Mother Ignacia Healing Ministry


Mother Ignacia Healing Ministry11 Aug 2016 02:31 am

hillary will cause ww3 -federalism will fuel corruption -LLDA can’t fix laguna lake – brexit ignorance no excuse

Quick mini-journals.
 
HILLARY WILL TRIGGER WORLD WAR III
FEDERALISM WILL INTENSIFY CORRUPTION
WHY LLDA CAN’T FULFILL DUTERTE’S LAGUNA LAKE VISION
BREXIT BLUNDER – IGNORANCE OF THE ISSUE IS NO EXCUSE
eastwind meditation corner
 
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2016/08/federalism
 
eastwind journals 188

 

By Bernie Lopez
Philippine Daily Inquirer contributing columnist
eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com

 

HILLARY WILL TRIGGER WORLD WAR III

 

US politics has reversed. The liberal Democrats have become conservative, the conservative Republican liberal. At first thought, with his wild reckless shoot-from-the-hip comments on the Middle East, and anti-immigrant sentiments, many believed Trump would be the candidate to easily trigger World War III. But then again, Hillary, with her anti-Russian stance, may be a better candidate.

 

Trump leans towards dialogue with Russia. He wants to distance the US from NATO, which is planning to place more troops and missiles in Poland and the Balkans. On the other hand, Hillary’s first anti-Russian move would be to fulfill NATO plans, the best way to achieve World War III. Russia, extremely nervous of NATO missiles and troops building up near its borders, says it would not back down from any confrontation. There are reports both Russia and the US are planning ‘pre-emptive strikes’. Like a cowboy movie, the fastest gun wins, but there are no winners in a US-Russia war.

 

FEDERALISM WILL INTENSIFY CORRUPTION
 
A Federal form of government is an American system of governance which will not work for the Philippines. Considering we are in the top five most-corrupt nations worldwide, federalism will decentralize and intensify corruption to the high heavens. Federalism will give local governments independent executive-legislative-judicial branches. They will double to quadruple their spending quickly based on loans from the IMF-World Bank Consortium before their term runs out. Runaway borrowings will dramatically increase our external debt. And the money borrowed will feed local corruption. It is economic suicide. Corrupt forces and the IMF-World Bank are the ultimate beneficiaries of federalism.

 

The status quo has its weaknesses and defects, but are we willing to risk irreversibly an unpredictable federal government system whose ramifications we know little about, which may be a jump from frying pan to fire?

 

Like Brexit, no one knows the deep implications of federalism until we get there. Ninety percent of British voters never knew what hit them until it was too late. They were carried away by the pro-exit propaganda blitz with its nationalism rhetoric. Those who knew the real implications were never heard until after the voting. In the same way, the pro-feds will launch a propaganda blitz for their own selfish benefits. And voters will react in the same way, ignorant of the reality and unpredictability of federalism.

 

I understand the sentiments of the Mindanao people and Duterte about the “hegemony of Manila”, which has been ‘fleecing’ and ‘impoverishing’ resource-rich Mindanao. But federalism may not be the solution but the problem at this time. Corruption will undermine federalism and divert Mindanao resources to corrupt power politicians. The absolute pre-requisite to good governance is no or little corruption. We are not there yet. Federalism is dangerous.

 

WHY LLDA CAN’T FULFILL DUTERTE’S LAGUNA LAKE VISION
 
As soon as Duterte announced his dream that Laguna Lake had to be developed into an economic model, the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), within days, issued a press release saying they needed half a billion pesos to do it. LDDA is not in a position to fix Laguna Lake. Why?

 

First, in the last few decades, LLDA has been collecting millions in ‘environmental fees’ from firms along the Laguna Lake shore, numbering about 350 a decade ago. Yet LLDA has done very little to rehabilitate the lake. Where did the money go? LLDA has to give an accounting of this money before they are given more. Greenpeace quoted LLDA as saying the lake will die in five years (by 2012) if no rehab is done. Rehab will cost billions at this late stage when nothing substantial has been done, or cumulative pollution through the decades may be impossible to reverse. 
 
