Christians are smashing metal songwriters? Really?

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I have a thing for Gregorian chants, my kids tend to roll their eyes and then flop themselves on the sofa when they see my cds come out, and you can do the same as this post is centred on that topic. Now that blog etiquettes (warnings) have been dispensed with, this is what I would like to ruminate about.

“As a metalhead I must say, The Christians are smashing metal songwriters!”

I burst out laughing as I read this comment which was in response to the translation of a 13th century Latin Catholic hymn, “Dies Irae”- Day of wrath.

The translation of this glorious hymn goes something like this…

Day of wrath and doom impending,
David’s word with Sibyl’s blending,
Heaven and earth in ashes ending!

Oh, what fear man’s bosom rendeth,
When from heaven the Judge descendeth,
On whose sentence all dependeth.

Full translation can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dies_Irae

Metal songs, not that I listen to any or that I even vaguely claim to posses any knowledge of the genre, are known to be powerful, intense and even demonic, hence the raucous laughter when reading a comment stating that Christians are great metal songwriters! Humour aside it drove home a very startling fact that often tends to be missed, there is fine line between right and wrong. Religion, I speak for the catholic faith but I doubt that other religions differ greatly, is about peace and love. Turning the other cheek, loving your neighbour as your self and most importantly loving your God with everything you have, mind, body and soul.

Yet, how many righteous religious wars have we fought? How many inquisitions, hangings, and witch burnings have we condoned? How many dark secrets have marred many a religious institution? A quick history lesson makes you sing the song of the black eyed peas, “where is the love?”

A religion of love and peace, where the son of God himself and many of his apostles thereafter, chose to surrender themselves to torture and death rather than speak one evil word of anger or hatred, yet we the disciples of that order have perpetrated war and murder in his holy name. Aren’t we the ones who are truly lost? Is it any wonder that today bystanders declare us ‘similar’ to a genre that is often associated with darkness?

Many Christian friends have asked me why I don’t evangelise, spread the word, and generally talk of my intimate relationship with the God. How can I? How do I explain that I ‘see’ all that is wrong and yet choose what is right? That there is so much that I do not understand, so many questions that I have no answers to, numerous mysteries that plague me night and day, and yet in the knowledge of him that matters most, my lord and my God, I am calm. How do you explain that which is too enigmatic to even define as a question?

The simple truth is you can’t find God without bumping into the devil first. Trust me when I tell you that Adam and Eve had no true realisation of God until they listened to the devil. Due to the unfortunate way the human mind, soul and brain works, we can’t truly understand or even recognise the truth until we are first convinced of that which is false. The proverbial other side always looks greener, and until we cross over and see for ourselves, like the famous doubting Thomas, we will never truly be convinced.

The Israelites when crossing the dessert were not impressed by the supernatural column of cloud by day nor the column of fire by night, the manna from heaven was too bland and the parting of the Red sea, old news. Christians, priests, nuns, deacons, preachers, like their predecessors tend to get lost in the dessert and the world only hears of their doubts and failings but not of their journey home. So to all the sceptics and watchers, rejoice when you hear of the lost for that’s when the shepherd goes out looking for his sheep and who knows you might just catch a glimpse of him.

That’s the beauty of Christianity, even when you are truly lost you are actually closer to being found, that’s the Christian paradox, only those who are truly lost can be saved, everyone else is just pretending to be found. Fear not if you are one of those who has never crossed the line or have been true to the faith since birth, God has not forgotten you. Life with a lot of help from the devil will visit you, will shake your world, will bring you to your knees and then from the depths of your darkest despair when you call out, the light will shine.

Now you know why I don’t talk of my faith but only smile and say, “Your time will come, hang in there!”

The Art of healing: Hoʻoponopono

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Hotmail delivered an email by a troubled soul I no longer consider as friend, refer to my emotional rant in the article ‘A can of worms’. Technology amazes me, how you can still receive emails from a ‘blocked’ person is one of the wonders of modern society. In this instance however, gratitude is the order of the day.

Her email, as always, was a forwarded email that goes by the subject line: “I’m sorry” and “I love you”.  I must be the only dyslexic in the world who just can’t resist reading a well-written email, even if it is from someone I have officially blocked from my life. What can I say? We all have our quirks; curiosity is mine.

This particular email was so intriguing it warranted a post, for those who are familiar with my musings you know that I rather stay silent than write for the sake of writing, yes all you social media marketers, I am guilty of the number one SMM no-no. I have never been one to conform and my viewpoints are different at best but never run-of-the-mill.

Hoʻoponopono is the ancient Hawaiian belief system that offers cures for a world steeped in pain and sickness. According to Wikipedia, “Hoʻoponopono” is defined in the Hawaiian Dictionary as “mental cleansing: family conferences in which relationships were set right through prayer, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution and forgiveness.”

This particular email made references to Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, a therapist in Hawaii who cured a complete ward of criminally insane patients without ever seeing them, by improving himself. Total responsibility, the belief that everything in your life is your responsibility and not in a guilt tripping depressing way but in an uplifting empowering way.

