The Night of Angels


A Revelation and a Spiritual Awakening
By Yusop B. Masdal

Preface

            You are about to enter into something extraordinary--into something special and unique experience. If it is not, then it must be my own failing or the failings of things and circumstances that are beyond my power.

             There is none that I would appeal to you but to your common senses and yet this must be my greatest struggle---the struggle of this desire to fully impart to you an enlightenment of the soul, in order that my visions will also become your visions.

Something magical has happened to me and the new reality that was laid upon me is one that even in my wildest dreams did not happen. If it would only be up to me, I would call this experience the most important phenomenon ever to happen to humanity in this present day, while we breathe the air of this mortal world. And perhaps, if circumstances allow, I would call it “the new sensation”.

To believe or not to believe my revelation is upon your own discretion. But this is what the truth as it is laid before me.

The angels have appeared to me---and still appearing every now and then---often as the night sky is still early into the evening and while the wind is very fragile yet gentle upon the weather. They first appeared to me sometime in the year of two thousand two, sometime and somewhere in the month of July while I walked the streets of Manila to pursue a career in law. They roved among the clouds to tromp in gaiety, wandering from one part of the night sky towards another, turning the horizon into a giant movie screen, in order to exhibit their plays and meanderings.  They made signs not conversation---pure pantomime---but they were as lucid and evocative. If I read the signs well, that would be a question of faith and credibility.

I saw them enacting the man clearing drainage with a long wooden pole. I saw a man holding the hands of another with others following in line, holding each other’s hands and walking towards a destination. There was the image of a traffic officer pointing also towards a place, in an upward direction through a line of cloud leading towards the sky, while just beneath him was a long line sloping downward.

They came through the clouds from one end of the sky towards another as more visions appeared before me such as the winged horses trotting thru and fro, the swords of the angels, a giant mushroom cloud and an ancient ship with sails swept by a strong wind, traversing an ocean that was then the night sky. I saw repeatedly a huge wooden face similar in features to the figure we see on totems and masts of ancient tribes.
If anyone would have been at the same time looking towards the sky, they would have observed that the clouds were so dynamic that at any one point, images of many articles and objects appeared, and they appeared to me to be messages from the sky. This must have been how ancient people developed their alphabets, by signs and symbols that evoke a certain thought or fact.

The angels made crossing signs with their arms, as if to seek recognition of their presence that I also made the same gestures—like a handshake perhaps. And there was a bearded man, with long hair sitting on a huge throne, with the widest grin in his face, seemingly orchestrating the entire show in the night sky.

It was on those nights also that my mind seemed to be awake while I sleep. In slumber, my mind would become a colorful movie screen that I have dreams so vivid that I felt I was almost living in those dreams—alive and breathing. One of those memorable dreams was about a handsome young man standing on the side of a pool, with many women that were wading their legs in the pool. This particular dream started when a man in black turban and black robes was climbing a low barren hill. My sight was behind this turbaned man and I was sort of floating just above him. As the man reached the top of the hill, he peeked towards the other side, using stealth and care, as if he was wary of probable observers. The hill would lead to a depression of land in a semi-circling shape, like a bowl, that at the bottom was a large pool with many women wading in it.

There was this handsome man standing at the farther side of the pool, to the upper-right corner from where my sight was positioned, his skin was bronze and gleaming and he wore a measly garment covering his lower body. The man stared back so intensely towards the direction of the turbaned man, with brows furrowed signaling his apparent disgust over an ascertained intrusion. Despite the relative distance of the hilltop and despite the use of great care made by the intruder, the man by the pool had known exactly where the turbaned man was and had an inkling of the wicked intention to invade his silences, as if the handsome man had a power of sight and premonition. And the dream faded away.

In one of those dreams, I saw a bearded man also looking towards the sky while standing upon a hill, with a turban in his head, and robes in a beautiful black hue.  Like me, he was also looking towards the sky, sifting the horizon for declarations. This was a relatively short dream that it felt like the snap shot of a camera.

In one of those dreams, I saw soldiers riding wild stallions as the horses furiously trod a desert to vanquish the enemies waiting ahead, ready to do battle. I saw this particular vision while I was floating above the wild stallions. It was a noisy dream that I felt somewhat rattled by the rumblings of horses’ hooves threading the earth so furiously and it was so real that I almost felt the ground tremble upon the ferocity of the stampede.

In another dream, I was in the middle of a gathering of monks wearing bright orange robes, walking among them in the crowd, readying eagerly for some forthcoming ritual or important ceremony. Each one of them was up in spirit, going thru and fro, minding each other’s concerns, shouting and belching at one another to straighten up this and rearrange that. Generally, there was a great feeling of excitement as the sun was full in the morning and because of such fullness, the sunrays had a glow that was a little bit yellow.

In one of those dreams I had found myself standing at the head of a huge ship, with many other ships on the wayside, approaching gradually a wide shore where the land was barren that I could see no greeneries whatsoever. Smoke and fog rises from the arid ground as the water was so still that as we sailed along, there was a silence that was uncanny and the little splashes of waves, as gentle wind swept by, was the only sound we hear. There were many persons aboard with me in that ship, all silent and sullen like there was a great tragedy that awaits us the moment we went ashore. They must have been soldiers anticipating a pre-destined battle---full of bloodshed, full of mayhem.

These dreams were so different from each other that I could not tread them together in order to come up with a single message or series of messages. All of the dreams seemed to speak of events happening in the ancient past, like memories hidden somewhere in the mazes of my mind. They were almost real that I could remember the details even as I write this and they were so clear and lucid that I have searched my waking memory for movies that I may have seen in the past, assuming maybe that some of those dreams were merely repetitions of scenes that I have witnessed in the near past. And there was no particular movie in my mind.

Unlike the visions, the images of my dreams did not have a clear message to declare.
Then came the most memorable night of all---the night when I saw an angel danced. There was the angel in long white robes with a hair length that reaches downward to its feet, with wings so lengthy that it filled half the sky that was in my view.

The angel danced with its hands swaying thru and fro, from left to right, and towards other directions, the hands in circling motions. It was a beautiful dance that it was almost familiar to me. The dancing angel instructed me to follow the dance and I followed it. First the angel kept on extending its arms so wide as if to invoke my repetition. I replicated its extended arms and the angel nodded. Then as the angel made each movement, I followed. When all the motions of the dance were finally revealed to me, the angel made a crossing sign with its arms, signaling the end of a lesson.

Until now, I recreate the dance over and over again. The dance was so magical that each time I recreate it I could feel an overall lightness of my being, of my body and soul, that it was sort of addictive, clearly a propagator of habit.

As I dance the dance of the angel, there is a force in my hands that startled me at first but to which I have grown accustomed to as days went by. It is a force that I could feel somehow strongly that it is impossible to disregard it or deny its existence. It is a force also that moves my entire body or at least interfering with the usual movements I make. It is such a palpable force in my hands that almost I could catch the wind. My hands until now seem to float above the wind whenever I put my open palms against any parallel surfaces.

            This experience is so magical that in fact, as I make my every move, I could feel a force within and without me, sort of behind me, sort of apart from me and yet somehow also inside me. I developed a queer movement of my body since.

And there were also the little men on the wall in front of my reading table. There were actually two men aboard a boat, one sitting in front while the other one is sitting at the back. They made movements and signs in order to relay messages and they are contained in this book, as well as the messages from angels I saw in the night sky. This a book about the messages from the angels, those divine beings that are apart and certainly above us, ultimately coming from the Father of Angels, God, the Creator of All Things. How I was able to impute these messages to God is a matter of utilizing my common awareness upon the nature of angels. This is also a book on things that comes upon my realization, as I look into myself in consequence of the visions in the night sky. I will relay them to you while imploring upon the guidance of the divinity---whether they are of wisdom or of fallacy.

There is a message that the angels wanted to impart to us all. And this is the message as summarized in one sentence: “There is a voyage towards life hereafter and everyone is invited”. To fully understand, please read on my brothers and sisters, so that we all may be aboard the ship that would take us to the Promised Land. Follow my footsteps.

Those who have eyes let them see. Those who have ears let them hear. These are my visions and let it be your visions also.






Chapter 1
The Night Beckons Me


            It is in the early hours of the night that they come amidst the marching clouds; when the wind was fragile and the moon was somewhere out of sight. Clouds of all sizes and magnitude swayed like sailboats and ships in an ever-moving sea. They remain vague to my naked eyes until I train it a little further until I gain more focus. Then the clouds would take shapes of all sizes, of men with great wings of the widest span---the images of angels appeared to me, as we know them in lore and stories of old, handsome in their white robes and wings white as pearls, signaling to me the messages that they desired to convey, in beautiful and graceful pantomime, vividly staging what to me was the greatest show ever witnessed by my mortal eyes. In some instances, winged horses appeared in the sky, just as handsome and nearly as graceful. And to emphasize their messages, the clouds would also take the form of other things, such as ships with giant sails, a traffic enforcer directing an intersection, a man clearing a canal, a beautiful woman adorned in a bridal gown, and a giant mushroom cloud. And the most enigmatic of all these vision was a very endearing bearded man, with hair lengthy and full, with a big grin on his face, sitting on a huge throne. If I was not mistaken, the bearded man on a huge throne was Jesus Christ Himself.

            The cacophony of visions came through a span of many nights that until now, as I looked towards the sky, night or day, the clouds would take shape and there would appear “the greatest show on Earth”, to repeat and reiterate the messages, to make known that they have come to fulfill a promise that was given to us in a time that was so long ago. The angels have come indeed.

            They have these wings with span nearly double their heights, and physical features that could easily be described as epitomizing the perfection of the human body. Indeed, the sight of them is so invigorating that I could feel a certain surge in my heart whenever they appear---such feeling of happiness and lightness.

            There is also a feeling of being overwhelmed by the sight of an amazing grace, a view of an unparalleled beauty whenever the angels appear, a feeling of being subdued by a higher being that in my mind I vowed and declared full obedience to them and sought their utmost consideration. I asked for understanding of my being a lesser man, for the sins of my past and of the present, nearly confessing all my sins where my memory could reach them and seeking forgiveness as I avowed repentance.

          The angels came through the clouds in order to impart to us a message so full of hope and promises, a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow---to lead us towards a place and time that had been murmured and whispered to us from the beginning until the end of times. They have come to invite us all to follow their footsteps towards a voyage that would take us to a land full of joy and happiness, towards an everlasting life, in a world in which all men are brothers and sisters to each other with no regard to race or creed - where conflict becomes a thing of the past. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”[1] 

            The Creator of All Thing---God---have prepared for us a new Earth, a paradise reborn somewhere in one of the constellation found in the universe, and there would be many worlds to dwell as well as mansions in the clouds. The worthy shall have wings of great span where the entire universe is a place for us to wander upon, an infinite territory for us to dwell, without the limitations of our present habitat.

            One may ask why have the angels come? Why at this point in time?  Is the end of the world nearly approaching? Have they come to punish us? Or have they come to bring the graces of the Lord?

            The message is but singular, of a voyage towards a life hereafter and everyone is invited. Those who are chosen shall be aboard the ship and theirs is the rewards of Heaven.

            Underlying the invitation towards the Kingdom of God is a message for us to follow the way of the righteous and not that of the blind. It is a time for spiritual reawakening to the true meaning of our faith and the meaning of our existence here on Earth. It is a wake-up call for all of us, to work for changes and to heal this world from the many evils that holds it down like a monkey wrench. It is a time for us to prepare our souls for the coming voyage.

            A spiritual renewal and reawakening of humanity must come soon and a world of understanding and harmony must be pursued in order that humankind shall be cleansed of the many evils that have pervaded within and around us. It is for us to thwart the many evils that had enveloped our everyday lives as well as the many great evils that give the peace of this world its present fragility.

            Global terrorism and racial wars are stains to the very idea of a livable world, as God had intended it to be, as men nowadays kill in the name of false pride and false dignity, upon groundless assumptions and flawed conclusions.

            Jews are greedy many say and soon conflict arises. Arabs are bloodthirsty and discrimination easily prevails. America is the great evil some say and upheaval takes place violently while the real evil permeates somewhere else. Europeans are imperious, they say and isolation results. Asians are too close-minded, and prejudice takes strength.

            And ultimately, one Christian is against one Moslem and one Jew would be against one Christian.

