24 April 2018

Of Dogs & Cats & Mice and Politics

Cats and mice are not very compatible now but the ancient ones tell a story that once upon a time cats and mice were friends. However, as many lopsided relationships are prone to do, eventually the relationsip went sour. Although the cats were larger, the mice were much more prolific than the cats and so there were many more mice than cats. One day there were so many mice that they began to go hungry and went before the Lord and said that the cats and the mice are partners but there is not enough food for both of them to eat. The Lord answered, "I see what you are trying to do. You are plotting against the cats in the hope that you can devour them. For your punishment I decree that the cats shall eat the mice instead." The mice were suddenly repentant and said, "Oh Lord, how could we have gone so wrong?" The Lord replied, "Go away from me! You should have noticed the example of the moon who lost part of her light because she spoke badly of the sun and the sun was given the extra light and thus made much brighter by the moon's loss. This evil intention by the mice against the cats will be punished in the same way. Instead of the mice devouring the cats the cats shall devour the mice." The mice said, "Oh no Lord! Shall all of the mice be eaten by the cats?" The Lord said, "No,I will take care that a remnant of mice is always spared." In their consternation with this decision the mice started biting the cats, and the cats, in turn, threw themselves upon the mice and ripped into the mice with their claws and teeth until many of them lay dead. Since that day, the mice have learned their lesson and stand in such awe of the cats that they do not even attempt to defend themselves against their enemy, but always keep themselves in hiding. 

Similarly dogs and cats maintained a friendly relation to each other, and only later on became enemies. A dog and a cat were partners, and they shared with each other whatever they had. It once happened that neither could find anything to eat for three days, not even a mouse. Thereupon the dog proposed that they dissolve their partnership. The cat should go to Adam, in whose house there would surely be enough mice for her to eat, while the dog should seek his fortune elsewhere. Before they separated, they took an oath never to go to the same master. The cat took up her abode with Adam, and she found sufficient mice in his house to satisfy her appetite. Seeing how useful she was in driving away the bothersome mice, Adam treated her most kindly. The dog, on the other hand, saw bad times. The first night after their separation he spent in the cave of a bear, who had granted him a night's lodging. At night the dog caught the sound of grunting, and he reported it to the bear, who ordered him repulse the intruders. They were wild boars. The dog had a hard time repulsing the boars, and almost lost his life on account of their large tusks.

The dog fled from the house of the bear, and took refuge with the monkey. But the monkey would't cooperate, and the fugitive was forced to appeal to the hospitality of the sheep who welcomed him gladly. Again the dog heard noises in the middle of the night. He arose to chase away the marauders, who turned out to be wolves and they chased the dog away instead. The barking of the dog suggested to the wolves the possible presence of sheep, so that the dog innocently caused the death of the sheep. Now he had lost his last friends. Night after night he begged for shelter, without ever finding a home. Finally, he decided to go to the house of Adam, who also granted him refuge for one night. When wild animals approached the house under cover of darkness, the dog began to bark. Adam awoke, and with his wooden staff he drove them away. Recognizing the dog's usefulness, Adam bade him remain with him always. But as soon as the cat spied the dog in Adam's house, she began to quarrel with him, and reproach him for having broken his oath to her. Adam did his best to pacify the cat. He told her he had himself invited the dog to make his home there, and he assured her she would in no way be at a loss by the dog's presence. He wanted both to stay with him. But it was impossible to appease the cat. The dog promised her not to touch anything intended for her. She insisted that she could not live in one and the same house with the lousy dog. Bickerings between the dog and the cat became the order of the day. Finally the dog could stand it no longer, and he left Adam's house, and went to the house of Adam's third son Seth. He was welcomed kindly by Seth and from Seth's house, he continued to make efforts at reconciliation with the cat, but his efforts were vain. And so, the enmity between the dog and the cat was transmitted to all their descendants until this very day, just like the enmity between the donkey and the elephant. 

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19 April 2018

The Promised Land

Brother and sister stand the pain. Escape the poison of addictions.
Your children will bow to your leadership and do what you do,
The way that a thorn precedes the rose that glows from within.
How terrible the world seems to those who do not know themselves.
The glory of a good man is the testimony of a good conscience.
Just take care that you do the right thing. The rest doesn’t matter.
Don't be satisfied with stories about how things have gone with others.
Unfold your own story so that others will have a correct path to follow.
Reach out and start moving towards God and the good of your soul.
Your legs will get heavy at first and you will stagger under the load,
But there will come a time when the heavy burden will be lightened,
And you will feel the wings that you have grown begin to lift you up,
And pull you forward toward the bright horizon and the promised land.

