Wednesday, 30 April 2008

1 minute for God

According to the annonymus psychologist, a person may take 4 minutes to curse or to talk bad to someone whom they hated so much...then, Why not spend one minute a day to give praise to God the almighty for all his love for us....

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Pope Notes Secret to Happiness

Following God's Call Never Brings Disappointment

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 28, 2008 ( A "yes" to God opens the font of happiness, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this in a letter made public Saturday, addressed to Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris. The papal message marked the 100th anniversary of an annual youth pilgrimage from the province of Paris.

This year's 6-day pilgrimage, destined for Lourdes, ended Sunday.

In his letter to the cardinal, who is also president of the French bishops' conference, the Holy Father mentioned that this year marks the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to Bernadette Soubirous.

Benedict XVI called on young people to imitate Mary's response when she was "invited to follow an amazing yet disconcerting journey. Her readiness led her to experience a joy of which all previous generations had sung."

"Our 'yes' to God makes the font of true happiness gush forth," the Pope affirmed. "It frees the 'I' from everything that closes it in on itself. It brings the poverty of our lives into the richness and power of God's plan, without restricting our freedom and our responsibility. [...] It conforms our lives to Christ's own life."

The Holy Father encouraged the young "to celebrate with enthusiasm the joy of loving Christ and of believing and hoping in him, and to follow with trust the path of initiation you have before you."

"I particularly invite you to take up the witness of your ancestors in the faith, and to learn to welcome the word of God -- in silence and meditation -- so that it can mould your hearts and produce generous fruits in you," he added.

This pilgrimage, the Pontiff concluded, "is also a good time to allow yourselves to be asked by Christ: 'What do you want to do with your lives?' May those among you who feel the call to follow him in the priesthood or in consecrated life -- as have so many young participants in these pilgrimages -- reply to the Lord's call and put yourselves totally at the service of the Church, with a life completely dedicated to the Kingdom of heaven. You will never be disappointed."

Orthodox Church celebrate Easter

The Eastern Orthodox Church is celebrating Easter. At Jerusalem's Holy Sepulchre church, believed to be the site of the burial of Jesus Christ, an Easter Saturday's Holy Fire service was held.

The True Jihad

This is what IKIM wrote in The Star today in its article called Peace or war, it is our choice:

Jihad with its multitude of branches has very strict rules, especially when it relates to confrontation with an enemy.

ONE cannot find words strong enough to condemn the Sept 11, 2001 tragedy. It is not human if one does not share the pain and suffering that the affected families are going through and will endure for a long, long time to come.

Those who choose to define this violent act as jihad or “holy war” need to know that Islam is such a structured and comprehensive guidance that even the procedure to attend to the call of nature is explicitly taught to us by the Messenger of Allah. If one follows those rules while going to the bathroom, it becomes an act of worship.

Islam had nothing to do with this action (Sept 11), even if, after a thorough investigation, those that perpetrated it turned out to have Muslim names or had come from Muslim lands.

Islam does not permit violence. Unfortunately many ignorant Muslims and non-Muslims are not fully aware of this fact, or choose not to acknowledge it.

Jihad with its multitude of branches has very strict rules, especially when it relates to confrontation with an enemy. Indiscriminate killing or harming of women, children, old men, people who take refuge in their houses, animals and even plants, especially those of economic value, is forbidden at all cost.

War is permitted in Islam, just as it is permitted in many other religions, provided it is a pure act of defending the religion, life and state.

posted by Raja Petra Kamarudin


Not use the word "Allah"-Church sues Govt

Archbishop Cries Foul Over Allah Word

KUALA LUMPUR: The government Friday (25 Apr) opposed the suit filed by the Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur regarding the use of the word “Allah” but has asked for the case to be adjourned to next Tuesday (29 Apr) to give its reasons. However, it is not objecting to the Archbishop’s application for leave to pursue the matter. The court allowed the postponement.

In his application before Madam Justice Lau Bee Lan, Archbishop Datuk Murphy Pakiam contends that the Minister of Internal Security and the Federal Government are wrong in law for not allowing the Bahasa section of Herald-The Catholic Weekly to use the word “Allah.” He is represented by Porres Royan, Leonard Teoh, S. Selvarajah, and Annou Xavier while the respondents are represented by senior Federal Counsel Suzanna Atan. The current minister is Syed Hamid Albar who has taken over this portfolio from Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi recently.

read more, click to:

Monday, 28 April 2008

3 days journey to Northen Italy

This place is called kampung Abelrado, Sondrio Milan Italy.

You could see the glimps of the Alps with white snow. A mountain in the north of italy, not far from Austria and Germany. We were here for 3 days. We travelled by bus (1456km). It is true, when you keep in touch with nature, you feel closer to God.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Day 7: You were planned for God’s pleasure

You created everything, and it is for your pleasure
that they exist and were created.
Revelation 4:11

The Lord takes pleasure in his people.
Psalm 149: 4a

You were planned for God’s pleasure.
The moment you were born into the world, God was there as an unseen witness, smiling at your birth. He wanted you alive, and your arrival gave him great pleasure. God did not need to create you, but he chose to create you for his own enjoyment. You exist for his benefit, his glory, his purpose, and his delight.