            These are causes of conflicts that are hounding us today and many times in the past and these causes, if we examined them closely, are grossly specious and unwarranted; when the truth of the matter is that many great conflicts that the world faces today merely arises from the basic evils each of us suffers. The envy and hate of one man injures another man. The envy and hate of many men injures the peace of the world. In order to repeal the great evils that harms us in a global scale, it is but time to heal ourselves with the many and “common” evils we face every day. To stave away the great prejudices in this world, we have to take away first our personal prejudices.

            If we could not defeat the evils in each and every one of us, then how could we aim to defeat the great evils that hound the entire humanity? All great evils come from the small evils in each man. For the devil implants in us a seed of evil and this seed would grow into full fruition if we do not stifle them with great faith in God and in the righteousness of man. In order to change the world, it is essential to change the self first.

            In our everyday lives, many evils occur around us that their incidence have already reached a certain level of acceptability, as if they are merely part of our everyday life---a routine, a culture, and a habit.

            Men in government steal every day and we say there goes just another government man. Men gossip against another every day, and we just say there goes another gossiper. Men lie in order to gain advantage almost every time, and he is just another opportunist.

            There are many in our midst---a neighbor or a co-worker---who covet another man’s wife or lust upon another man’s daughter or son, and yet they are not so much already as a surprise to us all. And every day many lives are taken due to the violence of some men; and while indeed killing is ever contemptible, we could not anymore escape their seeming ordinariness.

            We must repel these “common evils” and rebel strongly to their occurrences. To lie and to gossip may be small faults and yet does a gossiper enter the Kingdom of God? Of course not, for a habitual gossiper would only disrupt the peace and harmony in Paradise. Therefore, gossiping then is just about similar to stealing and that to killing. If to gossip is never to enter the Kingdom of God, then what makes it less detestable than to steal or kill? (A lesser punishment perhaps for a lesser crime?) 

            There might be the cognizance of lesser crimes as compared to graver crimes but why should we risk losing the Kingdom of God with lesser sins when both the gossiper and the murderer shall be cast away from the Promised Land and thrown into “the vengeance of an eternal fire”.[2]

            What we need today is a total cleansing of our spiritual selves, to go back to the roots of basic ethics as declared to us in countless ways and in too many instances, over and over again, whether in The Torah or in The Holy Bible or in the Noble Qur’an. For all these books, no matter the discrepancy in their roots, declares adherence to the same basic concept of ethics, a code of conduct that is uniform regardless of religion or creed for every religion is very similar in their propagation of good and the casting away of evil deeds, where stealing is intolerable as well as gossiping and where fornication is ever abominable. If every religion despises the thief and the fornicator what difference does it make then?

             Let us go back to the dictates of the Holy Bible, of the Noble Qur’an, of the Torah, or of the teachings of Buddha and Confucius. All religion preaches the propagation of goodness and the avoidance of evil and in them our salvation is secured and the dictates of the Lord God, as declared in many times and in many forms, are far too clear in fact for us to ignore them. The desires of God on how to go about our conduct were simple that to feign ignorance is almost criminal. Even if you have not read any book on religion or hear the sermon of any preacher, you could always determine what is good and what is evil by invoking the discretion of your heart and mind, and ultimately the inquiries of your consciences. For example, the act of murder is absolutely disdainful to anyone and wherever it may happen for it takes away the right of another to live and causes intense sorrow and difficulties to the kinsmen of the dead one. You do not have to read the Bible or the Qur’an in order to know that murder is wrong. We feel a burden in our hearts whenever we commit wrong. It is like a microchip imbedded to us by God so that we may not be led astray and yet many among us have opted to disregard this mode of self-determining the propriety of our conduct, preferring to lavish their earthly instincts by disregarding the callings of our consciences, leading them ultimately to no other place but their own perdition.

            Stealing is abhorred in every religion. Killing is always heinous. Adultery and fornication are pure abomination in whatever religion. Gossiping is vice always.

            On the other hand, sharing is ever enriching. Helping the poor and the needy is a must to us all. Every religion teaches us to love our neighbors and to have the greatest faith in God---the Creator of All things---these are the usual works and traits of a man with great faith whatever religion he may profess.

            All these dictates (in whatever book they are contained) are all very simple and easy to comprehend that we do not need extraordinary intelligence in order to know what is good and what is bad. It does not matter if the dictates came from Jesus Christ, from Abraham, from Moses, from Prophet Mohammad or from Buddha; for if we examine closely all their teachings, they are very similar to one another, that is, the propagation of the good and the avoidance of evil.

            Every religion may be peculiar and unique on its own ways that certainly many differences arise. However, these differences are what we call marginal and does not often comes in the nature of substantial matters. These variances often come in social conducts and customs like the food we eat or the rituals of prayers yet the basic ethical dictates are generally similar. At the bottom of it all is that, it is not how we have faith in religion but how we have faith in God.

             We need merely to realize the undeniable fact that God existed long before any religion arose, before the word “Roman Catholic” or “Islam” was conceived. And God has no religion. God loves the proper and obedient may he be a Chinese, a Russian, an American, a Jew or an Arab. The Christians pray while kneeling. The Moslems touches the ground with their foreheads. The Hindus does not eat cow’s meat. The Buddhist meditates for long hours. These are differences merely in the conduct and practice of religion. For Americans eat potatoes as staple while Asians have rice on their table every day. Europeans have wine upon every meal while many of us have water instead. These differences are not reason for us to kill each other and be separated by prejudices for in fact the differences among us were meant to make this world more livable, to have synergy and diversity in our existence, so that a true brotherhood of man could be attained, where there is the acceptance that your brother may not look like you but still he is your brother.

            For how could we ever imagine a world of Catholics all in faith or of a world of Asians all in race? The world then would be an existence of monotony, without assortment and diversity, and that would be a boring and insufferable world.  When variety does not take place, no one would travel anymore in order to learn the unknown, for the conditions in other places and continents would just be the same as the place where one is coming from. And all the things that are found there are also found in the place where you are. Trade would not prosper if every civilization in the past produced silk, mine gold, molded porcelains and grow spices, olive oils, cotton and tea---all at the same time. There would have been no Spanish galleons and Chinese junks crossing oceans in the past. The Spaniard would not have met and known the existence of the Chinese man half a world away.

            No one would have asked questions on the nature and peculiarity of other men if all of them looked the same, with the same facial features, the same body structure, the same culture and hence the same character. Why would I be interested in you if in fact you are just the same as me? I would not have the usual motive to know you and to get acquainted with you, in order to inquire more upon your conditions in life, about your family, and your occupation if you are just the same as me. I would not have converse with you with the same level of interest as when you have blond hair and stand so tall while in contrast I am short and have brown skin. I would not be able to understand you as much, for our monogamy in person would make me inquire about you lesser.

            Let not the differences in race and creed divide us but instead let them allow us towards unity and enhanced understanding among people of different roots and credos. We are brothers and sisters all, born from the same Creator, the same Maker. We all must agree that all things come from the one Creator, the only one God. We are all the offspring of the Lord.

            Indeed, the rewards of the obedient are bountiful and aplenty beyond expectations and the punishment for those who have been defiant to the dictates of the Creator shall be of suffering that is also beyond the boundaries of our human comprehension. The reward is an everlasting life of joy and happiness in the Kingdom of God while the punishment is never-ending suffering and castigation in hellfire.






CHAPTER 2
The Dance of Life


            In one of those nights of enchantment, while the wind remained fragile and ethereal, a collection of thin clouds gathered in the middle of the sky and formed the image of an angel. As the vision fortified, I could see the angel clearly. This angel was different from the rest that I have seen before for this angel had hair so long that it reaches the area of its feet, and wearing a long white robe.

            The angel must have been a woman or a man with all too lengthy hairs---I just could not tell at that time because the distance from the ground to the sky is of course immense even if the image of the vision was larger than their actual size. Then the angel spread its wings of the widest span and I stared diligently. For some moment, the angel kept on motioning its wings to spread so wide until I felt like imitating it and the angel nodded. So I spread my two arms as wide as the wings of the angel. Then the angel showed its arms and its hands making some varied movements with it, the hands in an open palm position. After some moment, the angel placed its hands in the middle of its body, somewhere near its chest, both open palms facing its other. After a moment, the hands made a movement that brought the hands and arms towards the left side, with the hands remaining in an open palm position. The hands came back to the middle-of-chest position. After a moment, the hands went into a looping motion towards the right side. After that, the hands went back to the middle-of-chest position. The angel kept repeating the basic routines and I kept following and imitating the hand movements until the angel made complicated movements with its hands and arms, a circling motion towards all directions, towards above and towards down low, towards the east side and west side of its body, towards north-west and towards north-east, until the hand and arm movements became so intricate that I failed to catch up further with the angel. The Angel ended the hands movement and crossed its arms in front of its chest, as if saying, “so long” and slowly faded away.

            I pondered upon the significance of the vision of the dancing angel. Was it another message? If it were, what would the message be when by all means of analogy the graceful movement of the angel’s hands does not bring to mind any symbols or signs that declare some fact or issue. It was merely a combination of movements, some sort of calisthenics.

            I went to bed that night heavy with thoughts. I had felt so strongly that somewhere in my memory, the sight of the dance had already occurred to me. It was a familiar display of movements that it was not that strange to me anymore to witness such spectacle. I was pretty sure of that, as if everything was a memory, a sort of a déjà vu. There was wonderment that spawned a glee in my heart. A giddiness resulting from a discovery of something that I never thought could happen before. The divinity was starting to reach out to the mortals, and this reality finally kicked in.

            The following morning, while the air was still pregnant with heavy mist and early dawn enveloped the still hushed streets of Manila---while many eyes were still shut in deep slumber---I stood up and recreated the dance of the angel that I have witnessed in the sky the night before. I made the movements to the left of my body and then towards the right and then towards the middle, while my palms were open and my arms were extended. I repeated and repeated the movements of the angel. It was sort of surprising that I was recreating the dance all too easily as if I have been dancing it a number of times before, as if it was my own dance, except that the more complicated movements were harder to recreate at first that I tried and tried before I finally got them in the manner that I have seen them, with the help of a force that moves within and without me. Altogether, the dance was like putting on a very familiar cloth, merely feeling a second skin.

            As I made the movements again and again, I could feel a palpable surge in my spirit, an embalming feeling of lightness that I could not stop moving my hands. After some moments, I could feel a certain force in my hands, a kind of a magnetic field to be more particular, that I just left my hands to move on its own. And my hands would indeed move independently by themselves! I merely let them sway to the will of the force that controlled it and then my hands were finally able to recreate the complicated movements of the angel, the ones that I found difficult to remake. It was purely magical, an out-of-this-world experience. My hands were floating and my spirit rising.

            It was indeed an awakening for me, a sudden realization that the new reality set forth before me was something I did not expect even in my wildest dreams. How do you expect anyone to really believe in angels, anyway? There are mythical things that I had easily disregarded before, to be merely staple of fantasy movies, of fairy tales, and one of such beings are the angels. And then these things happened and I had no other choice but to accept it.  For how was I still to deny that phenomenal occurrence when there was already a palpable force in my hands, a force that was already controlling to a certain extent the very movements of my body? Tears flowed from my eyes like a river for I felt an overwhelming feeling of enchantment and of gratitude for having been given the privileged to feel this very unusual but all too beautiful experience. As a result, I was already conversing to a one that I call “My Lord”, in whispers and through my mind.

            I kept saying, “Thank you my Lord for letting me have these enchanting experience and if it goes away tomorrow, or disappears from me altogether, I would still be forever grateful to you for now something has been fortified in me; that is, my faith in God, the Creator of all things great and small.”

            Day after day, at dawn and at near midnight, I kept recreating the dance and continue to feel the enlightenment that it had afforded my inner self.  Addictive is a word I shall use if I have to describe it. It is also habit forming that at times when my guards were down, I made the movements even if I was in the law library of San Beda, the school where I was reviewing for the bar examination, reading law books after law books endlessly. It was very useful to me that whenever I felt the stress of lengthy and continuous reading, the movements had helped refreshed my mind and body. There were some passersby and some acquaintances that were able to observe me doing the hand movements and they showed immediate curiosity with some hidden smirk on their faces thinking perhaps that I might be having a serious emotional breakdown. But still many of them showed genuine interest and inquired about it and I just tell them that it was a meditation which I use to manage my stress and that I have learned it from a book I’ve read about ancient Chinese meditation. The “meditation lie” was a comfortable white lie, allowing me to easily stave away many concerned and insistent inquiries. I just could not tell anyone at that time that I was seeing angelic visions in the night. I was too wary that the people around me at that time may label me as an insane person just as easily, knowing that these kind of occurrences does not happen every day and they are harder to believe than the existence of life in Mars.