Laguna Lake is a ticking environmental time bomb because the 220-km. lakeshore population is a staggering 15 million in 2010 (NSO). Household waste accounted for 77%. Greenpeace reports that shore towns have been dumping garbage in landfills very near the shores, defying ordinances banning it. Laguna Lake is fed by 22 major tributaries in a massive 45,000 sq. km. catchment area, which hosts many export processing zones, some having semiconductor and other polluting firms. Heavy metals from industrial sites have settled on the lake bed cumulatively through the decades, which may be impossible or expensive to rehab this late.

 

Maynilad, which taps 100 million liters of water a day from Laguna Lake, may want to look for alternative water sources. It experienced a ‘manganese surge’ in water supplied to 1.2 million consumers at the peak of El Nino in April 2016. Prior to that, they rationed water due to red tide.

 

BREXIT BLUNDER – IGNORANCE OF THE ISSUE IS NO EXCUSE

 

Many say it is the greatest blunder of the century, to isolate one’s self in a period when globalization is intensifying, when partnership and coalition are critical for economic survival. Ninety percent of British voters never really knew what Brexit was all about when they voted. The implications were gradually seen later – massive hemorrhages in international trade and banking. They were instead immersed in a media barrage of rhetoric on misplaced nationalism and independence. To think that in this greatest blunder of the century, the exit votes beat the no-exit by a hair.

 

Bernie V. Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
Philippine Daily Inquirer contributing columnist-feature writer, blogger, Filipino senior columnist in the last 20 years, former Radio-Veritas and GNN broadcaster, former documentary producer-director for ABS-CBN, GMA7, and TVS of Tokyo, and former Ateneo University professor.

 

****************
eastwind Meditation Corner

 

****************
for every dunkirk there is a normandy
for every pearl harbor a hiroshima
for every 9/11 a thousand killer drones
ten eyes for an eye, a pail of tears for a tear
yet, vengeance is Mine, says the Lord

 

****************
when you get to the top by stepping on others
you will discover that there is nothing up there
except emptiness and desolation
but if you help people along your way to the top
you will notice that there is nothing up there
except their support and your inner peace

 

****************
My kingdom is not found
in lofty mountains or lush valleys
but in hungry beggars
reaching out a hand to you
in dark nooks of despair and distress
where you can bring a glimmer
of My Light and hope for Me

 

****************
you do not need a palace to be happy
you do not need fame to be fulfilled
you can live in the middle of nowhere
with inner peace, and not feel alone
all you need are -
simplicity – sincerity – serendipity

 

****************

 

amdg
 
Mother Ignacia Healing Ministry03 Aug 2016 09:08 pm

HOME-GROWN TERROR SYNDROME a vicious-cycle flowchart

THE HOME-GROWN TERROR SYNDROME
A Vicious-Cycle Flowchart
 
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2016/08/home-grown
 
eastwind journals 187
 
By Bernie Lopez
eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
 
Without too many words, the flowchart below attempts to simplify the complex reality of home-grown terror. It hints of a vicious never-ending cycle, which may escalate into total anarchy and annihilation.
 
We have a human dilemma never before seen in the entire history of Mankind. War is no longer something we export. It is no longer just ‘abroad’ but here’, home-grown. It is in our marketplaces, stadiums, restaurants, in our midst. We invaded them and our soldiers went ‘into their midst’, and now their ‘soldiers’ are doing the same, going ‘into our midst’ in a much more serious way, in the Paris, London, Madrid street bombings. We are all in each others’ midst, bound together in an ever-shrinking world.
 
CONTINUE
 
This flowchart does not take sides. It simply lays down the reality of it all. It does not offer solutions, only broad cause-and-effect information that may lead to a solution. It is a ‘mind map’ pointing to a change of heart among all stakeholders, peace on Earth to men of goodwill. Without that change of heart, without that goodwill, the quagmire remains a vicious never-ending circle.
 
                               CLICK ON IMAGE TO BLOW UP

 
Some people say there are no solutions. It is a dilemma. Others say yes there is, but it entails this change of heart among all stakeholders. It is a test for Mankind not to self-destruct, to transform the cycle of hate into forgiveness. Can old wounds heal? Can forgiveness restore what hatred consumed?
 

