It’s ok to ask and ask again…

This is what I saw today, in a Catholic message, it’s ok to ask and ask again.

You don’t have to say, no, it’s not my time, millions have it worse than me, you don’t have to say, oh, hi God, I’m just stopping in to see how you are, because really, You and I know I really shouldn’t be asking for anything.

Rather, I saw what I wanted to see today, and perhaps that’s the only way I’ll ever be able to see, my way.

Taken from: Medjugorje.org

The Catholic Calendar for Sunday, July 29, 2007
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture from today’s Liturgy of the Word:
Genesis 18:20-32
Psalm 138:1-2, 2-3, 6-7, 7-8
Colossians 2:12-14
Luke 11:1-13

A reflection on today’s Sacred Scripture:

I
remember a student from Italy who attended Wadhams Hall Seminary in Ogdensburg, NY, many years ago. He was quite unaccustomed to the ways of Americans. When he tried to bargain over the price of a comb at the local pharmacy, the manager almost threw him out! Americans aren’t as used to bargaining over small purchases as Europeans are.

God seems to encourage bargaining in today’s First Reading. Abraham is disturbed when he learns that the Lord plans to destroy the evil city of Sodom. After all, he knows that his nephew Lot and his wife have not given in to the sinful deeds of their neighbors. He succeeds in getting God to spare the city “for the sake of ten just men!”

Jesus not only allows us to bargain with God, He actively encourages us to do so. After teaching His apostles how to pray in the beautiful words we know as the Lord’s Prayer, He urges His followers not to give up if at first the Father doesn’t seem to be listening. To paraphrase, He says, “Don’t give up, keep knocking! Do you think my Father would refuse anything to His children?

It’s an important lesson that we often forget!

– Msgr. Paul Whitmore — email: pwhitmore29(at)yahoo(dot)com”

I added the emphasis, the underline above, to share with you where my thought came from…I look forward to hearing where it leads you to…………

________________________

World Refugee Day June 20, 2007

See Anderson Cooper’s 360 show tonight

Today’s date: Wednesday, 20 June 2007

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie sits beside an Afghan boy in the refugee camp of Katcha Ghari on the edge of the Pakistan city of Peshawar. © UNHCR/J.Redden

“Top Story: World Refugee Day: Challenges of the 21st Century
UNHCR focuses attention today on the plight of millions of refugees and displaced people around the world. The future is likely to see more people on the move and the international community must face the challenge of understanding the new displacement environment.”

Symphony of trees

I am not a sophisticated listener of music, I only know what calls to me, and it is such a wide variety.

I sat this early evening outside, surrounded by trees which must be hundreds of years old, and I watched them watching me.

Did you know the movement of the trees, if watched with an open mind and without hurry, do not follow the patterns of proscribed wind?

The leaves move in different patterns, fluttering even within the stronger gusts, they are dancing and shaping themselves against the sky for us to read, if we could only but remember.

There are things calling me to go inside, the day to day events, chores, what you might call, existence, but I am enraptured by what I am witnessing, the leaves and the branches, the very limbs are acting against the wind and dancing.

The first symphony I ever have understood.

Spiritual Certainy: The search continues

Maybe some days I am searching to have a firm footing in spirituality.

I used to believe I would find it within the fit of the right religion.

I think I have given up the thought, but you never know.

What I am searching for is the unshakeable foundation of faith, but I am sometimes challenged on a daily basis to hold onto that faith, as many of my prior posts may show. I see horrible news and I waver in my faith. And yes, good news abounds, but somehow even 1,000 good stories don’t knock the story of tragedy from my mind. This is my shortcoming.

I would like to be as an innocent, well loved child again, pure in my beliefs, without doubt.

I search to find a way to trigger the collective consciousness so tragedy and disparity is history for everyone in this world.

I search in favor of miracles and am sometimes drawn in by the anti-miracle stories, the non-existence, the lack of proof, etc. I wonder if I am motivated to disbelieve.

I found a link to the “Miracle Detective” on the American Magazine Org/National Catholic Weekly.

(See also: Catholic Forums, Silence of the Birds: back and forth as to approval/disapproval/etc. of the books below)

It seems it is the story of yet another spiritual seeker……………….