            Upon its enriching qualities, I have upon myself inquired on the very nature of the dance. As a student of laws and as an avid reader of many established philosophies, I always had the inquiring mind ready whenever I am faced with questions that have no ready and immediate answers. I have always approached every premise upon the careful method of uncovering a hypothesis, attacking every unknown idea with scientific processes, a mode that I have learned through years of education and training in the classroom. I have exhausted all possible explanation and yet I could not find any established fact or notion that would explain the nature of the dance, in relation to the vision of the angels. The only explanation I had then was that divinity is establishing itself as an undeniable reality and that it is now setting forth its presence at this particular point in time, reasserting its existence and dominion in the world where for many years and centuries, it had gotten lost in the great advancement that man had achieve in so short a period of time. Reasserting its existence in a time when humans can already be cloned and computers are nearly reaching the point of independent thought---a time of extraordinary progress for humankind.

            I looked further into myself for rationalizations that would justify these visions while quelling any hope of explaining it scientifically, for no scientific processes could dissect it properly. As I danced the dance of the angel, I studied the beautiful movements I was making, what they evoke and what their purposes are. I started to take faith in my own notions (where there seem to be no other recourse left for me) and my head kept nodding independently as if someone invincible was saying: “Go ahead, your notions are true”. So I looked deeper into myself and interpreted the dance as the manner of creating Heaven and Earth, as the Divine One had done it in a time before us.

            The hands evoked earth, wind, water and fire. I had called the dance, “The Dance of Life” since.

            The dance on another view connotes the harmony of our existence. An earth there, but not too much earth, water thereat, but not too much water, fire in this part of existence, but not too much fire and wind that blows from all directions, but not too much wind.

            Everything that is lacking has desperation written on it but on the other hand, whatever in excess is scoffing by its nature. There must be balance in life. When this balance ceases, everything falls apart.

            Indeed, the dance speaks of the balance and harmony of our existence, of how the world and the universe should behave. Every man would do himself or herself the greatest good if he or she treats his or her own person as a universe of its own, putting a balance to it, therefore attaining a harmonious existence within and without him.

            In every action, the man should have a ready instinct of inquiring upon every act he make, whether this act would harm the body and soul or would it harm that of others. How does my action affect the harmony of my own existence as well as that of others? If I harm others, would it be possible that they would also harm me? If I speak against this person, would he or she not speak of me also in a bad light?

            This is a mode inculcated to us by nature, this questioning mind---the very spirit of our conscience for that matter. However, through years of conditioning, we dispel this questioning mind as easily, in order to look out merely for the greatest benefit to the self no matter how they harm us or other persons.  As we commit these unkindly actions, our world becomes limited because we are always hiding from someone we harmed before. We deviate from going to places where others whom we have harmed or injured before may pass along. And the ones we harmed would limit their universes as well, trying so earnestly to evade us. And the self becomes a limited universe, a disharmonious existence, and an existence of disarray. Nobody wants to live in this kind of universe. And ultimately God would not want to grant a boundless existence to those who by their own mischief and indiscretion had limited their own universe because the Universe of God is boundless and infinite, and no one who is full of mischief would be allowed to enter this Universe that God had promised us from the beginning of time, for they are a threat to the harmony of a limitless, boundless, and unending Universe of God.

            For it was often said before that in order not to fall into the doldrums of life’s misery, a man must know how to balance his life in order that he may be able to live contently. Even the physical act of walking, a balance must concur as he strolls along or else the man walking would surely stumble. It is undeniable that the existence of man today (in his temporary sojourn in this material world) is a perpetual traipsing between good and evil, between the excessive and the wanting, between love and hate. He had to maneuver carefully to retain the balance---a condition that is desirable---for the road ahead is always fraught with temptations, those excessive pleasures of the devil, that form the manholes of our morality.

            The balance of man that I speak of however is not too analogical to the bodily balance a man must attain in the very physical act of walking. This balance of man has an unusual fulcrum because the more you go to one side (that is, towards the side of goodliness) the better balance you would have. It is the balance of man between the good and the evil. The balance of a man is an idea that propels us to believe in ourselves, of our being human, the most beautiful and glorified creation of God, for it has been said at one time or another that “man was created in the image of God Himself”, and hence man’s purpose of being is to become the exemplification of the ideal creation, closer to the perfection of God.

            The material world is a training ground for us, a milling factory of the soul, a litmus test for every man that whomsoever attained the qualities that our Creator had dictated to us as the ideal human being, as often relayed to us by our old folks and as instructed to us by many holy books, and through many examples and stories of wisdom, like the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the life of the Enlightened One known to many of us as Buddha, the adventures of those knights in shining armor, the travails of Robin Hood, the diligent boy scout that assist the old in crossing the street, the courage and valor of the revolutionary hero fighting the cause of an oppressed people, the causes Martin Luther King, Jr. stood for, the sacrifices made by Indira Gandhi, the gallantry of Joan of Arc, the charity of Mother Teresa, the genius of Jose Rizal, and the liberty and freedom of Abraham Lincoln. They are the goodliness of man that had been attained before by mortals like us and there is no reason that every man could not attain this level of humanity even while toiling in his or her daily existence.

            The balance that the man has to attain is a shield against the mischief of evil, for evil is ever present and ever threatening in this present world that we live in, in order to sway us to the dark side and pull us down towards everlasting suffering and pain in what was termed in the Bible as “the vengeance of an eternal fire”. [3]

            Evil will permeate in us if we lose the self---the ideal self--that there are times that we feel the urges to commit things we instinctively feel as abominable. And because these urges are at most times irrepressible, we would indeed commit these abominations. For as angels are supernatural in form (material at one time and spirit at other times), and so are demons. Whenever these demons find an imbalanced man (due to his lack of faith in the Creator and in the ideal self), they come in and conquer the fragile self, to dictate the will in order to lead the person to commit acts and deeds that defile the self. They feast upon man’s primordial feeling of envy and prejudice and upon other human instincts and imperfections, and propagate their culture of madness, a culture of irresponsible pleasures and of impatience. Often we feel so discontented and frustrated that we often come to the point of intending and committing defiant acts such as gossiping, stealing and fornicating in order to satiate our impatient urges, desires and pleasures. And there are those who would even kill or harm another man’s life just to satisfy their frustrations---such is the nature of evil.

            There are many who would covet their neighbor’s wife or daughter in order to satiate the irresponsible dictates of the flesh, to use authority to gain ungodly favors from some innocent victim. Lust is an instinct of man that is often used by demons to sway the soul towards the fold of darkness for it is in lust that men have the greatest weakness.

            Many would kill for no other reason but prejudice and envy. Many would steal to present themselves falsely as more worthy of wealth than others do or to falsely present themselves as more privileged. Such is the nature of evil.

            The demons are very invasive that they come into our persons like water into a vessel and urge us to commit abominations. As the man possessed takes pleasures from these evil acts, the demons, which have conquered him, take the more pleasure from it. After we committed these misdeeds, we often feel a feeling of resentment (as we somehow regain our human self after the demons flee our body), realizing the very nature of the acts we have committed, and to realize so belatedly, when the harm done could not be undone anymore.

            If we have the strength of faith, the fortitude of God’s teachings and dictates, and the belief in the ideal self, the demons would never succeed in pushing us to fall on the wayside, to make us lose our balance, and the Kingdom of God is for us to dwell after we leave this temporary world.

            There are many among us however, who do not anymore feel the usual feeling of remorse after the commission of a misdeed, no matter how grave these misdeeds are. It is a condition attained where the conscience of man have already been numbed and stunted due to the repetition of misdeeds, committing the evil act over and over again, like a habit.

            The thief would certainly feel the pangs of remorse the first time he commits the evil act of stealing. On the second commission of theft, there would still be some remorse but not as heavy as the first time. After committing the act of stealing over and over again, the thief would lose his conscience altogether and starts to feel that thieving is but common and ordinary and stealing becomes a beneficial and rewarding act instead of being such a scourge to the society as a whole.

            The murderer would also feel in the same manner. His conscience would be numbed with the repeated act of taking another man’s life. The first time he killed, the face of his victim would hound him until he toss and turn in his bed, but after many more commissions, he would feel no such qualms anymore and there would come a point where he would take life as if he was just eating peanuts in a moonlit park.

            The fornicator who commits abomination over and over again would also have his or her conscience numbed and stunted. The first time that the adulterer ravished the flesh, he must have felt so burdened by such act of abomination. But after repeated commission of the irresponsible sexual conduct, he would have no more conscience to bear. The doers of fornication would surely feel the heaviness of his or conscience the moment the commission of such abomination takes place and to commit this confusion of man, they would have to take in alcohol and drugs in order to numb this heavy conscience. And with repeated commission of such confusion of the mind and heart, the fornicator would entirely lose the checking mechanism of the heavy conscience. Such is the nature of evil.

               There would be no more conscience to speak of in a highly imbalanced man for he had already allowed himself to be a follower of the devil, where as a result he and the demon who had perturbed him becomes already of the same breed and of the same kind. And both shall indeed be cast into the “vengeance of an eternal fire”. It is the evil that haunts us that we should always be on the lookout against.

            But to the man who takes great faith in the Creator, and believe in the very purpose and nature of man---as he was created, in order to do good and avoid evil---demons could not conquer and deceit him. Every attempt to disturb him with deceit would be futile and fruitless when he has the strongest faith in his human self and in the Creator who had born him. And he shall be allowed to persist in an everlasting life of peace and harmony in the life hereafter---a life full of joy---sliding over into another world of existence just moments after he perishes from this material world. He shall reap the rewards of God and he shall have wings of the greatest span where Heaven is an infinite universe for him to spread his wings. There would be many mansions to choose from, castles in the clouds, a Paradise reborn, and many worlds of different kind to visit, for indeed it is an entire universe of existence in which for us to dwell---this Kingdom of God.

            Those who cultivate their hearts, their sympathy for others and their faith in the Creator, to follow His edicts and judgments shall have wings of the greatest span. The balance of man is rooted in the sympathetic heart, a pure and loving heart, and a rational and understanding heart. When we cultivate our sympathy for others with love, faith, hope and charity, we create a footing on the ground beneath our feet, where no storm could shake it and no evil could transgress such valiant stand. “Though I may walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil.” [4]







Chapter 3
The Democracy of Good Deeds and the Communism
Of Bad Deeds

            Goodliness is the absence of ugliness. It is the idea of the basic goodness of man that the angels want to propagate in order to attain a harmonious co-existence among men in this material world where violence and other forms of evil are ever permeating.

            It is often said that to err is human. Indeed man is said to be imperfect that it is almost impossible to see in your mind's eye the perfect goodliness of man. It is in fact upon these premise that I seek to push the idea of a mode of action I shall call now “The Democracy of Good Deeds and the Communism of Bad Deeds”.

            It is upon the point of imperfection of man that we should find motivation to improve the spiritual self for indeed to be human is to be imperfect. Let us not tolerate however the idea that “I am human therefore I sin”, but rather “I am human and therefore I err”. It is entirely unwise to pursue a life of sin just because we consider ourselves to be imperfect.

            Is it merely to err to steal millions of people’s money? It is merely to err to fornicate without any sense of responsibility? Is it merely to err to sexually abuse your work subordinates? Is it merely to err to kill another human being?  Is it human to err so gravely?

            It is not that we should demand upon ourselves to evade committing each and every mistake for this would be unrealistic. It is for us to deviate from doing deeds that are gravely wrong. There are deeds committed by men that are so grievously abominable that there is no room for reasoning out that they are merely mistakes or errors of judgments. Certainly, to kill a man just because of his race is a mistake or an error no more. It is purely evil to commit acts or deeds that are intentionally propagated by men to harm or injure others, patently debased of morals and principles.

            Just the same as with fornication where men take great pleasures from the indiscriminate lavishing of the flesh, without regards to responsibility and consequences.

