Monday, 31 March 2008


I observed that the basic motive for success
Is the driving force of envy and jealousy!
Eccelesiastes 4:4

The man without a purpose is like
A ship without a rudder-a waif,
A nothing, a no man
-Thomas Carlyle

Everyone’s life is driven by something.
Most dictionaries define the verb drive as “to guide, to control, or to direct.” Whether you are driving a car, a nail, or a golf ball, you are guiding, controlling, and directing it at the moment. What is the driving force in your life?
Right now you may be driven by a problem, a pressure, or a deadline. You may be driven by painful memory, a haunting fear, or an unconscious belief. There are hundreds of circumstances, values, emotions that can drive your life. Here are five of the most common one:
1. Many people are driven by guilt
-They spend their entire lives running from regrets and hiding their shame. Guilt-driven people are manipulated by memories. They allow their past to control their future. They often unconsciously punish themselves by sabotaging their own success.
2. Many people are driven by resentment and anger
-They hold on to hurts and never get over them. Instead of releasing their pain through forgiveness, they rehearse it over and over in their minds. Your past is past! Listen: Those who have hurt you in the past cannot continue to hurt you now unless you hold on the pain through resentment.
3. Many people are driven by fear
Their fears may be a result of a traumatic experience, unrealistic expectations…or even genetic predisposition. Regardless of the cause, fear driven people often miss great opportunities because they’re afraid to venture out. Fear is a self-imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be. Go against it with the weapons of faith and love.
4. Many people are driven by materialism.
-The desire to acquire becomes the whole goal of their lives. ‘Having’ more will make them happy, more secure, more important, but all these ideas are untrue. Possessions only provide temporary happiness. Money is not everything. Your value is not determined by your valuables, and God says the most valuable things in life are not things.
5. Many people are driven by the need for approval
-They allow the expectations of parents or spouses or children or teachers or friends to control their lives. Many adults are trying to earn the approval of unpleasable parents. Others are driven by peer pressure, always worried by what others may think. Unfortunately, those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it. One key to failure is to try to please everyone! Being controlled by the opinions of others is a guaranteed way to miss God’s purpose for your life. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters”.
There are five great benefit of living a purpose-driven life:
1. Knowing your purpose gives meaning to your life.
-Without God, life has no purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no hope. The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose. Hope and believe in the love of God for you.
2. Knowing your purpose simplifies your life
-It is impossible to do everything people want you to do. You have just enough time to do God’s will. In whatever you do, take time to ask yourself, “Is this God’s will for me? It leads to peace of mind.
3. Knowing your purpose focuses your life
-It is human nature to get distracted by many issues. Rick Warren says, many people are like gyroscopes, spinning around but never going anywhere. Without a clear purpose, you will keep changing directions, jobs, relationships, churches, etc., hoping each change will settle the confusion or fill the emptiness in your heart, but it doesn’t solve your real problem-a lack of focus and purpose. The man and women who have made the greatest difference in history were the most focused. Take for instance, the apostle Paul one of the greatest missionaries on earth. He said, “I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what is ahead” (Philippians 3:13). Stop trying to do it all. Do only what matters most.

4. Knowing your purpose motivates your life
-“The true joy: the being used up for a purpose…”
5. Knowing your purpose prepares you for eternity
-A wiser use of time is to build an eternal legacy. You weren’t put on earth to be remembered. You were put here to prepare eternity. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me”. Read Roman 14:10-12 Question 1: “What did you do with my Son, Jesus Christ?” Question 2: “What did you do with what I gave you?” What did you do with all your life-all gifts, talents, energy, opportunities, relationships, and resources God gave you? All this will determine for eternity.

Day 3
Thinking about my purpose
Point to ponder: Living on purpose is the path to peace.
Verse to Remember: “You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3
Question to consider: What would my family and friends say is the driving force of my life? What do I want it to do?

