SUNDAY READINGS MAR 19, 2017 WITH SPIRITUAL REFLECTIONS ( VIDEOS): Richard Rohr: Contemplative Prayer, Thomas Merton and the Awful Silence (Victor Judge), & Thomas Merton: The Contemplative as Activist

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Third Sunday of Lent

Reading 1 Ex 17: 3-7

In those days, in their thirst for water,
the people grumbled against Moses,
saying, “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt?
Was it just to have us die here of thirst
with our children and our livestock?”
So Moses cried out to the LORD,
“What shall I do with this people?
a little more and they will stone me!”
The LORD answered Moses,
“Go over there in front of the people,
along with some of the elders of Israel,
holding in your hand, as you go,
the staff with which you struck the river.
I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb.
Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it
for the people to drink.”
This Moses did, in the presence of the elders of Israel.
The place was called Massah and Meribah,
because the Israelites quarreled there
and tested the LORD, saying,
“Is the LORD in our midst or not?”

Responsorial Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9

R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Reading 2 Rom 5:1-2, 5-8

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have gained access by faith
to this grace in which we stand,
and we boast in hope of the glory of God.

And hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
For Christ, while we were still helpless,
died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person,
though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us
in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Verse Before the Gospel Cf Jn4:42,15

Lord, you are truly the Savior of the world;
give me living water, that I may never thirst again.

Gospel Jn 4:5-42

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her,
“Give me a drink.”
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him,
“How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—
Jesus answered and said to her,
“If you knew the gift of God
and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘
you would have asked him
and he would have given you living water.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep;
where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob,
who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself
with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him
a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty
or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Jesus said to her,
“Go call your husband and come back.”
The woman answered and said to him,
“I do not have a husband.”
Jesus answered her,
“You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’
For you have had five husbands,
and the one you have now is not your husband.
What you have said is true.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain;
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus said to her,
“Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand;
we worship what we understand,
because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here,
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him
must worship in Spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him,
“I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ;
when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her,
“I am he, the one speaking with you.”

At that moment his disciples returned,
and were amazed that he was talking with a woman,
but still no one said, “What are you looking for?”
or “Why are you talking with her?”
The woman left her water jar
and went into the town and said to the people,
“Come see a man who told me everything I have done.
Could he possibly be the Christ?”
They went out of the town and came to him.
Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.”
But he said to them,
“I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
So the disciples said to one another,
“Could someone have brought him something to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“My food is to do the will of the one who sent me
and to finish his work.
Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’?
I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest.
The reaper is already receiving payment
and gathering crops for eternal life,
so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together.
For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’
I sent you to reap what you have not worked for;
others have done the work,
and you are sharing the fruits of their work.”

Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him
because of the word of the woman who testified,
“He told me everything I have done.”
When the Samaritans came to him,
they invited him to stay with them;
and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word,
and they said to the woman,
“We no longer believe because of your word;
for we have heard for ourselves,
and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

 

Lenten affirmations:

I eat healthy and nutritious foods

My home is neat, clean, and well organized

I let go of all the “stuff” I don’t need

I have a blood family and/or chosen family that loves and supports me.

 I always take lunch breaks

 

 

SUNDAY READINGS MARCH 12, 2017 WITH ECUMENICAL SPIRITUAL REFLECTIONS (VIDEOS): Bridging The Faith Divide- The Dalai Lama, Compassionate Ethics in Difficult Times – The Dalai Lama, Dr. Bonnie Thurston – I Woke Up: Thomas Merton and Buddhism

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Second Sunday of Lent

Reading 1 GN 12: 1-4

The LORD said to Abram:
“Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk
and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.

“I will make of you a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you
and curse those who curse you.
All the communities of the earth
shall find blessing in you.”

Abram went as the LORD directed him.

Responsorial Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22

R. (22) Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

Reading 2 2 TM 1:8-10

Beloved:
Bear your share of hardship for the gospel
with the strength that comes from God.

He saved us and called us to a holy life,
not according to our works
but according to his own design
and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began,
but now made manifest
through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus,
who destroyed death and brought life and immortality
to light through the gospel.

Verse Before the Gospel MT 17:5

From the shining cloud the Father’s voice is heard:
This is my beloved Son, hear him.

