The State of Virginity

The State of Virginity
I should like you to be free of all worries. The unmarried man is busy with the Lord's affairs, concerned with pleasing the Lord; but the married man is busy with this world's demands and occupied with pleasing his wife. This means he is divided. The virgin - indeed, any unmarried woman - is concerned with things of the Lord, in pursuit of holiness in body and spirit. The married woman, on the other hand, has the cares of this world to absorb her and concerned with pleasing her husband. I am going into this with you for your own good. I have no desire to place restrictions on you, but I do want to promote what is good, what will help you to devote yourselves entirely to the Lord. 1 Corinthians 7:32-35

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

QUOTATIONS

We never do anything well till we cease to think about the manner of doing it.

The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.

Reading is sometimes an ingenious device for avoiding thought.

It is difficult to be humble. Even if you aim at humility, there is no guarantee that when you have attained the state you will not be proud of the feat.

A timid question will always receive a confident answer.

A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.

Reason is a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.

Life is one long process of getting tired.

An atheist is one point beyond the devil.

As soon as man is born he begins to die.

Long is the way
And hard, that out of hell that leads up to light.

The fear of the Lord is clean, and endureth forever: the judgments of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and the honey-comb.

When poverty comes in at the door, love flies out of the window.

Justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.

Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration.

If a man stays away from his wife for seven years, the law presumes the separation to have killed him; yet according to our daily experience, it might well prolong his life.

One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done...

Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing can ever be made.

The orgasm has replaced the cross as the focus of longing and the image of fulfilment.

We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe.

For every person wishing to teach there are thirty not wanting to be taught.

The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.

Adam was but human - this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple's sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden.

Every man's work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.

When you have told anyone you have left him a legacy the only decent thing to do is to die at once.

If Jesus Christ were to come today, people would not even crucify Him. They would ask Him to dinner, and hear what He had to say, and make fun of it.

An original writer is not one who imitates nobody, but one whom nobody can imitate.

Charity is the power of defending that which we know to be indefensible. Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances which we know to be desperate.

Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness.

Study the past, if you would divine the future.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

CHINESE PROVERBS: WORDS OF WISDOM AND DEEP THOUGHTS

A real man dies on a battlefield, and his body is wrapped in horsehide. Who wants to die in bed, surrounded by his wife and children? (General Ma chooses to die with his boots on, Eastern Han Dynasty)

An arrogant and complacent leader is sure to meet with defeat. (Dou Bobi, Tang Dynasty)

In good times, the wise man works for the state. In bad times, he looks after himself. (Jie Yu, Spring and Autumn Period)

Shrimps may attack dragons in shallow water. (Traditional)

Pioneers plant trees, but the latecomers rest in the shade. (Traditional)

He that has committed no crime by day, fears not a knock on the door by night. (Traditional)

Heaven may produce unexpected wind and clouds. Life may produce unexpected calamities. (Traditional)

Do not drive the tiger from the front door, while letting the wolf get in the back. (Hu Zhidang, Han Dynasty)

The leader must be at the forefront of the army's struggles. He neither sits in the shade in summer, nor dons warm clothing in the winter. (Zhang Yu, Song Dynasty)

Praise is only worthwhile when it comes from someone else. (Zhuang Zi, Warring States Period)


Good government is attained when those who are near are made happy, and those who are far away are attracted. (Confucius, Spring and Autumn Period)

He who governs by example is like the Pole Star, which keeps its place while the other stars turn around it. (Confucius, Spring and Autumn Period)

Kingdoms rise and kingdoms fall, but it's the common people who suffer. (Zhang Yanghao, Yuan Dynasty)

An old horse at the trough, still thinks of traveling a thousand leagues. A hero in his old age, never lets go of his principles. (Cao Cao, Easter Han Dynasty)

It is wrong not to repay the kindness of others, and to rejoice in their misfortunes. (Qing Zheng, Spring and Autumn Period)

Watch your words and your deeds, for your words shall be spoken and your deeds shall be copied. (Traditional)

Suppress your desire for glory, and you will not be disappointed. (Emperor Yu, Xia Dynasty)

The truly wise man does not display his wisdom. Such is the secret of being well-liked. (Yang Zhu, Zhou Dynasty)

When good is in danger, only a coward will not defend it. (Confucius, Spring and Autumn Period)