Note: see reflection Day 1-2 as posted earlier

Vatican Aide Clarifies Baptism of Former Muslim

Says Church's New Member Does Not Represent Holy See
VATICAN CITY, MARCH 30, 2008 ( A Vatican spokesman is suggesting that Benedict XVI's willingness to baptize a high-profile convert from Islam may have aimed to affirm the freedom of religious choice, deriving from the dignity of the person.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, released a message Thursday in response to a statement from Professor Aref Ali Nayed, a spokesman for the 138 Muslim scholars who last fall wrote the Pope and other Christian leaders, to seek further dialogue between Christians and Muslims.
Nayed's statement noted his objections to the baptism of a deputy editor of Italy's daily Corriere della Sera, Magdi Allam, which the Pontiff performed at the Holy Saturday Mass.
Continuing dialogue
Father Lombardi began by acknowledging Nayed's affirmation of his "will to continue the dialogue toward a more profound mutual knowledge between Muslims and Christians."
"He in no way questions the journey that began with the correspondence and the contacts established over the last year and a half, between the Muslim signatories of the well-known letters and the Vatican, in particular through the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue," the Jesuit continued. "This process must continue, it is extremely important, it must not be interrupted, and has priority over episodes that may be the subject of misunderstandings."
Nevertheless, Father Lombardi put Allam's baptism at the Easter Vigil in context.
He said that "administering baptism to someone implies a recognition that that person has freely and sincerely accepted the Christian faith in its fundamental articles, as expressed in the 'profession of faith,' which is publicly proclaimed during the ceremony of baptism. Of course, believers are free to maintain their own ideas on a vast range of questions and problems, on which legitimate pluralism exists among Christians. Welcoming a new believer into the Church clearly does not mean wedding all that person's ideas and opinions, especially on political and social matters."
Father Lombardi clearly affirmed that Allam "has the right to express his own ideas." And further, he said that these ideas "remain his personal opinions without in any way becoming the official expression of the positions of the Pope or of the Holy See."
Regensburg again
Responding to Nayed's reference to Benedict XVI's 2006 lecture in Germany, which brought wide attention after the Pope's quotes were taken out of context and falsely attributed, the Vatican aide affirmed that "explanations for interpreting [that address] correctly in accordance with the Pope's intentions were given some time ago and there is no reason to question them once more."
"At the same time," Father Lombardi added, "some of the themes touched upon then, such as the relationship between faith and reason, between religion and violence, are naturally still the subject of reflection and debate, and of differing points of view, because they concern problems that cannot be resolved once and for all."
Father Lombardi also addressed Nayed's references to the Holy Father's words during the Holy Saturday liturgy.
The Vatican aide affirmed that "the liturgy of the Easter vigil was celebrated as it is every year, and the symbolism of light and darkness has always been a part of it. It is a solemn liturgy and its celebration by the Pope in St. Peter's Square is a very special occasion. But to accuse the Pope's explanation of the liturgical symbols -- something he always does and in which he is a master -- of 'Manichaeism' reveals perhaps a misunderstanding of Catholic liturgy rather than a pertinent criticism of Benedict XVI's words."
Deserving different
Father Lombardi further considered Nayed's statements on Catholic education.
"Finally, let us in turn express our own displeasure at what Professor Nayed says concerning education in Christian schools in Muslim-majority countries, where he objects to the risk of proselytism," the priest said. "We feel that the Catholic Church's great educational efforts, also in countries with a non-Christian majority [...] where for a very long time the majority of students in Catholic schools and universities are non-Christian and have happily remained so -- while showing great appreciation for the education they have received -- deserves a quite different evaluation.
"We do not think the Church today merits the accusation of lack of respect for the dignity and freedom of the human person; these suffer entirely different violations to which priority attention must be given. Perhaps the Pope accepted the risk of this baptism also for this reason: to affirm the freedom of religious choice which derives from the dignity of the human person."

Saturday, 29 March 2008


You are not an accident!