Gospel MT 17:1-9

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them,
“Do not tell the vision to anyone
until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Lenten Affirmations:

I have a mentor who guides and encourages me.

I take time daily to relax.

I always carry enough cash with me.

 My commute is stress free.

I exercise regularly.

 

 

 

SUNDAY READINGS MARCH 5, 2017 WITH SPIRITUAL REFLECTIONS (ECUMENICAL SPIRITUALITY VIDEOS): Modern Masters of Religion: Thomas Merton, The Name Of God Is Relationship (Daniel Horan, OFM.), Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence (Rabbi Jonathan Sacks),

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First Sunday of Lent

Reading 1 GN2:7-9, 3:1-7

The LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground
and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,
and so man became a living being.

Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east,
and placed there the man whom he had formed.
Out of the ground the LORD God made various trees grow
that were delightful to look at and good for food,
with the tree of life in the middle of the garden
and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals
that the LORD God had made.
The serpent asked the woman,
“Did God really tell you not to eat
from any of the trees in the garden?”
The woman answered the serpent:
“We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden;
it is only about the fruit of the tree
in the middle of the garden that God said,
‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.'”
But the serpent said to the woman:
“You certainly will not die!
No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it
your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods
who know what is good and what is evil.”
The woman saw that the tree was good for food,
pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.
So she took some of its fruit and ate it;
and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her,
and he ate it.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened,
and they realized that they were naked;
so they sewed fig leaves together
and made loincloths for themselves.

Responsorial Psalm 51: 3-6, 12-13, 17

R. (cf. 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Reading 2 RoM 5:12-19

Brothers and sisters:
Through one man sin entered the world,
and through sin, death,
and thus death came to all men, inasmuch as all sinned—
for up to the time of the law, sin was in the world,
though sin is not accounted when there is no law.
But death reigned from Adam to Moses,
even over those who did not sin
after the pattern of the trespass of Adam,
who is the type of the one who was to come.
But the gift is not like the transgression.
For if by the transgression of the one, the many died,
how much more did the grace of God
and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ
overflow for the many.
And the gift is not like the result of the one who sinned.
For after one sin there was the judgment that brought condemnation;
but the gift, after many transgressions, brought acquittal.
For if, by the transgression of the one,
death came to reign through that one,
how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace
and of the gift of justification
come to reign in life through the one Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, just as through one transgression
condemnation came upon all,
so, through one righteous act,
acquittal and life came to all.                                                                                For just as through the disobedience of the one man
the many were made sinners,
so, through the obedience of the one,
the many will be made righteous.

Verse Before the Gospel 4:4

One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

Gospel MT 4:1-11

At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert
to be tempted by the devil.
He fasted for forty days and forty nights,
and afterwards he was hungry.
The tempter approached and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
He said in reply,
“It is written:
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth
from the mouth of God
.”

Then the devil took him to the holy city,
and made him stand on the parapet of the temple,
and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.
For it is written:
He will command his angels concerning you
and with their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone
.”
Jesus answered him,
“Again it is written,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain,
and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,
and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you,
if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
At this, Jesus said to him,
“Get away, Satan!
It is written:
The Lord, your God, shall you worship
and him alone shall you serve.”

Then the devil left him and, behold,
angels came and ministered to him.

 

 

 

 

SUNDAY READINGS FEB 26, 2017 With ECUMENICAL SPIRITUAL REFLECTIONS (VIDEOS): The Path To Enlightenment -Dalai Lama, Beyond Religion: Ethics, Values & Well-Being -Dalai Lama, Brother David Steindl-Rast, and Father Thomas Keating, Individuality & Transformation – Kabir Helminski.

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Eighth Sunday In Ordinary Time

Reading 1 IS 49: 14-15

Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me;
my LORD has forgotten me.”
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.

Responsorial Psalm 62:2-3,6-9

R. (6a) Rest in God alone, my soul.
Only in God is my soul at rest;
from him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed at all.
R. Rest in God alone, my soul.
Only in God be at rest, my soul,
for from him comes my hope.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed.
R. Rest in God alone, my soul.
With God is my safety and my glory,
he is the rock of my strength; my refuge is in God.
Trust in him at all times, O my people!
Pour out your hearts before him.
R. Rest in God alone, my soul.

