Wednesday, 7 December 2016

In Defence of Divorce

"And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery--unless his wife has been unfaithful." Matthew 19:9

"Let no one split apart what God has joined together." Mark 10:9

Christ's teaching seems clear and unequivocal.

So, at the risk of unpopularity let us consider this teaching in today's modern world. We live in a broken society indeed, and everywhere, the pursuit of self seems to be put to the fore at the expense of personal responsibilities and promises made under oath to God and one's spouse.

It is indeed true and achievable that a couple remain together through thick and thin "till death do us part!" Previous generations managed it all right; so why not us, one would wonder. Why is the rate of divorce so high these days? Have we made it easier and guilt-free perhaps?

In Christ's teaching above, He seems to make an exception as to when divorce is acceptable, or allowed. But what would He teach in modern society?

When one spouse is perhaps addicted to drink, drugs, gambling, crime or indeed there's violence in the marriage? 

Does "till death do us part" still apply? Would God want that a couple remain together in a living hell where violence to the spouse and children are almost a daily occurrence? 

Does God want us to "stand by your man" (or woman), come what may and treat the affliction as a disease, which perhaps it is, and suffer "in sickness and in health"?

Let us not make light of divorce. It is arguably the most shattering of experiences one can go through in life and causes immeasurable hurt not only to the spouse, but to children and family and friends too. The feelings of betrayal, failure and complete despair never goes away with some people. But tragically, divorce is a fact of life. 

There are cases where, for the safety and well-being of all concerned, divorce, with all its ugly implications, is the only way ahead. 

It is wrong, totally wrong, but at times one should do the wrong thing for the right reasons.

Many churches have now pragmatically accepted that divorce is at times necessary. One would hope and pray that God too sees it this way when we get to meet Him.

Life after divorce can be re-built in some cases, but sadly not always. The fear of betrayal runs deep sometimes jeopardising any future relationships.

The Catholic Church has a complicated procedure as to when a divorced person can marry again, and a previous marriage can be nullified; and when it would be adulterous to marry again or live with a new partner. 

To nullify a marriage can be a long and difficult process taking months, if not years, depending on which priests, bishops and dioceses are involved. In some cases marriages are not nullified meaning that a divorced person cannot re-marry or have a partner under pain of being adulterous and therefore excommunicated - cannot take Holy Communion. Not surprisingly, under these conditions, many Catholics choose to ignore their Church altogether and either marry in a civil ceremony or in another denomination.

Perhaps the Catholic Church needs to reconsider its teaching and dogma on this matter. But this is a debate for another day.

Friday, 2 December 2016

More Reflections for the soul


MORE REFLECTIONS FOR THE SOUL
Victor S E Moubarak 
ISBN 978 1540 661630
Paperback and Kindle formats
A selection of readings to help you reflect and meditate when praying or when in need of inspiration.

This book asks pertinent questions such as:
What does God look like?
Why was Christ tempted in the desert?
What is the connection between Peter, Thomas and Paul?
Are you going to Heaven?
Why do Catholics pray for the dead?
Does God listen to such prayers anyway? 
Is your fate not sealed once you die?
Will God be influenced by pleas and Masses for the dead?

These and many other questions are explored and explained in easy to read short chapters. You can read the reflections in chronological order or just open the book at any page and read what is there. Hopefully, it will help you in your prayers.
AMAZON LINK HERE

The previous book in the series
REFLECTIONS FOR THE SOUL
Victor S E Moubarak 
ISBN-13: 978-1514851210
Paperback and Kindle formats
 
IS AVAILABLE HERE

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

A Fishes Tale

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a farmer called Rupert who lived in a cottage by the edge of his farm. One day, as he was clearing his cupboard in the kitchen he found a small bottle containing dry yeast; the sort of little dry pellets which you dissolve in water to make yeast for bread. He thought it was a bottle of fish food which had been placed in the cupboard by his wife by mistake. He went out to the pond in his garden and emptied the bottle in the pond.

As he was standing there by the edge of the pond he noticed something moving fast in the water through the reeds and general vegetation. It was a small fish swimming frantically to and fro, having eaten some of the yeast. A moment later, there it was again. A quick flicker of the tail, but this time much bigger. Was it the same fish, thought Rupert. And yet again, but this time even bigger still. So much so that he could see a fish the size of his arm. And yet again ... but this time the fish seemed to be standing upright and trying to get out of the pond. It was now half the size of Rupert himself. Rupert pushed it back in the pond. It flickered its tail once or twice and stood up again, now it was as tall as Rupert. He held its slithery smooth wet skin and tried to push the fish back again in the pond. But to no avail. The fish was now twice as tall and as big and strong as the hapless man; and, standing upright, with a flick of its tail it sent Rupert flying through the air to land in a heap of manure nearby.

The fish, still standing upright, started moving forwards out of the pond. With each flicker of its tail it dug a furrow in the ground as it moved forwards. It walked upright, taller than a man, past Rupert lying dazed in manure, and it went through the wooden fence, sending splinters of wood flying through the air, as it made its way into the fields beyond.