“I am your creator. You were in my care even before you were born” (Isaiah 44:2a)

You are not accident.
Your birth was no mistake. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He was not all surprised by your birth. In fact, he expected it. Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God. He thought you first. It is not fate, nor chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment. You are alive because God wanted to create you! The bible says, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me” (Psalm 138.8a )
God prescribed every single detail of your body. He deliberately chose your race, the color of your skin, your hair, and every other feature. He custom-made your body just the way he wanted it. He also determined the natural talents you would possess and the uniqueness of your personality. The bible says, “You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something (Psalm 139:15). Because God made you for a reason, he also decided when you would be born and how long you would live. “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breath. Everyday was recorded in your book” (Psalm 139:16 ). Most amazing, God decided how would you be born. It doesn’t matter whether your parents were good, bad, or indifferent. Your parents had the DNA God wanted to make you. Many children are unplanned by their parents, but they are not unplanned by God. God never does anything accidentally, he never makes mistakes. You were created and designed with a purpose! God made you so he could love you.
The bible tells us, “God is love”. There is a perfect love in the fellowship of the Trinity, so God didn’t need to create you. He wasn’t lonely. But he wanted to make you in order to express his love. God says, “I have carried you since you were born; I have taken care of you from your birth. Even when you are old, I will be the same. Even when your hair has turned gray, I will take care of you. I made you and will take care of you. (Isaiah 46:3-4 )
What on earth am I here for? We discover that meaning and purpose of life only when we make God the reference point of our lives.

Day 2
Thinking about my purpose

Point to ponder: I am not an accident

Verse to remember: “I am your creator. You were in my care even before you were born (Isaiah 44:2a)

Question to consider: What areas of my personality, background, and physical appearance am I struggling to accept?
note: see also Day 1 reflection...posted earlier

Human noses 'can detect danger'

Our noses can quickly learn to link even subtle changes in smell with danger, claim scientists.
Volunteers who could not differentiate between two similar smells found they could do it easily after being given a mild electric shock alongside one.
Brain scans confirmed the change in the "smelling" part of the brain.
The US research, published in the journal Science, suggests our distant ancestors evolved the ability to keep us away from predators.
It warns us that it's dangerous and we have to pay attention to it.
Dr Wen LiNorthwestern University, Chicago
The 12 volunteers were exposed to two "grassy" odours, and none of them could accurately tell the difference between them.
After they were shocked while smelling one of them, they developed the ability to discriminate between the two.
Researcher Dr Wen Li, of the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, in Chicago, said: "It's evolutionary. This helps us to have a very sensitive ability to detect something that is important to our survival from an ocean of environmental information.
"It warns us that it's dangerous and we have to pay attention to it."
Complex organ
MRI scans, which can measure brain activity, revealed clear differences in a part of the brain called the olfactory cortex before and after the shocks.
Dr Geraldine Wright, from the University of Newcastle has carried out similar work in animals - and says that fundamentally, the human smell system is designed in the same way.
She said that the sensitivity of the human nose was not vastly inferior to many other creatures.
"In terms of the number of olfactory receptors in our noses, we do pretty well compared to some other species, and we can sense a lot of different smells.
"If the brain has to remember some detail in order to avoid a bad outcome, it will do it pretty quickly."

Thursday, 27 March 2008

the oldest human remain

Spain dig yields ancient European
Scientists have discovered the oldest human remains in western Europe.
The lower jaw could be from a female.
A jawbone and teeth discovered at the famous Atapuerca site in northern Spain have been dated between 1.1 and 1.2 million years old.
The finds provide further evidence for the great antiquity of human occupation on the continent, the researchers write in the journal Nature.
Scientists also found stone tools and animal bones with tell-tale cut marks from butchering by humans.
It gives us confidence that Europe was not left out of the picture of the spread of early humans
Prof Chris Stringer, Natural History MuseumThe discovery comprises part of a human's lower jawbone. The remains of seven teeth were found still in place; an isolated tooth, belonging to the same individual, was also unearthed.

Its small size suggests it could have belonged to a female.
The find was made in the Sierra de Atapuerca, a region of gently rolling hills near the Spanish city of Burgos which contains a complex of ancient limestone caves.
See one view of human evolution
These caves have yielded abundant, well-preserved evidence of ancient occupation by humans and have been designated a Unesco World Heritage Site.
The new remains were unearthed at the archaeological site of Sima del Elefante, which lies just a few hundred metres from two other locations which have yielded remains of early Europeans.
"It is the oldest human fossil yet found in Western Europe," said co-author Jose Maria Bermudez de Castro, director of Spain's National Research Centre on Human Evolution (CENIEH) in Burgos.
Ancient migration
Dr Bermudez de Castro told BBC News that the latest find had anatomical features linking it to earlier hominins (modern humans, their ancestors and relatives since divergence from apes) discovered in Dmanisi, Georgia - at the gates of Europe.