A clear conscience is the greatest armor. (Traditional)

Only when you know why you have hit the target, can you truly say that you have learned archery. (Guan Yinzi, Warring States Period)

People differ in life, but not in death. (Yang Zhu, Zhou Dynasty)

The higher the rank I attain, the more humbly I behave. The greater my power, the less I exercise it. The richer my wealth, the more I give away. Thus I avoid envy, spite and misery. (Sun Shu Ao, Zhou Dynasty)

Two small creatures chatter about matters they cannot understand. A small brain cannot comprehend the workings of a great mind. (Zhuang Zi, Warring States Period)

A virtuous man concentrates on his own work, not that of others. (Zengzi, Spring and Autumn Period)

When fortune flees even gold loses its luster
When fortune returns even iron shines bright (Traditional)

A fish that frees itself from a hook, will swim away, never to return. (Traditional)

The life of things passes by like a galloping horse. (Zhuang Zi, Warring States Period)

The coward has a dream, the brave man has a vision. (Traditional)

One living in blessings does not know it is a blessing. (Traditional)

Monday, March 15, 2010

I HAVE LIVED BY THIS SENTENCE BY DR. JOSEPH R. SIZOO

Years ago, in a day of uncertainty and disillusionment, when my whole life seemed to be overwhelmed by forces beyond my control, one morning quite casually I opened my New Testament and my eyes fell upon this sentence, "He that sent me is with me - the Father hath not left me alone." My life has never been the same since that hour. Everything for me has been forever different after that. I suppose that not a day has passed that I have not repeated it to myself. Many have come to me for counseling during these years, and I have always sent them away with this sustaining sentence. I have walked with it and I have found in it my peace and strength. To me it is the very essence of religion. It lies at the rock bottom of everything that makes life worth living. It is the Golden Text of my life.

By Dr. Joseph R. Sizoo
President, New Brunswick Theological Seminary
New Brunswick, New Jersey - the oldest seminary in the United States, founded in 1874.


FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND
One night a man had a dream. He
dreamed he was walking along
the beach with the LORD. Across
the sky flashed scenes from his
life. For each scene he noticed
two sets of footprints in the sand.
One belonging to him and the
other to the LORD.

When the last scene of his life
flashed before him, he looked
back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along
the path of his life there was only
one set of footprints. He also
noticed that it happened at the
very lowest and saddest times of
his life.

This really bothered him and he
questioned the LORD about it.
LORD you said that once I
decided to follow you, you'd walk
with me all the way. But I have
noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life
there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when I
needed you most you would
leave me.

The Lord replied, my precious,
precious child, I love you and I
would never leave you! During
your times of trial and suffering
when you see only one set of
footprints, it was then that I
carried you.

Psalm 46:2-4
God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress. Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea;Though its waters rage and foam and the mountains quake at its surging. The LORD of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.

Monday, March 8, 2010

HOW DID FATHER SLAVKO BARBARIC TURN INTO A VAMPIRE?


For months I have been wondering whether I should write this article for my blog. Tonight I read again the article entitled "The Undead Vampire of Medjugorje" and below are some excerpts taken from this article.

Medjugorje and the Undead
Barbaric is not dead, that is because he is a sucking vampire. In a strange twist surrounding the already highly contro-versial Medjugorje movement, a message purportedly from the Blessed Virgin Mary claims that one of the most influential backers of the "seers" of Medjugorje is a saint in Heaven -- but suspicions have arisen that Father Slavko Barbaric may actually be alive - and avoiding an international criminal fraud investigation.

Kronzer's investigation of the dark underworld of religious fraud was prompted by the loss of his wife, Ardie, to what he describes as the Medjugorje "cult."

Adherents to Medjugorje, however, have poured millions, if not billions of dollars into the cult. It is the potential misappropriation of these funds which has prompted several investigations into the dealings of the Medjugorje promoters.

The examination of fraud connected with Medjugorje reached spectacular proportions in 2002 when military-style attacks were launched against a bank, Hercegovacka Banka, known to be controlled by Croatian extremists in Bosnia. Croatian extremists used the bank to finance their efforts to separate the Croatian section of Bosnia from the nation of Bosnia, and unite Croatian Bosnia with the independent nation of Croatia.