Bringing enjoyment to God, living for his pleasure, is the first purpose of your life. If you are that important to God, and he considers you valuable enough to keep with him for eternity, what greater significance could you have? You are a child of God, and you bring pleasure to God like nothing else he has ever created. The bible says, “Because of his love God had already decided that through Jesus Christ he would make us his children-this was his pleasure and purpose.

One of the greatest gifts God had given you is the ability to enjoy pleasure. He wired you with five senses and emotions so you can experience it. He wants you to enjoy life, not just endure it. The reason you are able to enjoy pleasure is that God made you in his image.

We often forget that God has emotion, too. He feels things very deeply. The bible tells us that God grieves, get jealous and angry, and feels compassion, pity, sorrow, and sympathy as well as happiness, gladness, and satisfaction. God loves, delights, gets pleasure, rejoices, enjoys, and even laughs!

Bringing pleasure to God is called “worship.” The Bible says, “The Lord is pleased only with those worship him and trust his love.” (Psalm 147:11) Anything you do that brings pleasure to God is an act of worship. Like a diamond, worship is multifaceted. It would take volumes to cover all there is to understand about worship. Anthropologists have noted that worship is a universal urge, hard-wired by God into a very fiber of our being-an inbuilt need to connect with God. Worship is a natural as eating or breathing. If we fail to worship God, we always find a substitute, even if it ends up being ourselves. The reason God made us with this desire is that he desires worshippers! Jesus said, “The Father seeks worshippers.” (John 4:23)

Depending on your religious background, you may need to expand your understanding of “worship.” You may thing of church services/liturgies with singing, praying, and listening to a sermon. Or you may think of ceremonies, candles, and communion. Or you may think of healing, miracles, and ecstatic experiences. Worship can include these elements, but worship is far more than expressions.
Worship is a lifestyle.

Rick Warren, one of the author listed as voted “Book of the Decade” entitled “The Purpose-driven life”, wrote: "Worship is not just for your benefit. We worship for God’s benefit. We don’t worship to please ourselves. Our motive is to bring glory and pleasure for our Creator."

Worship is not part of your life; it is your life. In the Bible people praised God at work, at home, in battle, in jail, and even in bed! Every activity can be transformed into an act of worship when we do it for the praise, glory, and pleasure for God. “What ever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”(Colossian 3:23). This is the secret to a lifestyle of worship-doing everything as if you were doing it for God. Works becomes worship when you dedicate it to God and perform it with an awareness of his presence.

Day 7,
Thinking about my purpose
Point to ponder: I was planned for God’s pleasure.
Verse to remember: The Lord takes pleasure in his people.” Psalm 149:4a
Question to consider: What common task could I start doing as if I were doing it directly for God?
Note: read and reflect more, see Day 1-6 as posted previously

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

See You SYD2

SYD2, Sabah Youth Day, to be held in Ranau Sabah, Malaysia..August 2008

I'll be PM in three years: Anwar

(The Straits Times) - MALAYSIA'S opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on Wednesday confidently predicted he would be prime minister within three years, sketching out the first rough timetable for his dramatic political comeback.

'I don?t think we have established a definite clear time-frame when I will take over (as prime minister) but it certainly wouldn't reach three years ... much earlier than that,' the former deputy premier told reporters.

'(But) I am not in a rush,' he added.

The opposition leader also added he would likely become prime minister if his coalition takes power, and vowed to clean up Malaysia's corruption and halt its colonial-era jailing of suspects without trial.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Mr Anwar said he was in no hurry to take control of government despite his opposition alliance's spectacular gains in elections in March.

Posted by Vineeth Menon
Wednesday, 23 April 2008

read more news, click Malaysian Today (right side column)

I asked God why I wasn't beautiful.

I asked God...

I asked God why I wasn't rich.

He showed me a man with the wealth of a thousand kings, who was lonely, and had no one to share it with.

I asked God why I wasn't beautiful.

He showed me a woman more beautiful than any other, who was ugly because of her vanity.

I asked God why He'd allowed me to become old.

He showed me a boy of 16, who lay dead at the scene of a car accident.

I asked God why I didn't have a bigger house.

He showed me a family of six, who had just been evicted from their tiny shack, and were forced, to live on the street.

I asked God why I had to work.

He showed me a man, who couldn't find a decent job, because he'd never learned to read.

I asked God why I wasn't more popular.

He showed me a socialite with a thousand friends, who all left the moment the money and parties were no longer there.

I asked God why I wasn't smarter.

He showed me a natural born genius, serving life in prison for making ill use of his knowledge.

I asked God why He put up with a thankless sinner like me.

He showed me His Bible. He showed me His Son who took my place at the judgment. I knew then how much He loved me.

What's eating you today? Are your problems weighing heavy on your heart? Know, then, that you are loved.

Have a WONDERFUL day!

Then brighten someone else's day, in any way you care to.

Remember, a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.

Just reach out and touch someone's life and brighten up his or her day.

