overflowing river. An uprooted tree is flowing in the rush of angry water of the river. A small bird is sitting quietly on the branch of the fallen tree and singing. Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace. In the ocean of our life, when we are entrapped in the severe high and low tides and waves, or in any unbearable extremes, the state of singing and praising the Lord; that is the peace in life. While our bank balances goes up or down or when our beloved passes away from us, to be in a state to sing and praise the Lord, that is the real peace.

In the biography of Mar Basalios the Great, it is recorded of the words Mar Basalios told to the soldiers who captured him for persecution as per the order of the King. When he was threatened that all his wealth will be confiscated, Basalios calmly replied, 'All my wealth are distributed to the poor and the only wealth remaining with me is my Bible and few other books. If you confiscate same and try to read and reform yourself, I will be gratified.' When he was threatened to be imprisoned, he politely replied 'If you put me in jail, I will be very happy that I will get enough time to be in the presence of my Lord.' When he was threatened that he will be expelled from his country he cheerfully replied, 'Where you will send me? All the nations belong to my Lord.' The wealth and comfort of this world was not their motivation. This is the only origin of the great peace.

The Church becomes one body with Christ through the Holy Communion. This is the body of Christ on which the God acts upon. A horizontal and vertical reconciliation is visible in the Cross of Christ. In Christ we should totally reconcile with God and with our worldly brothers. Before we offer our sacrifice this reconciliation is essential. "Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." ( Mathew 5:24)

An unfair distribution of the earthly resources and of the assets of nature caused the distance between human levels of the rich and poor to reach an apex. All the children are equal heir for the wealth of the father. Till we narrow down the growing disproportion in distribution of the resources of our heavenly father among all His children, the mutual hatred ness and jealously can never be eradiated. The rewards of the hard work of each family member should not be for the individual, but for the entire family. In the Church family also the discrimination of wealthy and poor is not desirable. God and his creation are for every individual.

The biggest media to unify the entire world is the Holy Bible. It is known as the words of evenness. All the sacraments are the reconciliation services. To reconcile with God means to live according to the will of God. The service of evenness is not only for the clergy but for all the individuals. We should put all our arduous efforts to conciliate with all the ones alienated at any of these levels for the cause of our eloquent and significant signs of the quest for reconciliation.

"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal 3:28) Class, creed or color is discrimination. These are stumbling blocks confronting the efforts for reconciliation. The traditional Christians had always the mentality to discriminate the newly converted Christians. Even some countries in the modern world deny the entry of certain sect of people in their Churches. The various forms of discrimination: racial, cultural, religious, etc. should be wiped out from its root.

The institutional discrimination of the master and laborer also create two classes among the people. St. Paul had written to Philemon to treat Onesimus as a brother. Brother is not a servant. The one who construct the road, the one who break the rocks, or the one who labor in the forest, all are our brothers.

The difference between male and female are only biological. In Christ there is neither male nor female. The services of nuns in Roman Catholic Church are predominant to that of men. Virgin Mary was more reverenced than the Apostles.

Conciliation should not be restricted only among Christians; it is needed for the entire mankind. "For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." (Col 1:19-20) "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;" (Phil 2:10) "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Eph 2:10)

Bible does not teach that all non-Christians will reach hell. "By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water." (1 Peter 3:19-20) "For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit." (1 Peter 4:6) So the Gospel is being continued to the other world. The one who did not see Jesus in this world need not be one that he ever see Jesus. God loves to make all one. To save all the soul is the cardinal will of God. This love of God is eternal. The compassionate love, the love which involves everything, the love which make the enemy as friend, the love which desire even to save the hell, that is the love of Christ. This is the way of conciliation.

[Original Article in Malayalam]
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Lord God called out the man “where are you?” and this first call will continue until the last sinner is brought back to the kingdom of God. We must become stark-naked before the Creator, freed from our self efforts of “fig leaves”, so that we will be clothed by the Grace in order to acquire eternal life.

Before the first sin was committed in the Garden of Eden, our first parents, Adam and Eve, were not conscious of sin or nakedness. Sin brought them to the understanding and self-realization that they were naked! They sewed fig leaves together and covered themselves (Genesis 3:7). In other words, we began clothing ourselves with our own efforts to protect and hide away from our Creator. The Lord God called out the man “where are you?” (Genesis 3:9) and this first call will continue until the last sinner is brought back to the kingdom of God. God in the Garden stripped off man’s fig leaves, an animal was slain, and blood was poured out, and clothed our first parents with animal skin. This was only a temporary arrangement until the arrival of the Lamb of God, marked out to be slain as a price of man’s sin and to cloth him with the life of Christ (Galatians 3:27)

This is the season of Thanksgiving and Christmas Celebration. Let us remember that we are celebrating the arrival of the savior of mankind who was marked out to be sacrificed before the foundation of the world; when the Apostle John wrote the famous line “the Word became flesh (John 1:14), he was speaking about the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ who is God, who existed as Word before the creation of heaven and earth. Until the Son of God was incarnated as the Son of Man, God was revealing himself, through his spirit partially through the nature, prophets, patriarchs, saints and by giving the Laws, sometimes direct or indirect intervention in the history of mankind. When the time became right and ripe, through the prepared race of Jews, out savior came to us to seek, to serve and to save all mankind from the slavery of sin and death. That is the message of Christmas.

The babe in the city of David, Bethlehem, is the divine baby born to die as the sacrificial lamb for every sinner. Religion is man’s efforts to seek salvation, to clothe himself with “fig leaves” of rituals, traditions, self made rules and regulations and to satisfy his inborn desire for communion with our Creator. Man is always thirsty and hungry for the lost fellowship with his maker; no man can reach the most holy and awesome God by his efforts until God himself reaches out for us. Through the parables of prodigal son, lost sheep and lost coin, our Lord was teaching us that He came to call and take us back to the lost paradise. On Calvary, after the eternal sacrifice was completed, our Lord called for a drink, because He was thirsty for the salvation of every sinner. When he was paying the price of man’s sins on the cross, he made himself being forsaken (Mark 15:34), Psalms 22:1) by God for taking us back to the lost communion with Him. Before his death, on the last and most important day of the Jewish festival, Jesus stood up and said in a loud voice “whoever is thirsty should come to me and drink” (John 7:37). To the woman of Samaria, he said that he has a drink that will never make her thirsty again (John 4:13)

We must become stark-naked before the Creator, stripped and freed from our self efforts of “fig leaves”, so that we will be washed with the blood of Lamb of God, clothed by the life of the savior, Jesus Christ, and be filled with Holy Spirit so that we will have abundant life here and here after. In the midst of parties, festivities, parades and pageants of Christmas celebration, shopping and gift exchanges, let us not forget the constant presence of Immanuel which means “God is with us”. Let us not fail to hear the first recorded God’s call and search for man “Where are you?” .

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APeople down the ages asked the question; is there any hope in fighting evil and injustice? In any provocations, given the unique genius of the biblical faith, we should crossover like the Good Samaritans to accept our God-given responsibility of becoming a keeper of our co-being.