Sightings, Signs and Wonders

The Miracle Detective shopping cart for online Catholic bookstore for Catholic books
An Investigation of Holy Visions
By Randall Sullivan
Atlantic Monthly Press. 442p $25
Click here for price at amazon.com

Apparitions, Healings and Weeping Madonnas shopping cart for online Catholic bookstore for Catholic books
Christianity and the Paranormal
By Lisa J. Schwebel
Paulist Press. 209p $16.95
Click here for price at amazon.com

It is difficult to imagine two books about the same subject more dissimilar than these. Randall Sullivan’s The Miracle Detective is a drawn-out tour de force rivaling The Da Vinci Code in length, digressions and clues that ultimately don’t go anywhere. Lisa Schwebel’s Apparitions, Healings, and Weeping Madonnas is a terse, quasi-scholarly book that examines evidence and draws some strong conclusions that are bound to stir discussion. I think Sullivan might have been spared a lot of angst if he had engaged in a long conversation with Schwebel before he got deep into his research.

Yet it is far more likely that The Miracle Detective will have the larger readership, because of its appeal to devotees of Marian apparitions who may be eager to accompany Sullivan on his painful, personal odyssey. He is a former Los Angeles police detective and author of several investigative books, including one on the murders of the hip-hop icons Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. Although he is not a Catholic and seems to have no background in any faith, he becomes intrigued by a reported appearance of Mary in Oregon, and immerses himself in the phenomenon of visions. Very quickly he is in over his head.

After reading accounts of various visions and visiting Rome to converse with priests who study reported miracles as part of canonization processes, he comes to believe that religious visionaries may be fakes or they may be hysterics or they just might be telling the truth. He is soon off to Medjugorje, but he does not arrive for another 50 pages as he narrates the history of the claims, along with observations about Bosnia and Herzegovina and musings on Manichaeism and other Gnostic heresies once prevalent in the region.

Equipped on his arrival with nothing more authoritative than credentials from Rolling Stone magazine, Sullivan is nevertheless accorded generous hospitality, is invited to stay at the home of Mirjana, one of the visionaries, and is granted relatively free access to the others. The more he learns, the more he is inclined to accept their stories as factual; that is, the visions seem to him to be genuine interventions from the supernatural world. Then comes his own, first-ever spiritual experience as he climbs the mountain where the sightings of the Virgin were first reported. He observes a “sudden massing of clouds” over the peak of the mountain. “My knees buckled when a bolt of lightning fell out of the sky straight toward me…. The clouds burst in an instant and rain fell in sheets. I was soaked within seconds but trembled more from fear than from cold. Never had I believed more in a God of wrath than I did at that moment.”

Suddenly out of the darkness, a lone, “dark-haired and dimpled” young woman appears and gives the thoroughly soaked investigator a cap and a towel. When he reaches the mountaintop, his mood changes 180 degrees; he is overcome with euphoria and a profound feeling of liberation that stays with him. He never sees the woman again, and the reader must wait 300 pages to discover who Sullivan believes the woman might have been. This late revelation, perhaps calculated to send shivers down the spine of the reader, does not work because by then, the detective’s quest had turned into such an obsession that the reader is more concerned about Sullivan’s sanity than about the authenticity of apparitions.

He discusses at length Marian appearances at Garabandal, Lourdes, Fatima and elsewhere, reads more books, asks more questions, visits more miracle sites, goes back to Rome and Medjugorje, becomes more consumed. At times Sullivan provides day-by-day, sometimes minute-by-minute accounts of his travels and conversations. Everywhere he is impressed with the composure and integrity of visionaries and their supporters, yet he is never sure what to make of all this—or what it is supposed to mean for him.

Eventually, Sullivan is crippled by his doubts, depressions and a fever, whose symptoms he relates in dramatic detail. “I was woozy, my knees nearly buckled several times as I walked through the crushed white rock and cactus plants that filled Carol’s front yard and climbed back into the oven of my rental car…. Back at the resort I filled the bathtub with cold water and buckets of ice, then sat in it for the next hour drinking rum and Cokes.” Is this the dark night of the soul, he wonders, or is it insanity? Or maybe it’s diabolic possession. Still he goes on and on.

At last a sort of resolution comes, when the author has a long interview with Benedict Groeschel of the Franciscans of the Reform, widely known for his appearances on Mother Angelica’s television network. Sullivan pours out his story of search and torment, and Groeschel patiently listens. Then he explains that some seemingly miraculous manifestations may have a “paranormal” explanation. Sullivan seems not to have heard that word before, but appears greatly relieved to learn that certain natural experiences, which science is as yet unable to explain, may indeed be also the work of God operating through a person’s spiritual nature; so it’s not necessary to make rigid distinctions between supernatural events that come from God and natural events that don’t. In other words, God is capable of multitasking. At this point Sullivan abruptly concludes that all he has to do is love God. That brings him peace—at least for the time being.

