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DANIEL

- Author Unknown

It was an unusually cold day for the month of May. Spring had arrived and everything was alive with color. But a cold front from the north had brought winter's chill back to Indiana. I sat with two friends in the picture window of a quaint restaurant just off the corner of the town square. The food and the company were both especially good that day. As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There, walking into town, was a man who appeared to be carrying all his worldly goods on his back. He was carrying a well-worn sign that read, "I will work for food." My heart sank. I brought him to the attention of my friends and noticed that others around us had stopped eating to focus on him. Heads moved in a mixture of sadness and disbelief. We continued with our meal, but his image lingered in my mind.

We finished our meal and went our separate ways. I had errands to do and quickly set out to accomplish them. I glanced toward the town square, looking somewhat halfheartedly for the strange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call some response. I drove through town and saw nothing of him. I made some purchases at a store and got back in my car. Deep within me, the Spirit of God kept speaking to me: "Don't go back to the office until you've at least driven once more around the square." And so, with some hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the square's third corner, I saw him. He was standing on the steps of the storefront Church, going through his sack. I stopped and looked, feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet wanting to drive on. The empty parking space on the corner seemed to be a sign from God: an invitation to park. I pulled in, got out and approached the town's newest visitor. "Looking for the pastor?" I asked. "Not really," he replied, "Just resting." "Have you eaten today?" Oh, I ate something early this morning." "Would you like to have lunch with me? "Do you have some work I could do for you?" "No work," I replied." I commute here to work from the city, but I would like to take you to lunch." "Sure," he replied with a smile. As he began to gather his things. I asked some surface questions. "Where you headed?" "St. Louis." "Where you from?" "Oh, all over; mostly Florida." "How long you been walking?" "Fourteen years," came the reply.

I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the same restaurant I had left earlier. His face was weathered slightly beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark yet clear, and he spoke with an eloquence and articulation that was startling. He removed his jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, "Jesus is The Never Ending Story." Then Daniel's story began to unfold. He had seen rough times early in life. He'd made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences. Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona. He tried to hire on with some men who were putting up a large tent and some equipment. A concert, he thought. He was hired, but the tent would not house a concert but revival services, and in those services he saw life more clearly. He gave his life over to God. "Nothing's been the same since", he said, "I felt the Lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now." "Ever think of stopping?" I asked. "Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me. But God has given me this calling. I give out Bibles. That's what's in my sack. I work to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when His Spirit leads." I sat amazed.

My homeless friend was not homeless. He was on a mission and lived this way by choice. The question burned inside for a moment and then I asked: "What's it like?" "What?" "To walk into a town carrying all your things on your back and to show your sign?" "Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make comments. Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a gesture that certainly didn't make me feel welcome. But then it became humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change people's concepts of other folks like me." My concept was changing, too. We finished our dessert and gathered his things. Just outside the door, he paused. He turned to me and said, "Come ye blessed of my Father and inherit the Kingdom I've prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in." I felt as if we were on holy ground. "Could you use another Bible?" I asked. He said he preferred a certain translation. It traveled well and was not too heavy. It was also his personal favorite. "I've read through it 14 times," he said. "I'm not sure we've got one of those, but let's stop by our Church and see." I was able to find my new friend a Bible that would do well, and he seemed very grateful.

"Where you headed from here?" "Well, I found this little map on the back of this amusement park coupon." "Are you hoping to hire on there for awhile?" "No, I just figure I should go there. I figure someone under that star right there needs a Bible, so that's where I'm going next." He smiled, and the warmth of his spirit radiated the sincerity of his mission. I drove him back to the town square where we'd met two hours earlier, and as we drove, it started raining. We parked and unloaded his things. "Would you sign my autograph book?" he asked. "I like to keep messages from folks I meet." I wrote in his little book that his commitment to his calling had touched my life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with a verse of scripture, in Jeremiah, "I know the plans I have for you," declared the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope." "Thanks, man," he said. "I know we just met and we're really just strangers, but I love you." "I know," I said, "I love you, too." The Lord is good." "Yes. He is. How long has it been since someone hugged you?" I asked. "A long time," he replied. And so on the busy street corner in the drizzling rain, my new friend and I embraced, and I felt deep inside that I had been changed. He put his things on his back, smiled his winning smile and said, "See you in the New Jerusalem." "I'll be there!" was my reply. He began his journey again. He headed away with his sign dangling from his bed roll and pack of Bibles. He stopped, turned and said, "When you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me? "You bet," I shouted back, "God bless." "God bless."

