Traditions revisited

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Once upon the time, traditions were implemented to help us. God sent his messengers in order to show us the way. After careful observation of our behaviours, they realised that it was too difficult for us to just be. Temptations and tricks were way too high for our soul to handle just in one life no matter how long was that life. The messengers who were on earth and the ones who had left already sat on a table and discussed how they could make it easier for us to follow the path of God.

They schemed multiple solutions and they all agreed that they were too complicated for our simple minds. They needed something that was going to be simple, easy to understand, easy to implement and once implemented, it will roll alone. When they went to see God with their findings, he told them that they should be aware that corruption can come from every place and every angle. They told Him that those rules were simple and everybody would be able to follow them and if they do, they will ultimately fall into Your Path.

God listened to their arguments and asked them how they would call it. They looked at themselves and they answered: “TRADITIONS”. He looked at them and realised that there was no way they were going to change their ideas. He told them: “I gave you all my powers, I gave you all the love I have in me, I gave you me. I want you to be me. You don’t really need my advices to do that. You are all part of me. You are Me. The authorization to do that can not come from Me because You have the answers within you. I am in You. When you come and ask me to approve what you want to do, you behave no better than the humans who are on earth. Stop looking for my approval. Listen to what is within you. If you are not able to act that way by now, how do you expect the humans to act? As their guides, you still behave as if you depended on me. Follow what is in You and you will see. Since you came to me with an open heart, I have to tell you the whole truth. Do as your heart is telling you.”

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Halloween Story Part 7

The abbey called “Within” Part 7

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When he woke up in the morning, the first thing his eyes caught was Julio’s big eyes staring at him. It made him jumped start in the back of his bed. Julio asked him to forgive him and said that he did not want to scare him. 

Father Rodriguez said that it was not his fault. He was just surprised. He did not expect to see somebody looking at him. He added that after the night he had, anything would have frightened him. It was normal that he reacted that way. Julio who was sat in his bed asked him with a worried faced if he had spoken during his sleep.

Father Rodriguez looked at him and tried to see if there was any chance that he could have been lying about not remembering anything in front of him but Julio seemed sincere. Father Rodriguez asked him if he did not remember anything at all. Julio said that he did not and he added that he was sorry. He thought that because he did not yell during the night that everything went well. He remembered that Father Rodriguez woke him up at one point during the night but it was nothing like his first night at the abbey when he was yelling every one or two hours.

Father Rodriguez came closer to him and told him that according to him, something had taken refuge into his body. He told him that whatever that thing was, he needed to have a different relationship with it because it scared everybody including him. He said that he had witnessed the strangest thing during the night and he had not made up his mind whether it was something good or bad that was within him.

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Happy Halloween Part 6

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The abbey called “Within” Part 6

Father Rodriguez took his time. He was scared to say that he did not want to do it. The force he was dealing with was beyond his understanding. He had never witnessed something like that. Fearing for his life and the consequences if the thing that was communicating with him would reveal his little arrangements for money, he said that he wanted to bring back his abbey to the times it was not link to dubious financial affairs.

After that, the room was silent. Outside, the rain that came after the thunder stopped. The candle enlightened itself alone. Father Rodriguez was sweating and shaking because those phenomenons were the most bizarre things he had ever seen. In the church he knew people usually attributed these strange situations to the devil. He had heard of people who used to have those powers but they were all burnt and associated with sorcery. Being confronted with these things was just the proof that he was attacked by the forces of evil and he needed to get out of there before it was too late.

Where could he had run and not find this thing? If it was capable of turning of the light of the candle and enlightened it at if it had the control of the weather as he saw with his own eyes, what exactly could he attempted to do against it. Running away was just an illusion. If it wanted to find him, it would and besides at this time of the night, he had nowhere else to go.

The voice of Julio told him that it was very curious that he worried about the evil now but when he was taking the money of the abbey for his own purpose, he did not seem to pay attention to the devil that was corrupting him. It is only when he saw nature at play that he wondered if it was evil or not.

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Halloween Story Part 5

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The abbey called “Within” Part 5

They were in the dark. Father Rodriguez was frozen. He did not risk any move. He stayed for two or three minutes and then his eyes were able to distinguish things inside the room. He was breathing slowly. He thought of what Julio said about what he was about to do when he called Jesus for help. He asked himself if he was trying to run away from his problems or fear. He had to recognize that they were things he was not particularly proud of. He thought that even if he was not perfect, nobody had the right to rub in his face the things he did not like about himself all the times and beside who gave the right to this person to remind him (Father Rodriguez, Chief Father of the famous abbey called “within”) of those things.