            Just as so to the very greedy businessman who takes all the wealth for himself disregarding the labor of his workers, to undervalue the fruits of another man’s labor, for a man may have hundreds of acres of land but without workers to help him produce wealth from such land, it is virtually useless to him—he might as well sell it.
            Just the same with the government official who routinely steals money from the finances of the government for the act of altering accounting records is not a mere error of judgment anymore.
            The idea that I am promoting here is the concept that men should always be conscious and cognizant about every action or words that he make in his everyday life---to be fully aware of its effects to himself as well as to others---for every action has a two-pronged effect, that is, the effect on the self and the effect on others.

            If I speak these words, how does it benefit me and how does it affect others? That is the basic question that should be inculcated in each and every one of us, as if to allow such mechanism of thought to be already a second skin to us, a habit that could not be easily broken—to have that perpetual questioning mind and heart, the very spirit of the inner workings of our consciences.
            One may argue that this concept of constant awareness to every word or action may curtail the spontaneity of human interactions. Life may not be pleasant if we remain overly conscious of every word we utter and every action we make. We must not be very particular about this disadvantage, for indeed there are many words or actions that we could do without the questioning heart and mind. Whether to drink coffee or tea, whether I would sing or dance, or whether to read or write, these are actions that do not demand proper guidance of the questioning mind and heart so that men could still flow with spontaneity in their daily conduct. But whether or not to appropriate this money knowing fully well that it is not yours is an action that requires proper contemplation just as whether to seduce this woman or not?  The same as to the question of whether or not to gossip against another person or not; just the same as to the question of whether or not to help a man with an empty stomach lying on the side streets. These are deeds that demand the guidance of our questioning minds and hearts.
            The concept of the democracy of good deeds is easier to illustrate and understand if every one of us treats the self as a smaller body of government. For indeed every government are democratic or communistic, proletarian or authoritarian. “So what is my form of government?” you might ask. What is best suited for me and most beneficial to me? What form of government could enhance my spiritual self?
            A purely democratic government, where there is an unhindered flow of freedom, is not ideal for as I mentioned earlier, everything in excess is scoffing by nature. Absolute freedom results to excesses.
            A purely communistic government at the same time is not ideal for it would strangle us and prevent us from experiencing the true meaning of life. A suitable government for the self therefore would be a well-balanced government, not purely democratic but not also purely communistic. A government that is situated somewhere in the middle of two extremes. This form of government, if we relate it to the government of the self is what I call “The Democracy of Good Deeds and the Communism of Bad Deeds”. It is a concept of self-government that in its truest form is the propagation of all good deeds and if possible, the curtailment of all bad deeds. If this concept would be attained, we would attain a certain level of goodliness that exacts the very idea of how the Creator had intended man to be---righteous and enlightened---entirely fortified in his resolve to struggle against the piercing menace of evil. For indeed, in the Kingdom of God that the Creator had promised us, no man full of evil mischief would be allowed to enter for he would merely spoil the harmony and peace among brothers and sisters existing therein.
            In the democracy of good deeds and the communism of bad deeds, it is ideal that man should propagate good deeds democratically, that is without restrictions in so long as it is possible while on the other hand, bad deeds are curtailed by a government with an iron hand, a communistic attitude towards mischief.
            If we say that man is of no perfection as we admitted earlier, then we must recognize the possibility of sin that in this context, man should be about ninety-five percent good in his everyday conduct and five percent bad, this five percent are for those mistakes that are committed unknowingly, a sort of a margin of error, for indeed no man is perfect. Is this concept attainable?  That is the million-dollar question. It is a question that every man should ask himself every day and every hour of his life. And the ultimate question of it all is: “Have I prepared myself to enter the dwelling house of the Father?”
            For certain, if one would hold this concept of the democracy of good deeds and the communism of bad deeds as proper and acceptable, one would more or less feel a sentiment of enlightenment and of a spiritual awakening.
            But on the one hand we say that nobody has been perfect and everyone has for one time or another, has already committed such bad deeds that this concept is not useful anymore. It is too late already as one would say, as one have already done such grievous things in the past and would never in the first place be able to prepare themselves to enter the Kingdom of God.
            Do not fret and do not be disheartened. The angels have come with their messages and one of them that they brought here is the reward of repentance and then of forgiveness for man should be redeemed from the life of a blind being led by the blind. Every man would be given the privilege of repentance as long as he or she immediately recognized his past mistakes and ponder upon them and repent and confess. To accept the Creator as the only salvation, the Lord of all Lords, and shall then follow all His edicts and judgments. To go back to the churches, to the faith of the forefathers, to Jesus Christ or to Allah the Most Merciful and the Most Omnipotent, through his messenger Prophet Mohammad (Peace be Upon Him) or to Buddha the Enlightened One or to Abraham, the Father of Judaism or to the righteous commandments of Hinduism.
            Repentance alone however is not enough for that would amount to false awakening. We should produce fruits from our repentance. If we have stolen a million pesos, we should recompense for this malefaction by returning the same amount to the one we have stolen from and then by committing to charity to help uplift the condition of the poorest of the poor. If we gossip against another, we should recompense for our sin by asking for the person’s forgiveness and reaching out to him or her, and making her feel loved and cared for instead of despised. The reward of repentance is so great that everyone is given the opportunity to mend his or her ways and accept God back to his or her life.
            Now, the inevitable question is: Are persons who committed grievous acts like murder and fornication be given the same privileged of repentance? To this question I shall say that for the sake of lasting peace and harmony, even them could be given the privilege with the same requirements of producing fruits from their repentance. To be sure, the heavier the sin, the heavier is the fruit of repentance. Murderers should face their punishment in the hands of the law and at the same time help uplift others specially the family of the victim, whenever possible. Murderers and fornicators even by themselves, should treat themselves as prisoners of God and should act imprisoned and live a life of full devotion to the Creator, limiting their words and actions so much more than others, to the extent of treating their lives as not theirs anymore but to the Creator. Yet, take heed that the repentance given by the Lord is never to be abused for there are those who sinned promiscuously and then anticipating the gift of repentance to be always there. To sin now and repent later---this is foolish for the sinner clearly desire to circumvent the mercy of the Lord by abusing it.
            The privilege of repentance is such an incomparable “Gift of God” for He loves humanity so much that He had sent His angels to guide the lost and wandering and redeem it from a world of violence and wickedness. However, this privilege is not for the abusive that would easily take advantage of such reward. The gift of repentance could only be availed and given by Him but once. It is so doubly malicious to carry on with one’s conduct thinking that the reward of repentance is always there anyway and could be availed of anytime. The doubly malicious would think, “I would commit more sins for anyway, there is a reward of repentance waiting for me later on”, this mode of conduct and thinking is completely unacceptable and anyone who would take advantage of this reward would have double punishment, of a punishment that is already painful beyond expectation, what the Bible described as “the vengeance of an eternal fire”, where there would be “wailing and gnashing of teeth” in “a lake of fire”.
            Let us practice the concept of “The Democracy of Good Deeds and the Communism of Bad Deeds” for this would guide us and help us reach our destination in our own respective voyages to eternal life, for there is no greater objective in the life of a man than to prepare the self to the ultimate existence of enlightenment, of everlasting life of peace and harmony among brothers and sisters where there is no more suffering, sorrow and pain and where there is even be no more death. As the Bible tell us in the Revelation, “Blessed are they that do His commandments that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”[5]








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Chapter 4
The Accidental Tourist

            What do we mean by producing fruits from our repentance? To produce fruits from our repentance is the condition attached to the rewards of forgiveness that the angels have brought with them and this condition must be fulfilled.
            To produce fruits from our repentance is an edict of replacing what we had taken, of returning what we had borrowed, and putting back into the condition in the past of a thing or persons ruined and defiled by us to the extent of the condition taking place before our particular misdeeds had caused such ruin and injury. What is broken should be unbroken. A thief should give back the money he stole, and the fornicator should live a life of total devotion to the edicts of God, evading fully even the mere thought of lust and temptation. It is also to ensure our soul by giving back more than we had taken that for instance, if you stole a car, you must give back the amount of the car you stole and more in addition. That is to ensure the acceptance of your repentance.
            There is also another way of producing fruits from our repentance of countless sins throughout our lifetime, those that we could not trace anymore, for as we say to be human in a world despoiled of strong faith, is to have committed countless sins that are so countless that we lose count of them. This mode of repayment is the cultivation of your hearts by helping others to be uplifted from a life of hardship and misery. That is the power of the rewards of repentance. In the interest of everlasting peace and harmony among brethren, producing fruits from your repentance could be fitting in this manner. You shall be forgiven but only if you repent immediately and produce fruits from your repentance, in order to make a complete turnaround and turn away from a life of sin and falsity, to accept God fully and follow His edicts and judgments from then on.
            This convenient mode of producing fruits from our repentance however, should not in no way be abused for even a minute abuse of these would mean eternal damnation in hellfire so that it is still a primary edict that what you steal you must return, whom you abused must be disabused, whom you killed must be recompensed and what is broken must be unbroken.
            Indeed, even as we do not have to produce fruits from our repentance, the most beautiful manner of cultivating our hearts is by helping others get back on their feet, to uplift the condition of the poorest of the poor, those unfortunate brothers and sisters of ours who live in the slums and giant piles of garbage, living in ultimate squalor, endangering not only their lives but the lives of their children and their olds.
            One might argue that the idea of sharing that I am strongly professing would only promote and cradle a lazy society, establishing a welfare system for slothful and laggard people, a system where people depend on others instead of their own capability to survive and rise above poverty. There is nothing farther from the truth. Let us realize that the condition of poverty is never intentional anywhere in the world for no man chose to become miserable and it is not the desire of any man to suffer poverty.