There never can be any justification for the 9/11 tragedy, of what happened during the holocaust in Germany, ethnic cleansing in Bosnia or killing fields in South East Asia and Africa. People down the ages asked the question; is there any hope in fighting evil and injustice? Unequal social structures and the shackled social, economic and political freedom breed and aggravate poverty, hunger, ignorance and bigotry. Mere use of force won’t solve the complex problems of religious fundamentalism and religious intolerance. These are used for manipulating millions of people in countries that are indifferent to the civil societies, socio-economic modernity and human rights.

The solution to these problems cannot be based on outdated systems, which were evolved to limit the symptoms of conflicts to the threshold of acceptance. Unholy alliances to achieve interim solutions aggravated these problems and destabilised communities in different parts of the world. Some of the current difficulties at the national and international levels arose from the myth, “my enemy’s enemy is my friend.” Such fair-weather-friends are only potential enemies, purveyors of violence and disguised enemies of human rights, ostensibly committed to fighting a presumed enemy. Any constructive response should be based on identifying the root causes of these conflicts and tackling them through radical, long-term international cooperation. This should include joint international programmes for optimum equality and quality of life in the global village. Conflict-resolution should be just, prompt and pro-active; and in situations where the parties concerned prolong the conflict and prove beyond doubt that they are disinclined to reaching a solution, a globally accredited instrument like the UN should intervene and solve the problem in an impartial way.

The threat of religious intolerance is not a simple military challenge for territorial gains; it is a moral and ethical challenge to human rights and dignity. This intolerance is perpetrated by invisible agents whose frustrations are fuelled by cultural religious fault lines. They originate from two fundamentally different ways of looking at religious influences in shaping human destiny: the Christian way of separating God and Caesar as opposed to the admixture of religion and politics in Islam. Generally accessible interpretation of both religions has difficulty in nurturing mutual respect and co-existence among their adherents. Within all religious communities, tolerance and mutual respect has declined dangerously over the last quarter of a century and many see others in terms of “us-versus-them”. Even traditionally tolerant religions like Hinduism are now finding it difficult to tolerate religious minorities. Religion has become a lethal tool in the hands of politicians of all persuasions for building and enlarging their power base. This way of using religion is the biggest threat to humanity and it is a problem of special gravity in India.

In a recent article in ‘The Hindu’ Rev. Valson Thampu has addressed the strident demands of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to edit out allegedly ‘objectionable implications’ from the Bible. This is the first time that such a sinister idea is being mooted in that country. This degree of religious intolerance is reminiscent of Nazi Germany. Glossing over similar threats and projects eventuated in the annihilation of six million Jews in the holocaust and millions of others in World War II. Christians everywhere and true followers of other religions are sure to be scandalized by the VHP demand. I am sure that religious persons of all persuasions will be aghast if anyone were to advocate the revision of ancient Hindu Vedic texts. St. Thomas Christians of Kerala are proof enough that Christianity in India is not a colonial import. They were courageous freedom fighters against foreign domination, continue to cherish the identity and culture of an indigenous Church in India. We should salute Rev. Valson Thampu and Swami Agnivesh for their courage in combating sectarian religious intolerance on many fronts.

For the first time in the history of independent India, right wing Hindu fundamentalism enjoys the immense advantage of unlimited wealth and increasingly overt State patronage. The RSS, with its 100000 branches (called Shakhas) is arguably the largest fundamentalist network in the world today. One of its five constituents, the Bajrang Dal, boasts of a trained and armed militia of 50000 thousand young men, keenly motivated to deny religious freedom in its full scope to religious minorities as enshrined in Article 25 of the Indian Constitution. The clue to confronting such a gigantic enemy lies in fostering inter-religious cooperation in the realm of common causes and building mutual trust. Religious minorities in India stand at the crossroads wondering which way to turn in the face of the recent developments.

Given the unique genius of the biblical faith, we should be bold enough to crossover like the Good Samaritan to the side of the victims. Basic to this preference is the willingness to confront the merchants of sectarian violence. We can either walk away or remain static in our comfort zones at a distance. It is on this ‘other side’ that our problems promise to become opportunities. From the mentality of “the other side” the wayside victims will not seem strangers, but our own wounded brothers, sisters and children. It is then that we begin to realise that tears are a universal language and caring for victims is a spiritual imperative. It is during this spiritual journey of crossing over to the side of the victim that we begin to accept our God-given responsibility of becoming a keeper of our brothers and sisters. During this short journey we begin to understand the theology of ‘turning the other cheek.’ This would help us to transform a stranger into a friend by rejecting the dangerous myth of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend.” Instead we may create a more authentic and stable triangular relation between God, our neighbour and ourselves. Violence is an inadequate response to the problems confronting us, fear itself has a part in generating this violence, and we also have a fear about fear. This fear comes from the separation of the creator from the created; the source of all conflicts is the separation of the Creator and the creature. A transformation based on our total involvement and relationship with our neighbour is the key to peace and stability.

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Positivity makes the difference between heaven and hell in our life. The function of spirituality is to help us change from negativity to positivity. The main purpose of worship, meditation and prayer are to become positive towards God, and not for material favors from God. The real blessing that all of us need is deliverance from negativity and empowerment for positivity.

Story is told of two salesmen, representing two shoe companies in the UK and the USA respectively, who went to Congo several decades ago to promote the sale of their products. On arrival there, they noticed the natives walking barefooted. This made them rush to the local telegraph office and send two contrasting messages to their managers. The message of the British salesman read, “Natives barefooted. No market. Returning home.” The message of the American salesman was, “Natives barefooted. Market limitless. Rush supply”. What is decisive is not the prevailing situation, but the attitude we bring to bear on it. It is through our reactions that we reveal who we really are. And our destiny is mostly a matter of how we choose to understand and respond to the possibilities and problems that come our way.

There is something strange about human nature; and we must take note of it right away. We long intensely for opportunities, but the moment they arrive we become indifferent or negative to them. We have little value for what we have, but are full of grievances about what we do not have. We sleep over the great things we have, but weep over the little things that are denied to us. Because this streak of negativity is almost universal, we need to be vigilant against it. It is in our power to cultivate either a negative or a positive attitude. There are at least two major problems with the negative attitude. First, it gets us fixated on what we do not have; and so suppresses the spirit of gratitude. Second, it makes us blind to the scope of the given situation, including our own talents and aptitudes. We invent problems where none exists as well as exaggerate the magnitude of the problems that do exist. At the same time, we make light of the opportunities and resources that are available to us and fail to make proper use of them. This attitude is an enemy of our progress and fulfillment. It is a sure recipe for mediocrity and misery.

Having a positive attitude is one of the greatest blessings in life and cultivating one is the best service we can do to ourselves. It is a wearisome thing to be with one who is habitually and compulsively negative. The very presence of such a person is felt as oppressive and burdensome. On the other hand, it is a joyous and enjoyable thing to be with someone who is positive. Such a person embodies the goodness and sweetness of life and becomes, without even knowing it, a source of inspiration for others. They enable us to realize that life is a blessing and not a burden.

How come, you might well ask, most people are negative; whereas some people are so refreshingly positive? Is there any way I can get out of the prison of negativity?