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30 March 2018

What the hell..!

Recently, Pope Francis seemed to fall into the deep well of dogma over a statement that he was purported to have made to an atheist journalist. The journalist claims Pope Francis stated that there is no Hell, and the journalist went on to make a big deal about this. What the Pope was trying to say is, that whether you burn in eternal hellfire or not is beside the point. What really matters is that if you choose Hell over God (and yes it is your choice) you become inconsequential and because all life comes from God Himself it is quite likely that you may at some point cease to exist entirely, as though you never lived.

God has given mankind a free will to either accept or reject Him. The famous German mathematician Gottfried Leibniz once said, that because of free will we live in the best of all possible worlds. Liebniz wrote, "I do not believe that a world without evil, preferable in order to ours, is possible; otherwise it would have been preferred. It is necessary to believe that the mixture of evil has produced the greatest possible good: otherwise the evil would not have been permitted." 

The Word of God, in the person of Jesus Christ, speaks to all those who believe in Him and are one with Him in the Mystical Body of Christ, i.e., "Those who love the Lord their God with all their heart and with all their soul and with all their mind, and who love their neighbor as themselves (Matt. 22:37-39)." The sinners who turn their backs on God, trespass against their own souls. They are not "sent" to Hell, according to Pope Francis. They "choose" Hell on their own accord.

At this Eastertide it is the perfect opportunity to forget speculation and quibbling over hellfire and damnation, "For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13).”

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened Matt 7:7-8)."

May God bless with eternal life in union with Himself, His Son, and His Holy Spirit, all who have ears to hear and who heed His message. Amen!

26 March 2018

Soul to Soul

I see a tree as movement. It must surely be alive.
There is sap that flows up and down the sturdy trunk,
A sucking of the roots, and a breathing of the leaves.
The constant exchange of earth, air, and water.
The slow growth of the trunk and limbs ring by ring.
I am drawn into it. I and the tree are united in life.
Does the tree feel the same? I think it must be so.
The tree gives fruit and shade to me and my brothers,
The birds and the bees, the ants and the squirrels,
And yes, the termites too, quite indiscriminately.
Is the tree self conscious? Am I always conscious?
Our communication is through the Holy Spirit of God.
Soul to soul we commune through the Creator of all.
God bless every living soul with whom I communicate.

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19 March 2018

Long live Shiphrah and Puah!

In the story of the Jewish Exodus from the land of Egypt, about 3,400 years ago, we have history's first recorded case of civil disobedience in defense of a moral cause, and it just so happen that it was initiated by women.

Prior to the Exodus the population of the Israelite people living in Egypt had grown so large and potentially powerful that it posed a threat to the reigning Pharaoh. Accordingly, the Pharaoh used a form of state slavery to impose forced labor upon the male population for a long and indefinite terms of service under degrading and brutal conditions in order to control and even reduce the population. The plan did not work, however, and Hebrew people continued to thrive, to the great consternation of the Pharaoh.

The Pharaoh decided that he would use infanticide to slow the population growth. So the Pharaoh said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live." The midwives, however, feared God, and did not do what the Pharaoh had told them to do; they let the boys live. Then the Pharaoh summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?” The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.” So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own. (From Exodus 1:15-21)

The motivation for civil disobedience is a moral one, that, like the midwives Shiphrah and Puah, places fear of God over the laws of men that are established with a political or arbitrary authoritarian bias. It is the moral and ethical difference between right and wrong. It is the same fear of God that keeps us from mocking the handicapped or placing a stumbling block in front of a blind person, or keeps us from torturing animals. The fear of God "trumps" the law of men. It is the consciousness or subconsciousness of the existence of a higher law that makes demands upon human beings and constitutes the ultimate restraint on evildoers and provides the higher moral incentive for choosing to do what is right and just.

All of the power of the state, the outward magnificence of the regime, and the prowess of its leader, are illusionary and ephemeral, and in the ultimate reckoning they are insignificant, and turn to dust because they rest on foundations empty of moral content.

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08 March 2018

Hooray for Women's Day!

