Categories: News and Events
Tags: The Star of the Magi; Wise men; rshis of India; A conjunction ofPlanets
Categories: News and Events
Tags: Christmas tide. The Light of Nations, The Light of Christ
2. The time was ripe for God’s great love for man,
To be made manifest,
And man could once again behold the ‘Light’
The spark of His saving grace.
3. It dawned upon a lowly city,
That lay deep in sleep that night;
Bethlehem the chosen city,
Where a Savior was to be born.
4. As each naked tree was dressed in white,
And bare hills in snowflakes clothed,
The Star of David, shone high up that night,
Out shinning Others hung low in the sky.
5. It showed some travelers together in a search,
Of a King that was to come;
So wondrously did it guide them to the place,
To behold the King who was to come.
6. Both East and West and North and South,
Knelt down to worship the Infant King;
As choirs of Angels proclaimed to the shepherds,
And they hurried over to witness the truth.
7. The Light of Christ born to the world,
At every Christmas Tide,
Is the Light of Nations ‘Light from Light’
That leads all mankind to God.
8. The Light that shone for us in the darkness
Two Thousand years ago;
Is the Light that enlightens every man,
His misery to overcome.
9. The Light of Christ, ‘Light from Light,’
No darkness can overcome;
As we pay Him homage by His crib,
God help all Nations to embrace,
The Light of Christ,
This Gracious Christmas Tide.
Categories: News and Events
Look at the number of Cell phone users round the world today. These amount to billions. Blogs on the Internet more than 200 million over 120 million YuTube Videos and over 500 million Facebook users. Other Social Media such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Printerest, Digg and so on make up the world’s arena of people in constant interaction twenty-four hours of the day.
Come to think of it! People are living more in Cyber Space than down to earth, than ten to twenty years ago. Harnessing nature’s abundant resources in the use of man resulted in the use of tools and new industrial and agricultural inventions. The concept of greater efficacy in the use of these led to revolution in technology, developments which has zoomed to such bizarre heights that man never dreamt of a few centuries ago. ‘Cyber Space’ is one of creations in technology storing kinds of data. A realm that is beyond the control of known physics or mechanics. This ‘Space’ as in all other inventions can be used as a tool for the preservation or destruction of man as in the case of the Atom bomb and kinds of armory, used for war or devices to promote peace. To sustain man in the fulfillment of his temporal needs, such as food clothing and shelter; the eradication of poverty and human misery or bolstering up of riches of the affluent.
The question arises, is man the master of technology, or technology the master of man? When God created man, he gave man power over nature. How is man going to exercise power over nature? Obviously he should be able to control nature. As man could not control nature solely with the help of his hands, he was given the ability to think. Logically it follows then that man could control nature only when he could control technology.
Needless to say that if man was possessed of the present day Social Media, disasters of two world wars of the past may have been avoided. So let’s reflect on the tremendous advantages we are equipped with today in the various devices and Social Media if they are utilized in the work of peace building rather than war.
Look at your Cell phone, turn on your Computer, check your Facebook page or Twitter and others, you are using tools that can build peace, this, besides the TV, Radio, and Print applications and Internet surfacing accelerated by technology.
These devices can be utilized to create awareness in groups and communities, of trouble spots than are in urgent need of being reached, to educate and empower them with wholesome impact of peace. To gather data as to ways and means to reach tem and help find viable solutions to conflicts. As in the case of all new inventions, there is its positive and negative impacts. It can be used as a negative force to incite hatred and violence or muster forces to foster peace and harmony between rival forces.
In Pakistan for instance a Taliban leader used videos and Cell phones calling for suicide bombings. In Columbia a Facebook Group drew millions to join in protest in a march against rebel groups trying to destroy the country. In Dubai and Detroit University students signed up for Skype based inter-cultural dialog. In Iran the Green-Movement brought protestors to the streets, using Twitter to stay ahead of the government crackdown. In Nigeria producers used TV and Radio dramas to model peaceful problem solving as alternatives to tribal violence.
Social Networking has an enormous impact on human interaction, which affects the minds and behavior of young people. Many young people like to spend their leisure hanging out with friends. Last but not the least is the prime importance of education for peace, channel students and young peoples energies and enthusiasm to work for peace, by bringing ‘Peace Education’ to the Classroom. Stories appeal to the mind and imagination of children more than any other peace of literature. As a part of educating children to become Peace Makers. Read A Collection Folktales Retold from Cultures. Peace Tales from Asia:Building a Culture of Peace.