How do we know if we are negative or positive? That is not all that difficult. Ask yourself these questions? How do I respond to opportunities? Do I have the tendency to invent excuses and dodge responsibilities? Do I resent the need to do serve or assume responsibility? Do I feel unhappy when someone excels in any field? Do I feel lethargic and unwilling to respond to anything other than routine requirements? Do I feel tempted to flee from difficulties and challenges? Do I sustain my interest in any area of work or activity for a period of time, or are my interests fleeing and short-lived? Depending on your answers to these and similar other questions you will know if you are negative or positive in your outlook.

Negativity prevents us from fulfilling the promise in us. It robs us of the enthusiasm it takes to excel. Nothing valuable or great in this world is achieved without immense enthusiasm. In respect of studies, negativity breeds restlessness. Our patience with studying a particular subject depends to a large extent on if we are positive or negative towards it. If you like Mathematics, for instance, you will want to spend more and more time studying it, simply because you enjoy it. Negativity kills enjoyment and turns the study of a subject into a burden. The problem is not with the subject as such. It is with our attitude towards it. Next time you feel like avoiding your class work in respect of a particular subject, you should be able to know why this happens. You should also know that the right way forward is not to neglect but to study that subject all the more so that your attitude towards it changes from the negative to the positive.

A negative attitude corrupts our personality and leads us to less than honourable practices. Take cheating at examinations, for example. The need to cheat arises out of having neglected one’s studies, which resulted from one’s negativity to studying. Those who are positive in their academic outlook do not think of examinations as a pain, but as an opportunity to excel. They look forward to it.

Negativity disables us from making the best possible use of the given opportunity. There is a story about a poor man on whom Parvathi, the goddess, took pity because this man was a devotee of Lord Shiva. So Parvathi pleaded with Lord Shiva on his behalf that, through a divine blessing, he be made a rich man. “That is impossible,” said Lord Shiva, “If it were otherwise, I would have helped him a long time ago. He is negative and not even gods can help one who is negative.” But Parvathi persevered in pleading on this man’s behalf. “All right,” said Lord Shiva, “You will see it for yourself.” She was shown this man walking along a road and Lord Shiva caused a bag of gold to be placed on the road ahead of him so that he could come upon it and have it for himself. The poor man came long, and a few meters from where the treasure was kept said to himself, “All my life I have walked with my eyes open; and it is precious little that I have got for it. From now onwards I shall walk with my eyes closed.” And he walked past the treasure. That is the problem with negativity. It makes us walk past the treasures of life, with our eyes closed.

Positivity makes the difference between heaven and hell. There is a Korean story that illustrates this. Once upon a time there was a little boy who used to pray to God for an opportunity to see heaven and hell so that he could make up his mind on where to go. One day his prayers were answered. God deputed an angel to guide the boy on his excursion to heaven and hell. He was taken, first, to hell. What he saw there was different from all that he had heard about hell. He found a huge dining table piled up with excellent food and people sitting around the table looking famished and miserable. The reason for this was that they had to eat their food with chopsticks and they were given chopsticks bigger than walking sticks, with which they could not feed themselves. So they were all sitting in front of tasty and appetizing food, tortured by hunger but unable to eat. The boy decided then and there that hell was not the place for him. So he was taken to heaven. On arrival there, what he found truly astonished him. He found the same enormous table, the same fabulous menu and even the same huge chopsticks. But there was a glorious difference; the people sitting around the table were looking visibly happy. This surprised him no end. Then, in a moment, the difference dawned on him. Unlike the people in hell, these men and women were feeding each other across the table with the long chopsticks.

In simple terms, they had the capacity to respond positively to each other and to the given problem. The huge chopsticks were a problem only in respect of feeding oneself, but they were a blessing in respect of feeding their neighbours sitting at a distance. Heaven, in short, is a place where people respond positively to each other.

Barring a few glorious exceptions, most people are tinged by negativity to varying degrees. But the good news is that there is something we can do about it. The function of spirituality is to help us change from negativity to positivity. The main purpose of worship, for example, is to become positive towards God, and not only to extract material favours from God. The real blessing that all of us need is deliverance from negativity and empowerment for positivity. The primary level of positivity is our positivity towards God. That is because God is unlike us. It is not difficult to be positive towards those who are like ourselves. That is not genuine positivity. Positivity is proved by our responses to those who are different from us. God is more different from us than any other human being in this world. Through worship we learn to be positive towards God. That makes our personality itself positive, which then leads to a host of blessings in life. Those blessings do not come directly from God, but from the positivity that godliness imparts to our personality. The function of spirituality, which is different from religiosity, is to nurture positivity in individuals and societies.

It is all the more important for us to understand this today, because religion is being degraded by the merchants of communalism into an epidemic of negativity. This is utterly contrary to the purpose of spirituality. Any religious tradition, practice or ideology that breeds negativity is a curse on its practitioners. Parents in particular need to wake up to this serious danger that their children are facing today. The communally charged atmosphere in which their children grow up is sure to infect them with negativity and undermine their welfare as students and cripple their growth as human beings. They need to make a special effort to ensure that their children -indeed all children- are protected from this religious epidemic.

Communalism is an academic roadblock, a personal affliction and a collective disaster. Communalism is the outbreak of negativity in the sphere of religion, which is meant to be the nursery of positivity in a society. If children get infected by it, and become negative in their personality orientation, they will remain negative towards everything else, including studies, relationships and human potentialities.

The secret of being a good student is nothing but the spirit of positivity. Parents and teachers have to work in partnership to ensure that the human and intellectual formation of their children is enlivened and empowered by positivity. The larger goal of education is to nurture a culture of positivity; and no one should be deemed educated unless that person is imbued with a positive vision and outlook.

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[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:]

It was the most incidental God given moment, that I could speak to the newly elected Prelate in the gallantry coronation function to invite Pope to visit our small God's country of Kerala where the Apostolic Church was originated in the first century, even before Christianity originated in Europe or in Western countries.


When I came to see Cardinal Parecattil once again at the hospital Gianicolo where he used to stay when in Rome I showed him the pictures I had taken. Of himself, Lourdsamy, Picachy and the new Pope as they were arriving at the courtyard entrance of the basilica. He couldn’t believe that I had taken a picture of the Pope before the election, because nobody thought he would be elected.

It was in a way my visit to Cardinal Parecattil at Ernakulam to bid him bon voyage that was the occasion for my deciding to go to Rome. Bishop Sebastian Mankuzhikkary who knew the Cardinal’s affection for me jokingly said to me then, ‘Are you not going with the Cardinal to Rome?’ I replied, ‘ I will go if he takes me with him.’ Of course the picture of many cardinals during previous elections taking an assistant with them came to my mind - that was not possible now after Pope Paul the Sixth had forbidden the custom in his directions for the papal election. After the departure of the Cardinal to the airport on his way to Rome for the election I brooded over the possibility of going to Rome for the election. I had read up so much on the election for many, many years that my desire to be in Rome during an election had become something of an obsession with me. This was my last chance, I thought.