Christians and Muslims Focus on Bridge Building

European Committee Meets to Plan Future Encounters

ESZTERGOM, Hungary, APRIL 22, 2008 ( European Christians and Muslims are intensifying dialogue and planning future encounters focused on building bridges between the two faiths.

The Committee for Relations With Muslims in Europe, established by the Conference of European Churches and the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, met in Hungary from April 17 to 20. A number of Muslim guests participated in the meeting and the group jointly worked on preparations for a Christian-Muslim conference scheduled for October.

Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, spoke at the meeting, expressing his hopes that Christians and Muslims in Europe deepen their relationship of collaboration.

In some countries in Eastern and Central Europe, he noted, Christians and Muslims live together in an atmosphere of peaceful coexistence, and this carries a significant message to western countries.

During the October conference, representatives of the two faiths will join in considering the role of religion in a secular society; religion as institution and as personal faith; how Christians and Muslims consider each other and how mutual respect can be promoted by way of education; and building bridges in the challenges facing our communities.

The agenda of the Esztergom meeting also included dialogue concerning the Oct. 13, 2007, open letter from 138 Muslim religious leaders addressed to authorities of Churches and Christian confessions.

The dialogue reflected the "interest that this text has roused," a communiqué from the meeting reported. And it mentioned the initiatives that have come from the letter, including the Catholic-Muslim Forum that is being established, as well as an expected encounter between a delegation of the 138 Muslim scholars and Benedict XVI.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Muslim call to adopt Mecca time

One cleric said science had proved Mecca to be the centre of the Earth

Muslim scientists and clerics have called for the adoption of Mecca time to replace GMT, arguing that the Saudi city is the true centre of the Earth.

Mecca is the direction all Muslims face when they perform their daily prayers.

The call was issued at a conference held in the Gulf state of Qatar under the title: Mecca, the Centre of the Earth, Theory and Practice.

By Magdi Abdelhadi
BBC Arab affairs analyst

Monday, 21 April 2008

When Muslims become Christians

(BBC News) - I was staggered to learn that the Quran does not say anything about punishing apostates and that its proponents use two hadiths instead to support their view.

There's a widespread belief that the penalty for leaving Islam is death - hence, perhaps, the killing of a British teacher last week. But Shiraz Maher believes attitudes may be softening.
Ziya Miral's parents disowned him when he converted from Islam to Christianity.

"They said 'go away, you're not our son.' They told people I died in an accident rather than having the shame of their son leaving Islam."

It's too easy to say this is just a cultural problem
Shiraz Maher
Born and raised in Turkey, he decided to convert to Christianity after moving to university. He knew telling his parents would be a difficult moment even though they're not particularly observant Muslims, and he planned to break the news to them gently.

Posted by Raja Petra
Monday, 21 April 2008

read Malaysian Today (sebelah kanan)

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Pope celebrates anniversary in NY

The Pope urged healing and unity in the US Catholic Church

Pope Benedict XVI has been marking the third anniversary of him being elected head of the Roman Catholic Church by celebrating Mass in New York City.

He spoke out for the fourth time in his US visit about the suffering caused to victims of paedophile Catholic priests.

St Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan was filled with priests, deacons and members of religious orders.

On his six-day visit to the US, his first as Pope, Benedict also promoted human rights in a speech to the UN.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Day 6: Life is a Temporary Assignment

Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away.
Psalm 39: 4

I am here on earth just a little while
Psalm 119:19

Life on earth is a temporary assignment.
To make the best of your life, you must never forget two truths: First, compared with eternity, life is extremely brief. Second, earth is only a temporary residence. You won’t be here long, so don’t get too attached. Ask God to help you see life on earth as he sees it. David prayed, “Lord, help me to realize how brief my time on earth will be. Help me to know that I am here for but a moment more”. Repeatedly the Bible compares life on earth to temporarily living in a foreign country. This is not permanent home or final residence. You are just passing through, just visiting earth.

Your identity is in eternity, and your homeland is in heaven.
There was an old story of a retiring missionary coming home to America on the same boat as the president of the United States. Cheering crowds, a military band, a red carpet, banners, and the media welcomed the president home, but the missionary slipped off the ship unnoticed. Feeling self-pity and resentment, he began complaining God. Then God gently reminded him, “But my child, you’re not home yet”.

The fact is that earth is not our ultimate home explain why, as followers of Jesus, we experience difficulty, sorrow, and rejection in this world. Remember that life is a test, a trust, and a temporary assignment. We are preparing for something even better. It also explains why some of God’s promises seem unfulfilled, some prayers seem unanswered, and some circumstances seem unfair. This is not the end of the story.

We are not completely happy here because we’re not supposed to be! Earth is not our final home; we are created for something better. When life gets tough, when you’re overwhelmed with doubt or when you wonder if living for Jesus Christ is worth the effort, remember that you are not home yet. A death you won’t leave home-you’ll go home.

Day 6
Thinking about my purpose
Pont to ponder: This world is not my home
Verse to remember: “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, what is unseen is eternal” 2 Corinthians 4: 18
Question to consider: How should the fact that life on earth is just a temporary assignment change the way I am living right now?