And that was the last I saw of him. Late that evening as I left my office, the wind blew strong. The cold front had settled hard upon the town. I bundled up and hurried to my car. As I sat back and reached for the emergency brake, I saw them....a pair of well-worn brown work gloves neatly laid over the length of the handle. I picked them up and thought of my friend and wondered if his hands would stay warm that night without them. I remembered his words, "If you see something that make you think of me, will you pray for me? Today his gloves lie on my desk in my office. They help me to see the world and its people in a new way, and they help me remember those two hours with my unique friend and to pray for his ministry. "See you in the New Jerusalem, he said. Yes, Daniel, I know I will.


THE MAYONNAISE JAR AND 2 CUPS OF COFFEE…

- Author Unknown

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee...

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full.? They agreed that it was. The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly? The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes." The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things-your God, your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions -- things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else -- the small stuff. "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal." Take care of the golf balls first -- the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."


BE WHO YOU ARE

- Author Unknown

That is all that you need to do. It is enough. It is our inauthenticity to what is real that causes us grief. Our conditioning is not our friend. It is our enemy. It keeps us locked in unhappy postures, playing roles that diminish our grandeur. Who you are, naturally, without artifice and pretence is enough. It is beauty and power. The human race is programmed for misery. Our problem-solving minds find problems. Solutions lie in creativity, but creativity comes from another place, where a fresh perspective is possible, where hope is rampant, where you, in your essence, really reside. This world is but a dream, but because we are unhappy, we have turned it into a production of nightmares. At any moment, at any time, it is possible to transform, to renew, to gain energy and move forward in a richer, higher, more fulfilling direction. But we seldom appreciate the originality of either ourselves or our unique situation in the world because we are conditioned to observe limited patterns and orbit around limited experiences. We hurry through our days, savoring nothing, our heads bent with troubles; and when one heartache ceases, another rushes in to take it's place. No one is happy, and the world is a troubled place.

We designed it to be this way. Since birth, we have been taught to betray ourselves and to conform to meaningless rituals and patterns of limitations. People moan the fact that they will die and even the world itself may die, because the collective forces of chaos seem never to cease, but how few have ever lived in the first place and did we not band together to damage the world with our collective angst? Today the sun may have shone on you and the rain may have touched your skin, birds may have flown in the air above, and the flowers may have opened up as you walked by them, but did you notice any of it? Why do you not see the extraordinary in the ordinary? It is because you are not where you are, you are somewhere else, regretting the past or fearing the future.

You are never anywhere but here and there never is a time other than now and you are never anybody else except who you are inside. When you glimpse for just a moment the magnitude of your own presence, then life will have begun for you.


SORRY THERAPY

- Dwight Longenecker

The children are fighting. I decide to wade into the fray and break things up. As soon as I ask what is going on each child points to the other and they say in unison, ‘He started it!’ It’s part of our wounded human nature to blame somebody else for our problems. The Garden of Eden story makes the point all too painfully: As soon as God finds Adam and Eve and questions them Adam says, ‘The woman told me to eat.’ Then when God looks to Eve she immediately blames the serpent. Blaming others for our problems is a natural response, but it is also an immature response. Our natural responses are usually childish. We have to learn mature behaviour. However, the immature response of blaming others doesn’t always look childish. Sophisticated adults use all sorts of tricks to shift the blame. When a business fails managers blame employees, employees blame managers and everybody blames the executives. Even when politicians and religious leaders fall they blame conspiracy theories or political enemies. Some forms of counselling encourage us to blame our parents for the state we’re in. Social theories blame our social environment or our financial background. Other forms of self-analysis teach us to blame our education or our lack of education, our religion or our lack of religion. Almost anything can be used as a root reason for our problems.