Fortunately for me the largest circulated daily of Kerala and India agreed to part finance my expenses and what is more to publish my reports from the Vatican - if in fact they reached India in time - chances for which were quite nonexistent in those days. When I told Bishop Kundukulam of Trichur and others the same day about my desire they all encouraged me very much in this matter. And so I arrived in Rome just two days after the Cardinal’s arrival, which itself was a miracle - what with visa regulations, reservation hitches and what not. He was very glad to see me there. I was able to meet him there often and learn about the discussions among the Cardinals about the forthcoming election. Cardinal Picachy and Archbishop Lourdusamy also talked to me often. It all helped me to send relevant reports to India.

After meeting every Cardinal individually and after meeting the heads and representatives of the various countries who had arrived to congratulate the new Pope His Holiness gave an audience to the Press on the eve of the “Coronation”, to which not only the 1300 journalists with Vatican’s accreditation but many more were invited. While waiting at the bottom of the Great Staircase leading to the hall in the Vatican Palace where the audience was to take place somebody who appeared to know me told me from behind to proceed. I didn’t know why I should try to go before the others. Any way I tried. But the two Swiss Guards stopped me with their extended spears. Picp& +caption Dejected, I climbed down the steps. Then somebody from the Oriental Congregation appeared from behind the Swiss Guards from near the audience hall and beckoned me. Though the guards protested at first finally they allowed me to go up, also possibly because they were amused at my timidity.

When I entered the hall many seats were already taken by officials and so on. The bearded official from the Congregation was leading me in when a Rev. Sr. took me under her charge and led me to the benches. She sat at the aisle end of one bench. When I tried to take the seat by her side she asked me to take the seat behind her. At that time I took it as an insult. (My 1972 experiences of segregationist attitude in the New York Sub-Way were only too strong in my mind.) But she only smiled. She was the official on Radio Vatican who was in charge of all the Polish programmes, and as such was very familiar with the new Pope as he used to give many talks to his people in communist Poland over Radio Vatican. She was a close friend and room-mate or something of the Rev. Sister in charge of the Indian programmes and hence had seen me often at the Radio Station. That was why she took me under her charge.

When the Pope finally came into the hall and was proceeding to the rostrum he looked in our direction, and seeing the Polish nun came towards us. He came and stood in front of us and began to talk to the Rev. Sr. Although the well-built ecclesiastic who was the Pope’s body guard tried to prevent it I shook hands with the Pontiff. The Sr. whispered to me, “Say something to the Pope, you may never get such a chance in your whole life.” I gathered all my courage, and in spite of the tough body guard’s piercing looks, asked the Pope:” Your predecessor Pope Paul the Sixth did not come to Kerala when he came to India, though there is an Apostolic Church there. Will Your Holiness visit Kerala?” I completed the question somehow. I do not know whether the Holy Father heard or understood me fully. But he replied in perfect English, “Why Not?” That was quite enough for me, and for the body-guard too I suppose because he whisked the Pope away towards the rostrum with all his might.

After that the next day’s Mass for the Commencement of the Ministry and “Coronation” - the term is no more used and the three tiered crown is no more seen - was not such a great treat though it was pleasant to watch the whole function on the steps of the Basilica’s facade from the vantage point of the balconies over the Bernini columns in the company of great journalists from the world over.

Why was Cardinal Woitila so late that day on which the Conclave began? Why was he so tired-looking? These questions troubled my mind often in the next several years whenever I looked at the rare Photo that I had published in some papers and at the Vatican accreditation card and all those other rare and wonderful press cards I was lucky to draw.

Then I went to Rome once again in 1985. I had an appointment with the chief of the Vatican Museums. I had persuaded him to allow me to take the photographs of the hundred odd statues of almost all the popular Hindu Gods and Goddesses that the ethnological museum possessed for my Indology volume (i.e. of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India). Such an exhaustive collection I hadn’t seen in India even. But when I arrived in the museum for the final sanction the director was absent. However he had made arrangements for me to meet his assistant Msgr. Pankowiski, who was from Poland. To curry favor with him I told him that I had organised much of the Malankara Golden Jubilee Exhibition at Kottayam in 1980 that was inaugurated by the Polish Cardinal Rubin, and a large picture of the Polish Cardinal had been displayed by us in the exhibition hall which is today the home of the St. Ephraem Ecumenical Research Institute. Then I told him jokingly that I was the only journalist who knew a Polaco would be elected to the Holy See, and I told him the story of the late-coming Cardinal Woitiva and my taking his photo. The asst. director jumped up from his seat and told me the following interesting story breathlessly gesticulating and standing all the time.

“Do you know why he was late that day?” I said I did not know. Then he said: “ You know he is a great devotee of the blessed Virgin Mary, like most of us Poles.”

That was quite true. Most Poles gift you pictures of our lady of Chestochowa, as the Rev. Sr. from radio Vatican had done when we met during the Papal audience for journalists.” Almost the whole weekend before the commencement of the Conclave ( the Msgr. continued) the cardinal was away at the Mountain Shrine of Mary at Mentorella, praying for the Church to get a Good Shepherd at the election. On the morning of the Conclave after the prayers he stood talking to a Polish monk there for a few minutes. So when he came to the valley climbing down two miles the only bus to Rome had already gone. Rome was far away and he had to reach Rome before the doors of the Conclave were locked. Then he got a bus but it broke down some thirty miles away from Rome. (Cardinal Woitiva travelled only by bus, and always wore only tattered old black clothes.) There was no other bus. As directed by a sympathetic villager he approached the driver of an unused bus who was on holiday and told him his plight. The driver felt pity for the Cardinal and took him to the Vatican, the Msgr. concluded. Now I understood why he was late that morning and also why he looked so tired and depressed. Only then did I understand the reason why the Pope soon after his election flew to Mentorella in a helicopter (not in a bus this time!) to venerate the little wooden statue of Mary there.

That journey was the prologue to the new Pope’s many journeys to destinations beyond the Vatican and Rome, even to the ends of the world.

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Abortion is the most hideous and barbaric murder which exceeds the horizon of the ferocity of homicides and genocides. The retribution for this type of barbaric killings surpasses the punishment that Cain received from God for killing his brother Abel.

Abortion, the most hideous and barbaric murder that was kept preserved for the ‘end of days’ has flowered with sweet fragrance and colour by the onset of medical and technological exuberance and extravagance. It exceeds the horizon of the ferocity of homicides and genocides as the compassionate parents themselves execute this abominable crime, pretending that they are the incarnation of love and care ever sacrificing themselves for their own young ones. The retribution for this type of barbaric killings surpasses the punishment that Cain got from God for killing his brother Abel. I know couples, for them one child is dead and the other is powerless to born situation because of abortion or family planning. The self-inflicted sufferings of mankind at large on a global basis at the end of days are on account of the conglomeration of inhuman activities, which are plundered upon its own species. Man is only a benefactor of the blessings of God, he has no right to encroach into God’s territory and pervert His grand scheme with regards to the dissemination of the species. He is chained within the limit of Nature, just as a cow is restrained within the tethered circular limit of the rope. The transgressions of divine laws haunt humanity for its digressions. God is the Creator, where as the parents, only the puff of the wind, are only the agents and recipients of everything, including the most precious gift of parenting their young ones. All the animals try to sacrifice their own life, except in certain species and exceptional circumstances, to protect their young ones from the predators and violent inclemency of the weather. What made man to prey upon his own offspring! He does such things because he is the most brutal and ruthless animal ever lived on the face of the world. We may be tempted to applause Daniel Defoe for the statement he made, “I hate that animal called man”. Procreation (pro means for+creation) implies explicitly that man is only an agent of God, just as a manufacturing agency has to make the product and care for which the raw material he received from the owner.