Note: read more reflection Day 1-5, as posted earlier.

Saturn's Moons

Saturn has 31 known moons. Nine are 200 kilometres (125 miles) or more in diameter: all apart from Titan are cratered and largely made of water ice.
Cassini flew by Phoebe in June 2004. It flies by Dione in late 2004, and meets Iapetus and Enceladus in 2005.

Pope Says Dialogue Has a Purpose

WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 18, 2008 ( Benedict XVI says that interreligious dialogue has a purpose beyond establishing a peaceful society: The point of this dialogue is to find the truth.The Pope affirmed this Thursday in a meeting at the U.S. capital with interreligious leaders. The theme of the meeting was “Peace Our Hope,” and it was held at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center.The Holy Father spoke to the religious leaders about religious freedom, lauding the United States for the way in which people of many religions co-exist there."May others take heart from your experience, realizing that a united society can indeed arise from a plurality of peoples -- 'E pluribus unum': 'out of many, one' -- provided that all recognize religious liberty as a basic civil right," he said.The Pontiff also emphasized the value of faith-based education: "These institutions enrich children both intellectually and spiritually," he affirmed.

Benedict XVI then noted, "There is a further point I wish to touch upon here." He expressed his approval for a "growing interest among governments to sponsor programs intended to promote interreligious and intercultural dialogue. These are praiseworthy initiatives. At the same time, religious freedom, interreligious dialogue and faith-based education aim at something more than a consensus regarding ways to implement practical strategies for advancing peace."He continued: "The broader purpose of dialogue is to discover the truth."And the Pope went on to mention the questions interreligious dialogue should engage: "What is the origin and destiny of mankind? What are good and evil? What awaits us at the end of our earthly existence?""Only by addressing these deeper questions can we build a solid basis for the peace and security of the human family, for 'wherever and whenever men and women are enlightened by the splendor of truth, they naturally set out on the path of peace,'" he said.The Christian proposalThe Bishop of Rome described what the Catholic Church offers to interreligious dialogue."Confronted with these deeper questions concerning the origin and destiny of mankind, Christianity proposes Jesus of Nazareth," the Pope said. "He, we believe, is the eternal Logos who became flesh in order to reconcile man to God and reveal the underlying reason of all things. It is he whom we bring to the forum of interreligious dialogue."He added: "Dear friends, in our attempt to discover points of commonality, perhaps we have shied away from the responsibility to discuss our differences with calmness and clarity.

While always uniting our hearts and minds in the call for peace, we must also listen attentively to the voice of truth. "In this way, our dialogue will not stop at identifying a common set of values, but go on to probe their ultimate foundation. We have no reason to fear, for the truth unveils for us the essential relationship between the world and God. "As we have seen then, the higher goal of interreligious dialogue requires a clear exposition of our respective religious tenets. In this regard, colleges, universities and study centers are important forums for a candid exchange of religious ideas.""Dear friends," the Holy Father concluded, "let our sincere dialogue and cooperation inspire all people to ponder the deeper questions of their origin and destiny. May the followers of all religions stand together in defending and promoting life and religious freedom everywhere. By giving ourselves generously to this sacred task -- through dialogue and countless small acts of love, understanding and compassion -- we can be instruments of peace for the whole human family."Jewish PassoverAfter his meeting with interreligious leaders, Benedict XVI had a special address for the Jewish people for their feast of Passover, which begins Saturday."Christians and Jews," the Pope said, "are in fact, as the prophets say, 'prisoners of hope.' This bond permits us Christians to celebrate alongside you, though in our own way, the Passover of Christ's death and resurrection, which we see as inseparable from your own, for Jesus himself said: 'Salvation is from the Jews.'"Our Easter and your Pesah, while distinct and different, unite us in our common hope centered on God and his mercy. They urge us to cooperate with each other and with all men and women of goodwill to make this a better world for all as we await the fulfillment of God's promises."The Holy Father continued: "With respect and friendship, I therefore ask the Jewish community to accept my Pesah greeting in a spirit of openness to the real possibilities of cooperation which we see before us as we contemplate the urgent needs of our world, and as we look with compassion upon the sufferings of millions of our brothers and sisters everywhere.

"Naturally, our shared hope for peace in the world embraces the Middle East and the Holy Land in particular. May the memory of God's mercies, which Jews and Christians celebrate at this festive time, inspire all those responsible for the future of that region-where the events surrounding God's revelation actually took place-to new efforts, and especially to new attitudes and a new purification of hearts!"

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Pope vows to bar pedophiles becoming priests

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) - Pope Benedict said on Tuesday he was "deeply ashamed" over sexual abuse of children by priests and vowed to do everything possible to stop pedophiles entering the priesthood in future.
We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry," he told reporters accompanying him on his first trip as pope to the United States.
"We are deeply ashamed and will do whatever is possible so that this does not happen in the future," he said on board the plane to Washington.