            Even the richest nation in the world has a welfare system for the poor, in fact the wealthier the nations become, and the stronger their welfare systems are. 
            Everybody wants to work and scurry for their own daily bread. Nobody desires to live the desperation of a beggar’s life. Man is by nature proud and dignified even from birth. If we think this way, it would be easier for us to accept the role of the brother’s keeper, to share whenever possible and whenever necessary. 
            Poverty is an existence brought about by factors that are mostly beyond the control of any man like the lack of opportunity in a master-and-slave society, where the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer. These factors are independent of the poor man’s will. A master-and-slave society would always put him down, like a drowning man caught in the middle of a storm that even as he is able to swim, the giant waves would be too much for him to handle.
            In a society where opportunities are limited to some sectors, where monopolies abound and cartels persist unhindered; both in business and labor, as well as in the possession of arable lands, the drowning man is an everyday reality.
            Most rich people gained wealth by simply having the right opportunities at the right time. There are gains in wealth achieved by men who simply had the knowledge or initiative to recognize the key to gaining wealth and affluence. But in many societies however, not everyone has the opportunities and initiative because man and society as a whole is not made of intelligent people all, there would always be the less capable so that in a society where the only strong survive, the drowning man is indeed a pitiful reality. Now we ask ourselves as we encounter the everyday drowning man, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  “What good does it do a man to have faith and yet he has no works?” “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being alone.” [6]
            Let me tell you a story from my childhood. When I was still a child, I was living with my grandfather instead of my parents, compelled by circumstances the moment my first brother was born. My father then was working as a postman whose compensation was perhaps insufficient to make ends meet so my mother needed the assistance of my grandparents. Or was it maybe perhaps my mother had difficulty looking up for two sons while my father was always away. I could not surmise enough upon these particular conditions that happened so long ago in the past, when I still had a juvenile consciousness.
            My grandfather then, Hadji Unih Bandaying, was a grower of coconut trees where through his labor and persistence, the land he tilled had carried two generations of our family. He had also been a Muslim preacher that we call as imam. The coconut plantation that he had tilled was not very substantial that he oversaw it all by himself in order to save on labor expenses. Every three months or so, he would go to the farm to make some work, mostly to clear unwanted bush growths and to repair some fences and then to oversee harvest time. The farm was located relatively far from the city that in fact he had to travel by sea to reach the place. I had grown so emotionally attached to my grandfather that I would insist on going with him whenever he leaves for the farm and he would take me despite his firm opposition to the idea. In one of those memorable travels---a journey where I could usually be closer to the natural grandeur of the rustic countryside, to smell the healthy soil and to witness radiant sunrises not easily found anywhere---I am particular to an incident that has been etched in my mind since it happened, an event that was not so commonplace that it somehow taught me my first lessons in the humanity of man and in the power of sharing.
             This particular childhood memory however, would not bring us to the seminal beauty of the farmlands. It all happened in the ship that my grandfather and I were to embark for our trip to the island of Suba-Nipa. As usual, we went early long before the scheduled departure and we spent hours waiting for the boat to depart from its docking.
            About less than an hour before the ship would leave towards its point of destination, most of the passengers were already on board.  As it was usual, the passengers were busy arranging their baggage and some took their meals packed in plastic canisters and banana leaves.
            I could always feel a sort of exhilaration whenever we had the island travel. There is always that shared excitement of a group of people leaving for the same destination, crossing waters on a long trip and spending the night adrift the sea together, to be one in purpose and destiny, at least for that moment, with a certain rising in everyone’s spirit. 
            I gazed towards the wooden plank where people traverses in order to reach the ship from the docking, silently observing the flow of people and the kind of camaraderie they had, when I noticed a fat man wearing unruly and discordant clothes. His shirt was dirty white and over-sized even for his wide body. It was not a dirty cloth but it was sort of disconcerting to the eye, declaring that the fat man had not much choice for wardrobe. He was carrying a fading small black bag and in his hands was a “Tasbi”, the Muslim version of the rosary beads, declaring to the passers-by that he was a Muslim. And as the man drew closer to us, I was a little bit taken aback by the fact that he was a foreigner with a middle-eastern look, wearing a lengthened beard on his face, and his skin was white as any white man’s skin. He was conversing to every man as he walks past the passageways, gradually towards the direction of where I was situated. He did go closer and closer to where I was seating, until I finally realized that he was begging for money. It was indeed a surprise that a foreigner was on the streets of our country begging for coins, speaking in straight English. What really takes me out of my wits is the fact that aside from his features, he seems to be so unlike other beggars. He spoke as if he was making a contract with each man he approaches, making a business engagement, with full dignity and pride, as if he just decided not to be ashamed altogether despite the desperation of beggary. I was drawn to this fact so keenly that I observed more closely his actions and words. As he approached each man he would greet “Assalamulaykum” and went on to state, “You know I am Amir, a Pakistani.  Do you have one peso? Just one Peso my brother.”   He kept on repeating and reasserting that he needs a peso from each man. He would continue saying “You see, if you give me just one peso, it would help me buy a plane ticket back to Pakistan where my family lives. If many brothers would give me one peso each, that would help me so much.” 
            He was sort of making a contract to each and every one that he had approach, without any hint of shame in his face but pure humility, to declare to each and every one he met that the consideration for giving a peso for each and every one of us was the altruistic feeling of enlightenment that one feels after helping a less fortunate person while his cause and consideration is to enable him to escape that particular desperation---a contract indeed with minds meeting somewhere in the middle of understanding. And because of his foreign look and the way he talks, some of the passengers got so interested in him that they inquired into his person and his other conditions in life. One passenger, an acquaintance of my grandfather who I remember to be Hadji Ahmad, inquired so much about him and conversed to him as if the Pakistani was a long lost friend.  As the two men talked, many others circled around the Pakistani, curious still about the foreigner. The “accidental tourist” relayed rather deliberately (while I was listening nearby) that he was a tourist on a business trip and looking for opportunities in the selling of carpets and other goods from Pakistan. While he was billeted in one of the hotels in the city many months ago, he was robbed of almost all his belongings including his money. He was so careless he admitted to the crowd, but he did not expect so much to be put in such a quandary. Luckily he said, a friend he had known while staying here allowed him to live in their humble house in a nearby slum where poor Muslims lived, until the time that he could find a way to solve his problem of being stranded in a foreign land.  The friend of his was not affluent so he is not much of help in getting him back home to Pakistan. So he thought of a plan to help himself and this was by reaching out towards his brothers for assistance, to go to the streets to solicit for money. He said that if twenty thousand persons of Zamboanga City would give just one peso each, which is not, as he often declared, so much to ask for from each person, it would enable him to buy his plane tickets all the way to Pakistan. Many inquired upon him why he did not ask the help of the government or the rich Muslims, maybe they were willing to help. Or why did he not seek assistance from his consulate. He just stated that walking the streets was the only way he thought of since their consulate is in faraway Manila and there was no assurance that they would give such assistance.  He could have gone to Manila to pursue assistance from the Pakistani embassy but felt more secure here in Zamboanga City than in Manila because of a friend that could help him survive from day to day and survival was foremost among his concerns.
            The crowd felt so sympathetic to the Pakistani’s flight that everyone including my grandfather fished for more money to assist the hapless Pakistani. The man was misty eyed all along. The crowd became so involved with Amir’s flight that in fact the Pakistani went with our trip upon the invitation of Hadji Ahmad.
            What happened finally to the Pakistani is now beyond me, whether or not he was able to get that fare fee back to his homeland is not a memory to me anymore. But one thing I was sure of that day, that all of us in that particular trip felt enriched by an unusual event that had somehow opened us to a reality where men could be generous without limit, that all of us shared the experience of sharing and the enlightenment it brought forth. At the least of it all, it made me realize what a good feeling it is to share and help others to get back at their feet by the meager amount of a peso or two.
            The story of the “accidental tourist” made me realizes that a man might beg but at the same time retain a certain honor; an amount of dignity that could be had when one still has faith in the basic goodness of man. It was not easy for him to walk the street for money for you could see the Pakistani to be holding something heavy inside him, swallowing so much pride and dignity that he was misty eyed whenever he approached each man to solicit for a peso. A stain of embarrassment perhaps, for his helpless condition was somehow patent in how his voice would crack at times, as if losing composure and determination to go forward like a boxer about to raise his hands in surrender after a frenetic pounding of punches. Yet, he decided to roll with the punches and held in his heart the belief that men are still good and are still brothers’ keepers.
             The Pakistani was making a legitimate contract with each and every one of us and if we recognized this as legitimate, then he did not have to be teary eyed at all. For a meager some from each one of us, he could be back to his homeland and at the same time for a meager sum, we could be enriched by our humanity by assisting others whose plight has turned from bad to worse, conditions brought about mostly by causes not completely of their own liking. For certain, Amir had not intended himself to be robbed in our country. And definitely, he did not desire to walk the streets begging for money.
            There is a feeling of enlightenment whenever we share genuinely. That feeling is unexplainable in concrete terms except that it is the desire of God, the Great Divine, and divinity is at the same time unexplainable in concrete terms. This is the enlightenment we gain in engaging in such form of “contract”, an enlightenment to the fact that indeed we could still be our brother’s keeper.
            In the present world we live in, there are many of those who desire to make the legitimate contract of “the accidental tourist”. To be poor was never the intendment of the unfortunate among us for poverty is not a condition desirable. The beggar with limbs injured makes a contract to us every day. “Look at me,” they say, “I was unfortunate to lose my limbs that I am incapable of work anymore but with a meager amount, you could help me extend my sojourn here on Earth as you also had the privileged of sojourning in this beautiful world full of water and air and sunrise and misty mornings, of radiant trees and blossoming flowers, a world so full of colors and vibrancy.”
            With the meager amount, you could make a man’s life much more sufferable and on the other hand such form of giving will further enrich our spiritual life as Jesus Christ had imparted in his teachings and as Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) had commanded and as Moses had declared. “Love thy neighbor” Moses declared. The produce of our repentance may also appear in other forms such as assisting a dying man on the ground, a poor cousin seeking harbor after a long journey, a desperate neighbor soliciting loan for a crying infant, a friend in dire straits, a hungry child on the streets.
            It should be a gain of principled men to create a world where everyone is brothers and sisters all, regardless of gender and creed or race and nationality. Conflict is of no benefit to anyone and violence is a stain to peace and harmony. We should carry our brothers and sisters like we carry our own children.
            For certain, this is not an edict to let your persons be abused by those who misrepresent their incapacities, for even our own children we castigate when they overdo the limit of our patience and harbor. It is in our hearts that we are able to know when to give a helping hand or when to shy away from those who take advantage of generosities.
            If we ever doubt our propensity for sharing, we should always remember Amir, the Pakistani, the accidental tourist who makes a contract to us in order to uplift himself from an unfortunate situation not of his liking and intendment.
            But you may ask: “Is it an obligation for us to share our blessings? If that is the case, what is the limit then?” This must be the question of any rich man. “In my hurried life as a big banker or as an investment broker, or in my occupation as president of a multinational company, I simply have no time for the works of a Good Samaritan, for I have to work and feed my family and look out for myself and my family. This is the life I live in” and this must be the thought of any rich man.

            To think, how does helping others become an obligation when we only have to live our own lives first and foremost? To this I say sharing is never in the form of an obligation, as we understand the word “obligation” today, for it is blind faith to have a sack of money and go to the streets to look for beggars and poor people just in order to distribute such money---while there is no genuine intention to share. Are we buying faith?
            Generosity could not be faked and sharing should always be genuine. If it were genuine, there would be no question as to how much to give or when to offer a helping hand. It becomes automatic and spontaneous to the man of great heart.
            Sharing is a consequence of our humanity, of us being human beings. When we have already reach the point that we fail to feel sympathy for the misfortunes of others, then we must have reached a point where some parts of our hearts have already been closed through numbing indifference of the suffering around us. Where we could care no more in a world of a dog-eat-dog existence, a fast and furious way of life where only the strong survive and the weak wither. Where being strong is sometimes to have the strength to kiss the foot of other men in order to gain richness.
            Charity is never an obligation but a consequence of our humanity.
            For if there are two man walking an isolated street of the city, one is a rich man who is busy with his work and occupation, in order to generate more wealth for himself or in order to further his ambition of reaching a higher position. And then there was the other man who is merely a laborer with merely enough wealth for his subsistence. And in that isolated street, an old man with a wooden cane lie on the ground, half-conscious and fallen from tiredness and hunger, clearly unable to stand up as general weakness had encroached upon his body. The rich man would pass along the street and come upon the sight of the fallen man. He would take immediate cognizance of course of the tragedy of the fallen man but he has a meeting to attend and time is of the essence. He could not pass this business deal. He would walk ahead and disregard the silent appeal of the fallen man.
            Then the laborer would walk along the same area of the streets and come upon the sight of the fallen man and surely he would recognize the pain of the fallen man, for him himself have been hungry and tired before. Seeing this tragedy, he would approach slowly and enquire if the man is still breathing, and if he is still, he would fish for some coins for the man’s sustenance or he would even buy the bread himself from a nearby bakery, and bring some water.
            In the instance above related, who is the man of great faith? Who is more human and has more humanity? To be sure the laborer had encountered no law or ordinance that makes it an “obligation” to assist a fallen man. The rich man would not have committed any illegal act by disregarding the appeal of a hungry man. But is providing a helping hand an obligation?
            The man of great faith would not even have to ponder upon the obligation of a helping hand for it comes to him naturally. The man of lesser faith also has no pondering upon the obligation of a helping hand because sharing is in fact not an issue to him anymore for he even does not reach the point where he would ponder upon the nature of this act.
            This only we must realize God is like a father who has many children. If some of his children were more benefited and became wealthy while others languish in misfortune, to be sure he would appeal upon his wealthier children to assist their suffering brothers and sisters, for the suffering of the children is also the suffering of the father.
            And all the fruits of this earth were meant for everyone to share, so that everyone will eat. How come there are many still that have no food on their table?
            If it comes to you that in your own self, there is doubt as to the genuineness of your faith---I shall point you to the right way, in order that you would be cleansed by the discomfort of this uncertainty. And this “right way” is by being men for others. There is nothing more that would endear you to the Lord God than by being a Good Samaritan.
            If it comes to you that you already doubt yourself if you ever shall enter the Kingdom of God or not---I shall show you the way. Live your lives as if to live is living not only for yourselves, but also living lives for others. And surely you will not be lost. For certain, there must be some other ways, but this is the clearest path to the destination that the Lord had promised us.
            Even when many of us are the most steadfast of a hunter, not all of us could be good hunters. The children, the women and the old are not good hunters.
            Let us all hunt in packs like many ancient people do. If a people would hunt as a pack, it is a people who shall have no hungry brother or sister left out in the cold. A people who hunt in packs looks out more for the weakest member---the children, the women and the old---those who could not join the able men on their hunting trips.
            But when we became individualistic by nature, many would be left out in the cold, especially in a dog-eat-dog existence we have today.
            “What does faith do to you if many lie naked in the streets?”
            “Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”[7]