Several teeth were preserved with the jawThe Georgian hominins lived some 1.7 million years ago and represent an early expansion of humans outside Africa.
The researchers therefore suggest that Western Europe was settled by a population of hominins coming from the east.
Once these early people had "won the West" they evolved into a distinct species - Homo antecessor, or "Pioneer Man", say the scientists.
The scientists now plan to investigate whether Pioneer Man might have been ancestral to Neanderthals and to even our own species Homo sapiens.
"In terms of European prehistory, this [find] is very significant," said Professor Chris Stringer, research leader in human origins at London's Natural History Museum.
The timing of the earliest human habitation in Europe has been controversial.
"The earliest hominins outside Africa are those from Dmanisi in Georgia. After that, we have occupations in Europe, but the ages are not very precise. They are also without hominin [remains]," said Dr Marina Mosquera, a co-author from the Rovira i Virgili University in Tarragona, Spain.
Reliable date
The Spanish researchers used three different techniques to date the new fossils: palaeomagnetism, cosmogenic nuclide dating and biostratigraphy.
The researchers said the new find represented the earliest reliably dated evidence of human occupation in Europe.
"What we have are the European descendents of the first migration out of Africa," said Dr Mosquera.
Professor Stringer said that until more material was discovered from Atapuerca, he was cautious about assigning the new specimen to the species Homo antecessor.
But he added: "However the specimen is classified, when combined with the emerging archaeological evidence, it suggests that southern Europe began to be colonised from western Asia not long after humans had emerged from Africa - something which many of us would have doubted even five years ago."
"It gives us confidence that Europe was not left out of the picture of the spread of early humans. Early humans got to Java and China by 1.5 million years ago and certainly some of the animal remains found at those Asian sites are found in Western Europe too."
He explained that the people at Sima del Elefante had made primitive stone tools and would have had relatively small brains. The outside of the jawbone had some primitive anatomical features, but the inside displayed some more advanced characteristics, he added.
This suggested they may have been evolving towards humans which are known from much later in time, such as Homo heidelbergensis.


(Note to the reader: it is a guide to a 40-day spiritual journey. The aim is that we may know better God’s purpose for our life. Thank God for our friend Rick Warren for his inspirational book entitled “The purpose-Driven Life”. Not forgetting the ‘Team Belia Keuskupan Keningau/Kota Kinabalu/Sandakan, Sabah Malaysia’.)

What on earth am I here for?

A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump;
a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree (Proverbs 11:28)

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord…
They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with
roots that each deep into the water. Such trees
are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

For everything, absolutely everything,
Above and below, visible and invisible…
Everything got started in him and finds it purpose in him ( Colossian 1:6)

Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless
Bertrand Russel, atheist.

It all started with God

It is not about you. The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, peace of mind, or even happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.
The search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years. That’s because we typically begin at the wrong starting point-ourselves. We ask self-centered questions like What do I want to be? What should I do with my life? What are my goals, my ambitions, my dreams for my future? But focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life’s purpose. The bible says, “It is God who directs the lives of his creatures; everyone’s life is in his power.”
Contrary to what many popular books, movies, and seminars tell you, you won’t discover your life’s meaning by looking within yourself. You’ve probably tried that already. You didn’t create yourselves, so there is no way you can tell yourself what you were created for! If I handed you an invention you had never seen before, you wouldn’t know its purpose, and the invention itself wouldn’t be able to tell you either. Only the creator or the owner’s manual could reveal its purpose.
It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. You were made for God, not vice versa, and life is about letting God use you for his purposes, not your using him for your own purpose.
What matter most is about becoming what God created you to be. What is the meaning of life? Ask God. God is the starting point of your life, he is the source of it. To discover your purpose in life you must turn to God’s word. “It is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for” (Ephesians 1:11). 3 points to remember:
A. You can discover your identity and purpose through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
B. God was thinking of you long before you ever thought about him.
C. God has designed you for eternity.

Thinking about my purpose, it is not about me.

Question to consider: How can I remind myself that life is really about living for God, not myself?