Lisa Schwebel, a theologian who teaches at Hunter College in New York City, takes up where Sullivan leaves off. The paranormal is her bread and butter. She does not seem to have visited any miracle sites or interviewed any visionaries. But she has read widely reports of mystical phenomena, studied practically everything written about parapsychology and consulted what theologians like Karl Rahner, S.J., have had to say about miraculous occurrences.

Her approach is analytic, her conclusions stark. She introduces concepts like precognition, telepathy, psychometry, divination, clairvoyance and bilocation as understood by scientific researchers and examines how they might be relevant for understanding apparitions and other reported wonders. “As long as an experience can be explained according to a reasonably probable, even hypothetical theory of parapsychological phenomena, its divine origin is not established,” she writes. Long ago Rahner said the same thing. The existence of paranormal powers means that “we must disregard many phenomena formerly accepted as decisive proofs of the supernatural origin of visions.”

Schwebel explains that confirmed laboratory experiments using thousands of subjects demonstrate what parapsychologists call the “ordinariness” of extrasensory perception and psychokinesis (the ability of mind to influence matter from a distance). These abilities, she says, “exist across the general population regardless of religious affiliation or belief, and this means the mere presence of parapsychological powers in visionary experiences does not guarantee its religious character.” Telepathy, psychometry and psychokinesis may be factors in the major events at Garabandal, Schwebel says, while divination and cryptomensia have some relevance for the events at Lourdes and other sites.

Fatima, considered by many the gold standard of modern Marian apparitions, gets especially detailed scrutiny in light of the church’s established criteria for genuine visions, such as the plausibility of the message and the piety and integrity of the visionaries. The three prophecies revealed to the children under orders to keep them secret for years raise serious doubts, she says, citing Rahner: “How is it comprehensible that God should reveal certain matters concerning the whole world to a person, in order that this person should keep them secret until after their fulfillment?”

The nature of the Virgin’s messages that were immediately made public are also disconcerting, says Schwebel: “When asked by her parish priest…what the figure had said, Lucia replied that the apparition wanted people to say the rosary, be good and not insult God. Put in the best possible light, this is more in the nature of a Sunday school sermon than a blistering moral insight of prophetic analysis.”

Then there is the fact that the recipients of the Fatima messages, like those at the other seven most popular sightings of the last two centuries, were children whose average age was 9 when the visions began. What, Schwebel asks, was the divine purpose in transmitting vital information for the world to children who, generally speaking, are not considered reliable reporters and are often given to imaginary embellishments? Also raising questions for Schwebel was the famous “dance of the sun” before an estimated 70,000 onlookers at Fatima. Considerable inconsistency and even contradictions, she reports, were present in the eyewitness accounts, no authentic photographs of the event were ever produced, and similar phenomena have occurred elsewhere during high-pitched religious gatherings. The dance, she speculates, could be explained as an optical illusion induced by prolonged staring at the sun or as a collective hallucination or some other less known paranormal manifestation.

Despite her heavy tone of skepticism, Schwebel insists there is no reason to deny the spiritual validity in apparitions and other wonders. “Within the created order, human beings are not ‘merely biological,’ nor is nature ‘merely natural.’ Matter and spirit are open to one another: This is the real miracle. The experience of God reverberates through the whole person, transforming the physical as well as the spiritual.”

Christians, she says, should understand wondrous events “within the context of God’s original, all-encompassing self-communication in grace.” They need to emphasize “questions of meaning, not questions of demonstration. We must ask not how did it happen, but rather what is the significance of the event within the total life of faith.”

The final result is a brief, yet coherent and respectful application of modern scientific analysis to religious phenomena that are important to millions of believers. Robert McClory

Robert McClory is professor emeritus at the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, and the author of Faithful Dissenters (Orbis, 2000). Click here for a sample of author’s writings in America and for books by author at amazon.com. Link to “sample writings” is slow; link to amazon may list books by authors with similar names.”

Surface Earth: the view from outside

I have read a lot for longer than I can recall in an effort to find the “truth”.