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Chapter 5
An Old Man in a Jeepney

            We must heal the world by reawakening from the seemingly discordant society in which we live in today---a society where violence reign and evil pervades. Where men are putting others down more often than the sun rises and sets in, where stealing becomes the norm rather than the exception, and where the temptation of the flesh becomes a religion deified and glorified by many who become slaves to the dictates of strange lust.
            Nowadays, it is never a surprise anymore to find men preaching morality and uprightness in the eyes of many and yet when they vanish from public view, they are the very evil that they preach against, that in their more private worlds, they would steal without restraint or fornicate incessantly. This is evil taking some immense form.
            At a glance, nothing seems to be wrong with our world today. It is still revolving and despite the violence in some parts of the world, people go about their task as expected. But when we examine it closer, the world we live in today is so stained with the evil many men do---evils that are done in their everyday lives. Men fight one another as easily even upon the most insignificant matters, to have prejudice and contempt mostly for reason of differences in race and creed. Many steal routinely merely by reason of vanity and pride. We see so much of our brothers suffering in helpless condition and many would not even lift a finger to provide assistance. The Good Samaritan in many of us had vanished. Our popular culture nowadays promotes violence and irresponsible sex and rebellion in the youth, as we see it all too often in movies and television--sex, drugs and violence as a popular adage often declares.
            In our daily dealings---as we read through the papers and listen to the news broadcast---we encounter the government official who does not move without the bribe money, the policeman who stops the jeepney drivers in order to extort money, the bank accountant who ran away with embezzled money, the street thug who pickpockets in the sidewalks, the politicians with their unexplained wealth, the vendor of pornographic materials, the pimps in the night streets, and the killers for hire lurking in our midst. Anywhere in the world, evil had seemed to have seeped towards the deep recesses of our minds and hearts that somehow we already accept many of them as mere ordinary occurrences.
            This must not be the case. If in fact humanity has the greatest of faith in the Creator, following so adeptly His teachings and judgments, the occurrence of evil in our world would not have been as prevalent --- at least not in the scale or extent that is happening now. This is the contradiction of our humanity, the incongruity of the world we live in. Churches and Mosques abound. New religion or sect sprouts here, there and everywhere that for every mile you travel there is always a chapel or a mosque situated somewhere. Yet, evil still pervades nowadays. Every move we make, we see a cross or a crescent and yet we often forget the edicts of God. This is an era of the strongest faith and yet at the same time it is an era of false faith. Christianity had never been as widespread. Islam gains more and more converts to its fold. And yet, the world is full of men living lives for themselves merely; of men who commit acts so wrongly in order to further their own interest.
            In relation to the contradiction of faith today, let me tell you a story.

            When I was in college many years ago, I had been active in the school publication that I often go home a little bit late in the evening to complete works in the intricate production of a newsmagazine issue. In one of those nights that I hanged about late in school, I decided to proceed home earlier than I planned that day when my stomach started to complain of starvation. I usually stayed longer to do more editing works but that particular night, I ran out of pocket money to buy me some snacks so I had to rush home. With merely coins in my pocket, I took a passenger jeepney instead of the tricycle, which would cost me more although it would take me home more conveniently. As usual, I had to wait for the jeepney to be full of passengers before it moves to depart from the station and I could feel my starvation getting more and more urgent as each minute pass, until the wait became an eternity. I could almost hear my stomach grumbling. The trembling movement of the jeepney (as it prepared its engine to depart) gave my tired body and empty stomach a sort of therapeutic message that somehow my discomfort was lessened. Still, the hunger was ever present as the minutes grew on while my stomach kept complaining. In fact the grumbling of my stomach had become audible already that I had become unusually mindful of the man sitting beside me.
            My tiredness drew my head into a stoop and while I was drooping, I saw a pair of slippers worn by a man sitting just in front of me. The pair of slippers caught my attention and interest for it was unlike any other pair of slippers. Each slipper was of different color and of different sizes. My thought started to process the sight of the unpaired slippers. Maybe I was already hallucinating due to my hunger and tiredness as I momentarily mistrusted my sense of sight. No one wears unpaired slippers in a public place. It was not good to look at and embarrassing to say the least. It was somehow funny I thought.
            Who would ever wear unpaired slippers in a public place? No one --- No one except a beggar or a mentally incapacitated person would wear such incongruence in his or her body. So I investigated further to seek explanation as to the incidence of unpaired slippers. I looked upward slowly to gain cognizance of the man who wore the unpaired slippers. It was a man indeed, an old man at that. He was too old that in fact I did not mind so much the tattered clothes he wore on his body. But there was one contradiction in my mind. Would a beggar ride a jeepney? If there was one, I had not expected that to happen. I have seen beggars before and I know their general actuations. They usually walk with walking canes in one hand and a rusting can on the other.  They usually have with them a decrepit pouch bags full of clunking coins of different denomination. They would walk the streets as if they have no destination for it was never easy to imagine a sort of destination for men so wanting in possessions. Do they have their own homes? Do they have family relations?
            A beggar riding a jeepney or any public transport is a beggar that I have not met before. Could he be a beggar, after all? Maybe and maybe not---or maybe he was an insane man after all. But where would he go? An insane man would have lack destination also, in fact, the more that they should have lacked destination. They would have also lacked the motive to ride a jeepney.
            As I looked gradually upward, my sight witnessed the face of an old man with sadness on its eyes or more particularly the face of a man with hunger written in it. My mind was a little bit disturbed and began wandering into thoughts that needed in-depth analysis and deeper judgment. There was in fact a sort of awakening for me when I realized that one could actually tell how hungry a man is by just looking at his eyes. Maybe the traces of wrinkles beneath the eyes could signal the restlessness brought forth by an empty stomach. Or perhaps the clouds in the pupils would tell the tale of a consuming starvation. Or maybe a tint of held-back tears in the eye could also tell you that or a drooping face. I was not so certain now how suddenly a man’s deep hunger exploded in my mind and took a grasp of my time and interest. What was my business after all about somebody else’s hunger?
            The old man in unpaired slippers and tattered clothes was very hungry indeed. If I was tired and hungry at that time, I was in fact luckier. At least I have two good pairs of shoes on. At least somehow, a meal is waiting for me on the table the minute I arrive home.
            But for that old man in a jeepney, I could not tell for certain if a meal would be able to heal his hunger for that night.  Consequently, I felt so much pity for the old man that my stomach refrained from complaining, as if the hunger just suddenly decided to dissipate by itself. It must have been the feeling of relief that one would feel whenever one would suddenly realize that someone was more unfortunate than him or her. 
            Despite of it all, there was some kind of a commotion in my mind. A disturbance not anymore brought about by the weakness of my body, but instead by the concern I felt for the old man, more particularly the sight of a hungry man in unpaired slippers. How often do we see some old man with unpaired slippers and a drooping hungry face? Are they facts of life we accept or do we repel them and recognize them as an abnormality of society? What happened to the words and messages of the priests, of the preachers, and of the imams? How could we ever accept the reality of our shielded life if some of us seem to have no destination and no assured food on the table? But then, am I my brother’s keeper? Would I take this man with me and share my meal or would I go against my instinct and turn away?
            For one reason or another, I just turned away from the old man. I felt a certain embarrassment in walking side by side with an old man in tattered clothes and the more if I have to clutch him home to share my meal. It is the sort of discomfort we feel every time we pass a beggar in the street. We would like to fish for a coin or two and pass it to the beggar’s hand but somehow we are self-conscious of such act that we just go forward without giving the alms, as if giving alms is a wrong thing to do.
            I was a lesser man then and perhaps even now. I had some money to spare so I just paid a fare for two and pointed out to the jeepney driver that the old man sitting in front of me would not have to pay for his fare anymore and I proceeded home to the meal waiting for me. I could share some coins for the old man I thought, for after all it was Christmas season. In fact, as I remember it quite well, it was Christmas Eve when I witnessed the starvation of the old man in unpaired slippers, a time where many would have fine and abundant food on their table and the air would be full of the sound of bells ringing, lights flicking, and children’s caroling, and the streets littered with Christmas trees and other ornamentations, as parties are celebrated and other merriment happens almost everywhere. My instinct would have led me to bring the old man home to share a meal, but the lesser man in me prevailed.
            Somehow, in times like that, to feel sympathy for another man’s plight of desperation is already enough to exorcise ourselves of the contradiction of man’s faith today, when it seems that there is nothing more to give but sympathy and consolation.
            The old man in a jeepney had opened something in me that was hidden somewhere inside the recesses of my person. Of how I complain so much about the many frustrations in my life when I just saw a hungry man whose destination is of no certainty? Would he have any family relations to go? If so, why would they allow this relative of theirs to befool his person by wearing tattered clothes and unpaired slippers in public?
            This is the world we live in today---a world full of contradiction. Where many preach sharing and goodness and the overwhelming mercy of God, to celebrate so grandly their faith and yet their faith is of no meaning to others but merely to themselves. No one is his brother’s keeper anymore. Why would I waste my wealth on that old man? Am I Abel? Or am I Cain? Am I my brother’s keeper? And usually we even castigate them. Why doesn’t he work just as I do?  But at the same time fail to ask questions like: “Have the society been fair to him as it was to me?” or “Is he an insane man or a man without limbs, a man abused?”
            Have we always looked away from the other side of the coin?
            Are we all our brothers’ keeper?
            Does faith alone can save us?
            Let us ask the Creator these questions one by one and look for the answer in our hearts.


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Chapter 6
Of Virtues and Vices