 
Some say it is impossible, arguing that hate-filled terrorists will never have a change of heart. But are we not ourselves also hate-filled, sending drones and airstrikes to massacre their innocent just as they massacre our innocent? Together, we hold the fate of humanity in our hands, all of us together.
 
A photo that went viral in the Internet of the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq, the ‘US torture chamber’, which had a dramatic impact on the rapid global Islamic radicalization, one cigarette butt burning the vast rainforest. Iraqi prisoners subjected to humiliation and rape.
 
On Forgiveness
 
we are all in the ‘pre-departure area’
no exceptions, it is just a matter a time
if you knew you would die tomorrow
you would forgive
the most unforgiveable sin against you
 
******************* 
the father forgave his prodigal son
who squandered his wealth on wine and women
because he looked beyond the evil deed
overwhelmed with love and compassion
with the prospects of renewal and rebirth
 
*******************
forgiveness heals, hatred consumes
forgiveness strengthens, hatred weakens
forgiveness renews, hatred destroys
forgiveness gives peace, hatred brings war
 
*****************
Lord teach me Your ways
turn my hatred into forgiveness
my anger into patience
my indifference into sensitivity
my selfishness into generosity
my arrogance into humility
Lord give me Your light
let me not grope in darkness
 
eastwind
 
and Jesus said – her sins
as many as they are
are forgiven
because she has loved much
 
Luke 7:44-
 
amdg
 
Mother Ignacia Healing Ministry12 Jul 2016 06:54 am

maynilad’s laguna lake – an environmental time bomb

BREAKING NEWS. Duterte asks FVR to go to China for bilateral talks.
 
Fingers crossed if this will work. Bilateral deals are dangerous. China prefers one-on-one deals with ASEAN nations, because one-sided deals are easier. China avoids multilateral deals because ASEAN has more clout as a united group. Duterte should consult ASEAN before any bilateral moves and consider a multilateral united front. The positive – the prospect for bilateral talks has gained Duterte China’s respect, in preparation for a fair deal. It has also eased the military stance of China somewhat, and sees Chinese investment in Mindanao and joint oil projects in the Spratlys. The negative – China may want the Philippines to concede its territorial rights, nullifying The Hague, make way for Chinese oil projects, allow Chinese warships to roam Philippine waters, and permit continued militarization. Let’s see what happens. China recently sunk a Vietnamese fishing vessel. Will a bilateral deal insure this will not happen? We are in tight rope walk, the US and China pulling the rope. With US military presence in the Philippines, in a US-China confrontation, the Philippines is the biggest collateral damage. Economic deals with China are nullified by military deals with the US. We are sandwiched by two giants. Damn if we do and damn if we don’t.
 
************************
 
LAGUNA LAKE – AN ENVIRONMENTAL TIME BOMB
Why did MAYNILAD fail to see this?
 
eastwind journals 186
 
By Bernie V. Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com

 

http://www.sisterraquel.com/2016/07/maynilads-laguna
 
yet a little while the light is among you
walk steadfast as you have the light
so that darkness may not overtake you
for he who walks in darkness
cannot see where he goes
while you have the light, believe in the light
that you may become children of the light

 

john 12:35-36
 
 
In 2007, the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) reported that Laguna Lake was in danger of dying in five years if no steps were taken to clean it up (Greenpeace). The five years elapsed in 2012, and no substantial steps have been taken to this day.

 

In April, 2016, a ‘manganese surge’ reached the homes of 1.2 million consumers due to the El Nino drought which lowered lake water level dramatically. Manganism or manganese poisoning, a heavy metal, involves permanent neurological disorder with symptons of tremors, facial muscle spasms, irritability, aggressiveness, and hallucinations.

 

CONTINUED

 

Water sampling done too late weeks after the surge revealed manganese dissolved in water was within safe limits. But how about future droughts and surges? No tests were done on manganese silt or solid particles. Consumer advocate Pete Ilagan of NASECORE sent a letter to Maynilad to answer critical questions. There was no reply.

 

From the start, Maynilad failed to consider that Laguna Lake is an environmental time bomb, in sourcing household water from it. Perhaps it was too eager about the fantastic idea of an easy cheap source of voluminous water so close to Metro-Manila. Or perhaps it was so confident that its P1.4 billion high-tech water treatment plant at Putatan, which Noynoy inaugurated so proudly in 2011, could handle any kind of pollution.