Verse to remember: “Everything got started in him
And finds its purpose in him” Colossians 1: 16b

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Today's Inspirational Quote

"A year from now you will wish you had started today." -- Karen Lamb
"If you can do it now, do not wait till tommorrow"- Kuntiak

There must be a reason for everything

'Praying' dog at Japanese temple

Conan the dog joins the priests at Jigenin temple at prayer timeAttendance at a Buddhist temple in Japan has increased since the temple's pet, a two-year-old dog, has joined in the daily prayers.

Even a dog manifest the Glory of God!! Let us not be discourage to find God in prayers...

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Filipinos warned on crucifixions

Crucifixions are an annual event in the Philippines.
Health officials in the Philippines have issued a warning to people taking part in Easter crucifixion rituals.
They have urged them to get tetanus vaccinations before they flagellate themselves and are nailed to crosses, and to practise good hygiene.
On Good Friday dozens of very devout Catholics in the Philippines re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
It is something that has become a huge tourist attraction, although the Church frowns on the practice.
Disinfect The health department has strongly advised penitents to check the condition of the whips they plan to use to lash their backs, the Manila Times newspaper reports.
Real nails are used in the re-enactments
They want people to have what they call "well-maintained" whips.
In the hot and dusty atmosphere, officials warn, using unhygienic whips to make deep cuts in the body could lead to tetanus and other infections.
And they advise that the nails used to fix people to crosses must be properly disinfected first. Often people soak the nails in alcohol throughout the year.
Every Good Friday, in towns across the Philippines, people atone for sins or give thanks for an answered prayer by re-enacting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Giving thanks
In the northern city of San Fernando alone there will be three separate improvised Golgothas - the biblical name for the hill where Jesus was crucified.
Four people there have pledged to have their feet and hands nailed to wooden crosses, while others will flog themselves while walking barefoot through villages.
Sometimes people repeat the penance year after year, like the fish vendor who will be nailed to the cross for the 15th and last time on Friday to give thanks for his mother's recovery from tuberculosis.
With long hair and a beard, wearing sandals and a crown of thorns, he is tied with cloth to the cross but also has nails driven through the flesh of his hands and feet, avoiding the bones. Thanks to: Frances Harrison Religious affairs reporter, BBC News

Monday, 24 March 2008

Pope: Christ Cures Humanity's Festering Wounds

Highlights in Easter Message the Need for Peace
VATICAN CITY, MARCH 23, 2008 ( The risen Christ is the true hope for a humanity suffering "open and festering" wounds, said Benedict XVI in his Easter message.After celebrating Easter Mass today, and before imparting the blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city of Rome and the world), the Pope read a message in which he highlighted the need for peace in Darfur, the Holy Land, Irak, Lebanon and Tibet.A total of 102 television stations in 67 countries broadcast the event, reported the Vatican press office."The death and resurrection of the Word of God incarnate is an event of invincible love, it is the victory of that Love which has delivered us from the slavery of sin and death," the Pontiff said from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica to the crowds gathered in the square below on a rainy Easter morning.He added, "It has changed the course of history, giving to human life an indestructible and renewed meaning and value.""Through the death and resurrection of Christ, we too rise to new life today, and uniting our voice with his, we proclaim that we wish to remain forever with God, our infinitely good and merciful Father," said the Holy Father.Benedict XVI continued: "The astonishing event of the resurrection of Jesus is essentially an event of love: the Father’s love in handing over his Son for the salvation of the world; the Son’s love in abandoning himself to the Father’s will for us all; the Spirit’s love in raising Jesus from the dead in his transfigured body."And there is more: the Father’s love which 'newly embraces' the Son, enfolding him in glory; the Son’s love returning to the Father in the power of the Spirit, robed in our transfigured humanity."Converts to love.
The Pope said at Easter, "we receive an appeal to be converted to Love; we receive an invitation to live by rejecting hatred and selfishness, and to follow with docility in the footsteps of the Lamb that was slain for our salvation."He urged, "Let no heart be closed to the omnipotence of this redeeming love!""Jesus Christ died and rose for all," the Pontiff added. "He is our hope -- true hope for every human being."
The Holy Father said by considering the glorious wounds of the resurrected Christ, "we can understand the meaning and value of suffering, we can tend the many wounds that continue to disfigure humanity in our own day.""How often relations between individuals, between groups and between peoples are marked not by love but by selfishness, injustice, hatred and violence," continued Benedict XVI. "These are the scourges of humanity, open and festering in every corner of the planet, although they are often ignored and sometimes deliberately concealed; wounds that torture the souls and bodies of countless of our brothers and sisters."They are waiting to be tended and healed by the glorious wounds of our Risen Lord [...] and by the solidarity of people who, following in his footsteps, perform deeds of charity in his name, make an active commitment to justice, and spread luminous signs of hope in areas bloodied by conflict and wherever the dignity of the human person continues to be scorned and trampled."It is hoped that these are precisely the places where gestures of moderation and forgiveness will increase!""Let us allow the light that streams forth from this solemn day to enlighten us," the Pontiff urges. "Let us open ourselves in sincere trust to the risen Christ, so that his victory over evil and death may also triumph in each one of us, in our families, in our cities and in our nations. Let it shine forth in every part of the world."