Reading 2 1 COR 4:1-5

Brothers and sisters:
Thus should one regard us: as servants of Christ
and stewards of the mysteries of God.
Now it is of course required of stewards
that they be found trustworthy.
It does not concern me in the least
that I be judged by you or any human tribunal;
I do not even pass judgment on myself;
I am not conscious of anything against me,
but I do not thereby stand acquitted;
the one who judges me is the Lord.
Therefore do not make any judgment before the appointed time,
until the Lord comes,
for he will bring to light what is hidden in darkness
and will manifest the motives of our hearts,
and then everyone will receive praise from God.

Alleluia HB 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective;
discerning reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 6:24-34

Jesus said to his disciples:
“No one can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
or ‘What are we to drink?’or ‘What are we to wear?’
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

 

 

 

 

SUCCESS: FULL LIVING; A LETTER FROM MONICA

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success-full-living-fr-justin-belitz-ofm

It’s 1 AM and I am writing this article especially for you – or maybe I’m writing it for myself…who knows…you will find out after you have read it.

But why am I writing during this time of the night when you certainly are asleep?

Obviously, because I cannot sleep …I feel so full of energy and filled with the kind of joy and fulfilment that you can rarely get from an external source.

But let me start from the beginning…

A couple of weeks ago I wrote: “I think you already know that I am very selective with my recommendations, but this time I truly believe that you must know about this event  – Success:Full Living.

I consider it a privilege and an important life lesson, to learn from an 80 year old man who is not only alive, but travels around the world, inspiring and teaching others how to live this wonderful life to the fullest.

Therefore I recommend you to go to Justin Belitz’s workshop – a wonderful source of inspiration and knowledge. He holds a Doctoral Certificate in Psychorientology and an Honorary Doctorate from the American Institute of Psychical Research as well as degrees in Theology, Philosophy and Music Education.”

I had no idea what I was getting myself into…

I only wrote what I found out from the workshop’s advertisement, yet there is a great difference between reading about something and LIVING IT.

This weekend I went to the workshop I had previously recommended and as a result I want to share with you what the event is all about and especially how it went.

I must admit I signed up for this workshop knowing that Rajko Kuzmanovic, director for The Silva Method Romania, always brings special, knowledgeable guest speakers. However, this time was definitely different…

I was an hour late for the first day of the workshop so I sat in the back, patiently waiting to receive information that I hoped would be valuable. Never had I expected what would follow was about to touch my soul… I was tremendously surprised when, with every passing hour, I was more and more focused, interested by the topics that Justin was explaining: from the integration of the success mechanism in our daily lives to the necessary tools to control this mechanism in order to get to the successful living path, concerning every aspect of our lives through the understanding of one’s own potential as well as the necessary abilities to activate this potential.

In order to achieve all of the above, the workshop begins with a self-evaluation, covering all 7 major areas of life:

  • Faith
  • Family
  • Finance
  • Fitness
  • Friends
  • Formation (Education)
  • Fun

When was the last time YOU have evaluated your life in regards to all of these areas?

In my personal case this was a good reason to evaluate myself as well as to consciously plan, self-analyse and rediscover my internal potential. 

Ideally, you should evaluate yourself at least once a year, in order to improve your life in all areas. Therefore you can realise where you have slipped and manage to correct and improve the areas you have neglected, in order to achieve harmony and balance (you know this is what I am always talking about).

For some this might prove to be extremely difficult, as we never like to acknowledge the trash under the carpet, especially when it’s our carpet. Yet, with the guidance of such a skilled man, everything went well and efficient, for some with tears of sorrow, for others with great joy. Clearly, the ambiance was filled with strong emotion.

What I especially enjoyed after two long days of workshop, were the friendships we have formed and the fact that during a short timeframe I met amazing people who share my passion for self-knowledge and continuous self-improvement and with some of them experienced the feeling of having known them for a long time….