 

Its sophisticated microfiltration failed to filter manganese on a massive scale. A water sampling expert said it could have been a management failure to change clogged filters during the surge. Today, Maynilad gets big profits supplying a staggering 100 million liters of water a day to 1.2 million consumers.

 

LLDA conferred on Maynilad a Blue Award for its Putatan Water Treatment Plant in May 2014. In April 2016, the plant failed to stop the ‘manganese surge’.
 

President Aquino undrapes the marker of the 100 million liters of water per day Putatan Water Treatment plant in February 2011, one year before the LLDA prophecied the lake would die by 2012.
 
The LLDA prophecy of Laguna Lake dying soon is ominous. Massive rehabilitation is impossible. As population increases, both household and industrial pollution seem unstoppable. Without mitigating measures, Maynilad, perhaps should find alternative sources this early to avoid future inevitable mass poisoning, for which it may face class action suits. Manganese poisoning is nothing compared to mercury or lead poisoning.

 

Laguna Lake Statistics

 

Laguna Lake is a ticking environmental time bomb because the 220-km. lakeshore population is a staggering 15 million in 2010 (NSO). Household waste accounted for 77% of total pollution load, and industrial waste 11%. Greenpeace said LLDA reported dumpsites of Paete, Binan, Angono, and Taytay were too near the lakeshore area in December 2007. The Angono dumpsite was being used in spite of closure orders by the Mayor, Greenpeace added.

 

Laguna Lake has only one outlet – Manila Bay via the Pasig River, which is often clogged with water lilies that grow abundantly in the lake. Yet, it is fed by 22 major tributaries in a 45,000 sq. km. catchment area. It is a buffer for flood waters, especially from Marikina River. Not including the lake, the pollution from households and firms in this vast catchment area ending up in the lake is massive.

 

Within the catchment area are many export processing zones, which have semiconductor firms, a major source of pollutants. A Greenpeace report in 2007 revealed water samples from community handpumps in Guandong, China near electronic and semiconductor facilities showed “elevated levels of toxic zinc and vanadium”, and trihalomethanes, a carcinogenic. Greenpeace filed a similar report on Laguna Lake (see ‘sources’ below). Heavy metals have settled on the lake bed cumulatively through the decades, which is hard to clean up. There is little rehabilitation being done. DENR and LLDA mainly do monitoring.

 

The lake is only 1 meter above sea level, making gravitational outflow weak. Add the water-lily factor and the lake is relatively stagnant and flood-prone. Water levels rise quickly during rainy season and recedes quickly during droughts. Laguna Lake is oddly the largest but shallowest lake nationwide. Its average depth is a mere 2.8 meters, yet it is 911 to 949 sq. km. in area. Water quickly dries up in such a large area, exposing large areas of the shore. This is perhaps why there was a ‘manganese surge’, which Maynilad attributed to the lowering of water level due to the El Nino.
 
Maynilad admitted the manganese surge when they issued a warning to consumers to put a cloth filter on their tap to catch manganese silt. Silt can settle in home water tanks, and sip into the underground water table when you water your garden. If there are 100 million liters a day for 1.2 million consumers, this is quite a big impact.

 

On top of the silt problem is manganese dissolved in water, which goes into food if used to wash rice or vegetables or for coffee or soup. So consumers, be warned. The yellowish tint of cloth filter persisted for a few more weeks. Deadly solid particulates should never enter the household water system.

 

The DENR needs to conduct an investigation, gather past historical sampling tests, and recommend whether Maynilad should continue to tap Laguna Lake water. A massive LGU campaign against dumpsites and household wastes is also urgent. LLDA should start using the environment fees it exacts from firms for the environment. If we stop sourcing Laguna Lake, we may have a water crisis. If we continue, we may have a poison crisis. Without any action, we may be headed for an environmental tsunami. (Sources – greenpeace.org1 / greenpeace.org2 / waterworld.com / philstar / llda.gov.ph.)