Rupert could not believe what he had just witnessed. As he dug himself out of the pile of manure out of the pond came another fish as big as the first one, if not bigger. Standing very upright and following his leader's tail steps as they flickered to and fro. Then yet another fish came out of its natural home. And then another. And yet another. All standing tall like soldiers and following each other in a single file into the fields beyond. An army of fish all leaving the pond and marching through the fields into the distance.

Seeing all these fishes filing by gave Rupert quite a haddock. He realised this was no plaice for him to be. Not only cod he not believe his eyes, but he was the sole witness to what he thought was a bream. Suddenly, he remembered an old English tuna sang by Vera Lynn in WWII - "Whale meat again ... Don't know where, don't know when ... But I know whale meat again some sunny day!" He salmoned enough courage to get up from the pile of manure and run into the house. He was certainly not coi to tell others what had just happened. Something eel never forget!

Rupert phoned the police to warn them of what he had just seen. They would not believe him. "Is this an April Fool's joke?" they asked. "A fishy story indeed," they said. "Do you know it is an offence to waste police time?" "Do you expect us to swallow your tale, hook, line and sinker?"

Rupert could not convince the police that he was telling the truth. Even when he told them that Halibut, his pet cat, had witnessed the whole event and was now sitting up the curtains trembling with fear, thinking it was the revenge of all the fish he had eaten in the past. And Kipper, the dog, was hiding in the oven behind the remains of an old fish pie.

Rupert then rang a friend of his who was a manager at a fish cannery in the next town. The manager said he would order larger cans of fish so that he could can these fishes once he caught them. But first he needed a bigger fishing rod and hook, line and sinker.

In total despair, and not believing what he had just told his friend, and the police, Rupert went out again to check he wasn't dreaming ... or is it breaming? The fishes had stopped leaving the pond. But the tell-tale path of destruction witnessed to their existence all right!

The furrow in the ground, getting deeper as more and more fish followed where it led. The broken wooden fence at the edge of his garden. The washing line torn and lying on the ground together with his wife's washing all muddy and dirty on the wet grass. The stalks of wheat trampled and broken right through the field as far as he could see. Trees broken and tossed aside like match sticks.

Rupert followed the trail of destruction as he walked on the furrow as it got deeper and deeper until at one point it became higher than him. That's when he decided to get out of the furrow and walk beside it instead. He followed the fishy smell as far as it would go.

Where is it leading to? He asked himself. Are these fishes going to town? To protest to the Authorities perhaps about the price of fish and chips? No perhaps not. That's a different kettle of fish.

He continued beside the furrow until eventually it led him to the fishes' final destination. They had reached the sea where they jumped in and swam away happily.

They had now outgrown their little pond and went out searching for adventure in the big wide world!

How about you? Are you still a small fish in a small pond? Or do you need a boost of yeast to get you going to reach your full potential?

Remember, sardines never get bigger if they remain in their tin with the key on the outside.

Monday, 28 November 2016

A Dog's Tail

We have a lovely dog and we all love him. However, I think he is stupid. Either that, or he is in fact too clever. I can't work out which.

Let me explain.

During the course of a day he wants to get out in the back garden at least a million times. He likes the back garden. He sniffs the flowers, looks up at the trees, runs around or lazes in the sun, does his business, that sort of thing. Nothing wrong with that. The problem is that he wants out and in and out again over and over again every time he feels like it. It's as if he is the master and we his servants opening the door for him whenever he feels like it.

We gave him his set of keys to the door but, despite several attempts to teach him he still does not open the door for himself. As I said, maybe he is stupid.

Or very clever ...

Because at great expense we have installed a new sliding door with a sensor device which opens the door automatically as soon as you approach it. Like you see in shops sometimes. After several lessons we taught him to go out and in as he pleases. And this has worked perfectly in the day time; but at night, of course, the door is locked.

So we have taught the dog the combination secret number which he has to push with his nose on the panel on the wall next to the door. If he pushes the right number, the door magically opens.

What could be easier than that? All he needs to do is push 098802 and the door opens.

He just cannot learn a simple six diggits number. He still wants us to get up and open the door for him at night.

How stupid is that?
Yes ... he might as well hold his head down in shame. Actually, we have taught him to pray !!!

(Thinks) I can't believe I have just given you the number for you to open our door. Now I have to put up with all of you visiting me whenever you wish totally un-announced. Something which I do not relish at all.

You're welcome to visit, of course, but give me some notice to buy some coffee and biscuits first. Or scones and crumpets if you wish. Don't come un-announced expecting a hot drink at the ready. I may be out walking the dog. In fact, if you were to come and visit me I'd definetly be out walking the dog. Cheaper than having to buy coffee and biscuits, don't you know!