By Philip Pullella 1 hour, 57 minutes ago

Pope may find US on his wavelength

President Bush is not a Catholic. And unlike his good friend Tony Blair, he probably never will be.
Yet the very Protestant Mr Bush is clearly an admirer of Pope Benedict XVI and is pulling out all the stops for his first visit to the United States as pontiff.
For a start, the president and his wife Laura are making the rare gesture of going to meet Pope Benedict at Andrew's Air Force Base when he lands on Tuesday evening.
Normally world leaders and heads of state have to make the journey to the White House to see Mr Bush.

We can form government: Anwar Ibrahim

(The Nation) - Former Malaysia's deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim marked his return to active politics on Monday night by claiming that the Pakatan Rakyat could easily form the next government.
However, he said the tripartite coalition of opposition parties would only do so provided it had a healthy majority, instead of a majority of only "two or five seats," according to the New Straits Times online.
Speaking after attending a rally at the Sultan Sulaiman Club by Parti Keadilan Rakyat to welcome him back, he said: "We are saying here for the first time that we are ready (to rule the country). But we will only enter when the majority is comfortable."
The de-facto leader of PKR said, however, that Pakatan Rakyat would not pay Barisan Nasional MPs to cross over in order to achieve its aims of forming the federal government.
"We are not in a hurry," he said, adding that any Pakatan Rakyat's decision would be reached in a democratic manner.

Posted by Raja Petra
Tuesday, 15 April 2008

read more, click Malaysia today...

Key to Vocation Is Personal Relationship With Christ

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 14, 2008 ( The Vatican Congregation for Clergy is reminding priests that their number one priority must be prayer.
The congregation affirmed this in a message directed to all the priests of the world, on the occasion of the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests, which will be held May 30, feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The message was published in Italian in Saturday's edition of L'Osservatore Romano.
Signed by Cardinal Claudio Hummes and Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, respectively prefect and secretary of the congregation, the message encouraged contemplating the "perfect and fascinating humanity of Christ, live and acting now."
The dicastery made the invitation to give "priority to prayer above action," since effective action depends on prayer. The mission should be nourished by prayer, the message affirmed, from "the personal relationship of each one with the Lord Jesus."
The priesthood, it continued, cannot be seen as something "that can be completed 'mechanically,' perhaps with a well defined and clear pastoral program."
Instead, "the priesthood is a vocation, a path, the mode through which Christ saves us, has called us and calls us now, to live with him," the message reminded priests.
Radical holiness
This vocation has only one "adequate measure" and it is total dedication, the message affirmed.
"The very gift of priestly celibacy should be welcomed and lived in this dimension of radicalism and complete configuration with Christ," the letter stated. "Any other position regarding the reality of the relationship with him, runs the risk of being ideological.
"Including the quantity of work, sometimes extraordinarily great, which the contemporary conditions of ministry ask us to maintain, far from discouraging us should move us to take care, with even greater attention, of our priestly identity, which has an irreducibly divine root.
"In this sense, with a logic opposed to that of the world, precisely the particular conditions of our ministry should bring us to 'go all out' in our spiritual life, giving witness with greater conviction and efficiency of our exclusive belonging to the Lord."
The "place of totality par excellence" is the Eucharist, added the congregation, noting that there Jesus offers his boy and his blood, "the totality of his existence."
The message thus exhorted the priests to fidelity "in the daily celebration of the holy Eucharist" and the adoration of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Priests have need of the Eucharist "like breathing, as the light of our life, as the only adequate reason for a fulfilled priestly existence."
The mission flows from the relationship with Christ. And this is linked to the need for the World Day of Prayer. "The holiness that we ask for daily, in fact, cannot be considered with an individualist, sterile and abstract connotation; rather it is, necessarily, the holiness of Christ, which is contagious for all."
The Congregation for the Clergy again encouraged priests to commend themselves to the prayer of the faithful. "Let us ask for this fundamental support," the message encouraged: "A movement of prayer that has at its center 24-hour Eucharistic adoration, so that from every corner of the world a prayer of adoration, thanksgiving, praise, petition and reparation is always being elevated to the Lord."

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Essay Winner Wins Opportunity to Meet Pope