Many of our problems do have roots in all these areas, but healing doesn’t come through attaching blame elsewhere. True healing comes through owning the problem. Secular self-help programmes are good at helping people own their problems and decide to do something about it, but one of their failings is that they give the impression that we can do something about our failures and problems on our own. If only we have a little bit more will power and positive thinking we can overcome anything. Sadly most of us can’t. We need outside input. The mature person realizes his problems are his own, and that there are only two people who can really do anything about it. The first person is myself and the second person is Jesus Christ. As a result, the best therapy and the best problem solving technique is to learn how to say ‘sorry’ at a very profound level. When we go to confession we are getting an excellent dose of inner therapy. Confession works, and forgiveness really does make us better. There are three problem areas of our lives which we can bring into confession. We are usually conditioned to ask forgiveness only for the things we have done. But we can also ask forgiveness for the things we have left undone and the things that have been done to us.

When we bring the things we have done into confession we are taking a huge first step away from the immature behaviour of blaming others. In confession we cannot blame anyone else. We own our faults and bring them to God. It may be true that we commit sins with mixed motives or because of circumstances beyond our control. All of our actions and decisions grow from the complex condition of our heart. God knows and understands all that. Instead of analyzing all those other factors He wants us to simply come into his presence with the thing that’s gone wrong and leave the rest to him. If we hand it over in confession often the other things get themselves sorted out. Confession is like the kind of weed killer which you spray on the leaves of the weed. In time it penetrates into the pores of the leaf, moves down the stem and kills the very root. So when we bring outward sins and problems to confession the grace of absolution moves deeply into our lives, killing off those very roots of sin which some forms of therapy continually analyze and mull over. Sometimes I forget to bring to confession the things I’ve left undone, but in fact that area of my life is where there is perhaps the greatest sin. The things we have left undone are symbols of all that we could be in God’s final plan. If we can only get a glimpse of the glory for which we were created, then we would also get a glimpse of how far short of that glory we fall. We were created to be the infinite sons and daughters of the King of Glory, brothers and sisters with the saints and co-heirs with Christ himself. God intends for us to be perfectly whole one day—shining with the radiance of Christ. As we go to confession we should always remember that great potential God has given each one of us. Then we will see that our lack of love and our lukewarm devotion to God is the greatest problem in our lives. When I was a minister I remember a man named Steve coming to see me, ‘You are always telling us to forgive others.’ He said, ‘But what if you can’t forgive someone?’ ‘Who can’t you forgive?’ I asked. ‘My friend Richard was my business partner. He was my best friend. Last year I found out he was not only cheating me out of my half of the business, but he was having an affair with my wife. I hate him and I can’t stop hating him.’ As Steve was talking a verse from the Scripture popped into my mind. ‘Who can forgive sins, but God alone?’ Suddenly I realized that it is impossible for us to forgive someone in our own power. Therefore when we come to confession we should also bring the things that have been done to us. We don’t bring them blaming the other person, but asking God for the strength to forgive them. In the Lord’s Prayer we say, ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.’ But maybe we should also understand that phrase from the Lord’s prayer as meaning ‘forgive us our sins at the same time as we forgive those who sin against us.’ With this in mind we will bring to the confessional the things that have been done to us—whether ages ago by our parents or teachers, or earlier in the day by our boss, our spouse or our family members. Then as we ask confess our sins we can also confess our inability to forgive, and ask God to let His forgiveness flow through us to those who have injured us. In this way saying ‘sorry’ through the sacrament of reconciliation has a powerful healing effect in our lives. Instead of blaming parents or teachers or circumstances or social factors we own our problems and bring them into God’s presence asking for his help. When we do this the healing is powerful and real. It reaches right back to the roots of our sin. It strengthens us to take up the things we should be doing, and it touches those who have sinned against us. I remember an old priest saying to me, ‘Confession is a simple, humble and beautiful sacrament. It is far more efficient than psychotherapy. Its quicker and its more painless.’ And then with a twinkle in his eye he added, ‘…and its cheaper too!