On this International Women's Day of 2018 it is good for us to realize that the Lord acknowledged the rights of women at least 2300 years ago. When the Israelis had reached the promised land Moses knew that he would die before they crossed the Jordan into the land of milk and honey so he began to lay out a plan as to how the land would be apportioned to the Children of Israel. There were five sisters who spoke up regarding their rights to an inheritance and Moses asked the Lord what he should do. The Lord decided that the women were right. Later when Moses died and his successor, Joshua, led the people across the Jordan to take possession of the land, the daughters stepped up again and reminded Joshua of their inheritance. Hooray for women who speak up. Don't be timid, speak your piece. It's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease!

The plea of the daughters: Numbers 27:1-8

Then drew near the daughters of Zelophehad the son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh, from the clans of Manasseh the son of Joseph. The names of his daughters were: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.
And they stood before Moses and before Eleazar the priest and before the chiefs and all the congregation, at the entrance of the tent of meeting, saying,
“Our father died in the wilderness. He was not among the company of those who gathered themselves together against the LORD in the company of Korah, but died for his own sin. And he had no sons.
Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan because he had no son? Give to us a possession among our father’s brothers.”
Moses brought their case before the LORD.
And the LORD said to Moses,
“The daughters of Zelophehad are right. You shall give them possession of an inheritance among their father’s brothers and transfer the inheritance of their father to them.
And you shall speak to the people of Israel, saying, ‘If a man dies and has no son, then you shall transfer his inheritance to his daughter.'"

The reminder to Joshua: Joshua 17:3-4

Now Zelophehad the son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh, had no sons, but only daughters, and these are the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.
They approached Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun and the leaders and said, “The LORD commanded Moses to give us an inheritance along with our brothers.” So according to the mouth of the LORD he gave them an inheritance among the brothers of their father.

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04 March 2018

Thy will be done.

In the Old Testament, the unnamed servant of Abraham who was sent to Haran to find a wife for Isaac is the first person that the Bible records who prayed for personal divine guidance at a critical moment in his life. He did not ask for a miracle but he prayed that his exercise of discretion might be in accordance with God's will (Genesis 24:12-15). In the New Testament Jesus commissions us to pray in a similar manner; "Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven." Each answered prayer is a miracle in itself in that we can talk to God and that he hears us. The essence of the word "miraculous" is that a single individual in good faith can experience a distinct feeling of constant nearness to the Creator of Heaven and Earth and approach Our Lord with a simple pious prayer and expect results.

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02 March 2018

A double parody

Ill fares the promised land, a prey to avarice,
Where wealth accumulates, and wealthy men decay.
Presidents and Congresses may flourish, or may fade;
A vote can make them, and a vote can take them;
When gobbledygook accumulates and ideas decay
And galloping fears stalk the land.

My parody of James Thurber's parody of Oliver Goldsmith's "The Deserted Village"

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22 February 2018

One Nation Under God

I recently heard a televised speech on by a prominent gun rights advocate regarding the school shooting at Parkland, Florida. He said that to stop a bad guy with a gun it takes a good guy with a gun. This is the same opinion of our president who suggests that we arm teachers with concealed weapons in order to "harden" our schools. In short, they are saying that instead of banning assault type weapons, evil must be confronted with evil in equal measure. The purpose of both the perpetrator and the defender is "shoot to kill." This particular speaker and many of his colleagues state that gun control is socialism and to them socialism is anathema. There is definitely some cognitive dissonance at work here. The same people claim to be Christians. They must realize that Christianity is socialism in the manner of Christian Humanism. The Gospels and the Epistles of the New Testament will bear that out. 

When I was a youth there was a simple moral dichotomy. It was called "right or wrong". Since the last presidential election cycle, however, we now have an "alternative right" and so it only follows that there must also be an "alternative wrong." In Deuteronomy 5:32-33 it says, "You shall be careful therefore to do as the LORD your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you possess." 

We should abandon the left and the right and come together in the middle where we belong as "One Nation, under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all. I believe that the brave survivors of the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, are on the right path. I pray that God gives them the strength and the wisdom to speak truth to power with one voice as witnesses for the victims of tragic shootings not only all over America but in the rest of the "civilized world" as well. Never again!

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14 February 2018

For My Valentine

Man pursues woman, striving to be
One flesh with her, as if to regain
A lost part of himself, ever since
The divine anesthetic reduced Adam
To an inert object while God
Removed his rib to form Eve.
Happy Valentine to my better half.

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.