            Of vices and virtues of men, who am I to enquire upon and much less to elucidate upon? Such aspect of humanity is they say the territory of wise men and sages. Am I a prophet? Am I a messenger?  Not I to answer these queries yet it is The Lord that has called upon me to be the bearer of His messages.
            Man is but an imperfect creation of God. This imperfection seems to have been implanted to us as part and parcel of our nature for as we have discussed earlier, no man is perfect.  But to this I say the imperfection of man is never enough ground to accept that man is a grievous sinner. We err at times but to sin must not be one of our intention or purpose. To err is human but to sin is evil.
            We are sinners by nature not because we intend to sin but we have merely erred. For every whole or being, there must always be a margin for error. For every creation, there is always a chance for imperfection.
            It is error that precedes every sin that redeems the man, which is to act without evil intent, where there is in fact no instance of sin but that of a mistake. It is not a sin to have done something wrongly without intending to cause harm or without knowing its consequences. There would be error and sin is unlikely in such instance. It is the intent that counts and not the outward actions of men. There are those for example who prays each day and yet in their homes, they are fornicators. On the other hand, there are those who are less pious in the eyes of men but in their secret lives, they are great philanthropists. “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man unclean; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him unclean. It is not to defile a man to eat with an unwashed hand, but what defiles a man is the evil that comes from their hearts.”  
            When sin precedes error (to commit error upon the premise of intent to sin), pure evil permeates. To take something without knowing full well that it does not belong to us is an error. But to take something fully knowing that it is not ours is sin at its purest form and an error no more and never an excuse for being merely human.
            It is not merely an error anymore for a man to cause harm and injury upon others with malice in its mind for is never justified except in defense of person, country or of faith.
            The occurrences of evil are never justified by our admittance that man is imperfect by nature for this would encourage the conduct in men where many are prone to sin because they believe that to be human is to sin always. They would go on saying “I am only human” and this declaration becomes the end-all and be-all justification for their sinful ways. The Lord does not see in grace men who circumvent the divine law. Despite His greatest of mercy, He had punished men before who gravely defied His edicts and judgments most notably the men and women who were caught in the sulfuric fire that descended upon the Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.[8]
            Our imperfection merely allows us to err but never to sin. Therefore, it is foolishness to justify our misdeeds by invoking to the Lord that we are sinners because we are only human. That would be undermining the very complex and reliable human processes of determining what is right and what is wrong—the workings of the mind and heart. We underestimate the intelligence of human beings by saying man has no logic and common sense as well as a conscience by admitting that we are sinners by habit, that being left alone upon our own devices, we could not be relied to do good and avoid evil.
            On vanity this I say: Vanity is one of the tests of us being humans. Vanity is already present in each and every one of us the moment we came out of our mother’s womb and is but part of our human nature. We comb our hair and that is vanity. We iron our clothes and that is vanity. It is vanity that leads us to become better persons, to be more presentable to others so that others may relate to us with ease and not to maintain a close door to every man’s face.
            Vanity is virtue therefore.
            But vanity had oftentimes become a vice to many of us nowadays. It is vanity that leads us to steal so that we could have a better bungalow than our neighbors. So that we could wear designer clothes just as others do for without the Italian leather shoes, we feel nothing in front of our friends. This is destructive vanity, a kind of vanity that takes control of our will and not us taking control over it. As a virtue, vanity propels us to go forward and work harder and strive further, to be more progressive in mentality so that we could be like others who had fully earned things without committing any mischief, and achieving upon pure ability.
            If we could use our vanity properly, it could be the wind beneath our wings, allowing us to scale higher grounds and thereon makes us better persons, driving us towards exhausting the possibilities of our potentials, to strive for nothing less than the best we could be.
            But when vanity becomes a vice (especially when envy complicates matters), men are often led to commit malice to attain things they do not deserve. For example, if I see a colleague who had become as successful as a salesman. For certain I would admire him and relish at the things he have. In my mind, maybe I could also be a salesman and earn as much as he do. But if I lost my spiritual balance, I would certainly feel so much envy at his very enviable position. And that envy upon the vanity of others and upon my own destructive vanity would lead me to do things otherwise unacceptable to me that at worst I would already steal so that I could attain his level of fortune. I would more or less put him down in other men’s eyes so that he is not that as enviable anymore.
            Vanity as a vice brings forth evil in the scale of small and great. It had oftentimes led many of us to gossip against our neighbors and in extreme cases it had led some to kill or injure others. Vanity had led countless personages in history to instigate war among nations great and small, to prove who is the better nation or the nobler race. It had led to the rise of many empires and the destruction of the same and along the way as the blood of thousands of men, women and children poured upon the tarmac of battlefields upon the mere cause of vanity.
            And so is it the same with envy. Envy is also a virtue but at most times it is a vice.
            Envy is a nature of man that could not be set aside. It is already in us at the time of birth. If we use envy as a virtue, it is a wind to our will to go forward and strive in life so that we would have things others have. As a vice, it would lead one to destroy the person of another so that he or she may not have that too enviable position anymore.
            Envy is a feeling of want and lack of possession, material or otherwise. It is the nature of man to feel so lacking and wanting the moment he witnesses the greater fortunes of others---in abundance of wealth and comfort. The sight of a friend driving a brand new car would elicit the immediate feeling of envy. But it would foretell the kind of man you are on how such envy affects your person. In some, it would be good envy for they would feel the need to scurry for more and to work harder for if a friend could attain such possession, I could also. In others, it would lead to gossiping and the doing of misdeeds to attain such fortune in the most convenient manner. Like vanity, envy could lead us to do evil things in order to catch up with the rich neighbors, to have that state-of-the-art cell phone or to have that fancy car. Like vanity, envy had led also to many great wars even from the time of emperors and kings, to the woe of their subjects and people trampled to the ground, bludgeoned and sacrificed for the reason of envy.
            And so is the feeling of anger. Anger is but a nature of man that is as clear as the sun rising from the horizon. Anger is a nature that is also undeniable in each and every one of us. In fact, it is more undeniable as a nature of man than vanity and envy.
             To be angry is not to sin per se and not altogether to cause harm or malice against others. In its barest form, the feeling of anger is a defense mechanism of our personages, to enable us to thwart and purge things and condition that are injurious or unacceptable to us. To have anger is to warn others that my own self is a universe of its own, a universe which I protect and shield from the menace of others. My body is my temple and nobody shall encumber or pierce it against my legitimate will and desires. My body is a kingdom by its own, a whole cosmos which I could at least have control of. When my enemies stage a siege against this kingdom, I have no choice but to defend it and lead it away from harm’s way. In so long as my path is in the way of righteousness, my anger is my shield and when everything fails, it also becomes my sword.
            In connection with the feeling of anger, the feeling of hate is at the same time both beneficial and deleterious to us. To hate is not to sin at all for to hate is to be human. But many times we hate for baseless causes or reasons, and that is the kind of hate that leads us to sin. Our hate and anger is never justified if we hate others just because of their faces or the color of their skin.
            To be human is to feel the feeling of hate for we are indeed but a creature of emotion, an emotion that is in perpetual motion. We were not created as robots moving upon a set of mechanism.
            To know the feeling of love fully is to know the feeling of hate fully. To see light is to come from a point of darkness. To rise above the level is always to start from a lower ground.
            Like anger, hate provides us a mechanism in which to thwart all things unacceptable to us. It is a wall that no one should pierce by his or her own mischief. For certain, when evil approaches us, we exhibit hate in order to warn others from not pursuing such evil act, as we turn them away and repel them immediately. When our concept of good and evil is healthy and proper, our hate becomes the most formidable shield against the menace of evil that we could easily maintain the level of goodliness that is acceptable to the Creator above. That another man is capable of hate is a fact we should always assume as we carry on with our relations with others, so that we must always ponder upon our every actions and deeds, not to be hasty in words and shall by no means abuse the persons of others. It is the existence and capacity for hate that no man should treat others without pondering upon each action and deed. A man has hate that is why another man should always take enough caution in relation with him. This may be summed up with the Confucian edict that declares, “Do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you”.
            Upon the feeling of hate still, while this a part of human nature, existing even at the time of birth, such sentiment is often times manifested today through prejudice against another man’s race or creed, to discriminate merely by reason of race, to explode the fragility of the differences in man - I am white and you are black. I am a Catholic while you are a Muslim. I am English and you are Irish.
            The conflict of the white man against the black man in the days of old is not as we thought diminished by the many changes in our modern society. Of course, there is no more slavery and no more White South Africa, but still the same issues rage amongst that many conflicts still hounds our world today. The civil war between the North and South states in the Americas may be just a part history now but the same element of prejudice exist amidst the recent ethnic wars in the Balkan Regions, in the seeming annihilation of the Kurds in Iraq, the ferocious Middle East conflict between Arabs and the Jews, the segregation of Chinese descents in parts of Southeast Asia, in the war that tears Southern Philippines for decades now, the Islamic movement in Indonesia, and the Irish revolt against the Queen of England.
             Through burning crosses and ethnic cleansing, hate continue to permeate in our world today, to pursue volatility in the differences of men instead of allowing these differences to unite men. Even in our everyday surroundings, hate and prejudices abound upon causes entirely self-indulgent. There are the rich who would not touch any poor man’s hands. There are the bourgeoisie looking down on the masses. There are the greedy capitalists abusing the fruits of another man’s labor. There are the huge landowners who give pittance to the hands that cultivate their land. There are the college frat men who sneer at others just because they are nerds. There are the Muslims who hate Christians and Christians who hate Muslims just because of difference of religion or culture. It is groundless hate that results into conflicts, conflicts that are both small and great.
            The sentiment of hate is a defense mechanism that we should employ against the abuse and mischief of others but never to perjure others. Hate is often dangerous and volatile that if you multiply the hate of a single individual into the number of the people in a population, it becomes disturbing to the point of harming the world order. The Holocaust happened because the hate and prejudiced of a few men were multiplied into many that such massive loss of lives resulted. When we use the feeling of hate improperly, it is disastrous and destructive.
            Then there is pride. Pride is also a nature of man that is already obtaining at the time of birth. And what is to be human if being human is not to have pride. Man is proud by nature and it is not wrong to feel pride. Pride is also a wind beneath our wings, propelling us to become better persons. I have pride so I have to look out upon my own devices and not depend upon other’s beneficence. I would strive upon myself to do things that are expected of me and along the way I would realize that I could do things that I thought not possible before. It is the feeling of pride that harnesses our potentials so that we may feel proud in the eyes of others. To be proud is to feel good. There is no denying a man’s prerogative to feel proud for to be human is also to feel proud. A man needs to feel proud in one way or another in order that he or she may live meaningfully. I also have what you have. I am at the same level with you. I am with you. I am one with you. And therefore embrace me as I embrace you.
            Pride frees us up from the grasp of mediocrity and shoves us to find our true worth by leading us to exhaust every potentiality of our capabilities, and thereon allow us to live a full life without regrets. Pride makes us enjoy the true meaning of life, to be a force by our own selves and a force to others, in order to affect the lives of many.
            The author who is proud of his writing continues to entertain many through the stories he tell. The painter so proud of his works continues to delight the sight of others. The singer so proud of her swooning voice endears herself to others by her soulful meanderings of love and devotion.
            But the pride of an individual is at many times false.
            False pride would certainly lead us to a life of misdeeds, leading us to commit transgressions that are otherwise unacceptable to us. In order to be proud in the eyes of others, many would steal in order to gain approbation.
            It is also false pride to feel more worthy than others on the basis merely of race and creed. I may be a doctor but without the fishermen in the sea, there would be no fish on my table. It is not wealth that makes us prouder than others, but the works we do for others and the society as a whole. What good does it do to be proud in the eyes of man and yet lose the graces of the Creator above?
            Pride as a human nature propels us to become better persons, a wind beneath our wings. But false Pride kills and destroys not only others but also our own persons, leading us to steal and kill and to manipulate others so we could be proud in the eyes of other men, a kind of manufactured and artificial pride and not a pride well-deserved. Therefore, we must learn to use our pride in the most balanced manner.
            Upon the sentiment of greed, it is also both a virtue and a vice.
            Greed is a vice or a misdeed, as we know it today. We despise Mr. Scrooge for his selfishness and for being such a killjoy. We hate the conceptual fat and greedy businessman, full of fatty wealth and profits. We abhor the child friend who does not let us play with his toys.
            And yet, if we examine ourselves, the feeling of greed is somewhat instinctive to all of us. We do not usually part with our things as easily. We ponder at length before we give them away. Even the most venerable philanthropist would feel this way because greed is a nature of man that we could not dispel.
            Upon the other hand however, the feeling of greed allows us to survive, coming from a point where human has great instincts for survival and self-preservation. It is a virtue to be selfish sometimes. It is a mechanism instituted in our nature as a method of survival. The cave men protected their territories from the infiltrations of strangers in order that they may have the grounds from which to hunt and harvest their food without limitation and therefore protecting themselves from the pangs of hunger and the consequential risk of extinction of their tribe. They would protect these hunting grounds to the hilt, with blood if need be. These were also apparent in the natives of lands like the historical America and the old Philippines where blood stained the grounds in defense of territory, in protection of lands to which they live and allowed to live with unbounded and unguarded mobility. To feel greedy is not at all a vice or sin if it is towards self-preservation. You must not take the food out of our table in order for us to live. You must not take away my work through mischief and self-aggrandizement for you would take away my daily bread.
            Nowadays however, greed propels the motives of men who merely look out for their own interest. There are the wealthy capitalists and huge landowners who take advantage upon the fruits of labor of their workers. You may have a thousand acres of land but without the workers to help you create wealth from such land, it is useless to you. You may have discovered the formula for soothing liquor, yet without the hands of the men and women that works in your factory (in order to produce your discovery in mass number) there would be no great wealth or benefit for you. You could implore the help of all your family relations, of all your friends and neighbors and yet you would not get so rich even if you have a thousand acres of land. You may just have to sell it to get compensation but tilling it is of no benefit to you without the help of hundreds of farm workers.
            The need to fill our greed have become insatiable that many today have so much wealth and yet they become the more greedy and continue to pile up wealth which they could not bring to the grave, a wealth so vast that even their great-grandchildren would not be able to expend it. As the biblical verses remind us all, what good does it have for a man to have faith and yet do not have works?
            What is faith to a man when there are many sleeping in the coldest part of the streets with barely a garment above their shivering bodies, where some are living in ultimate squalor of the slums and dying in piles of garbage? Can faith alone save him and gain the graces of the Creator? What good does it do a man to have pleasures here on Earth if he shall lose the graces of the Lord? For certain, God would not allow greedy and selfish people into the Kingdom of God. For God is like a father who has many children, some children became wealthy and there are some who languish in poverty. As a father, you feel sorrowed to watch some of your children suffering that you call upon your more fortunate children to give a helping hand to the less fortunate ones, for the suffering of my children is also the suffering of the father.
            All in all, it is the acceptance of the fact of the very imperfection of man that should impel us towards “perfection”, to be closer to the ideal self, the righteous self. It is not to be perfect that God wanted us to become, but it is merely to be righteous for in life there are many temptations and traps of morality, and yet the righteous man is fortified by his strong faith in the Creator. His will is good and temptations of life’s excesses are of no match to him or her.
            It is undeniable that to be human is to feel anger, hate, greed, and pride. We are also vain by nature. But to be human is not to feel improper anger or hate or to be so greedy that you take advantage upon the labor of others or to be so proud that you encroach upon the persons and possessions of others to assert your false pride---building empires of your own so that you may alone take the richness of lands not of your own roots.
            Today, men monopolize businesses so that they may have all the wealth and opportunities merely for their own. Men put down others so that they alone could be employed or be promoted. Landowners fail to share properly the fruits of the land so that they alone become benefited. What does it do to you to have faith and yet others lay naked in the streets? Does faith alone enough to save you and gain the rewards of the Creator? “…And though I have all faith, so that I can remove mountains, and have not loved, I am nothing.”
            You could feel proud with humble clothes on your skin. You could be vain if you are merely a farmer or a fisherman that you do not have to steal or kill to further your need for vanity and pride. Vincent Van Gogh died so poor that he died with a messy look on his person and yet no painter could claim more vanity than him. Leo Tolstoy defied his wealthy heritage and decided a life of humility and yet only a few writers are more influential than him.
            Life in this material world is but a temporary sojourn or foray for all of us that ultimately, we should realize that the existence of man does not cease with the decay of the flesh. Moments after death takes the breath away from our mortal bodies, our soul would merely slide into another world, to face judgment as to what world you have prepared yourself to be with—either in the blissfulness of the Kingdom of God or in the suffering of an Eternal Fire.
            Life is too short many say and none could be truer than this. What does it do to you to gain so many pleasures in this temporary world, even to the extent of committing misdeeds, when after your foray in this world; you gain everlasting sorrow and suffering anyway? Why fret upon the suffering brought about by poverty and a life of want and need when after all, after this sojourn on earth, you would gain everlasting life of peace and harmony in the Kingdom of God that the Creator had prepared for us. “But many who are first shall be last, and the last first.” [9]
                        To be human is to be imperfect but to be imperfect is not a reason for us to sin, but merely to err.