I have read even more in an effort to understand the origin of people hurting each other in an effort to promote eradicating the origins.

I have often and most times believed that we are mistaken in dividing ourselves.

Today I came across a piece in a newspaper, The Asbury Park Press, page AA7, that crystallized why I think and why I question and why I blog. Honestly, I first began blogging in an effort to launch what I call “The Zipcode Exchange”, strengthening from within, zipcode by zipcode, until we reach across the strands of the web and there is no place or person left untouched.

Then I began to reveal other thoughts and questions of life and God that caused me to create The Zipcode Exchange to begin with….and now, I want to share several fundamental reasons, which resonated as I read the article entitled: “For Astronauts, Earth view reveals the big picture.”

It was the only color we could see in the universe…`We’re living on a tiny little dust mote in left field on a rather insignifcant galaxy. And basically this it it for humans. It strikes me that it’s a shame that we’re squabbling over oil and borders.

-Bill Anders

Apollo 8, “whose photos of Earth became famous”

The sheer beauty of it just brought tears to my eyes…If people can see Earth from up here, see it without those borders, see it without any differences in race or religion, they would have a completely different perspective. Because when you see it from that angle, you cannot think of your home or your country. All you can see is one Earth.”

Anousheh Ansari, “Iranian-American space tourist who flew last year to the international space station”

I think you can’t go to space and not be changed, in many ways.

All of the teachings of the Bible that talk about the creator and his creation taken on new meaning when you canview the details of the Earth from that perspective. So it didn’t change my faith per se, the content of it, but it just enhanced it, it made it even more real.”

-Jeff Williams, “spent 6 months on the space station and set a record for most Earth photos taken”

You change because you see your life differntly than when you live on the surface every day…We are so involeved in our own little lives and our own little concerns and problems. I don’t think the average person realizes the global environment that we really live in. I certainly am more aware of how fragile our Earth is, and, frankly, I think that I care more about our Ewarth because of the experiences I’ve had traveling in space.”

Eileen Collings, “first femal space shuttle commander”

I left Earth three times. I found no place else to go. Please take care of Spaceship Earth.

-Wally Schirra, “who flew around Earth on Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions in the 1960s”.

**All quotes compliments of Sunday’s Asbury Park Press article as referenced above.

There have been moments in my life when I have forgotten, but most of the time, I see myself somewhere from deep space, just one more head poking into the atmosphere, feet on our Earth, with no clue as to why it is so.

Namaste.

Peace.

Vatican and Science Agree on Miracle!

It is reported that “The Vatican and Science agree on a miracle”. The title caught our eye reading the Sunday edition of the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

A meeting of the minds?

A point of commonlity targeting simple truth?

The news reports on a miracle prganancy. In Brazil, a woman was deemed unable to carry a baby due to a wall of tissue diving her uterus. Grossi de Almeida carried her baby boy in a space half the size of an ordinary uterus, and at seven months, he was delivered by Caesarean section.

See

Free Republic online

News Saints Faith Web online

The mom claims the miracle of her son’s birth is attributable to a “paper pill”, wrich had a prayer written upon it. Now the 18th century Franciscan monk, Antonio de Sant’Anna Galvao, is proclaimed a saint by the Vatican. This was one of two proved miracles needed for the creator of the prayer pill to be canoized a saint on May 11th.

The pill is claimed to have cured thousands in Brazil. The pill has a prayer:

“After the birth, the Virgin remained intact / Mother of God, intercede on our behalf.”

The pills are made in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where local women reportedly get together every afternoon in a room above a cathedral. It is also noted that the pills are made by cloistered nuns at the Convent of Light in Sau Paulo.

In the Star-Ledger version of the story it was written that “believers” take these pill. Miracle healings cannot always be proven. There is a growing trend of thought that the healing which occurs rests in part in the faith of the one asking for divine help. It is tricky to term it that way, because no one wants to blame a person in pain, i.e. you would have received a miracle if you could have just believed a bit stronger.

Science can in fact meet faith it appears.

Other interesting sources and articles on the power of faith and healing:

Dr. Willard Fuller

Ron Wilding: absent healing

Energy Field Therapy

Dr. Zhi Gang Sha

Alternative Beliefs & The Power of Water

Anyone who has stopped by our site more than once knows we like to read and explore different ways of thinking.

I often do random searches on a word or phrase or event to see how many different interpretations exist and what the point of commality is among those thoughts. Today, we wanted to share some of our favorite sites and resources as to the power of Water.