But the most amazing thing is that during the breaks I heard people saying things like: ”I was dragged here by my family… and I thought that spending two days listening to the preaching of some priest would be too much for me. I was sure that I would leave Saturday at noon, telling people that I have to walk my dog, and Sunday I would only come for a short while… Yet here I am. Now I don’t want this weekend to end and I am fascinated by every single word that comes out of Justin’s mouth. Never had I imagined that this workshop would be so profoundly interesting so here I am on Sunday evening. The dog can walk itself.”

Hearing this, I thought to myself “WAW!!!” Not only I was moved by Justin’s inspiring words, it appears that everyone is charmed by his spirit, by the fact being a Franciscan friar did not make him dogmatic, but on the contrary he is a man with a brilliant mind, an exceptional spirit, the soul of an angel and words are not enough to describe him (and those who know me are aware that I do not praise just about anyone, unless they truly deserve it).

Someone else told me – “I have faith inside of me, but I am not the church-going type. I thought I was going to be bored with dogma and rules which do not fit who I am at all. On the contrary, during the past two days I enjoyed each and every experience and I was pleasantly surprised to learn about faith in such a fun, informal manner, joking yet also being serious about a subject that is often avoided.”

We meditated and were explained all of its stages, from verbal to active and passive meditation, where you reconnect with the divinity, the universe, yourself and your soul. These were magical moments and intense feelings. 

Justin walked us through his long life, full of interesting experiences. Using specific, emotional examples he got us to understand what faith truly is, from a different perspective, as well as how important family is, even though we sometimes neglect it as we focus on our careers, how important our friends are – people with whom we share hobbies and interests, how important the upbringing we give our children is and the impact that family has on the education of our children and their adult lives. We were reminded that we must be aware of ourselves and that our wellbeing includes physical activity and relaxation too, that we need to have fun too, to enjoy this beautiful life with all its ups and downs.

Everyone experienced intense emotion when Justin spoke of life and death. Passing away represents a normal, natural aspect of life, however regarded with fear by many. There are people who live with this fear every day and those who even become sick as a result of this fear. Yet, there are also people who regard this as a natural passing into a different dimension and enjoy every given day with love and peace in their hearts.

We learned about the efficient use of affirmations and how to establish goals in order to achieve them with maximum results.

Justin also spoke about the mind and the brain, about the conscious, subconscious and superconscious, about life success and action, about motivation and goals, choice and creativity, enthusiasm and living each day to the fullest.

It is truly complicated to describe in just a few words what the ambiance was like during the workshop, but I can tell you that everyone went through the challenge of writing in only a few minutes, a poem which would contain the essence of these two days.

Even though I am no poet and what I wrote does not rime, I will share with you these verses. You should hear this while listening to background music or maybe you can imagine it as you read.

Creativity, intuition

Conscious, subconscious,

Soul, love…

Who are you and what do you want?

Be kind with yourself

And consciously explore

Every spark of your being.

You are wonderful just the way you are!

Be alive, live, enjoy!

Look inside of you

And see in others

The wonder in their souls…

LOVE!

To know, to be, to explore and to dream…

That is your life!

Here are some of my colleagues from the workshop who read their poems in front of us all…they were all filled with emotion and positive energy (you can find all the pictures in the link with the original text).

These final words are dedicated to you, Justin. I want to thank God for being able to meet you, the Universe for making me take part in this workshop and Rajko for bringing you in Romania and making this workshop happen. You are a wonderful MAN, an extraordinary SOUL and an ANGEL amongst us. Thank you for existing! – Monica

Thank you for having the patience to read this until the end and I hope that you were able to capture at least a glimpse of what this experience was like.

I suggest that you analyse the 7 areas of your life, especially since the current year is coming to an end, it’s the perfect period to gain a better understanding of your life during the past year or maybe even years. Maybe the time has come for you to establish certain goals for the coming year.

If you are curious, or you need inspiration in writing these goals, you can have a look at my own goals:

Faith – I, Monica, meditate every morning and evening.

Family – I, Monica, play with the kids for one hour every Sunday.

Finance – I, Monica earn…..every month (don’t expect me to tell you everything now)

Fitness – I, Monica exercise every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 30 minutes.

I, Monica weigh 57 kg in January 2017

Formation (Education) – I, Monica, read one book a week.