In the meantime, has anyone solved the problem of dogs wanting to go out in the garden as they wish? Don't suggest a cat flap in the door. I do not want to encourage the mother-in-law to come in when she wants. It's bad enough her crashing her broom against the window as she lands. I don't want to have her wedged tightly in the cat flap apperture as well.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

John 6


Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."



Thursday, 24 November 2016

Cat Advice Required

I think the cartoon above explains it all. We have a lot of cats visiting our garden as if they own it; and I am getting fed up with it.

The cats belong to neighbours from all around who let their cats wander wherever they wish, but mostly in our garden it seems. I've tried talking to them gently, the neighbours that is, not the cats, but I might as well be talking to the cats for all the good it did. The neighbours replied politely that cats are free creatures who like to roam wherever they wish and it is their right (the neighbours) to let them go wherever they wish. I argued that the rhinoceros is also a free creature who likes to roam freely and if I had one as a pet and it went through the garden fence, or rushed and head-butted their Jeep (or other off-road vehicle) as you see on TV, they'd soon have something to say about it. Somehow, this argument did not seem to gain traction with any of them.

What I find particularly irritating is when I open the window in the morning and there in the garden is a cat sitting comfortably, smoking a cigarette and drinking coffee, as if he owned the place. I try to shoo him away and he doesn't move, and looks at me as if thinking "Why is this idiot waving his hands in the air for?"

What is worse is when they leave their deposits all over the lawn. They say that cats always bury their deposits; well I tell you this is not true. Even if I leave a spade nearby in the garden to give them a hint, they take no notice. They leave their poos on the lawn and walk away happily expecting me to clean it up. It is worse when I miss a poo and it gets caught in the lawn-mower and flies in the air in a million pieces. What would happen, I wonder, if I went in the neighbour's garden and left my poo on their lawn? They'd soon have something to say about it, I tell you.

We've tried all sort of things to get rid of the cats. We bought little silhouettes of cats which you place in the garden to frighten any visitors. This did not work. We tried pellets which are meant to smell bad and get rid of cats. That did not work either. We tried electronic devices that sense a cat nearby and either let off a sound or a spay of water and that did not work either. Nothing seems to work.

Eventually I invented a cat trap on a spring. It's a platform on which I place some food. When the cat goes for it; it triggers the trap and the cat flies through the air into the neighbour's garden.
That did not work either on two counts - no, three counts.

1 When it has been triggered, I have to go out again and set it all over once more.

2 The cats enjoy flying through the air and they have invited all their friends to come and try it. Now we have even more cats visiting us.

3 The mother-in-law stepped on it and she flew in the air and got wedged between two branches of a nearby tree. It was embarrassing with her dress flying in the air revealing her enormous underwear. It took the fire brigade people over an hour to dislodge her and bring her down again.

So there you have it. We have cats visiting our garden leaving their deposits all over the place and we can't get rid of them. (The cats, not the deposits).

Any ideas anyone?

DISCLAIMER - No animals or humans have been harmed in the writing of this Blog. It all happened in the writer's imagination.

The mother-in-law was brought down to terra firma safely although one fireman had a slightly bruised shoulder in the process.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

More Questions Than Answers

In life, there are often more questions than answers. And that's what keeps me awake at night. I lie there pondering and wondering the answers to so many questions on my mind. Perhaps you can help me solve some of them.
Why is it when you pour yourself a cup of coffee and stir it sometimes the bubbles of air gather in the middle of the cup, and sometimes they go on the edge of the cup?
When you open the window in your house in winter, does the cold air come in the house, or does the warmth escape outside?
Do fish ever get thirsty and need to drink?
Does the earth rotating round slows down the bigger the world population? Over the years many people have been born, died, and buried. Surely this must add weight to the earth.

(Men only)
Is it better to sleep with your beard above or below the bed covers?
Every time we have the Olympic Games athletes get better and better and break new world records at running. Does this also apply in the animal world? Do animals get faster year on year compared to animals in years gone by?
Do animals and birds have different accents depending on where they are from?
Is the zebra white with black stripes, or black with white stripes?
Do zebras need/have horse shoes?
Domesticated horses are fitted with horse shoes for protection.
How about wild horses? Don't they need protection too?


ABBREVIATION
Why is abbreviation such a long word?




If a tree falls in the forest
and there is no one there
to see it.
Does it still remain upright?
At what time do you have to leave home
to get to the forest
before the trees get there?


Who first thought of,
in video cartoons,
having a character run at speed off a cliff,
hanging there in mid-air for a few seconds,
moving his legs fast, and then,
fall when gravity does its thing?

I've tried this several times
and
ended up with great pain and bruises.


What is the point
of burying a time-capsule
so that future generations might learn about us; 
if it contains a video on Betamax tape?


AND FINALLY


You are on a luxury cruise in the 
Mediterranean.

A passenger falls overboard and
is drowning.

Do you:

A: Make a video with your cell-phone?

OR

B: Take better quality photos with your camera?



Can you please help answer some of these questions?
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