I am not completely sold on the technique or the results, nor am I convinced of the authenticity of the claims, however what I am intrigued with is the underlying empowerment message. Yes, I am a sucker for inspirational, motivational and downright simple common sense. As a catholic, I can totally resonate with, ‘prayer, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution and forgiveness’.

For the longest time however, I always thought that all the above were for your own mental health. As a proponent of, ‘You have the power to change your past’ I found it quite interesting that I, me and myself encompasses the universe.

The question, ‘what have you done?’ being posed to the parents when any child was ill, really struck a nerve. The fact that one out of my brood of three is perpetually ill might have something to do with it. My counsellor, as my son might have Asperger’s, is always drumming the circle of parenting principles, one of her favourite being, the solution to all behavioural issues with children is to spend more quality time with them. To rejoice in them and delight in them, kind but firm is what every parent should aim for. Screaming, yelling and generally loosing it is my modus operandi, but Libby and I are working on that.

Apart from the fact that if you are at peace with yourself, everyone around you will also absorb that calming presence (a kindy teacher who is confident and calm always has her class attentive to her), the ability to heal others by taking responsibility for them mentally, seems to make a lot of sense. In this world where everyone is harping on their freedom to curse, insult and abuse, a message of peace, harmony, forgiveness and most importantly responsibility might just be what we need in these troubled times.

To heal the world, our community, our families, by first healing ourselves, makes a lot of sense. Every troubled teenager, criminal and war monger needs to be taken responsibility for, we as a community need to step out of our shells, our private little perfect worlds and embrace the troubled, lonely and even the criminally insane with love, forgiveness and acknowledgment. Distancing ourselves form the problem doesn’t make it go away, doing something about it does.

Now, that doesn’t mean that we all make a beeline to the prisons and hospitals; that would be nice, however what we can do is stop this mental demarcation of them versus us. Total surrender and total responsibility, at least mentally for starters, who knows we might just change the world and save it while we heal and love ourselves.

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Halleluiah! White smoke from the Sistine chapel. Viva il Papa!

Pope Francis
Pope Francis

849508-white-smoke-pope-electedYou don’t have to be a catholic to realise the significance of white smoke bellowing from (atop) the Sistine Chapel. The Roman Catholic community has been blessed with a new pope (266th pope), Pope Francis. The bells of the basilica pealed across St. Peters square and the devout  crowd jubilantly chanted Viva il Papa (Long live the Pope in Italian).

ARGENTINIAN Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the first of many; He is the first Jesuit to be elected Pope, the first to hail from Latin America, the first non-European pontiff in 1000 years and the first Pope Francis, though technically he can’t be called the first until there is a second pope Francis.

Pope Francis appeared on the balcony to be greeted by a deafening roar of joy by the crowd that had been chanting Viva il Papa for over an hour after the smoke was sighted.

“You know that the work of the conclave is to give a bishop to Rome. It seems as if my brother cardinals went to find him from the end of the earth. Thank you for the welcome,” he said before thanking the former pope Benedict, blessing the city and all the men and women of goodwill.

Thousands of miles away, I could not help myself beam with pride when the following facts were made to light, as I sipped my morning coffee. Pope Francis is known for his humility, his belief in social justice and for living a simple lifestyle. As Cardinal of the Catholic Church in Argentina, he passed on the right to have a chauffeured limousine and instead used public transport. Instead of a bishop’s palace, he lived in a small apartment and reportedly cooked his own meals.

These are indeed exciting times for a catholic, for the first time we have a former pope (pope Benedict) to guide us and a new pope (pope Francis) to lead us, a double blessing, Viva il Papa indeed!

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Pope Francis
Pope Francis


Read more: http://www.news.com.au/world-news/new-pope-jorge-mario-bergoglio-to-be-known-as-pope-francis/story-fndir2ev-1226596864238#ixzz2NSxNUklE

Meditation, or is it just me?

meditation

This musing is a reaction to an article about another blogger’s journey with vipasana mediation. 10 days of doing nothing but sitting 12 hours straight, in an attempt to still one’s mind. As a blogger and writer the whole purpose of stilling one’s mind is beyond me. I am like the NASA probe searching for a thought wave, constantly on the prowl for some illuminating thought that I can transcribe into words. My mind is a podium for unceasing debate, in the words of René Descartes,

I think therefore I am.

Even as I sleep my mind is in constant chatter, my dreams are more tangled than Shakespeare’s web of lies. I am always on the Internet absorbing news, ideas, latest research, discoveries and constantly analysing theories. I relish religious discourses where I can logically defend my faith. I am constantly scouring anti-Catholic sites, assimilating all their objections and I try to find valid answers to all their contentions. If there is a point that I cannot clarify then I thrash it out mentally and devour religious literature until I find the answer. Offcourse, all this goes on internally, I never voice my opinions publicly, for me religion is a very personal matter and not for public debate, which brings me to my point, I love to think.