Fun – I, Monica, have fun with my friends at least once a month (I have neglected them a bit in the past months)

Now that you have read my goals and you understood what you must right (all in the present tense), all you have left to do is get to work!

Evaluate your life, what you like and what you don’t and write affirmations according to your goals.

Follow these affirmations and evaluate yourself constantly in order to understand whether you achieved them or not. Only like this you will be able to improve your life and achieve a Success: Full Living!

I wish you success, inspiration and balance in everything you want to achieve! 

HERMITAGESIG FRJUSTIN SIGNATURE

http://www.bmdlifestyle.ro/calea-implinirii-personale-succesfull-living/

 

SUNDAY READINGS FEB 19, 2017 WITH SPIRITUAL REFLECTIONS (ECUMENICAL SPIRITUALITY VIDEOS):The Lifelong Journey of Discovering God and Ourselves: Thomas Merton and the True Self(Daniel Horan O.F.M.), Global Spirituality with Sheikh Kabir Helminski, Awakening the Sufi Within with Sheihk Kabir Helminski

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Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 LV 19:1-2,17-18

The LORD said to Moses,
“Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them:
Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.

“You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart.
Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen,
do not incur sin because of him.
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I am the LORD.”

Responsorial Psalm 103:1-4, 8,10, 12-13

R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Reading 2 1 COR3:16-23

Brothers and sisters:
Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

Let no one deceive himself.
If any one among you considers himself wise in this age,
let him become a fool, so as to become wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God,
for it is written:
God catches the wise in their own ruses, 
and again:
The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,
that they are vain.

So let no one boast about human beings, for everything belongs to you,
Paul or Apollos or Cephas,
or the world or life or death,
or the present or the future:
all belong to you, and you to Christ, and Christ to God.

Alleluia 1 JN 2:5

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever keeps the word of Christ,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 5:38-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand over your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

 

SUNDAY READINGS FEB 12, 2017 WITH SPIRITUAL REFLECTIONS (ECUMENICAL SPIRITUALITY VIDEOS) Kabbalah Practice with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, Sufi Practice with Shaikh Kabir Helminski, Buddhist Meditation with Anam Thubten, and Christian Spiritual Practice with Joseph Mitchell, CP

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Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 SIR 15:15-20

If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you;
if you trust in God, you too shall live;
he has set before you fire and water
to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand.
Before man are life and death, good and evil,
whichever he chooses shall be given him.
Immense is the wisdom of the Lord;
he is mighty in power, and all-seeing.
The eyes of God are on those who fear him;
he understands man’s every deed.
No one does he command to act unjustly,
to none does he give license to sin.

Responsorial Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18,33-34

R. (1b) Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Blessed are they whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the LORD.
Blessed are they who observe his decrees,
who seek him with all their heart.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
You have commanded that your precepts
be diligently kept.
Oh, that I might be firm in the ways
of keeping your statutes!
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Be good to your servant, that I may live
and keep your words.
Open my eyes, that I may consider
the wonders of your law.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Instruct me, O LORD, in the way of your statutes,
that I may exactly observe them.
Give me discernment, that I may observe your law
and keep it with all my heart.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

Reading 2 1 COR2:6-10

Brothers and sisters:
We speak a wisdom to those who are mature,
not a wisdom of this age,
nor of the rulers of this age who are passing away.
Rather, we speak God’s wisdom, mysterious, hidden,
which God predetermined before the ages for our glory,
and which none of the rulers of this age knew;
for, if they had known it,
they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
But as it is written:
What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard,
and what has not entered the human heart,
what God has prepared for those who love him, 

this God has revealed to us through the Spirit.
For the Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.

Alleluia mt 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 5:17-37

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses
that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you,
whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment;
and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin;
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’
will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother

has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.

“You have heard that it was said,
You shall not commit adultery.
But I say to you,
everyone who looks at a woman with lust
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
If your right eye causes you to sin,
tear it out and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
And if your right hand causes you to sin,
cut it off and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

“It was also said,
Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.
But I say to you,
whoever divorces his wife –  unless the marriage is unlawful –
causes her to commit adultery,
and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

“Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
Do not take a false oath,
but make good to the Lord all that you vow.