REASONS AND EFFECTS OF ABORTION: The main aim is to conceal the conception caused by defacto relationship, particularly due to fornication. The second reason focuses on the malnourishments and malnutrition caused by overpopulation, which dictates terms by the bipartisan treatments from the governments. It may be a good deterrent to arrest the growth of population in overpopulated areas, but has he any overweening ambition of translating his destructive passions to creative ones? The affluent countries, as a matter of contradiction, cannot afford to have more children, as 2 or more continuous incomes are needed to maintain a high standard of sophisticated life style. Taking loans for buying homes, cars leisure time enjoyments and education by working overtime and many other means sustain the sub culture of stereotyped life. People don’t like to go through the sufferings and difficulties in bringing up children, while working for wages and looking after the family with out anybody’s help, particularly in this age of nuclear family. Many people prefer a care free life as they don’t believe in an after life, which allows them to lead a sensual life of enjoyment; eat, drink and enjoy because tomorrow is not theirs. This is the fatal result of affluence and sophistication. They think that it is a thankless job of wading through an ocean of sufferings in raising children, while they have alternate means of enjoying the voluptuous life without bearing any responsibility. Abortion is murder, murder inflicted upon the helpless indweller, similar to the betrayal of Christ by Judas by a kiss. And if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than with 2 hands or 2 feet to be thrown into the eternal fire (Mt.18: 7-9). Instead of killing our own embryo it is ideal to castrate off our own organs for which salvation is almost guaranteed. God prefers celibacy to married life (Mt.19: 10-12; 1Cor.7). Opting for married life invites automatically the responsibility of bringing up children in God’s vineyard, with out profaning the name of the Creator by engaging in sexual promiscuities and profligacy. Family planning is done by sex restraint, not by contraceptives or spare parts and by dynamiting the foetus.

Sexual excesses leads to so many abnormalities; fasting, lent and other abstinences are prescribed by religions for curbing such addictions. Unless we adopt some austerity measures prescribed by religions to harness our passionate physical thirst, other than succumbing to family planning devices, the unwanted pregnancies and sexual perpetrations cannot be avoided. People used to depend on herbs to avoid unwanted pregnancies in the past, but the use of herbs to abort babies were rarely used on account of religious and tribal ethics. Despite starvation and sufferings were their bread and butter; they rarely used to murder their own loved ones except in rare circumstances for performing human sacrifices due to their ignorant cultic beliefs. Children were a great asset to the entire God- fearing communities in the past, while enshrining the sacraments of marriage, baptism and the like as their religious rites.

As people under the age of 16 are vulnerable to multifarious social evils and influences, they are protected and safeguarded by providing with extra legal rights. If children under the age of 5 are treated like princes and princesses, the unborn has a right to be upgraded as the status of angels. Just as Paradise is the transit place to New Jerusalem, the womb for the descending spirit is the transit place from the celestial heights to the earth, the arena for righteous sufferings for their onward transcendental journey. Embryos, therefore, can be treated as angels changing their garments to flesh during their exit into this solid and rough earth inhabited by hybrid angelic devils (2.cor.11: 14). The output of the souls during their stay on earth apparently reflects on the good or profane wombs by which it was moulded. Jesus said, Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven (Mt.19: 14; Acts.2; 39). Heaven belongs to people with child-like character; hence the people who reached the second childhood in the evening of their life from where they are slipped into the other side of the grave also are to be honoured with special status. We don’t allow anyone to abuse children as well as old people who reached the second childhood because they are innocent and helpless owing to so many physical infirmities and debilities. The womb is a place of solitary confinement fortress for the foetus, where there is no language and communication, a helpless stage that invites all sort of sympathy and care. We are fortunate enough to watch lately the live baby pictures from the wombs, where they smile, laugh, cry, yawn and transmit other distress signals. The mighty God never forgives those people who ambush and torpedo His emissaries to be shred into pieces on their transit from the mysterious planes into this wild one.

What would they do if they were sent back inflicted with tortures without completing their mission? The Lord will naturally deliver such people to the jailors, the devil (Mt.18: 21-35), for the chances they have inhibited for His ambassadors, despite by their voluntary offer to accept them as they were also once sailing in the same boat but without failing to get a chance to land here. Would anybody with any spiritual or moral sensibility shred the flimsy helpless ones into pieces for their sensual enjoyment? It is an unforgivable murder, a serious crime of the first degree. People do any evil thing where they don’t get any retaliation or opposition. They don’t think in terms of other people, whether of their own kindred, selfishness is the ultimate aim of mankind and the lusts of the body are the fuel used for such ulterior motif. An ordinary woman and her husband who tend to think that they are only the passing shadows in the hands of their Creator will never kill an embryo, which seeks its refuge in her womb. Human beings are passing through the secondary stage of embryonic cycle on earth, making preparations for the next life beyond the grave, as an embryo in the mother’s womb trying to translate as a human being to take abode into this sordid plane. Hence the foetus stage in the womb is the primary one, and the life on earth is the secondary embryonic stage of man in his chain of metamorphosis. Every religion and community gives respect and additional care to a woman, particularly in her conception and suckling stages.

Abortion is the second weapon of mass destruction in a social sense, followed by divorce. Parents have no authority to abuse their children, except gentle disciplining physically or spiritually; their duty is to give maximum care for which they are rewarded by nuptial pleasure and the beauty of complementing family life. Their care and nursing is ought to be reciprocated during the parents’ second childhood. Just as the children were brought into this world by the parents and nursing them, the children will give back to their parents in the same coin by nursing during the second childhood and delivering them to the other world, providing continual food in the form of prayers and supplications for the propitiation of their sins beyond the grave. Childhood and parenthood is not a one-way traffic; it involves a give and take formula. Killing the embryo invites intractable reciprocations from Nature, the governor deputed by the Author of life. Every action will have an equal and opposite reaction, for which man has no shield to protect him other than a contrite heart. The pity is that the hardhearted person cannot discern the punishments he reaps for the evil things he do, consequently he will continue his life without any remorse and flexibility. The law of the lord is perfect; reviving the soul...the ordinances of the lord are true, and righteous altogether (Ps.19: 7-10). It is always wise to abide with the ordinances of the Lord to escape from His penal code. Man has no right to kill himself or anybody else because all His creations are mere tenants using the property of the owner, God. (Gen.9: 6-7). Eve vandalized herself and all others by using the spare parts called the ‘forbidden fruit’. She became an agent of the Agent of Death, Satan. Killing our own progeny is murder, the curse for which is given by Moses (deu.28; 53-62). Abortion is very harmful to the mother psychologically and physiologically and the vibrations of the same are likely to affect the other dependants and the future conception and offspring. The inner guilt and emotions are additional burdens. Safe-sex gadgets and same-sex relationship are all the blessings of technology that enhances their chances of leading a carefree life. Legalization of dating that which begets abortion, divorce, same-sex relationship, contraceptives, feminism, sexism and the like is making a rampage over the society to embrace a humanistic life style of animal instincts.