 

(The author is a Filipino senior columnist in the last 20 years, presently with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a former radio-TV broadcaster at Radio Veritas, a former documentary producer-director at ABS-CBN, GMA7, TVS Tokyo, and a former Ateneo University professor.)

 

***************
Four Meditation Verses

 

trust in the Lord
when He shuts a door
He opens a window
 
************
oh that You would hide me in the underworld
and shelter me until Your wrath has past
set a time for it to pass, then remember me

 

job 14:13

 

***************
return to Me
all you who have left Me
in stealth and silence
you are all My children
 
in the farthest nook where you go
I am there seeking you
in the longest time you are gone
I await your return with eagerness
 
know that in Me you are full
and without Me you are null

 

eastwind

 

***************
at the center of the milky way is a super-black hole
that controls the billions of stars in the galaxy
every planet, every grain of sand
 
a teaspoon of black-hole matter weighs like a million suns
yet its awesome power is a mere shadow of the Lord’s
Who made billions of galaxies
 
yet the black-hole is nothing compared to you
because in you is the Lord
Creator of the universe

 

eastwind

 

amdg
Mother Ignacia Healing Ministry18 Dec 2015 06:42 pm

INSPIRATIONAL CHRISTMAS STORIES

INSPIRATIONAL CHRISTMAS STORIES
 
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2015/12/christmas
 
eastwind memoirs 14

 

By Bernie Lopez
eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
Permission is granted to re-publish with credits and notification.
Disclaimer – the views in this article are those of the author alone.

 

These two stories, previously blogged, are excerpts from the book entitled WINGS AND WANDERLUST on the adventures of a Filipino who drifted for 25,000 kilometers through 18 European countries for three years. The book is more than a set of adventure anecdotes. It goes deeper into the art of discovering one’s inner self, for those who are searching for meaning in a troubled world. It is a wake up call for those who are beset by boredom or absurdity, to rock the boat and discover new people and new places.

 

To order the book, email eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com. It is a great Christmas gift, no fuss, sent within 3 days by courier to your friends anywhere. More excerpts are found in eastwind-memoirs-collection.

 

01 – CHRISTMAS IN ATHENS

 

linger o sun, intensify yet-still
for you nourish a hungry malignant spirit
that seeks escape from the haunting wails
of limit and finite-ness

 

After six months of hitchhiking, I ended up in Athens in the dead of winter. I hitched from Bari in Italy, then took a boat to Dubrovnik in Yugoslavia, and slept in the snow in my arctic-weather sleeping bag in Skopje. It was an easy but freezing hitch to Athens.

 

Back home, I nor­mally spent Christmas eve hearing an evening Mass and having a sumptuous merienda cena with the family. Christ­mas was for the family, for the warmth of home. I knew no other kind of Christmas. Athens was my first Christmas away from home. Weeks before, I knew I would get homesick. I was preparing myself mentally for it. I could look for Filipino seamen in Piraeus or get drunk with the Arabs to forget my loneliness.

 

So, I collected money from the Arabs at the hostel, announc­ing a midnight drinking party. Everyone agreed, includ­ing the Jewish girl. The Greeks had this terrible cheap wine called retsina, which smelled like aviation gas. But being Christmas, on top of retsina, I also bought some vodka and gin and mixed them all up for a terrible bash. Arabs and Jews normally did not cel­ebrate Christ­mas but the holiday feeling was in the air in Athens, so we had this grand party at the hostel. Arabs also normally did not drink. Not this bunch.

 

At eleven o’clock in the evening, we were all pretty drunk. I was depressed and homesick and the Arabs and the lone Jewish girl could see it. They were trying to comfort me. After all, I was the only Christian in the group. I was surrounded by Islamism and Judaism. At half past eleven, I stood up, wobbled a bit, and quietly sneaked out, thinking they would not notice my short absence.

 

I secretly quietly went to a nearby church alone for the midnight Mass, something I had done my entire life on Christ­mas. I felt guilty that I was going to church drunk but I thought it was better than not going at all. It was my refuge from my loneli­ness, the warmth of church with many people singing carols. The momentary silence of the late evening in the streets after leaving the noise of the party and the cold breeze stabilized me. All of a sudden, there was solemnity.