But I say to you, do not swear at all;
not by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
nor by the earth, for it is his footstool;
nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
Do not swear by your head,
for you cannot make a single hair white or black.
Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’
Anything more is from the evil one.”

 

 

SUNDAY READINGS FEB 5, 2107 WITH SPIRITUAL REFLECTIONS (VIDEOS): Rt. Rev. Dr. Rowan Williams: Teresa of Avila and the Contemplative Vision, Ronald Rolheiser, O.M: A Contemplative Vision of the Mystics, Parts 1 & 2

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Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 IS 58:7-10

Thus says the LORD:
Share your bread with the hungry,
shelter the oppressed and the homeless;
clothe the naked when you see them,
and do not turn your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!
If you remove from your midst
oppression, false accusation and malicious speech;
if you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday.

Responsorial Psalm 112:4-9

R. (4a) The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice.
R. The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He shall never be moved;
the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.
An evil report he shall not fear;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
R. The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.
or:
R. Alleluia.
His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
His justice shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R. The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 1 COR 2: 1-5

When I came to you, brothers and sisters,
proclaiming the mystery of God,
I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you
except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling,
and my message and my proclamation
were not with persuasive words of wisdom,
but with a demonstration of Spirit and power,
so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom
but on the power of God.

Alleluia JN 8: 12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 5:13-16

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You are the salt of the earth.
But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?
It is no longer good for anything
but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world.
A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket;
it is set on a lampstand,
where it gives light to all in the house.
Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your heavenly Father.”

SUNDAY READINGS JAN 29, 2107 WITH SPIRITUAL REFLECTIONS (Videos): ” The Lifelong Journey of Discovering God and Ourselves: Thomas Merton and the True Self,” “Following Road of Fire: Emergence of Teilhard’s Panchristic Mysticisim, & Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: His Life, His Work, and His Spirituality

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Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Zep2:3, 3:12-13

Seek the LORD, all you humble of the earth,
who have observed his law;
seek justice, seek humility;
perhaps you may be sheltered
on the day of the LORD’s anger.

But I will leave as a remnant in your midst
a people humble and lowly,
who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD:
the remnant of Israel.
They shall do no wrong
and speak no lies;
nor shall there be found in their mouths
a deceitful tongue;
they shall pasture and couch their flocks
with none to disturb them.

Responsorial Psalm 146: 6-10

R. (Mt 5:3) Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind;
the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just;
the LORD protects strangers.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The fatherless and the widow the LORD sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 I Cor 1:26-31

Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters.
Not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.
It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who became for us wisdom from God,
as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,
so that, as it is written,
“Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.”

Alleluia MT 5:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad;
your reward will be great in heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

 Gospel MT 5: 1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”

 

SUNDAY READINGS JAN 22, 2017 WITH SPIRITUAL REFLECTIONS from Leonard Bernstein & Charlie Chaplin

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Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 IS 8: 23-9: 3

First the Lord degraded the land of Zebulun
and the land of Naphtali;
but in the end he has glorified the seaward road,
the land west of the Jordan,
the District of the Gentiles.

Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness:
for there is no gloom where but now there was distress.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
as they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
as people make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
and the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.

Responsorial Psalm 27:1,4 13-14

R. (1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Reading 2 1 COR 1:10`13, 17

I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that all of you agree in what you say,
and that there be no divisions among you,
but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.
For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters,
by Chloe’s people, that there are rivalries among you.
I mean that each of you is saying,
“I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,”
or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.”
Is Christ divided?
Was Paul crucified for you?
Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel,
and not with the wisdom of human eloquence,
so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.

Alleluia MT 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT: 12 -23

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father
and followed him.

He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.

SPIRITUAL REFLECTIONS:

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Leonard Bernstein

“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”

“…I also believe, along with Keats, that the Poetry of Earth is never dead, as long as Spring succeeds Winter, and man is there to perceive it….And finally, I believe that because all these things are true, Ives’ Unanswered Question has an answer. I’m no longer quite sure what the question is, but I know the answer is Yes.”

“The gift of imagination is by no means an exclusive property of the artist; it is a gift we all share; to some degree or other all of us are endowed with the powers of fantasy, the dullest of dullards among us has the gift of dreams at night – visions and yearnings and hopes. Everyone can also think; it is the quality thought that makes the difference – not just the quality of logical thinking, but of imaginative thinking. And our greatest thinkers, those who have radically changed our world, have always arrived at their truths by dreaming them; they are first fantasized, and only then subjected to proof.”