Student: Fruits of Catholic Education Evident

WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 10, 2008 ( The effects of a good Catholic education inevitably surface in the deeds of its students, said the winning Catholic University of America essayist who won the opportunity to meet Benedict XVI.Peter Osgood, a senior biology major, was named this morning as the winner of an essay-writing contest on the theme "How Catholic Education Has Changed My Life."His prize will be a personal introduction to the Holy Father when the Pontiff visits campus next week to give an address on Catholic education to more than 400 university presidents and diocesan education leaders from around the country.Father David O'Connell, president of the university, chose Osgood out of more than 125 Catholic university students who entered the contest. In his essay, Osgood wrote about having attended a small Catholic elementary school in his hometown of Penn Yan, New York, a school he said his father often called "the best-kept secret of our region.""I remember vividly how each school day began in prayer," he wrote. "It was here that we brought to mind those in need, gave thanks for our many gifts and asked for help in all of our challenges. This truly set the tone for our learning throughout the rest of the day."Our classrooms were focused on building quality persons who could push themselves -- and one another -- to achieve great things. Yet we were also shown how to be caring and supportive friends, in the true spirit of the Gospel. While my parents were endlessly pleased with the rigorous and thorough education I was receiving, I know they were more proud of the individual I was becoming."FaithThough Osgood went to public schools for junior high and high school, he longed for faith to again be a central part of his learning as a college student, and enrolled as an undergraduate at Catholic University."What I found," he wrote, "was an undeniable passion for learning and a faith community that embodied a true spirit of ministry -- one that was willing to meet people at whatever stage they were at and walk with them on their individual journeys."An excellent Catholic education, he says, "cannot remain a 'best-kept secret,' but will inevitably be shown in the words and deeds of each of its students."The essay contest runner-up is Christopher Seibt, a philosophy major from Syracuse, New York, who will also Benedict XVI's address on Catholic education at the Catholic university. Both students will also attend the private post-address reception for those invited to the Pope's address.Three students won honorable mention for their essays: Joanna Berry, a senior theology major from Joliet, Illinois; Marcel Antonio Brown, a doctoral student in English, from Arlington, Virgina; and Craig Mariconti, a junior psychology major from Warwick, New York.The three students won tickets to sit in a special suite at the Mass that the Pope will celebrate April 17 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.The announcement of the contest winners coincides with the 121st anniversary of the founding of Catholic University.

Thursday, 10 April 2008


What is your life?
James 4:14b

We don’t see things as they are,
We see them as we are.
Anas Nin

The way you see your life shapes your life.
How do you defines life determines your destiny. Your perspective will influence how you invest your time, spend your money, use your talents, and value your relationships. One of the best ways to understand people is to ask them, “How do you see your life?” You will discover that there are as many different answers to that question as there are people. People have said, “life is a ten-speed bicycle with gear we never use” or “life is a game cards: You have to play the hand you are dealt.”

If I asked how you picture life, what image would come to your mind? The image is your life metaphor. It’s the view of life that you hold in your mind. It is your description of how life works and what you expect from it. Your unspoken life metaphor influences your life more than you realize. It determines your expectations, your values, your relationships, your goals, your priorities. For instance, if you think life is a party or ‘aramai-ti’ (a term mostly known among Sabahan), your primary value in life will be having fun. If you see life as a race, you will value speed and you will probably be in a hurry much of the time. If you view life as a marathon or climbaton, you will value endurance. If you see life as a battle or a game, winning will be very important for you.

What is your view of life? To fulfill the purposes God made you for, you will have to challenge yourself with the metaphors of life. The bible says, “Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God.” (Roman 12:2).

The bible offers three metaphors that teach us God’s view of life: Life is a test, life is a trust, life is a temporary assignment. These ideas are the foundation of purpose-driven living.

Life on earth is a test. We don’t know all the tests God will give you. A very important test is how you act when you can’t feel God’s presence in your life. Sometimes God intentionally draws back, and we don’t sense his closeness. But at a crucial point in life God could leave us alone to test our character, to reveal a weakness, and to prepare someone for more responsibility. Even the smallest incident has significant for your character development. Every time you pass a test, God notices and makes plans to reward you in eternity.

Life on earth is a Trust. Our time on earth and our energy, intelligence, opportunities, relationships, and resources are all gifts from God that he has entrusted to our care and management. We are stewards of whatever God gives us. If you treat everything as a trust, God promises rewards in eternity (Matthew 25:21)

Day 5
Thinking about my purpose

Point to ponder: Life is a test and a trust.
Verse to remember: “Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won’t be faithful in a larger one” (Lk 16:10a)

Question to consider: What has happened to me recently that I now realize was a test from God? What are the greatest matters God has entrusted to me?

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Pope: Modern-Day Martyrs Show Love's Power