Sex vandalism in any age, especially in the budding stage of adolescence, is very detrimental as it affects the whole growth process in an adverse way. Dejection and exasperation drags the inner personality in a negative sense. As a remote controlled force, of which we don’t have any idea, the sexual acrobatics bridle us with the momentary sensual trance, which is likely to lead us into an unknown territory of darkness where everything is saturated in deadly silence. Only God has asked us to do certain things in writing, where as His sleepless and untiring archenemy only prompts us to do something at the nick of the time by using the body lusts, during which he doesn’t allow us to have a second thought. The devil has not explicitly demanded anybody to write anything in favour of him, where as the Bible is the word of God directing the world to reject the promptings of the demon and follow the way of the righteous. The power of darkness that dwells in the unfathomable deep of chaos waits to prowl upon us like a roaring lion for the ultimate destruction of the prey. Cunningness and crookedness is his garment, but appears in sheep’s clothing to confuse the prey. It is the tendency of the human nature to pursue for the hidden things, where as to rise in rebellion against what is told shows our immaturity and unfaithfulness. God speaks out vehemently to follow the right track, while the abysmal forces silently push us to go astray from the straight path. How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according thy word...I have laid up thy word in my heart, that I might not sin against thee...(Ps.119: 7-20). God gives directions because He loves us; the power of darkness doesn’t put anything in black and white, if he does, nobody will seek refuge in him as it leads to the destination of his perdition. His silence is a blessing to him because he knows well that most of God’s disenchanted ones will fall into his dark and silent web on account of the momentary sweetness of the flesh. This is the reason for Jesus to warn His children to obey His commandments; the latest one is the commandment of love.

If there were love towards all the creations, abortion wouldn’t have demonized our life and poisoned our serenity. God gives us enough guidance to forewarn us that any illegal means will abort all the good things in life. Hence chastity is the word. The Illegal relationship that entices to illegitimate children is always a thorn in our flesh, which paves the way for abortion. Abortion in the dejure marriage is also an abomination because it certifies the rejection of God, the author of life. The defacto enjoyment of any body lust, including gluttony, is a sin, which ultimately branches off into any form of brutality. You shall not kill is a commandment. Mother Theresa, the charity queen, claims that the modern mothers are the gruesome and stark murderers, worse than many forms of homicides and genocides that are rampant in all parts of the dying planet. As Eve became the prey of Death, she killed Adam also for her survival, but the role of motherhood assigned to her made her to be compassionate and non-violent and delicate in her frame, yet her indomitable courage at times of crises impels her to be the prime mover of everything. Knowing that motherhood is an awesome task in this age of cosmetic religion and social life, she allows herself to be a prey of her husband’s lust for making as much money in this age where a permanent employment is a luxury and a shield of power over anything. Just as the buffalo once taken to the deep waters is reluctant to come back, once when the loose freedom of superficial life is tasted woman doesn’t like to come back to her home for a permanent roosting against whatever are the odds at the other end. Hence children become the causality, just as she conquered Adam to his perdition.

Practicing religion in letter and spirit is the only remedy to escape from the tentacles of the flesh that attracts us in every vista of corrupt and artificial life of today. Don’t try to do any charity work at the expense of our sweet flesh. Start one’s prologue of life by reasoning out an answer for the intricacies and trickeries of life that might trifle us to land to an unwanted prologue of life. The fear of God and total commitment to crisscross through the tornados of life are the ingredients for the cultivation of higher values of this transitory life. The infringement of any commandment of God is a murder; man has no commission from God to kill anybody, an abrogate infringement of God’s sovereignty. If you would enter life, keep the commandments (Mt.19: 17). An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules (2. Tim.2: 5) Children are precious talents bestowed upon the parents; they are to be returned to the giver as finer and resourceful product. God’s greatest gift is our children who are to carry the torch of Heavenly love to the coming generations so as to convert all of us as sons of God.

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Ephesus is the place where our early fathers had one of the three famous Holy Synods. After the resurrection of our Lord, St John, the apostle came to this place with Mother Mary, lived for few years and he reached martyrdom. The Church of Ephesus was planted by St.Paul.

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:


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


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Husband and wife relationship is a blood-bond that cannot be repeated or revoked and hence more than a covenant. One woman to one man or vice-versa is the original intent of creation. God created and gave only one woman, not many women, to Adam and said ‘both’ will become one flesh, again specifying the nature of singleness of gender unity.

Husband and wife relationship is a blood-bond that cannot be repeated or revoked and hence more than a covenant. Blood is life and crucial factor for all covenants. So eating the blood was forbidden to Israel when God made covenant with Noah, Gen 9:4. Circumcision was the sign of God’s covenant with Abraham. Rituals and sacrifices were the sign of covenant at Sinai. Blood of the sacrificed animal was to be sprinkled on the altar and on the people. This was symbolic that both parties (Jehovah and Israel) to the contract have become one. “Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with you,” Ex 24:8. In the New Testament blood assumes special significance. All blood sacrifices and covenants were mere shadows for which Jesus Christ is the substance. Jesus said His blood is the New Covenant, “New covenant in my blood,” Lk 22:20. The same sublimity and oneness in blood is an integral feature of spouse relation.

One woman to one man or vice-versa is the original intent of creation. God created and gave only one woman, not many women, to Adam and said ‘both’ will become one flesh, again specifying the nature of singleness of gender unity. Polygamy was prevalent in olden days but was never an accepted standard. It stands out as reminiscent of immorality, I would prefer to say primordial morality, and memorial to the fallen nature of man. Jesus Christ insisted to go back to the original intent of creation, strongly denounced polygamy. Christianity ever after stood for monogamy and women’s liberation, of course not in the modern sense of the term in the west. Human anatomy also conforms to the mono-theory and blood-bond between spouses. God gave woman a virgin zeal. Hymen is the zeal of virginity to woman. It breaks causing bleeding when male organ (penis) penetrates into the female organ (vagina) for the first time and smears the male organ with female blood. This happens only once for a woman, the first time. Thus nature itself testifies that the one who breaks the virginity of a woman has made a life-covenant with that woman which cannot be cancelled. Preservation of hymen for the first night of marriage is of paramount significance, as ever now also, and the absence of which could naturally generate serious doubts about the chastity of the woman and that may cause diverse problems and end up in havoc.

According to Mosaic Law, husband could divorce his wife if she had no sign of virginity. When such is alleged parents of the woman should produce and unfold her cloth used in the first intercourse before the elders as evidence. If hymen-blood is present on the cloth it vindicated the woman’s chastity. The man who alleged false would pay restitution and he should not divorce her for any reason for the rest of her life. Absence of blood on the cloth is an evidence against her, an abomination in Israel and the woman shall be stoned to death, Deut 22:13-21. Zipporah’s statement, “You are bloody husband to me,” needs be taken in the same vein, Ex 4:26.