 

The church was crowded and to hide my being drunk, I simply stayed outside the church beyond the huge front doors. I stayed behind the crowd which was spilling over outside the church. I wanted to receive communion but decide against it, not in my state of inebriation. It would be irrever­ent. I just prayed and sang ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ with the crowd. Bethlehem was just a stone’s throw away. I felt better.

 

Almost at the end of the mass, someone elbowed me. It was the whole gang. They followed me to church. They wrapped the vodka and gin in paper bags to hide it. They giggled when I saw them. Instinctively, I felt embar­rassed as church goers might see this bunch of drunken Arabs and a Jew. But then again, I was touched. Friends who did not believe in Christmas believed in friendship. They came to Mass to share themselves with me on this precious day. I was almost in tears. That was the greatest Christmas gift on the road. After Mass, we left and were rowdy in the streets, shouting and singing, as we went back to the hostel. They sang strange Arab songs. My loneli­ness disappeared.

 

I asked for an attendance report. Everyone shouted his/her origin – Tel Aviv, Khartoum, Marrekesh, Manila, Cairo, Dakar, Tunis, I forget the others. Come to think of it, they were more Muslim North Africans rather than Arabs, descendants of Bedouins and Berbers converted to Islam. They were mostly escaping the physical poverty of their North African homelands, looking for jobs in Athens, or going north to Paris or London or Copenhagen. I and the Jewish girl were escaping the spiritual poverty of affluent societies. They were escaping the physical poverty of depressed cities.

 

We slept at about three in the morning only because there were no more to drink and the stores were closed, just about the time baby Jesus struggled in a crib meant for sheep. Everybody filed back to their rooms. My first Christmas away from home was not bad, only because of friends who were not even Chris­tians. I would never forget that Christmas, this melting pot of religion and culture. eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com

 


 

02 – CHRISTMAS IN FATIMA the pilgrimage
 
to be idle is not evil
you must be empty
so you can be filled
nothingness complements fullness
they are cosmic partners
like yin and yang or light and darkness
yielding shadows and shapes
 
I was on the road again, hitchhiking from Brussels to Canary Islands on a frenzied pace. I headed north for spring, hitting Lisbon like a lightning bolt. It was time to stop soaring and to start gliding gently. I embarked on a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Fatima, a 7-day 80-kilometer hike from Lisbon. This was the time of meditation and soul searching, to pray that I could “find myself” somehow, to pray for light in an era of darkness. After the spiri­tual desert of New York, I wandered aimlessly, looking for an oasis somewhere in the vastness. Strangely, my Christmas story was on the month of April, day 4 of the pilgrimage.

 

I left half of my things in Lisbon, keeping my backpack weight to 1.5 kilos for the long distance hike on beach san­dals. I had a sleeping bag, no tent (my guardian angel made sure it would not rain, except a drizzle on day 4, and for a reason), extra pants and shirt, matches and candle (no flashlight), a map, and uncooked food of bread, fruits, sausages, and wine or milk on a skin bag (no cooking gear).

 

I took the bus to the outskirts of Lisbon. As I walked north, the city gradually faded; the traffic vanished; the noise dwindled. I was tired at the end of day 1, but it was good for the soul. After dinner, I slept early. I slept in the open air most of the time, anywhere convenient in the farm fields. In the early morning of day 2, I was in the purity and magic of the Portuguese country­side. All of a sudden, there were quaint villages. The road narrowed but never ended.

 

I prayed the rosary about 4 times a day. I did about 2 kilo­meters per hour, or one kilometer in 20 to 30 minutes. I walked about 10 kilometers a day for about 5 to 6 hours, minus rest and lunch, from 7 am to 5 pm. I hiked the 80 kilometers to Fatima in seven days.

 

In the morning of day 2, I brushed my teeth in a quaint village fountain at the cen­tral plaza, as if it were my hotel suite. I awoke at six o’clock and did not have breakfast until nine. I bought provisions in small village stores. I pre­ferred milk from wine in my skin bag during this gruel­ling work out.