ROME, APRIL 8, 2008 (
The martyrs, particularly those of our days, are the eloquent voice of the Church that shows to the world how love and faith are stronger than death, says Benedict XVI.The Pope affirmed this when he visited Rome's Basilica of St. Bartholomew on Monday, which has a memorial to the witnesses of the faith from the 20th and 21st century.The visit also marked the 40th anniversary of the foundation of the Catholic lay Community of Sant'Egidio, to whom Pope John Paul II entrusted the memorial.Among those remembered at the basilica -- including Catholics and Christians of other confessions -- are Father Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo, a Mexican priest assassinated in 1993 and Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero of San Salvador, shot as he was celebrating Mass in 1980.
The memorial also commemorates Franz Jägerstätter, a young Austrian husband and father, decapitated in 1943 for his opposition to the Nazis; Father André Jarlan, a Chilean priest killed in a neighborhood of Santiago where he worked with the poor; and the martyrs of the religious persecution in Spain during the 1930s.The church also houses the relics of the Apostle Bartholomew and the remains of St. Adalberto."Why didn't these brother martyrs try to save at all costs the irreplaceable good of life? Why did they continue to serve the Church despite threats and intimidations?" the Pope asked. "These brothers and sisters in the faith are a type of grand image of Christian humanity in the 20th century, an image of the Beatitudes, lived to the point of shedding blood," he affirmed, citing Pope John Paul II who said that "the witness of Christ to the point of shedding blood speaks with a voice that is stronger than the divisions of the past.""It is true," Benedict XVI continued, "that apparently it seems violence, totalitarianisms, persecution and blind brutality show themselves to be stronger, silencing the voice of the witnesses of the faith, who can seem humanly as failures in history.""But the risen Jesus enlightens their testimony and we can thus understand the meaning of martyrdom," the Holy Father affirmed, referring to the words of Tertullian, "The blood of martyrs is the seed of new Christians."Unarmed and victoriousThe Pontiff added: "In failure, in the humiliation of so many who suffer for the cause of the Gospel, a force is acting that the world does not recognize. It is the force of love, unarmed and victorious, even in apparent defeat. It is the force that challenges and overcomes death."Also this 21st century has begun under the sign of martyrdom.
Fraternal coexistence, love, faith, options in favor of the littlest and poorest, which characterize the existence of the Christian community, sometimes incite a violent loathing.""In contemplating these heroes of the faith," Benedict XVI encouraged, "imitate [their] courage and perseverance at the service of the Gospel, especially among the poor.""Be builders of peace and reconciliation among those who are opposed. Nourish your faith with listening to and meditating on the word of God, with daily prayer, with active participation in holy Mass," he said, directing himself to the members of the Sant'Egidio Community.
On behalf of those present, the founder of the community, Andrea Riccardi, greeted the Pope. He said that these martyrs, "have not lived for themselves," and have become a "scandal for the world of the 20th century, which has adopted as a supreme law the 'save yourself' shouted to Jesus on the cross.""That is how the world of our century continues to be," he added. "And unfortunately, many Christians continue being assassinated in different parts of the world."
see more zenit.....

Raja Nazrin: We are now at a critical time in our nation’s history

Raja Nazrin: We are now at a critical time in our nation’s history

(The Sun) KUALA LUMPUR: The Regent of Perak Raja Nazrin Shah says Malaysians are now at a critical time in their nation’s history, one where the institutions of state – indeed, the foundations of our democracy – which we have built up since Independence are under scrutiny.
Read the full text, click Malaysia Today......see malaysia news (to the right post...sebelah kanan )

Friday, 4 April 2008


God has…planted eternity in human heart.
Ecclesiastes 3:11

Surely God would not have created such a being
as man to exist only for a day!
No, no, man was made for immortality.
Abraham Lincoln

Moment of truth: One day we all will die...
This life is not all there is.
Life on earth is just the dress rehearsal before the real production. You will spend far more time on the other side of death-in eternity- then you will be here. Earth is the staging area, the preschool, the tryout for your life in eternity. It is the practice workout before the actual game; the warm-up lap before the race begins. The life is preparation for the next.
At most, you may live a hundred years on earth, but you will spend forever in eternity. Your time on earth is, as Sir Thomas Browne said, “but a small parenthesis in eternity”. You were made to last forever.
The only time most people think about eternity is at funerals. You have an inborn instinct that longs for immortality. This is because God designed you, in his image, to live for eternity. The bible says, “God has…planted human eternity in human heart.”
One day your heart will stop beating. That will be the end of your body and your time on earth, but it will not the end of you. The bible calls your earthly body a “tent,” but refers to your future body as a “house.” We need to think more about eternity. The bible says, when this tent we live in-our body here on earth-is torn down, God will have a house in heaven for us to live in, a home he himself has made, which will last forever.”
Death is not your termination, but your transition into eternity, so there are eternal consequences to everything you do or not do on earth. While live on earth offers many choices, eternity offers only two: heaven or hell. Your relationship to God on earth will determine your relationship to him in eternity. If you learn to love and trust God’s Son, Jesus, you will be invited to spend the rest of eternity with him. On the other hand, if you reject his love, forgiveness, and salvation, you will spend eternity apart from God forever.

Whatever you chose here and now will determine and prepare you for eternity. Jus as the nine months you spent in your mother’s womb were not and end in themselves but preparation for life, so this life is preparation for the next. The deeds of this life are the destiny of the next. Think of today as the final day preparing for eternity.

Day 4
Thinking about my purpose
Point to ponder: There is more to life than just here and now.
Verse to remember: “This world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God, you will live forever.” 1 John 2:17
Question to consider: Since I was made to last forever, what is the one thing I should stop doing and the one thing I should start doing today?

(Note: see also Day 1-3, as posted earlier.)

New evidence of earliest North Americans

Fossilised faeces found in a US cave may help solve
the riddle of when and how humans came to the Americas.