Caution: In olden days life in village was ordinary and simple, girls had no brisk activities, they seldom went out or participated in social functions, marriages were conducted at very early age- not to confuse with child marriage- and so naturally everyone was pretty sure of hymen-blood in the first night. Chance of absence of hymen-blood was seldom. In these so-called civilized days, marriages are inordinately delayed; life styles have become complex and too busy. Medical conditions, extra-curricular activities, sports and athletic, may cause both physiological and psychological stress which could damage hymen even without penetration of male organ. It is quite likely that woman may be unaware of the loss of her virgin-zeal. I vaguely recollect having read thirty years ago what Dr Allen, London based Gynecologist, wrote in his book, “101 Questions Answered.” He examined a patient and found that the patient was pregnant but her hymen was in tact and the girl asserted that she had only foreplay, not intercourse. The doctor concluded that it was possible to reach orgasm during the foreplay and the sperm might have, though it is rare, slipped in causing pregnancy.

In another instance the patient-girl had broken hymen. She solemnly swore before him that she never had contacts with men. Here the doctor concluded it was possible for, she had a brisk life. However, this may be irrelevant in the society around us today. What is now important is how well both can communicate, understand, commit and unselfishly love each other. So I insist not to rush into conclusions based upon one’s own immature and insufficient knowledge and cause marital problems because of the changed circumstances and various other reasons. Also our advanced knowledge and changed life styles demand that one should be concerned about the fidelity of the wife after they came together, not before they came together. Spouse who insists fidelity or virginity from the other spouse should first honestly ascertain about his or her own fidelity and virginity without disparity to sex. An infidel spouse has no moral right to expect or demand something what she or he does not have, quixotic quid pro quo. It is better not to dig into past but remain loyal at all times after marriage. However notwithstanding, chastity and fidelity are the ground rules for a happy married life.

There is a general inebriated notion that lusting look, exchange of profanity for fun, touching, emotional intimacy and many other things especially in the work place, however trivial those might seem, that one would hesitate in presence of spouse are not infidelity or adultery. That concept of fidelity/infidelity in the ordinary sense has undergone change, of late. Renowned psychologist and marital researcher Shirley Glass says, “In the new infidelity, affairs do not have to be sexual. Sometimes the greatest betrayals happen without touching. Infidelity is any emotional or sexual intimacy that violates trust. There is new crisis of infidelity breeding in the workplace. These are not the case of thrill seekers but good people who are in good marriages. People develop deep, passionate connections even unknowing that they have crossed the limit of platonic friendship to romantic love. This is the essence of the new crisis of infidelity: friendships, work relationships and Internet liaisons have become the latest threat to marriages. About 25% of wives and 44% of husbands have extra-marital intercourse. Sixty two percent of the unfaithful men and 46% of women met their illicit partners through work. If you value your marriage think twice about having lunch with one. Make friends with those who do not fool around.” Another expert Peggy Vaughan says, “People are incredibly devastated by their partner’s emotional affair. They separate over it, divorce over it, this breaking of a trust, a bond. Honesty is the trump card for preventing affairs. Dishonesty and deception cause affairs to flourish,” USA Today, dated Jan 9, 03. Emotional infidelity is adultery committed in the heart. Jesus said even a lustful look is adultery. In fact the very concept of sin, whether mortal or venial, originates in the heart. All expert psychological studies authenticate what Jesus said is true.

It is no secret that infidelity ruins the whole family and the society? Most of the social ills take its root in the family. Children learn to behave from the parents. “Unfaithful parents tend to produce sons who betray their wives and daughters who either accept affairs as normal or are unfaithful to themselves,” says psychologist Shirley Glass. Children who learned from bad models suffer low self-esteem, become addicted, violent and would prove danger to the society.

This story is real but the names are fiction. Dave and Carol is happily married couple for 30 years, very out going, committed, religious, both professionals, gainfully employed with decent salary and investment income. They live in a suburban cozy custom-made home. Dave is a talented artist, composes and teaches songs, mostly religious. Carol is submissive and takes pride in what Dave accomplishes. Both are loved in the society. They have five children, two girls and three boys. Three of them are in colleges. Two of them are very smart and got perfect SAT score entitling free tuition, boarding, lodging and incidental expenses from accredited universities. Most of them possess talents in instrumental music, story telling, elocution, etc and brought home a few awards from various competitions. Thus outwardly, here is an ideal family. No surprise, many are jealous of them. Now the real story unfolds. When soaked in plenty, good health, wealth, talents, fame, etc who will not be enticed to enjoy more of the pleasures that come handy? Who will not fall victim to flattery? Dave developed a special liking to Karen, a dream girl of his inner fondness, he had chance to meet often. Mind it, she is a wife and mother of two children. Comparatively less privileged, both she and her husband Denis connived to extract money from the glamorous flirting Dave. The money-minded Dennis pretended ignorance and gave Karen a free hand. She went on with many clandestine debuts and flesh trade both in home and hotel. As the filthy relationship surreptitiously enveloped, a few of their inner-circle friends felt the stink but none exposed it. The unsuspecting Carol was in dark but the children came to know something of their father’s hush deal and broke their heart. How they will confront the mighty father, how to tell fragile mom, how she would take it, what the friends and family would feel, how they would treat us, what damage it would cause to the family reputation, etc were nagging questions. They cautioned Karen.

Dave who came to know of it severely threatened the children and the children were terrified. The result: the children withdrew from all activities inside and out. One child who had 100% SAT score and fourth year in college free of cost, took it seriously, deep delved in melancholy, lost interest, neglecting studies wandered around to get some peace of mind, finally got fail notice and dropped out. Other children opted to stay out of home when the mother was at work. Unable to attend the lessons, some changed subjects a few time. All the children hated the father. The fornicator had already scammed Dave by secretly taping the encounters in the house and extracted a good deal of money under disguise of loan. Karen even suggested elopement. After sometime Dave demanded loan repayment. By the time Dave fell out of favor of certain close friend. He, Karen and Denis published the tape. The matter went to all family members, friends, church and spread like wild fire. Carol and children became so embarrassed, shy, dejected and withdrawn. One wonders, Carol did not commit suicide or divorced yet. However, needless to say, she said, “The trust is lost forever, relationship lost, family is ruined, I am like a cadaver,” etc. Living under the same roof but in two worlds! Can an honest spouse ever love a dishonest spouse? No. Dave is yet not repentant but shows sad face. All those who come across the news ridicules. Dave lost moral authority in the household.