The remembrance of his flaws and others things brought back memories of things he had done and was ashamed of. Indeed during the month break they have each year, he was not in the abbey but in the city. While he spent his time there, he occasionally slept with men and quite often with women. 

He allured prostitutes from both end by telling them that sleeping with him was a way of asking forgiveness for their sins. He was the link that would help them reach God or Jesus Christ faster. He was going in those streets where prostitutes were and pretended to evangelised them.

They were so surprised to see a monk among them that they were ready to do anything to by their way to the Heaven. They were drinking his words and his orders. After he performed his sexual activities, he usually asked them to pray with him for their sins and he did the sign of cross and they were happy.

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Halloween Story Part 4

The abbey called “Within” Part 4

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Both confused and scared, he stayed in his bed and listened to what Julio was saying. Everything he had ever thought was coming out of Julio’s mouth. Everything he had ever done whether he thought it was good or bad, it was out. The things he was ashamed of were in front it. The lies he did to everyone and to himself were also coming out. Facing his reality, he wondered if he was not under the illusion of something or perhaps it was a scheme done by the devil to trap him or maybe Julio was the instrument of evil. He took his cross and asked for protection against anything that was there to get him.

While he was still sleeping, Julio asked him if he wanted to protect himself against his truth. “What kind of father in chief would it be if he would invoke Jesus Christ to protect himself against his own truth?” Julio said. He wanted to know what was it that was so awful that he needed protection against it. He wondered if he would rather continue to lie to himself about who he was. If he could not face his own truth, how could he be able to face the truth of the world? He added: “You are supposed to bring people to their truth and the truth about yourself; you are doing everything you can to run away from it. What have you learn in those years of studies of the Word of Jesus Christ? Are you that scared by what you are that the moment you hear about you it makes you so uncomfortable that you are ready to destroy who you are by any means necessary? You just rejected yourself few seconds ago.

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Who is the victim?

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This is a reaction to a conference that was given at the world council affair by Amal Elsana Alh Jooj who is the director of Arab-Jewish center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation. She was born in Laqiya, an Arab Bedouin village in the northeastern of Negev. I invite you to watch it at http://fora.tv/2008/11/07/Amal_Elsana_Alhjooj_at_the_World_Affairs_Council before reading the article below even though it is not necessary to see the video before reading it.

When one looks at this conference, he could be surprised by the number of people who opposed her. She had to overcome her father, her mother, her sisters, her brothers, her uncles and aunts, her village, her community, her values and traditions but still she made it.

This story might give the impression that the people around her were all against her. Although it is true, it is not the completely accurate. I am not suggesting that they did not do everything they could to stop her but I am saying that I am saying that they were not that much in opposition.

A more careful observation of their interactions and the reasoning behind them can change our vision of who is the victim in this affair. Even though she had suffered a lot because of her entourage, they made her go through all these difficulties because they were also the victim of something that is larger than them.

The relentless opposition she will encounter was due to the fact that they were acting under their pursuit of happiness. If people do not understand that they were acting under the sole motivation of the happiness of the whole, they will miss the entire story.

Indeed, what they have been taught over the years and should I say over centuries is that much of their happiness will come from their acceptance of some rules and regulations that are the bases of their traditions and values. When each family follows those rules, it maintains stability, honour and the whole family, village and their community will remain united.

Therefore, women are supposed to behave a certain way and men are there to make sure that they do behave that way and they will do everything that is in their power to reach that goal.

Now, are men used this context to abuse women? The answer is: “definitely yes”. Are women in a submission position in this context? The answer is: “absolutely yes”. Should something be done to change this situation? The answer is: “600% yes”.

Having said that, I believe it would help review the reaction of all the parties involved. Let’s take for instance her father. Although he wanted nothing else than to see his daughter being happy, there was nothing he could have done to erase the context he was raised in. His duty was to enforce the traditions not only because it was showing his masculinity but also because the survival of his family within their community was at stake. If he had not acted the way he did, they had the power to affect his family revenue. What could he have done against that? Should he sacrifice all his family just for this daughter? What was he supposed to do? Her father is as submitted to the culture and its traditions as his daughter is submitted to him. He is the victim of the system under which they are living.