PEACE TALES FROM ASIA: BUILDING A CULTURE OF PEACE: By Chandrani Warnasuriya (ISBN: 978-1-60976-827-0) A Collection of Folktales from cultures Re-told for youth and children is a product of much study and research. It can be purchased from the publisher’s website http://sbpra.com/ChandraniWarnasuriya or www.amazon.com for $11.95
Categories: News and Events
Tags: Living in Cyber space; What is Cber space; Using the Internet on regular basis; pros and cons of Internet use
Living in Cyber space in a digital age has in many ways revolutionized our minds and ways of thinking on common topics of daily living such as family, friends, children, shelter, jobs and so on. Many years ago these called for a deliberate choice on the part of individuals at a very personal level, through a minimum of news and media available to them or through personal contacts that was limited.
As Margret Wertheim the author of The Pearly Gates of Cyber space states, ‘A hitherto non existent space, each year this new digital domain plays a greater role more and more in peoples lives.’ As of mid 1998 over a hundred million people are accessing the Internet and it is estimated that in the next decade there will be close to a billion people on Line on a regular basis. Currently it is growing by a million pages a day. This ‘Space,’ has grown into being from nothing making it surely the fastest growing territory in history.
What exactly is ‘Cyber space’? Like physical space this new Cyber space is growing in an extra ordinary rate increasing in “volume” unimaginable in the form of digital connections. It may be described as “web” and “net” To be plain and simple this new digital space is “beyond” the space that physics describes, for the Cyber realm is not made up of physical particles and forces but of bits and bytes. These packets of data are ‘ontological’ elements being the foundation of Cyber space. Since it has nothing to do with physical phenomena it is not subject to the laws of physics. It is a space beyond what scientists call ‘hyperspace.’
The fact is, this hitherto non-existent space is playing a greater role more and more in peoples lives. People whom I am unable to correspond in flesh blood personally I am able to correspond via Email. In the academic arena almost all Institutions, Research centers and major libraries round the world now have websites. So are the content of many newspapers and magazines. Why buy the New York Times paper, when you can access it online for free.
Businesses are also stepping into On-Line sales. Clothes, books, cosmetics, Airline tickets, computer equipment to name a few. The virtual Mall has arrived. Families with Home Pages, posting albums keep loved informed how they spent Summer holidays. Cyber space is also a new place to socialize and play games. Chat rooms, news groups, IRC channels On-Line conferences, Forums, fantasy worlds, known as MUDS promise infinite scope for social interaction.
All this is well said about On-Line access to almost anything one can think of. But there is also the downside aspect of Internet access and surfacing the Internet, this specially with regard to gender problems, where men can masquerade as women and vice versa. The famous case of “Joan” on the CB Channel of CompuServe highlights how people can ‘change’ gender on-Line. While it has its advantages living in Cyber space cannot and should not be encouraged as a panacea for all evils, as with every kind of new invention, without weighing its pros and cons and thoroughly studied, before venturing into using the Internet on a regular basis.
Categories: News and Events
Tags: ro, The 'mystery' story of Easter
It seemed one of those virginal days. Behind the musty hills of Golgotha it dawned. A warm sun rose vanquishing little by little the darknerss of the previous night. In the eastern hills a white ray of light, lit the distant reflection of an earth, clothed with lilies transparently white lined in the brightest silver.
It was the quietest of morns ever to be remembered, after the gruesome and catastrophic din of the of the previous week’s, horrifying scenery. The clear benign air seemed stirred as by a stir of angel’s wings that ushered it in with shy and cheerful breezes.
In the half light of the dawn, the women advanced, breathed upon by wondering airs, lost in their sadness, under the spell of an emotion they could not explain. Were they returning to weep upon a tomb? Or put on the body of an immaculate one spices stronger than those of Nicodemus? And speaking among themselves, who will turn away the stone from the door of the sepulcher? But when they arrived they saw the stone rolled away, and leaning against the rocks.
The women struck into silence with fright turned, expecting to see somebody to tell what happened in the two nights before. Mary of Magdala at once feared that the Jews would have stolen the body and thrown it into a canine grave used for men stoned and crucified. But it could be no more than a pre-sentiment. Perhaps Jesus was still lying in the perfumed wrappings. But…., enter they dare not. Still they could not bear to go away….not knowing what had happened.
The sun slowly rose above the summit of the hills and shone right into the opening of the sepulcher. Now they took courage and entered. At first they saw nothing, but was gripped with a new fear. At their right was seated a young man dressed in a long white garment. he looked as if he awaited them. “Be not afraid,” he said, “He is not here, for he is risen. Why seek ye the living among the dead? Remember what he told you, when he was yet in Galillee, saying the Son of Man must be delivered into hands of sinful men and be crucified and the third day rise again.”
The women listened absolutely terrified and trembling, unable to answer. But the youth went on, ” Go quickly and tell his disciples, that He is risen from the dead; and behold he goeth before you into Galilee, there you shall see him.”