Is this an isolated case? I think not. There is a story in “Eithihyamala.” By Kottarathil Sankunny. Bharthruhari was son of Govindaswamy, disciple of Sankaracharya and half-brother of legendary Vararuchi and famous King Vikramadithyan. He was a great scholar and author in Sanskrit. He was a hermit. How he became a hermit? One day an ascetic visited him and offered a special mango fruit saying, “Eat this mango and you will live for ever without symptoms of old age, gray hair, skin wrinkles, etc.” After the hermit’s departure Bharthruhari thought, “After sometime my dearly beloved wife will get old and die. What is the use of my living without her?” So he gave the fruit to his wife and told all that the hermit told him for he thought his wife was most devoted and chaste wife one could ever get. But actually she had illicit relationship with the horseman of the house. After Bharthruhari left from her she thought, “Why should I live after the death of the horseman who entices and satisfies me on daily basis?” So

she secretly gave the special fruit to the horseman and explained everything about it. The horseman thought about his wife, “What is the use of my living if my beloved wife grow old and dies before me?” So he gave the mango to his wife.

Thus to make a long story short, the mango made a good trip in the colony and finally reached the servant in the household of Bharthruhari. She took the mango fruit, placed it on the top of her basket and carried home. On the way she met Bharthruhari who was returning from his evening walk and immediately recognized the mango. Suspecting theft, he asked her how she got the mango. She told what had happened. Bharthruhari accosted many and understood the infidelity of his wife and broke his heart but kept it to himself. His wife came to know through the horseman that Bharthruhari knew about it and feared to face him. She feared the worst. So she devised a plan to kill him by food poisoning. She, pretending love as if nothing had happened, offered some pudding to eat. Bharthruhari was wise and having already convinced about her infidelity, doubted she may even dare more things to get rid of him. He decided to end living with her, not to eat it and to embrace sanyasam. He took the pudding, put in a hole found in the house foundation and left the home. Not long after he left, the food caught fire and the whole house and everything within it caught up fire. Bharthruhari thus became a hermit and spent rest of his life in pursuit of God. Does this story relate in our days? Not exactly but similarity may not be ruled out.

We saw how infidelity ruins home and society. Infidels or their spouses neither enjoy peace of mind nor command respect from others. Their children suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety and depression and become liability to society. Infidelity brings sword and devastates the relationships. Sword never departed David’s house after his adultery. Fidelity is an unchangeable must for the well-being of the family, the society and the nation. Moreover it is a Christian virtue. Let us hold on to it, no compromise. Art Carey warns, “Adulterous sex, while extra delicious because it is illicit, can overstress the heart,” Inquirer dated 2/10/03.

[Article Concluded.]

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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:



Guiding rule to identify right from wrong is needed to overcome guilt feeling. Only God is absolutely good because God doesn't exist within the boundaries of time and space, and therefore, only God has the right to decide what is ultimately good and bad. It needs the humility and obedience to look at the world from the perspective of God.

Today it was my turn to start the discussion with a question.

Esther:I want to do only what is right and good, and have no wish to do anything wrong or evil. But how can I know what is good and what is evil? I think that there are no universal rules that can be applied to all places, times and situations. Whenever I plan to do something, the question whether it is right or wrong arises. Often I find it difficult to decide if it is right or wrong. It makes me indecisive, and often I retreat from doing it. If I do it, the possibility for it to have been wrong makes me feel guilty. I am sure you can help me to overcome this problem.

Rabbi:This is a universal problem of all people, but only a few are conscious of it as you are. As you have said, we need some guiding rule to identify right from wrong. Otherwise, we cannot do anything confidently, and overcome guilt feeling. Let us see how our ancestors faced this problem. In the story of Adam and Eve, there is a description of the kind of trees in the Garden of Eden. There were two special trees in addition to the ordinary ones. One of them bore the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, and the other, the fruit of life. The fruit of the first were forbidden to Adam and Eve by God. God warned them that they would cause death.

The trees are, of course, symbols. Symbols of what? Their meaning has been explained in various ways. I understand them as symbols of two different attitudes. The tree of life represents an attitude which is open and flexible, whereas, the other represents an attitude which is narrow and rigid. Trying to judge everything you see around in terms of good and evil is a very narrow and rigid attitude because what is good in your eyes may not be good for another person, and what is good for you now may not be good for you after some time. Nothing in the world is ultimately good or evil because everything in the world changes. Only God is absolutely good because God doesn't exist within the boundaries of time and space, and therefore, only God has the right to decide what is ultimately good and bad. If we believe so, we will be open-minded and flexible. Such an attitude helps us to grow to more awareness and maturity.

Of course, we need to make judgments in our day-to-day life, because we need to choose right and avoid wrong. What we need to remember is that our judgments should always be contextual because what is right in one context may not be right in another context, and what is right for one person may not be so for another person. It is foolishness that makes people judge using some ultimate standards of good and evil. If someone dares to judge another person without considering the context, s/he, in reality, is occupying the seat of God. It involves pride, which is nothing but elevating oneself to the seat of God. However, as we all know, pride always leads to fall. Those who realize this will not usurp the seat of God and judge others. They will be willing to admit their limitations and will be humble. As they keep their minds open and flexible, they soar to great heights.

To obtain a better knowledge of something, the primary condition is to admit that the present knowledge of it is inadequate. It involves humility, openness, and flexibility. This is, in my opinion, the same as eating from the tree of life. However, if you believe that your present knowledge is ultimate, you will never be able to go beyond your present state, and it involves pride, rigidity and narrow mindedness. This, I would say, is the same as eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

It is the humility and openness of our ancestors that enabled them to look at the world from the perspective of God and see what is good for the whole world. In the creation story, God looks at the world and finds it good after each day's creation. The well being of the whole world is good in the sight of God according to our ancestors. They use this perspective of God as a standard to evaluate our perspectives of what is good. Whatever that leads to the well being of the world is good, and whatever that contradicts it is evil.

The ability to think is a great gift given to us by God, and our unwillingness to use it properly is what makes us foolish. In the story of Adam and Eve, we read that they were tempted by a snake. Don't you think that it is a pity for human beings, with such intellectual capacity, to act according to the words of a snake? They were too childish. I think, this has been the major cause of most of the problems of the humankind down the history. We have been too foolish to accept any garbage someone thrusts on us without caring to think for a second if it is good for us.

Good and evil are gradable. For example, if a person satisfies his own basic necessities, it is good, but if s/he helps another person to do so, it is more good. If a person kills himself, it is evil, but if s/he kills another person, it is more evil.

The same deed can be good or evil according to the purpose and circumstances. For example, committing suicide is evil, but if one does so to save a community, we call it self-sacrifice, and it is good. His/her death avoids the death of a community.

It is often thought that only an act can be good or evil. Even inactivity (passivity) can be good or evil. Suppose your neighbor has no clothing to wear and you have more than you need, not giving him/her some clothe, which is passivity, is evil. If a person remains lazy without working to produce enough food and clothing to satisfy his/her own basic necessities, it is evil. Living unconcerned about the unjust social structures we see around us is evil.

Suppose someone beats you, it is evil on his/her part, and so without being afraid, you must protest against it. If you are afraid of him/her, it encourages him/her to beat you and others again. However, protest can be in different ways. Beating him/her back is one way of protest. But if you stand before him/her boldly showing the other cheek, and challenging to beat you again, it is a more effective way of protest.

It was an interesting discussion, and we all enjoyed it.

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