PRUDENCE

- Author Unknown

This is a real incident that happened in a local hospital in Bangalore, India. A four year old girl was admitted due to leg fracture. As it was an open fracture, she had to undergo an operation to stitch the protruding bone back in place. Though it was quite a minor operation, she was hooked on to life support system, as a part of the process. The doctors had to input some data prior to the operation to suit different conditions. Thereafter, the operation proceeded. Half way through the process, the life support system suddenly went dead. The culprit: Some one was using his/her hand-phone outside the operation theatre. And the frequency had affected the system. They tried to track the fellow but to no avail. The little girl, young and innocent as she was, died soon after. "Be compassionate! Do not use your hand phone/mobiles especially at any hospitals or within the Aircraft or any places where you are told not to use it... You might not be caught in the act, but you might have killed someone without knowing". Sometimes it's a matter of Life & Death....!!!! Please pass this to as many, since most of us are just not aware of the seriousness of this issue. Please Don't Delete. Please Send this to all your contacts and help save a life.


THE CARPENTER

- Author Unknown

Once upon a time two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch. Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence. One morning there was a knock on John's door. He opened it to find a man with carpenter's toolbox. "I'm looking for a few days' work," he said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there I could help with? Could I help you?" "Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighbor; in fact, it's my younger brother. Last week there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll go him one better. See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence - an 8-foot fence - so I won't need to see his place or his face anymore." The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you." The older brother had to go to town, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, nailing. About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job. The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge - a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work handrails and all - and the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming across, his hand outstretched. "You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and done." The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each other's hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder. "No, wait! Stay a few days. I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother. "I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but, I have many more bridges to build."


THE WEATHERED OLD BARN

- Author Unknown

A stranger came by the other day with an offer that set me to thinking. He wanted to buy the old barn that sits out by the highway. I told him right off he was crazy. He was a city type. You could tell by his clothes, his car, his hands, and the way he talked. He said he was driving by and saw that beautiful barn sitting out in the tall grass and wanted to know if it was for sale. I told him he had a funny idea of beauty. Sure, it was a handsome building in its day. But then, there's been a lot of winters pass with their snow and ice and howling wind. The summer sun's beat down on that ole' barn till all the paint's gone, and the wood has turned silver gray. Now the old building leans a good deal, looking kind of tired. Yet, that fellow called it beautiful. That set me to thinking. I walked out to the field and just stood there, gazing at that old barn. The stranger said he planned to use the lumber to line the walls of his den in a new country home he's building down the road. He said you couldn't get paint that beautiful. Only years of standing in the weather, bearing the storms and scorching sun...only that can produce beautiful barn wood.

It came to me then. We're a lot like that, you and I. Only it's on the inside that the beauty grows with us. Sure, we turn silver gray, too... and lean a bit more than we did when we were young and full of sap. But the Good Lord knows what He's doing. And as the years pass He's busy using the hard wealth of our lives, the dry spells and the stormy seasons, to do a job of beautifying our souls that nothing else can produce. And to think how often folks holler because they want life easy!

They took the old barn down today and hauled it away to beautify a rich man's house. And I reckon someday you and I'll be hauled off to Heaven to take on whatever chores the Good Lord has for us on the Great Sky Ranch. And I suspect we'll be more beautiful then for the seasons we've been through here... and just maybe even add a bit of beauty to our Father's house.


COINCIDENCE OR MIRACLE?

- Joseph Mazzella

I was asked the other day if I believed in coincidences. I said that, "No I don't believe that there are any coincidences in this life. I do believe that there are miracles in this life, however. I see more proof of them everyday." Just look at the world around us. Is it a coincidence that the sun rose so beautifully today that it filled countless hearts and souls with wonder, love, peace, and joy? It seemed more like a miracle to me. Is it a coincidence that life developed so intelligently and perfectly on this world? Is it coincidences that birds know to fly south each winter, that the seasons change and flowers bloom each spring, and that thousands upon thousands of different plants and animals live, grow, and thrive here? It seems to me more like a hundred million miracles created by a glorious, joyous mind and a loving hand. Look at your own lives as well. Is it a coincidence that you accidentally walked into the wrong room and met the person who changed your life and blessed you with love? Is it a coincidence that you followed a silent urge to turn off the road before you had to and later learned you avoided a deadly accident because of it? Is it a coincidence that you were on the verge of despair and then heard a song, or read a line, or got a call that lifted your spirits and strengthened your soul once again? Are they all coincidences or are they all little miracles created by God and His angels to guide you, protect you and help you to ever greater love, joy, and goodness in your life? Embrace the miracles in your life then. Embrace the miracle of life. Rejoice in these miracles and use them to choose and share ever more love and joy with others. It's not a coincidence that God put you in their life. You're there to share his miracle of life! Celebrate in the knowledge that you are loved, cared for, and watched over by God and always remember that Life is full of Miracles not coincidences.