Easter Celebration around the Globe...

Women in traditional dress sing during an Easter Mass in the Belarusian capital Minsk.
Accept the cross..
Even this little child is trying to show something for the love of God..
A blessed Easter to you all..

A rained-soaked Easter in Vatican-We were there

Pope calls for Easter Day peace

Driving rain did not deter thousands of pilgrims and tourists
Pope's blessing Thousands of pilgrims packed into a rain-soaked St Peter's Square in Rome to hear Pope Benedict XVI give his Easter address.
The Pope called for an end to problems in Tibet, Iraq and the Holy Land in his "urbi et orbi" blessing to the world - broadcast live in 57 countries.
Christians around the world are marking Easter, when they remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Late on Saturday, the Pope baptised a controversial, Muslim-born journalist.
Magdi Allam, 55, is deputy director of the leading newspaper Corriere della Sera and has angered some Muslims with his views.
Driving rain did not deter thousands of pilgrims and tourists from crowding into St Peter's Square to hear the Pope's Easter Mass and, later, his traditional "urbi et orbi" ("to the city and the world") blessing.

Mr Allam's baptism plans had been kept secret by the Vatican
"How can we fail to remember certain African regions, such as Darfur and Somalia, the tormented Middle East, especially the Holy Land, Iraq, Lebanon and finally Tibet, all of which I encourage to seek solutions that will safeguard peace and the common good," the Pope said.
He said he wished that "the light that streams forth from this solemn day [may] shine forth in every part of the world".
He then offered greetings in 63 languages for Easter, the holiest festival in the Christian calendar.
On Saturday, the journalist Mr Allam was one of a group of adult converts to Roman Catholicism who was baptised by the Pope.
Mr Allam has been an outspoken critic of Muslim militancy and a strong supporter of Israel. He says such views have provoked threats on his life, and he is now protected by a police escort.
Muslim relations
His baptism, which took place in St Peter's Basilica, was kept secret by the Vatican, until just before the vigil mass.
The Pope traditionally baptises newborns on 1 January and adult converts to Catholicism on Easter eve.
Improving relations with the Muslim world is one of the Vatican's key priorities at the moment, says the BBC's David Willey in Rome.
Later this year the Pope will be hosting an unprecedented meeting at the Vatican with Muslim religious leaders from around the world to try to find common ground for future interreligious dialogue, he says.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Three days asleep...

Holy Saturday....
What happen to Jesus? 3 days asleep….What did he do within 3 days before rising again? From the reading of the earliest homily on Holy Saturday: “There is a great silence and solitude on all the earth today. It is because the King is asleep….he came down to the under world to give light to those in darkness, and those who dwell in the shadows of death”. Jesus appeared to Adam and Eve. All those who have died shouted with joy to see the light of Christ. “I am your God”, said Jesus to them. He showed to them his wound of his hand and his side. He was really the one who was crucified, died, buried and alive! This is a moment of great hope for all humanity. We are dying species, but that’s not the end. Suffering, pain and death are real for everyone. Yet, these becomes ‘passwords’ to enter life eternal. There is no Easter without Good Friday!