Ominous signs for Fr. Barbaric and the Hercegovacka Banka began to appear as early as the November 11, 2000 general elections in Bosnia. As election results began to come in, the loss of influence of Croatian extremists in the future Bosnia government became increasingly certain. At the same time, their activities were coming under increasing scrutiny from the international community.

The day after Barbaric's reported death, the Blessed Virgin is said to have told one of the "seers" that, "I rejoice with you and I desire to tell you that your brother Slavko has been born into Heaven and intercedes for you."

Kronzer states that he has information from a reliable source that puts the "Our Lady of Medjugorje" message in doubt, and strongly indicates that "Slavko" may actually be alive, and avoiding unheavenly questions concerning what he knows about the Hercegovacka Banka.

Because the bank was involved with activities undermining the international peace agreement in the Balkans, it is possible that "Slavko," if found alive, could spend time before The Hague Tribunal.

Each time I read this article, I feel really sad. After reading this article again tonight, I somehow feel that I should write something for my hero, Father Slavko Barbaric. A holy man like him should always be remembered and honoured for generations to come and shouldn't be defamed like this.

Bram Stoker's "Dracula" has always been one of my favourite books and all I know about vampires is that they rule armies of wolves and hordes of rats. They can turn into bats. They corrupt the pure and destroy the innocent. They can enter dreams and torment minds and they feast forever on our blood. Well, as far as I know, Father Slavko did none of these horrible things. Those who know him would agree that he is a very religious man and that he lived a very holy life. It is certainly unfair to compare a harmless man like Father Slavko with a vampire.

We all know that Father Slavko lived a very simple and humble life and he did not care much for himself nor did he ask for anything for himself. That was why he aged and died prematurely. Now to answer the question whether he really died prematurely. Well, why should Father Slavko fake his death in the first place? What is his purpose for doing do? Do you think he would enjoy himself hiding away from the whole world thus being unable to do the things that he loves to do so much - to celebrate mass, to tend to the needs of the Medjugorje pilgrims, to serve God and us, to pray on Podbrdo Hill and Mount Krizevac? He is not the kind of man who lives only for himself and he certainly would not hide away from the whole world and enjoy life secretly. That is not his purpose! His purpose is to live the life of Christ and to serve the world as He did.

Did he fake his death for the sake of money? What does he need so much money for? He doesn't have to pay for his children's college fees nor does he need money to buy a ring for his wife on every Valentine's Day. Celibate priests devote their lives to God and to the Church and they do not care much about money. Whatever they have belongs to the church. Father Slavko has written so many books but did he become rich? The answer is "no" because whatever money he has goes to the church.

When Our Lady says that "I rejoice with you and I desire to tell you that your Brother Slavko has been born into Heaven and intercedes for you" it doesn't mean that Father Slavko faked his death. Which part of the sentence explains this? Is there anyone who has seen Father Slavko hiding away in secret? Who is this person? Being alive in Heaven doesn't mean that he is still alive on earth and is hiding away secretly!

Do the Croatian extremists really want to separate the Croatian section of Bosnia from the nation of Bosnia and unite Croatian Bosnia with the independent nation of Croatia? Whose creative idea is this and what proof do we have? We don't even know if this statement is true. The question is, "Can the Medjugorje priests undertake such an important task?" They are not trained soldiers and they probably don't even know how to handle a gun. They are not extremists nor are they politicians who thirst for power. Medjugorje is a peaceful and humble place of prayer. In Medjugorje there is no war, only peace. There is no hatred, only love. And the Croatian people are very friendly, helpful, honest and selfless people. I am saying this based on my own personal experience. I haven't seen more honest people in my life.

What kind of criminal fraud is Medjugorje involved in? As far as I know, the Croatian people there make an honest living. And whatever donations that the pilgrims give to the Church are given willingly and wholeheartedly. There is no fraud!

Can we say that Medjugorje is a cult? What is a cult? A cult is defined in the Longman's dictionary as (a group of people that follow) a system of worship, esp. one that is different from the usual and established forms of religion in a particular society. I don't see any difference between the system of worship in Medjugorje and the churches in Malaysia. The only difference is people tend to be more religious when they are in Medjugorje. This is one of the good fruits of Medjugorje and it is something we should celebrate and not condemn.