The four of them still terrified, yet trembling with joy, left the grotto to go where they were instructed to. Yet going down the garden, a few steps outside it, Mary of Magdala stopped, while the others went down the road towards the city. Mary herself could not understand why she stopped. Perhaps the words of the unknown youth did not convince her. She thought, ‘May be the youth in white is an accomplice of the Sanhedrin who wished to deceive them. Then of course they had not even made sure the sepulcher was really empty.’
Suddenly she turned to go back. She stood aghast, as she saw a man behind her, outlined against the green garden and the sunlight. but she did not recognize Him even when He spoke, “Woman why weepst thou? Whom seekst thou? Mary instinctively thought it must be Joseph’s gardener come early to work. Still trembling and quivering she said, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. Sir, if you have taken Him away tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”
The unknown man touched by the impassioned and artless pleading; the child-like simplicity answered only one word, spoke only one name, her name, pronounced pensively, wistfully in the touching and unforgettable voice which had called her so many times, “Mary!”
At this as if awakened from a dream with a start, the despairing woman recognized her lost Master, “Rabboni, Master!” she said, and fell at his feet in the dewy grass and tried to hold fast in her hand those bare feet, still showing the two red marks of the nails.
But Jesus said to her, “Touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to my Father, but go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and unto my God and your God.” Then at once He moved away from the kneeling woman, and moved away among the flowering plants, crowned with sunshine. Mary watched until he had disappeared. Then lifting herself up from the grass, her faced convulsed, yet wild and blind with joy, ran after her companions…..
In the calm and placid air around rabbits leaping from their hideouts, bounced around in delight breaking the profound silence. Birds chirped and sang their lyrical praises to the passing wind, and butterflies fluttered around spreading the good news in whispers to their beloved blossoms, while the cool complacent winds carried the awesome news way down to the city below.
Categories: News and Events
Tags: Lent and catalogues of self-denials, Matyrs of Charity, re-thinking Lent, War and humanitarian disaster
‘Sacrificial giving up,’ has been the keynote of Christian religious practices during the season of Lent down the ages. Recent happenings in Yemen culminating in the tragic news of the gunmen attacking the ‘Martyrs of Charity,’ a group of nuns belonging to Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, sent shock waves reverberating round the world.
Let’s face it in reality, and not ‘virtually’ as Christ’s death was in ‘reality,’ just like those martyrs, that would make Lent and give Lent a new meaning, not simply making a fetish of self-denials, of our pre-Lenten favorites. Doubtless these have a way of sanctifying oneself, paying for ones sins, to evade purgatory as traditional Christianity subscribes, but living in times of brazen acts of violence and killing, lent demands a more positive attitude of self-denials in a call to confront elements of darkness.
Ashes of Ash Wednesday, is a fervent reminder that we are constantly in death in the midst of life. “Remember man that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Dust of the earth to be mingled with the dust stars of heaven, the mission of man here on earth. The martyrs of Yemen are a glaring reminder of this truth. Pope Francis called these martyrs “victims of indifference.” An act of senseless and diabolical violence.” How far do these horrendous events strike our conscience? Our globalized indifference be it Yemen or violence all around us? Let’s give it a thought to make of Lent have a more positive meaning to life.
Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East. Before the war over half the population lived on less than $2.00 a day. No access to clean water. According to World Food Program 41% of the population was food insecure and child malnutrition was highest in the world. 90% of the food was imported. Yet Saudi Arabia’s stringent air, water and land blockades in the name of preventing weapons from entering the war-torn country has prevented not just food but also fuel and medicine and urgently needed aid getting to millions in need.
Yemen’s war has killed over 2,800 civilians, numbered over 8,000 casualties and over 2.4 million displaced. In the atmosphere of political instability gunmen are freely stabilizing themselves exploiting the situation, funded by wealthy countries, fuelling ‘religious radicalism,’ pursuing fundamentalist ideas.
How much does this reality of death, pain and suffering comply with our mindset of indulgences and self-listed catalogue of self-denials. As St. Paul says, ‘I may give up everything I have, and even give up my body to burnt – but if I have no love – this does me no good.’ Cor. 13: 1-3. Jesus says, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” How does this challenge oneself. Lent as a preparation for Easter! demands not simply words but action. Jesus gave us an example as an ultimate sacrifice on the cross. let us not simply love to stay-put but make a jump-start, join an Activist Group or Movement denouncing violence, death and destruction or call for disarmament of all parties to lay down arms and look for peaceful means to solve political issues, in the face humanitarian disaster that war has in store..
Categories: News and Events
Tags: Meaning of Christmas; One solitary Life; Thoughts for Christmas
He was born in an obscure village. He worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty. He then became an itinerant preacher. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a house. He didn’t go to college. He had no credentials but himself. He was only thirty three when the public turned against him. His friends ran away. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While he was dying his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth. He was laid in a borrowed grave. Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race. All the armies that have ever marched. All the navies that ever sailed. All the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned have not affected the life of man on this earth, as much as that – ONE SOLITARY LIFE.