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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Getting Intimate with a Jesuit...


Part 1:

Part 2:

The goal of our life is to live with God forever.
God who loves us, gave us life.

Our own response of love allows God's life to flow into
us without limit.

All the things in this world are gifts of God,
presented to us so that we can know God more easily
and make a return of love more readily.

As a result, we appreciate and use all of these gifts of God
insofar as they help us develop as loving persons.

But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives,
they displace God
and so hinder our growth toward our goal.

In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance
before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice
and are not bound by some obligation.

We should not fix our desires on health or sickness,
wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or short one.

For everything has the potential of calling forth in us
a deeper response to our life in God.

Our only desire and our one choice should be this:
I want and I choose what better
leads to the deepening of God's life in me.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, from the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The World...Always Losing Heart...

Once upon a time, just a couple of years back, not so long ago, huge mega financial companies, such as Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and AIG came tumbling down, and government officials were scrambling to prevent a global financial meltdown.  These people cooked up bailouts and pushed weak companies to merge with stronger ones.  The government has “fooled” the people into believing that investors were reassured and that order was restored in the financial system.

However, these bitter lessons were never ever learnt and the consequences are still being felt today in the USA...Europe...Asia...all over the world.  Tough and difficult times continue for humanity, the world over. Certain powers and hidden forces that be and self proclaimed economists, bankers, officials at the top seem to have done it again in their quest to feed their insatiable egoistic pursuit; at the expense of the people, their lives, their families, friends....

Whilst the US National Debt clock keeps ticking and its ratings downgraded, more than 300 million Americans indirectly have a vested “share” of this debt!  Americans feel the painful effects.  Mr. President, where is the basic risk management skills and early warning system of your so-called “esteemed” government?

Across the globe, bearish international investors have also coined a new term for the countries that they believe are the weak links of the Euro Zone, facing debt crisis: PIIGS — which basically stands for Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain. Greece, the home the peaceful monastery in Mount Athos, barely avoided a major bankruptcy in June 2011, looks set to default the October deadline...Greece is sinking...imminent default in sight!...many predict that Greece will go into depression!...the rest of Europe into a recession.

Will the US become like Greece?  Will this event be another Black Swan event?  Are the world super powers going to be red-faced again?  Has not the bitter events of 9/11 taught some humility and responsibility to the US government??  Whilst healing have taken place slowly and painfully amongst the loved ones of the departed, the US government, the Central Bankers, the Federal Reserve have all turn a deaf ear to the future of the American people.  Ah, politicians will forever be selfish was it Osama or Bush or Obama’s conspiracy???

In Asia, stock markets becomes volatile and are crashing in response to these adverse developments...many innocent investors and companies are positions of many companies, heavily invested in equities are threatened by negative unrealized losses in the financial statements.

The reason why so many people have lost heart today is that they feel both confused and powerless...helpless to see their choose their own lives.  Everything that had seemed so important – stock options, investments, affluent lifestyles – suddenly begins to fade, yet again.  The world is facing a crisis of meaning yet becoming more complex these days.  Where is Jesus in America?  Where is Jesus in Europe?  Where is Jesus in the world?  Most of all, where is Jesus in our lives?

Franciscan priest, Richard Rohr, shared that, “Belief hinged on what could be proven by a certain paradigm called science.  Science assumed – and this became the arrogance of the modern mind – that it knew more than anybody else ever had!  ...It told us that education, reason and science would make the world a better place.  ...Now, in fact, we have a lot of new diseases and many insolvable diseases of the mind and soul.  ...The inner world of meaning has not been fed.  (The world today) starved for meaning, grasping at anything and everything.  This is a terrible dilemma to live under.”

Here, it is timely that we remember the following episode in the life of our Lord...

“...and in the Temple he found people selling cattle and sheep and doves, and the money changers sitting there.  Making a whip out of cord, he drove them all out of the Temple, sheep and cattle as well, scattered the money changers' coins, knocked their tables over and said to the dove sellers, “Take all this out of here and stop using my Father's house as a market.”” (John 2:14-16, New Jerusalem Bible)

What are the real values held by politicians elected to hold public office, whose fundamental mission is to serve the people, to protect them and build them a better future?  What are the priorities of humanity?  In continuous pursuit of potential upside in the stock market or to seek the Lord who have created us and called us by name?  Humanity seems to have lost the inner compass time and again.  It is sad that the so-called “developed” world today, despite countless gentle “reminders” from the loving Father, is still wandering aimlessly and getting all lost again...