Anyone who has lost his wife to Medjugorje should perhaps first of all take a look at his marriage lines. According to palmistry, there is a time set apart in one's life to marry and to divorce. Why is it so? Until all the secret laws and forces of nature are known, we can take no other standpoint than to accept this perpetual fact. Everything in life is fated. He should look at things positively. It may be a blessing in disguise for him. As one of my lecturers used to say, a successful man could easily find a much better and younger wife anytime should his wife choose to leave him irrespective of how old he is. Just look at Lee Majors. How beautiful his young wife is!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

THE CACHOT: THE DWELLING-PLACE OF THE SOUBIROUS FAMILY AT THE TIME OF THE APPARITIONS

In 1848, Claire Casterot (Bernadette's grandmother), decided to leave Boly Mill and go to live with her eldest daughter who was then married. She took her other children with her. Because of the strained relationship between Francois Soubirous (Bernadette's father) and his in-laws and overcrowding in the mill, this was probably the best solution for them. But without Claire Casterot's experience and being too accommodating with their customers, Francois and Louise (Bernadette's mother) soon encountered financial difficulties. To make matters worse, times were changing and the new steam-powered mills were beginning to threaten their livelihood.

In 1849, Francois was blinded in the left eye in an accident while repairing his millstone. On 4th January 1851, his young son, Jean-Marie died. On 24th June 1854, the Soubirous were forced to leave Boly Mill because they were unable to pay their rent. After a short stay in Laborde House, they leased Baudean Mill but they fared no better at the Baudean Mill. In 1855, a cholera epidemic claimed 38 lives in Lourdes. Bernadette recovered but her illness left her with chronic asthma. In the same year, Claire Casterot died leaving Francois and Louise 900 francs with which they rented the mill at Arcizac. But the harvests that year and the next were bad and Lourdes was struck by famine. Ruined and with two more children to support the family ended up at Rives House, a "miserable shack" but they could not even afford to pay the modest rent. In November 1856, Francois was reduced to penury. He found himself without a stable job, without a house but with a wife and four children to support. He was neither able to feed his family nor to pay his rental. Evicted and homeless, the Soubirous family moved into the Cachot.

This humble dwelling at 5 rue des Petit Fosses has been called the Cachot because it was used as a jail. In 1824, the authorities condemned the building as unfit for human habitation because of its damp, unhealthy condition and lack of security. A builder, Jean Pierre Taillade, bought this building precisely at the time when it was abandoned by the authorities concerned. He left it to his grandson, Andre Sajous, in 1848.

In 1856, his cousin, Andre Sajous, offered the Cachot to Francois rent-free as a temporary refuge. Penniless and homeless, the Soubirous family moved into the Cachot. The only room, 4.4 metres by 4 metres, accommodated the six members of the Soubirous family. The family remained in their temporary home until July 1858 when Father Peyramale rented the Lacade Mill for them. This was the harshest representation of the family's misery.

In order to survive, the whole family had to work. Francois became a day-labourer; Louise (Bernadette's mother) washed clothes or worked as a farm-hand in order to earn some money. Bernadette looked after her brothers and sister, collected bones and scrap iron which she sold to the rag-and-bone woman, and even helped in her aunt's tavern. But these meagre sources of income were barely enough to make ends meet. On 27th March 1857, Francois was accused of stealing two sacks of flour and was arrested and imprisoned but was released a week later through lack of evidence. "It was his destitution that made me think that it could have been him," admitted the plaintiff. As a pauper suspected of theft, Francois found it even more difficult to find work. Times were bad and famine raged throughout the whole region.

It was while living in the Cachot that the apparitons occurred. It was from the Cachot that Bernadette went on 11th February 1858 to fetch some firewood at Massabielle with her sister, Toinette, and a friend, Jeanne Abadie. From 11th February 1858 to 16th July 1858 she saw the Holy Virgin 18 times.

The Cachot has been preserved in its original condition. Next to it is a little museum where mementoes of Bernadette are displayed. Here can be found the gilt-covered wooden statue of the Virgin Mary before which Bernadette used to pray when it was in the old parish church of St. Peter.

The Cachot and the little museum next to it are the property of the Sanctuary. The building is looked after by the Sisters of Charity of Nevers, the order to which Bernadette belonged. Admission is free. Opening hours: 9.00 am to Noon; 2.00 pm to 7.00 pm.