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Halloween Story Part 3

The abbey called “Within” Part 3

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Rodriguez observed everybody. They were exhausted. They went at their duties at a slow pace. Usually, there was a rush to do them and some kind of enthusiasm but that morning was a slow day for everybody. He tried to do his regular tasks but was unable to focus. He was just like everybody, extremely tired. If the first night was that tough, there was nothing that suggested that the following ones will be easier. They had all embarked on a journey that would require their patience and their understanding. They could not tell him to leave now that they had accepted him. It was against the rules. Isolation was out of question. Those two options although available were used before and Rodriguez did not want to create a precedent. He did not want to be the first to break the customs of the abbey. They all took pride themselves to be the one who were chosen by life to continue the great tradition that had survived through the centuries and inside the walls of “Within”. As a chief, he needed the keep the rules that helped them survived through time. He could certainly not bent them and definitely go against their own rules. He had to come up with something.

He decided to organize the abbey around this particular situation that they were facing. They could not continue as if nothing had happened. If they were unable to sleep, they would not be able to do anything. Since one of the reasons they were all tired was because they all had run into Julio’s room every time he woke up, he needed to do something about it. They were stressed not only because they woke up but also because they heard all the stories he told them. It created an atmosphere in the abbey that was not good for anyone. Having said that, he could not leave Julio alone when he woke up. If no one was around him, his cry and yell would have awakened everybody anyway.

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Halloween Story Part 2

The Abbey called “Within” Part 2

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Father Rodriguez looked at him and stayed quite. He told him that he understood that it was a difficult situation for him and his wife but he did not have the power to accept people in the abbey. He and his brothers had to take a decision together at the majority. Even if he wanted to take Julio, his application will still have to undergo the scrutiny of the others monks and priests. Beside they usually accepted the people who were looking for God and he did not see how he could help his uncle’s son. His situation was not one that they could do anything about.

His uncle said that when people stay at their abbey, they end up feeling better. Why would his son be denied the possibility of feeling better? It was not his fault if he was in this condition. If God put him under these circumstances, God will have to find a way to get him out of it. We have tried everything in the outside world. It was the time for God to handle the situation and he could not see a place better fit for this job than the abbey “Within”.

Rodriguez was surprised by his argument and he told him that he could not stop him from applying. He added that he will submit his application to his brothers but he could not guaranty that they will accept him. As a matter of fact, he was sure that they would deny him. He ended up saying that whatever answers they will give; he will forward it to him.

The case was brought to the monks and priests attention. They were usually booked for months in advance but for the past several months they had not been enough attendees to their abbey. It is true that the lack of attendees gave them sometimes to rest. They were somehow often tired of explaining the scriptures and how to apply it in the daily life of people. They wanted something different.

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Halloween Story Part 1

The abbey called “Within” Part 1

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Father Rodriguez was the chief priest and monk of a little abbey called “Within”. It was located behind a mountain at the extreme top. The location of the abbey had been chosen by its founders because it was far away from everything. The ones who built it believed that it was only when the priests were distant from anything that was going on in the society that they were able to listen to what was going on within them. The silence needed to be intense and permanent in order for the monks and priests to be aware of what was happening inside their body, mind, spirit, soul and heart. This enabled them to review and clean their inner self. Everything needed to be erased inside them in order for the light of Christ to descend in their heart.

When one was within the abbey’s walls, it was because he had committed himself to silence and wanted to listen to the voices within him. Even the most serious monks or priests could not get inside the abbey. The rules of admission were strict and suffered no alteration. Rare were the people who were even aware of its existence. When they did, it was solely because they heard of the singular conditions under which they had to live at the abbey and decided that they simply could not live under those or they had applied for residency there and got denied the entrance. Otherwise, all the people who heard of it were inside and were not talking about it.

They grew their own food, made their own wine and lived completely isolated from the outside world. The abbey “Within” was a place of retreat. Anybody who got accepted had to commit himself for at least six months. They abbey had fifteen monks and priests who were living there permanently and six others who were either monks and priests from others abbeys and churches or regular people who wished to refine their understanding of themselves. In order for someone to be accepted inside “Within”, a majority of the fifteen permanent needed to form a majority in favour of his arrival.

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Little girl

Mr. J: hey little girl, why are you angry?

Ms. S: I am not angry

Mr. J: What is going on then?

Ms. S: Nothing

Mr. J: Since everything is ok, I am going to wish you that everything continues to be as great as they are now. Have fun within yourself. Remember, if it ain’t fun inside, it will never be fun outside.

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