“There are two ways to think about all this. One way is that life is absurd to start with and that only a mad man goes out and tries to change the world, to fight for good and against evil. The other way is that life is indeed absurd to start with and that it can be given meaning only if you live it for your ideals, visions and poetic truths, and despite all the skepticism of all the Sancho Panzas’ in the world, saddle up whatever worn out horse you’ve got and go after those visions.”

“A liberal is a man or a woman or a child who looks forward to a better day, a more tranquil night, and a bright, infinite future.”

(from Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms)

Why do the nations rage, and the people imagine vain thing?

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord

and against his anointed,

saying, let us break their bonds asunder.

He that sitteth in the heavens

Shall laugh, and the Lord

Shall have them in derision.

(from Bernstein’s Kaddish)

Are You listening, Father? You know who I am:
Your image; that stubborn reflection of You
That Man has shattered, extinguished, banished.
And now he runs free—free to play
With his new-found fire, avid for death,
Voluptuous, complete and final death.
Lord God of Hosts, I call You to account!
You let this happen, Lord of Hosts!
You with Your manna, Your pillar of fire!
You ask for faith, where is Your own?
Why have You taken away Your rainbow,
That pretty bow You tied round Your finger
To remind You never to forget Your promise?
“For lo, I do set my bow in the cloud …
And I will look upon it, that I
May remember my everlasting covenant …”
Your covenant! Your bargain with Man!
Tin God! Your bargain is tin!
It crumples in my hand!
And where is faith now—Yours or mine?
This is Your Kingdom of Heaven, Father,
Just as You planned it.
Every immortal cliché intact.
Lambs frisk. Wheat ripples.
Sunbeams dance. Something is wrong.
The light: flat. The air: sterile.
Do You know what is wrong?
There is nothing to dream.
Nowhere to go. Nothing to know.
Now behold my Kingdom of Earth!
Real-life marvels! Genuine wonders!
Dazzling miracles! …
Look, a Burning Bush
Look, a Fiery Wheel!
A Ram! A Rock! Shall I smite it? There!
It gushes! It gushes! And I did it!
I am creating this dream!
Now will You believe?
Look at it, Father: Believe! Believe!
Look at my rainbow and say after me:
MAGNIFIED … AND SANCTIFIED …
BE THE GREAT NAME OF MAN!
Good morning, Father. We can still be immortal,
You and I, bound by our rainbow.
That is our covenant, and to honor it
Is our honor … not quite the covenant
We bargained for, so long ago.
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(Vatican Charlie Chaplin stamp)
Charlie Chaplin
 Life is a beautiful, magnificent thing, even to a jellyfish. The trouble is you won’t fight. You’ve given up, but there’s something just a inevitable as death, and that’s life. Think of the power of the universe- turning the Earth, growing the trees. That’s the same power within you-if you’ll have the courage and the will to use it.

The best thing in life is to go ahead with all your plans and your dreams, to embrace life and to live everyday with passion, to lose, and still keep the faith and to win while being grateful. All of this because the world belongs to those who dare to go after what they want. And because life is really too short to be insignificant.

Even when I was in the orphanage, when I was roaming the street trying to find enough to eat, even then I thought of myself as the greatest actor in the world. I had to feel the exuberance that comes from utter confidence in yourself.Without it, you go down in defeat. 

“I do not have much patience with a thing of beauty that must be explained to be understood. If it does need additional interpretation by someone other than the creator, then I question whether it has fulfilled its purpose.”

Speech from “The Great Dictator”

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone – if possible – Jew, Gentile – black man – white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost….

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men – cries out for universal brotherhood – for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world – millions of despairing men, women, and little children – victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say – do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. …..

Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes – men who despise you – enslave you – who regiment your lives – tell you what to do – what to think and what to feel! Who drill you – diet you – treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate – the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” – not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power – the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then – in the name of democracy – let us use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world – a decent world that will give men a chance to work – that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will!

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world – to do away with national barriers – to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!