TRY TO BE LIKE A EAGLE

- Author Unknown

Eagles were the symbol of almost all conquerors be it Caesar or Hitler, the reason is…!! Read on...Inspiration on the "7 Principles of an Eagle"

1. Eagles fly alone at a high altitude and not with sparrows or mix with other smaller birds. Birds of a feather flock together. No other bird goes to the height of the eagle. Eagles fly with eagles. Never in a Flock. Even when Moses (Old Testament Bible) went to commune with God on the mountain, he left the crowd at the foothills. Stay away from sparrows and ravens. Eagles fly with eagles.

2. Eagles have strong vision, which focuses up to 5 kilometers from the air. When an eagle sites prey - even a rodent from this distance, he narrows his focus on it and sets out to get it. No matter the obstacle, the eagle will not move his focus from the prey until he grabs it. Have a vision and remain focused no matter what the obstacle and you will succeed.

3. Eagles do not eat dead things. He feeds on fresh prey. Vultures eat dead animals but not eagles. Steer clear of outdated and old information. Do your research well always.

4. The Eagle is the only bird that loves the storm. Hen clouds gather, the eagles get excited. The eagle uses the wings of the storm to rise and is pushed up higher. Once it finds the wing of the storm, the eagle stops flapping and uses the pressure of the raging storm to soar the clouds and glide. This gives the eagle an opportunity to rest its wings. In the meantime all the other birds hide in the leaves and branches of the trees. We can use the storms of our lives (obstacles, trouble, etc) to rise to greater heights. Achievers relish challenges and use them profitably.

5. The Eagle tests before it trusts. When a female eagle meets a male and they want to mate, she flies down to earth with the male pursuing her and she picks a twig. She flies back into the air with the male pursuing her. Once she has reached a height high enough for her, she lets the twig fall to the ground and watches it as it falls. The male chases after the twig. The faster it falls, the faster he chases until he reaches it and has to catch it before it falls to the ground, then bring it back to the female eagle. The female eagle grabs the twig and flies to a much higher altitude pursued by the male until she perceives it high enough, and then drops the twig for the male to chase. This goes on for hours, with the height inc releasing until the female eagle is assured that the male eagle has mastered the art of picking the twig which shows commitment, then and only then, will she allow him to mate with her! Whether in private life or in business, one should test commitment of people intended for partnership.

6. Eagles prepare for training. When about to lay eggs, the female and male eagle identify a place very high on a cliff where no predators can reach; the male flies to earth and picks thorns and lays them on the crevice of the cliff, then flies to earth again to collect twigs which he lays in the intended nest. He flies back to earth picks thorns and lays them on top of the twigs. He flies back to earth and picks soft grass to cover the thorns, and then flies back to pick rugs to put on the grass. When this first layering is complete the male eagle runs back to earth and picks more thorns, lays them on the nest; runs back to get grass and rugs and lays them on top of the thorns, then plucks his feathers to complete the nest. The thorns on the outside of the nest protect it from possible intruders. Both male and female eagles participate in raising the eagle family. She lays the eggs and protects them; he builds the nest and hunts. During the time of training the young ones to fly, the other eagle throws the eaglets out of the nest and because they are scared, they jump into the nest again. Next, she throws them out and then takes off the soft layers of the nest, leaving the thorns bare. When the scared eaglets jump into the nest again, they are pricked by thorns. Shrieking and bleeding they jump out again this time wondering why the mother and father who love them so much are torturing them. Next, mother eagle pushes them off the cliff into the air. As they shriek in fear, father eagle flies out and picks them up on his back before they fall, and brings them back to the cliff. This goes on for sometime until they start flapping their wings. They get excited at this newfound knowledge that they can fly and not fall at such a fast rate. The father and mother eagle supports them with their wings. The preparation of the nest teaches us to prepare for changes. The preparation for the family teaches us that active participation of both partners leads to success. The being pricked by the thorns tells us that sometimes being too comfortable where we are may result into our not experiencing life, not progressing and not learning at all. The thorns of life come to teach us that we need to grow, get out of the nest and love on. We may not know it but the seemingly comfortable and safe haven may have thorns; The people who love us do not let us languish in sloth but push us hard to grow and prosper. Even in their seemingly bad actions they have good intentions for us.