WASHINGTON - New evidence shows humans lived in North America more than 14,000 years ago, 1,000 years earlier than had previously been known.
Discovered in a cave in Oregon, fossil feces yielded DNA indicating these early residents were related to people living in Siberia and East Asia, according to a report in Thursday's online edition of the journal Science.
"This is the first time we have been able to get dates that are undeniably human, and they are 1,000 years before Clovis," said Dennis L. Jenkins, a University of Oregon archaeologist, referring to the Clovis culture, well known for its unique spear-points that have been studied previously.
Humans are widely believed to have arrived in North America from Asia over a land-bridge between Alaska and Siberia during a warmer period. A variety of dates has been proposed and some are in dispute.
Few artifacts were found in the cave, leading Jenkins to speculate that these people stayed there only a few days at a time before moving on, perhaps following game animals or looking for other food.
The petrified poop — coprolites to scientists — is yielding a look at the diet of these ancient Americans, Jenkins said.
While the analysis is not yet complete, he said there are bones of squirrels, bison hair, fish scales, protein from birds and dogs and the remains of plants such as grass and sunflowers.
The oldest of several coprolites studied is 14,340 calendar years old, said co-author Eske Willerslev, director of the Centre for Ancient Genetics at Denmark's University of Copenhagen.
"The Paisley Cave material represents, to the best of my knowledge, the oldest human DNA obtained from the Americas," he said. "Other pre-Clovis sites have been claimed, but no human DNA has been obtained."
The date for the new coprolites is similar to that of Monte Verde in southern Chile, where human artifacts have been discovered, added Willerslev.
Jenkins said it isn't clear exactly who these people living in the Oregon caves were, since there were few artifacts found. He said there was one stone tool, a hand tool used perhaps to polish or grind or mash bones or fat.
"We are not saying that these people were of a particular ethnic group. At this point, we know they most likely came from Siberia or Eastern Asia, and we know something about what they were eating, which is something we can learn from coprolites. We're talking about human signature," he said.
"If you are looking for the first people in North America, you are going to have to step back more than 1,000 years beyond Clovis to find them," Jenkins said.
The Clovis culture has been dated to between 13,200 and 12,900 calendar years ago and is best known by the tools left behind.
The research was funded by the Museum of Natural and Cultural History, University of Oregon; Association of Oregon Archaeologists and the Marie Curie Actions program.
___ By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer 1 hour, 29 minutes ago

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Unban the Bible sales to Muslims

Posted by Raja Petra
Wednesday, 02 April 2008,
Ref: Malaysia Today

With the recent progress made by the opposition in the last general elections, I believe that a more benevolent , tolerant Malaysia is emerging. The ultra-nationalist, somewhat Islamo-fascist style of thinking must be put behind us forever as we evolve into a higher mold of thinking.One of the things which was indicative of BN’s closed-mindedness was the banning of the sale of the bible for Muslims. The PM very unambiguously said that the ‘bible was not for Muslims’. In wake of the last general election results, I suggest a thorough review of this policy. As a Malay-Muslim, I believe that the study of the Bible is very helpful in the understanding of not only Christianity which is obvious, but also the understanding one of the roots of Western civilisation itself. The bible was for at least a millenium and a half, the cornerstone of Western thought. Even the appropriation of Greek philosophy happened so extensively because scholars wanted reconcile Christianity with the universal tenets of logic and to use the bible as an answer for philosophical problems.
Even to this day, there are Christian scholars whose incursions into the field of philosophy contribute to the perpetual evolution of Christian thinking. As also mentioned, bible contains the crucial principles of Christianity. While catholicism also draws on the teachings of the church elders as well as the bible, Protestant denominations tends to focus on the teachings of the Bible itself which is what Martin Luther strived for. Luther’s faced numerous dilemmas which can help us to think about our religious experience today. This division in principles led to some very interesting debates between the Catholics and Protestans and the fruits of such debates would be such great stimulus to all our minds.Around the bible itself grew a tremendous complex body of literature such as a few types of exegesis, theological discussions and various kinds of criticisms. Examples include historical criticism, textual criticism and psychological criticism. These types of criticisms helped see the Bible under a new light. This body of literature I believe has helped stimulate the minds of the embryonic West during the periods of Renaissance and Enlightenment. Ultimately, these people used their strong foundations and springboarded into modern philosophy we see today.Of course, the best reason of all to unban the sale of the bible to Muslims would be allow us to simply build better relations with Christian fellow Malaysians. After all, when we see the ideals which the Christians aspire to, would our hearts not warm to them? I believe it would.
As RPK mentioned about how the NEP is nothing but a milk bottle we won’t let mommy take away, this religious molly-coddling is tantamount to hiding behind mommy’s skirt and not daring to allow our minds to digest notions provided by other ideologies. It shouldn’t be just the Bible either but Muslims should be allowed and even encouraged to study any and all religious texts. Lets hope with the winds of change which are upon us, we can move beyond this parochialism and allow our nation to mature.

QUB astronomers help find planets

The project has discovered extrasolar planets (artist's impression)
Astronomers from Queen's University Belfast have helped to discover 10 new planets.
The discovery will be announced later at the Royal Astronomical Society's largest ever National Astronomy Meeting, taking place at Queen's.
The extrasolar planets - which orbit around other stars - were found by an international team using cameras in the Canary Islands and South Africa.
Queen's astronomers designed and built the camera used in the find.
The Wide Area Search for Planets (SuperWasp) project uses two sets of cameras to watch for events known as transits, where a planet passes directly in front of a star and blocks out some of its light, so from the earth, the star temporarily appears a little fainter.
The cameras work as robots, surveying a large area of the sky at once.
Each night, astronomers have data from millions of stars which they check for transits. The transit method also allows scientists to deduce the size and mass of each planet.