Recently, we narrowed it down to a few thoughts to consider involving expansive thinking a/k/a collective consciousness evolution and matters of health.

Now, I know there are pros and cons to most things, supporters and critics, but should that stop us from exploring theories that apparently would not cost us anything? Below is an excerpt from the The Water Cure.

F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.

Dear Friend:

At Last: We Can Now Cure Pain and Prevent Disease — Naturally — At No Cost:

My ground-breaking medical discovery reveals the missing natural element that prevents — even cures — the body’s painful degenerative diseases — naturally and at no cost!

I am honored and proud to inform you that my research over 18 years — in addition to my medical training and subsequent 33 years as a doctor — has exposed the simplest natural cure to a vast number of health problems.

I invite you to read this report in its entirety. Read about my discovery, and in the light of the new information, learn how to become your own healer and cure your own health problems naturally — I repeat, at no cost! Become your own diagnostician and doctor during these health care crisis times — when you need to take charge of your own health and well-being. Also, you will discover:

  • Why we in medicine were not able to permanently cure any of the painful degenerative diseases — until now. And why we have frequently made deadly mistakes that add more pain, suffering, and irreversible complications in the process!
  • Why we constantly had to experiment using different chemicals in the futile hope of finding something that would work — and nothing has worked until now! Look at the spiraling health care costs every year.
  • Why the drug companies have had to produce so many chemicals that are now proven to make 2,000,000 sicker and have killed over 100,000 annually — even when used according to their manufacturers’ recommendations! Judge for yourself how vulnerable we have become! The Washington Post of Wednesday, April 15, 1998 quotes the Journal of the American Medical Association:”One in 15 hospital patients in the United States can expect to suffer from a prescription or over-the-counter medicine, and about 5 percent of these will die as a result!” You should know that 1 in every 4 hospital admissions are said to be due to the side effects of routinely used prescription drugs.
  • Why all of this is about to change, and with what mind-boggling simplicity!

What you are going to find out may at first sound too good to be true! This newly uncovered “ultimate cure” is so simple you will wonder why it has not been discovered until now! But I will prove every word you are about to read. I will also tell you why I think the drug industry has concealed this information when asking trusting physicians to prescribe its medications.

What you will discover in this letter is that we in medicine are trained to use chemicals to treat pain and disease when all the body needs is water — a simple and abundantly available natural element.

Yes! Only water!

This is the reason why we in medicine have made so many deadly mistakes! We are routinely treating symptoms, signs and complications of drought in the body with toxic chemicals that kill more rapidly than the dehydration itself!

Who in his/her right mind would want to take toxic chemicals when all that their body needs is water — free water — natural water, the ultimate medication of choice to cure pain and prevent disease?”

The “water cure” is not something I know a lot about and something which I have just recently found, but it has intrigued me to delve further into thought and to read more on the water cure and share it here with you.

It’s not the first time I wondered about the power of water. A few years or so ago, I learned of Whatthebleep.

In the process of watching the movie I came across different theories and resources which I then started to read up on. One of which involved studies done as to the powers of thought and emotion on the properties of water which I found to be incredible.

“Dr. Emoto

Masaru Emoto was born in Yokohama in July 1943. He is a graduate of the Yokohama Municipal University’s department of humanities and sciences with a focus on International Relations. In 1986 he established the IHM Corporation in Tokyo. In October of 1992 he received certification from the Open International University as a Doctor of Alternative Medicine. Subsequently he was introduced to the concept of micro cluster water in the US and Magnetic Resonance Analysis technology. The quest thus began to discover the mystery of water.

He undertook extensive research of water around the planet not so much as a scientific researcher but more from the perspective of an original thinker. At length he realized that it was in the frozen crystal form that water showed us its true nature through. He has gained worldwide acclaim through his groundbreaking research and discovery that water is deeply connected to our individual and collective consciousness

He is the author of the best-selling books Messages from Water, The Hidden Messages in Water, and The True Power of Water. He is a long-time advocate for peace in relation to water. He is currently the head of the I.H.M.General Research Institute and President Emeritus of the International Water for Life Foundation, a Not for Profit Organization.”

 

Dr. Emoto’s site is replete with photographs and documentation showing the power of thought and prayers on water molecules and consequently on the state of ourselves.

Other Sources:

News Target online

Criticism:

Quack Watch