7. When the Eagle grows old, his feathers become weak and cannot take him as fast as he should. When he feels weak and about to die, he retires to a place far away in the rocks. While there, he plucks out every feather on his body until he is completely bare. He stays in this hiding place until he has grown new feathers, then he can come out. We occasionally need to shed off old habits and items that burden us and add no value to our lives.


IT COULD HAVE BEEN YOU

- Author Unknown

Jenny was so happy about the house they had found. For once in her life 'twas on the right side of town. She unpacked her things with such great ease. As she watched her new curtains blow in the breeze. How wonderful it was to have her own room. School would be starting, she'd have friends over soon. There'd be sleep-overs, and parties, she was so happy. It's just the way she wanted her life to be.

On the first day of school, everything went great. She made new friends and even got a date! She thought, "I want to be popular and I'm going to be, because I just got a date with the star of the team!" To be known in this school you had to have clout, and dating this guy would sure help her out. There was only one problem stopping her fate, her parents had said she was too young to date. "Well I just won't tell them the entire truth. They won't know the difference, what's there to lose?" Jenny asked to stay with her friends that night. her parents frowned but said, "All right." Excited, she got ready for the big event. But as she rushed around like she had no sense, she began to feel guilty about all the lies. But what's a pizza, a party, and a moonlight ride? Well the pizza was good, and the party was great, but the moonlight ride would have to wait. For Jeff was half drunk by this time, but he kissed her and said that he was just fine.

Then the room filled with smoked and Jeff took a puff. Jenny couldn't believe he was smoking that stuff. Now Jeff was ready to ride to the point, but only after he'd smoked another joint. They jumped in the car for the moonlight ride, not thinking that he was too drunk to drive. They finally made it to the point at last, and Jeff started trying to make a pass. A pass is not what Jenny wanted at all (and by a pass, I don't mean playing football.) "Perhaps my parents were right, maybe I am too young. Boy, how could I ever, ever be so dumb." With all of her might, she pushed Jeff away, "Please take me home, I don't want to stay." Jeff cranked up the engine and floored the gas. In a matter of seconds they were going too fast. As Jeff drove on in a fit of wild anger, Jenny knew that her life was in danger. She begged and pleaded for him to slow down, but he just got faster as they neared the town. "Just let me get home! I'll confess that I lied. I really went out for a moonlight ride," Then all of a sudden, she saw a big flash. "Oh God, Please help us! We're going to crash," She doesn't remember the force of impact. Just that everything all of a sudden went black. She felt someone remove her from the twisted rubble, And heard, "call an ambulance! These kids are in trouble!"

Voices she heard...a few words at best. But she knew there were two cars involved in the wreck. Then wondered to herself if Jeff was all right, And if the people in the other car was alive. She awoke in the hospital to faces so sad. "You've been in a wreck and it looks pretty bad." These voices echoed inside her head, As they gently told her that Jeff was dead. They said "Jenny, we've done all we can do. But it looks as if we'll lose you too." "But the people in the other car!?" Jenny cried. "We're sorry, Jenny, they also died." Jenny prayed, "God, forgive me for what I've done I only wanted to have just one night of fun." "Tell those people's family, I've made their lives dim, And wish I could return their families to them." "Tell Mom and Dad I'm sorry I lied, And that it's my fault so many have died. Oh, nurse, won't you please tell them that for me?" The nurse just stood there, she never agreed. But took Jenny's hand with tears in her eyes. And a few moments later Jenny died. A man asked the nurse, "Why didn't you do your best to bid that girl her one last request?" She looked at the man with eyes so sad. "Because the people in the other car were her mom and dad." This story is sad and unpleasant but true, so young people take heed, it could have been you. Please, don't drink and drive.