 

On day 3, entering a small village, a bunch of children ran to greet me. They were all shouting “Peregrino, peregrino” (pilgrim). They crowded each other, giggling and staring at me. They suddenly dis­persed into a nearby orchard, and came back with 2 kilos of peaches. I could only take half a kilo. An old woman came out of a house, shouting at the children. They stole the peaches, I surmised. I waved and smiled at her. Her anger dissipated into a smile. I had to eat them right away because they were getting heavy. The children followed me to the edge of the village. They were singing and shouting and I felt embarrassed because people would come out of their houses and stare. After the village, the silence screamed at me.

 

On day 4, my Christmas story began, strangely in the month April

 

on the fourth day, there was a slight drizzle
so I asked a farmer
if I could sleep in his sheep’s shed
 
the shed had a certain sheep odor
that was a bit offensive
all of a sudden, the birth of Jesus
came to me in a flash
 
the drizzle was perhaps sent by the Lord
to give Light that I was asking for
I suddenly realized how it defies the imagination
that the Creator of the universe
was humble enough to permit Himself
to be born in a crib meant for new-born sheep
in a sheep shed which smelled
 
the hay of such a crib is itchy on the skin
the swaddling cloth helps
but still the God who made all of us
did not stay in a three star inn
but a no-star sheep shed
 
His power must be awesome and limitless
to be able to do this
the omnipotent God
in total humility born in a manger
at whose side powerful kings
and winged angels knelt in adoration
 

 
On day 5, I spent the night under an olive tree on top of a knoll. I could see the panorama of the valley below, olive trees all around, reminding me of Gethsemani. There was a stone fence down below twisting and turning, vanishing into the bluish mist. It looked like a paint­ing. I heard the faint peal of sheep bells. I wondered if the bells were tolling for me, not for the end but for the beginning of my life.

 

It was here that Our Lady of Fatima gave me the gift of inner peace. It was overwhelming. I was almost in tears. It was my ‘reward’ from Our Lady, her way of showing her pres­ence. The moment was intense and magical. I can never forget that feeling because it was so clear, so overpowering, and so rare in a lifetime full of schedules and tasks and storms and whirlwinds. It was the gift of inner peace. In hind sight, I would be a journalist, and I would write many articles on Our Lady of Fatima and her messages of salvation and disaster.
 
inner peace may not always be a gift
you may have to earn it
when you finally find it
you will discover it was built into your soul
long before you were born
when you were crafted in a super-nova
billions of years ago
you just have to make it come out
somewhere sometime somehow
otherwise life is absurd
when you finally find it
keep it and do not lose it
because it is a treasure of your life time

 

On day 6, my pace was faster to make it to Fatima by day 7. There it was at a distance, the gothic spires reaching up to the heavens. I reached Fatima at night, and ended up sleeping outside the giant portals of the church. Every hour, until dawn, the huge bells rang and echoed in my soul. I could hardly sleep.

 

At the crack of dawn of day 7, I was up, afraid the early church goers might see me sprawled at the door step of the church. Everything was grey and misty. At a dis­tance, I dis­cerned a crowd. It was an early out­door Mass near where they had a spring of the miraculous water that had cured thousands of people in the last few decades. After Mass, I put some water from the spring on my forehead. That was the end of the pil­grimage. I was not expecting any miracles. After the pilgrimage, I was no longer worried about “finding myself”. I somehow knew it would come in its own time, this self-discovery. After the pilgrimage, I knew eastwind would end in a nice way. I lost my angst at Fatima.

 

It was strange. I could go from total dark­ness to blinding light without flinching. It was as if I was longing for it and was expecting it. It was like the ice-water shower after half an hour in the steam room at Amsterdam’s Melkeweg. Life on the road was a pendulum swing, from the chaos of Las Palmas to the serenity of the Papagayo cave, from passion with Vicky to prayer at Fatima, from total solitude in Madrid to total immer­sion in Andorra. I took the bus back to Lisbon, picked up my stuff, and hitched north with my guitar towards Coimbra and Santander and the mystique of the Basque people. I was sporting a brand-new soul. eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
 
To order the book, email eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com. It is a great Christmas gift, no fuss, sent within 3 days by courier to your friends anywhere. More excerpts are found in eastwind-memoirs-collection.
 

amdg
 

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