Unfortunately there are days, mostly when I am on a zero sugar and low carb diet when my mind just goes blank. These periods that I dub as writer’s block which are more like thinker’s block are the most boring and depressing episodes of my life. No thoughts, no emotions, no adrenaline, no reaction, just empty space, floating through a void; most depressing. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to be in that state! It’s like dying; at least it’s for me.

Oh the joy to be alive, to feel emotions that cause your heart to pound, the blood to rush into your veins, to experience your head throb with anger or excitement. Why would anyone want to give all that away, even for a nanosecond? As a religious person I know that there are times one should be still and listen to the Lord, but for me that is usually when fear or trouble crowd my existence, which is very rarely. Usually I am in an animated discourse with the Lord about this and that, or I am usually bugging him for an answer or just in awe of him. Stillness is not a prominent feature of my religious life and the Lord hasn’t led me to doubt my journey.

As I watch my 4-½ year old, run wildly around the house chasing an imaginary animal, whilst screaming at the top of his voice, I can only smile and say, “yeah, he takes after me!”

Lent- Peace and love to all on Earth.

 

Nederlands: Lent (Nijmegen) H.Hartbeeld bij RK...
Nederlands: Lent (Nijmegen) H.Hartbeeld bij RK kerk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s the Christian holy period of Lent, 40 days of introspection, fasting and prayers. Not many Christians observe it and as there aren’t any fixed rules, many just don’t let it affect their lives. My mother is a very staunch Catholic and my father; a merry soul believes his special relationship with God exempts him from ritualistic traditions. It was very interesting growing up in my home, my mother a fervent prayer warrior who prayed unceasingly on her knees through most of the night and hurried about the housework all day, exhorting us to keep praying. As a kid I hated school but I remember preferring to study than join my mum in her never-ending novenas and rosaries. My Dad was way cooler, rarely went to church and was well versed with the DE Silva method, mediation, psychology, mind control, hypnosis, and the like. He had a well-stacked library with rare finds like Ben Sweetland’s I WILL, ESP, Works of Carl Jung, Psych symbology, along with regulars like Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, Edward De Bono etc. While most kids read fairy tales, I would read Napoleon Hill and Dale Carnegie. My elder brother and I used to play mind games, like trying to materialise the family TV into our bedroom cupboard. When thoroughly bored we would try ESP, I would draw a symbol and mentally project it to him and he would clear his mind and try to receive it. I was 8 and he was 10, in hindsight we should have played more in the park! My mum though staunchly religious never brushed aside any of these new science practises and in fact encouraged us to explore the sciences. I remember she would keep telling us, Einstein says we use only 2 % of our brains, so use more! This dialogue was especially more prevalent during exam times. That was mum, madly in love with God but so fiercely intelligent and she found a perfect balance. Science and religion were never in conflict, God had created all, including science and mankind only discovered what the almighty had already set in motion. Dad on the other hand always struggled with religion, the traditions were nonsensical to him, the rules and regulation another form of thought control. He was always intrigued with conspiracy theories, the Bermuda triangle, secret societies and was always researching the latest theory. Mum, whom dad called a brainwashed sheep of the church was always at peace and never lost her faith. Dad, the wise one, was always deeply troubled and made many hurried decisions based on fear, doubt and insecurity. I learnt early that what is right varies form society to society but truth varies form an individual to an individual. Personal truths are what empowers a person, a solid one like the one my mother had, grounded her and gave her stability; a varying one like my father’s made him a boat tossed about in the stormy sea. It is for this very reason that Lord Jesus had declared, “know the truth and the truth will set you free.” So as we enter this holy period of fasting, prayer and self-reflection, I take time out to quite my mind and to find out my truth. I intend to reaffirm my beliefs and strengthen my resolve. I hope I can be half the role model my mother was and instruct my children in the way of our ancestors. Peace and love to all the inhabitants of the Earth.

 

God is a lousy business man!

He trades our pain, sorrow, sinful baggage, and everything negative for his joy, peace and grace! He isn’t partial he loves the saint and the sinner just the same! His reward for the faithful believer and that for the prodigal disciple is the same – eternal life!
Not a very good business man when u judge him through the eyes of the world. In the world we trade for profit not loss, we reward the loyal far more than the others, and we definitely have favorites!
Perhaps that’s why atheists cannot believe in a God, how can there be someone who is so perfect, love us despite all our faults? All that power and yet he chose to be born in a manger and die a torturous death for all of us. Unbelievable!
Christians are here to tell u just that! God loves u even if u don’t love him or know him or believe in him. He loves you just the way you are because he made you. You are beautiful in his eyes. Not matter what you have done, where you have been or where you’ll end up: he loves you. He won’t hang up when u call ,he always has time for you and there isn’t a problem or situation too big for him to handle. He isn’t a self-righteous, annoying, judgmental disciplinarian but a kind, patient, compassionate, understanding, loving and ever forgiving Father.
All you have to do is call out to him, he is waiting….

by Antonia Rapheal