Witchcraft in London

- Leonardo N. Mercado, SVD

In November 1990 four Filipinos attended the International Symposium on Paranormal Healing in London. Two Filipino psychic healers (Ms. Flor Acacio and Mr. Emilio Lapurga) were invited to show their healing skills which meant bare hand surgery without instruments and instant closure of the wounds without scars. The event was done before television cameras and an audience of British clergymen, scientists and other interested people. Mr. Jaime Licauco gave the paranormal explanation while I gave a theological appraisal of Philippine paranormal healing.

After the symposium was over, the German host, Mr. Pracher, confided to Ms. Acacio that his French wife could not bear children. Ms. Acacio performed an operation on the wife at his residence. The three of them were inside the bedroom. While the operation was being done inside, the past vice president of the British Paranormal Society and I waited outside the room. She materialized and extracted from the patient’s womb what looked to me an oily, long black thread and a human nail, evidences of witchcraft! After the operation was over, Ms. Acacio showed the evidence to us. The excited British scientist wanted to preserve the objects inside a bottle. But Ms. Acacio refused because, as she said, the objects might fly over and transfer into the viewers. She instead ordered them to be burned.

Why witchcraft? Mr. Pracher explained that when he was courting her French girl friend, her parents objected to his intention for marriage. To dissuade him from courting her, the parents employed the help of Satanists who mostly got their power from unnatural sex, especially with children. These Satanists worked their powers over her and him. But he overcame the satanic attacks with much fasting and prayer.


THE CATHOLIC BLACK SHEEP WHO TURNED MUSLIM

- Leonardo N. Mercado, SVD

Of the five children of a Catholic family, the youngest boy was the black sheep. He rarely went to Church on Sunday, was notorious as a womanizer and as a drunkard. The parents were hopeless in converting the boy. Now when he grew up, his job brought him to Zamboanga, southern Mindanao, where he fell in love with a Muslim girl whom he eventually married. Furthermore, he embraced Islam. As a Muslim he became faithful to his wife, went regularly to the mosque on Fridays, and abstained from alcohol. His conversion to Islam was authentic.

Question: As a Catholic, are you sad or happy that your brother has become a good Muslim convert? Why?


PRAYER BEFORE MEALS?

- Albert Alejo, SJ

I went to the Agusan Mountains after eight hours of bus ride. Then I took a jeepney trail, then a motorbike ride and walked for some hours. Finally we arrived at an Agusanon-Manaobo village where there was a simple meal served on the floor. As we squatted on the floor, those assembled there began to look at each other. I asked, “Should we pray before eating?” “Yeah, I guess so,” somebody said, “because we have a priest around here.” But I said, “Wait a minute. In your tradition, do you pray before eating?” Datu Maakalipay explained to me: “Up here, Father, we do not pray before eating. Why? Because we bless the food from the very beginning. When we cleared the land, we prayed over it. When we sowed the seeds, we asked the guidance of the spirits. When we harvested the fruits, we gave thanks in our ritual to our spirit, to our God, the Heavenly Provider. And so when the food comes in front of us, it is already blessed!”

Question: The sacred and the profane penetrate each other for the indigenous peoples who practice Traditional Religion. In other words, they do not have that strict dichotomy between the profane and the sacred. What is your model of the profane and the sacred?


A MUSLIM HEAVEN? A CHRISTIAN HEAVEN?

- Leonardo N. Mercado, SVD

When I visited a priest friend in Indonesia, his driver told me that although he remains a Muslim, his children are baptized Catholics. “If you are a Muslim, why do you have your children baptized as Catholics?” I asked the driver. “Why don’t you also become a Catholic?” He said, “You see, my parents are Muslim. When we all die, I as a Muslim want to be with them in heaven.”

Questions: Are religions still needed in Heaven? Or is Heaven a place with different sections reserved for the followers of diverse religions?

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