Pope...the Way of the Cross

ROME, MARCH 21, 2008 ( Benedict XVI says the sacrifice of Christ should call into question our human certainties, setting us free to love.The Pope said this tonight at the end of the Way of the Cross he presided over in the Roman Colosseum. Tens of thousands of faithful braved an unexpected chill and rain to meditate on the sacrifice of Christ. The reflections for the ceremony were written this year by Cardinal Joseph Zen, bishop of Hong Kong."Is it possible to remain indifferent before the death of the Lord, of the Son of God?" the Holy Father asked. "For us, for our salvation he became man, so as to be able to suffer and die."Let us pause to contemplate his cross. The cross, fount of life and school of justice and peace, is the universal patrimony of pardon and mercy. It is permanent proof of a self-emptying and infinite love that brought God to become man, vulnerable like us, unto dying crucified."Returning to a theme that he frequently touches upon, Benedict XVI urged the faithful to become friends with Christ."Through the sorrowful way of the cross, the men of all ages, reconciled and redeemed by the blood of Christ, have become friends of God, sons of the heavenly Father," he said. "'Friend,' is what Jesus calls Judas and he offers him the last and dramatic call to conversion. 'Friend,' he calls each of us, because he is the authentic friend of everyone. "Unfortunately, we do not always manage to perceive the depth of this limitless love that God has for us. For him, there is no distinction of race or culture. Jesus Christ died to liberate the humanity of old of their ignorance of God, of the circle of hate and violence, of the slavery to sin. The cross makes us brothers and sisters."StewardsThe Pope challenged the faithful to examine their response to this friendship."But let us ask ourselves in this moment," he said, "what have we done with this gift, what have we done with the revelation of the face of God in Christ, with the revelation of the love of God that conquers hate. Many, in our age as well, do not know God and cannot encounter him in Christ crucified. Many are in search of a love or a liberty that excludes God. Many believe they have no need of God.""Let us this night allow his sacrifice on the cross to question us. Let us permit him to challenge our human certainties," the Holy Father urged. "Let us open our hearts. Jesus is the truth that makes us free to love. Let us not be afraid: Upon dying, the Lord destroyed sin and saved sinners, that is, all of us. "This is the truth of Good Friday: On the cross, the Redeemer has made us adoptive sons of God who he created in his image and likeness. Let us remain, then, in adoration before the cross."Christ, give us the peace we seek, the happiness we desire, the love the fills our heart thirsty for the infinite. This is our prayer for this night, Jesus, Son of God, who died for us on the cross and was resurrected on the third day."Concern for AsiaIn the images of each of the 14 stations found in the book given to the pilgrims and presented by TV coverage of the event, Christ and the other figures are presented with Asian traits.Cardinal Zen wrote in the forward of the meditations, "I did not have the slightest hesitation in accepting the task [of writing them]. I recognized that this was the Holy Father's way of demonstrating his personal concern for the great continent of Asia, and in particular, his way of including in this solemn act of Christian piety the faithful people of China, for whom the Via Crucis is a deeply felt devotion."A Chinese youth handed over the cross at the 14th station to the Pope, who followed the Way of the Cross from atop the Palatine Hill.In the previous stations, the cross was borne by faithful including Franciscan friars from the Custody of the Holy Land, a disabled person in a wheelchair, a Roman family, a woman religious from Burkina Faso, and Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope's vicar for the Diocese of Rome.

Friday, 21 March 2008

The Way of the Cross

Good Friday.
This is a time to reflect the passion of Christ, the 14 station of the way of the cross. Every station has its meaning. In my visit to the churches nearby, I was inspired by these two words: 'perseverence and holiness'. The way of the cross has inspired me to be more persevere in whatever difficulties. It is true that holiness is our strength as mentioned by our Pope Benedict.
"Lord Jesus, help us to be more persevere and to be always pure in mind and heart. Amen"
This photo is taken in Assisi. This cross of Jesus inspired St. Francis. According to story, while Francis was praying in the chapel, the crucified Jesus spoke to him. The suffering and death of Jesus Christ was real for all humanity. Let us offer all our worries and suffering to him..God bless

Vatican today

Today we celebrated two Masses. Chrism Mass and the last supper Mass. In the presence of Pope Benedecit, we renewed our commitment to God and to the Church.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Happy Easter

Hai hai

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