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Chapter 7
The Worth of My Coins

            I was walking the streets of Manila one early morning heading towards school when I chanced upon a sight that I thought only existed in movies and in the news broadcast that we see on evening television. In a parked utility vehicle were two children of about two or three years old, perhaps brothers, playing giddily after waking up, as children always do when they wake up together with their siblings after a night sleep. I had questions again in my mind similar to the ones I had when I was in the jeepney with the old man wearing unpaired slippers. This questioning mind runs always in times like these. Was it their vehicle that they were using as a roof in the coldest of the night? I examined the clothes they were wearing and they were dirty and tattered and the things upon them were likewise. They could not possibly own that costly vehicle. 
            Why would they sleep on the streets? Are their parents with them? I looked around and I could not see any adult around. I looked further and I saw a woman in tattered clothes also, about fifty years old or so, walking towards my direction. Fearing that she would protest my intrusion, I proceeded to go about my concern. It was so early in the morning that the streets were not yet filled with people going about their daily chores and duties. As I walked away from the children, my mind was still heavy with questions. Why would they really sleep in the streets? The answer was of course very obvious---they do not have the proper roof on their heads. They are so poor that they could not afford to have a respectable shelter, so foolish of me then not to see this fact. 
            Deeper went my thoughts that I reckoned it is not merely the absence or presence of money that we ask why there are still people living in the streets. Why are they asserting themselves in urban areas when there are so many rural lands to settle and where there would be enough soil to grow food from and water is ever flowing in streams, and there would be natural materials to build a house made of thatches?
            I could say that a house is made of things that are made of wood and thatches and if money is more than substantial, you could build a house from concrete and steel, a more pleasant home. Or you could build a house made on thatches. There are materials that grow from the ground that one can use to make a decent shelter, the abacas and coconut leaves grow from the soil and this Earth has them in abundance. Soil is not like gold or platinum---minerals that are so rare to find. They are so common that in every step we make, there is soil. Where did all the soil go if there are people who could not grow their own food and harvest the materials to build a house? When there is soil to till, even if it comes in meager mass, no one would go hungry. As the Chinese adage says, “I have one mouth to feed and two hands to feed it”.
            All the lands---the arable and accessible lands---have all become the dominion of some and not of the masses like they were centuries ago. We may castigate the poor for asserting themselves in urban areas---in languid and filthy slums, where jobs are scarce and life is too hard---just like the people living in the streets. But where would they go if all the lands are the dominion of the few, where a single person or family owns sometimes thousands and thousands of acres of arable land. Where there are those who call themselves farmers does not even have a farm of their own. How then could we castigate this street people for not striving in life if even many farmers today do not even till their own lands? The children I have witnessed sleeping in the streets were creatures of urban life that perhaps they would ask themselves, “To where should we go if we leave the streets?”
            In the days of old, in the era of Indians and other ancient tribes---of the Maoris, the Vandals and the Huns---where the concept of land and plants and animals comes as all God-given, put there by the Creator for all to live, so that no one would die, men hunted in packs. There was a hunting leader and there were the rest of the packs. They moved as one and reaped the fruits of their pursuits as one. They approach the prey like a pack of wolves or a herd of lions. They also plant in great coordination that they have developed an agrarian scheme that is so systematic that many scientists believe to this day that many of these ancient people had attained a high level of civilization. The Indians of Old America hunt in groups, to lead a herd of bulls towards a cliff, and harvest the most amount of red meat. And the bounty is brought to their camps where colorful teepees decorated the broad wind-swept grasslands as aromatic smell of burning herbs emanates throughout. Their women, their children, and their olds would welcome them with great merriment and celebration and paean of songs and dances would grace the night in order to honor the cunningness and virility of their men---the hunters of the clan. Most of the old men who wait for them were hunters before but have retired due to weakness of body (though their spirits still rises).
            While they hunt in packs, the old members of their clans, the women, the children and the sick could still eat. The weakest members of the clan are being carried at the back of their more virile brothers. They hunt in packs so no one is abandoned and left to die in a world that was sometimes rude and unkind.
            And yet we say at times that we live today in the zenith of human civilization, as men today are already able to conquer space and developed human-like machines. And yet we say at times that the Indians and other ancient tribes that have roamed this Earth before us were so backward and uncivilized. Who is truly the more civilized is a question we should ponder upon now.
            What had become to the land that was given by the Creator to all of us, in order that all may live and no one would die? What if water is already the dominion of the few? Would there be people living without water just as they live without land of their own? What if air would become the dominion of a few fortunate men?
            Where would the people go? Can they say, “Give me land and I will build my own house and grow my own food”? No more. Not as easily and not as practicable. For land had become the dominion of the few.
            Or could we blame them if they did not appreciate this key to survival and progress, in order to go back to the sea to cast their nets for fishes in the wide ocean, when these resources of the ocean are all for them to take? These are the gifts of God and no one could claim ownership over them as long as they remain wild and uncaught? For whosoever planted a seed shall harvest the fruits for their own benefits. Where are the authorities? Where are the big brothers looking out for their little brothers, in order to show them the key? Am I my brothers’ keeper[10]
            The children sleeping on the streets drew heavily upon my thoughts that instead of proceeding with my own concerns, I took some time to pass by a bakery and fished ten pesos out of my pocket and bought six pieces of bread. They were not so tasty but at a cheaper price, the bread came in larger sizes. It was the hunger of the children that was primordial in that situation and not their taste for good food. I proceeded to the vehicle and slipped the bread into it while the two children looked back at me with the usual astonishment one finds in the face of children as they stare at a stranger who just came suddenly out of nowhere.  If they were glad or not was not among the questions I asked that morning, even after I slipped the bread into the parked vehicle. It was enough for me to be assured that their hunger was satiated that morning. As I went my way, I encountered the old woman carrying a plastic glass with hot water in it. I realized that they even have to beg for hot water in some nearby restaurant.
            It is no secret and certainly not a mystery to you anymore that the ten pesos meant so little to me. I am not rich but if I lose ten pesos or if they fell out my pocket, I would not mind them so much. I would look for it but would not despair so much if my search fails. But to the children who I found living in the streets, they meant the food on their breakfast table. I know how poor people are. I have been so poor before that the pangs of hunger have battered me before. I know their kind of hunger and I am familiar with the specie of hunger the poorest of the poor suffers. They ate on breakfast and sometimes their hunger is satiated until afternoon that my ten pesos would have been half of their daily need for food.
            What is the worth of ten pesos to me? They meant my half pack of menthol cigarettes, my jeepney fare for that day, my twelve-ounce soda, or a dozen stick of chewing gums. But to the children and to the old woman, it was their food on the table.
            What good does it do a man to have faith and yet do not have works? How could we celebrate our faith if we keep a blind eye towards our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate than many of us, when many of us have ten pesos to spare?
            Does faith alone could save us?








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Chapter 8
The Weight of Sins

            In the whole being of a man, it is comparable to any whole or being that in every whole, there is always a room for a margin of error. The “Margin of Error” of man to sin is what we must recognize if we should come from a point where we all agree that man was not created perfect in the first place. To err is human. And at times to err is to sin. A man must sin if we have to be realistic upon the very nature of man. But to be worthy of God’s rewards, a man must sin only if he had erred. Therefore, to steal a million pesos is not to err anymore but purely to sin. For how could you ever mistake such amount of money to be not of your own? We could befool the senses of man but there is nothing we could hide from God.
What is to sin sometimes is to sin not upon an error and yet that is forgivable in the eyes of God. For it is still to sin to take a mango fruit from another man’s tree as he walks along the field of another man’s land, dying of hunger. But such sin is forgivable as hunger is part of the imperfection of man and because of that imperfection, he could not evade sinning.
Let us examine the sin of taking another man’s mango fruit. There was a man walking upon the fields with a hungry stomach to bear. While his hunger was all too consuming he passed along a mango tree and had partaken upon its fruits in order that his hunger may be relieved. After resting a few moments, he went by with his own devices. What is a mango fruit anyway but something to be eaten and growing from soil that is of nature and basically not of manufacture of any man. And because of the inherence of hunger in any man, to eat immediately at the first sight of a mango fruit is human instinct of survival of a very hungry man. The man committed an error, taking something without permission. And he had sin, for no man should take another man’s possession without permission. But the error is within the margin of error that we should accept in order for us to be realistic.
However, it is not within the margin of error for a man to steal a million pesos. The man who took a million pesos did something purposely to satiate no urgent hunger and not upon the imperfection of man. It is purely upon mischief. It must have been to satiate improper greed and pride. And that is purely to sin and that is way outside the boundary of the margin of error that I speak of.
            To kill is not merely to err. In order to kill, one must have enough preponderance upon such act, that altogether the question is whether it is to kill so grievously or to kill in defense of person or country. To kill is never a mistake that when error pertains, killing does not really take place but accident. To covet your neighbor’s wife is not merely to err. To fornicate is never merely to err. To commit adultery is not to err. All these acts are purely to sin. In the gray area of these grievous sins, there is of course the happenstance of killing in defense of the self or of country and that is not to sin. To fornicate is never in any manner in defense of anything that is why fornication is so base and grievous; it has no justification for it is never upon the instinct of survival but upon the excessiveness of man’s evil desires.
A hungry man walking the fields coming upon a mango tree with fruits abloom may not be able to ponder properly upon the act of stealing one man’s mango fruit when his hunger is all too consuming.
            But a man with no consuming hunger has all the time to ponder upon the act of misappropriating a million pesos from the government’s treasury. Even if he is at the throngs of death’s door, to steal a million pesos shall never become an act of survival.
            A man about to fornicate for example has all the time to consider the nature of his action even while his flesh is trembling with the desires of lust. For in human beings, the sin of the flesh is never a simple matter and always a heavy burden upon the conscience. He does not need to read the Bible or the Qur’an or listen to a preacher in order to properly assess this form of evil. For the sin of the flesh is most abominable, most base, and ever contemptuous.
            It was the specie of sin---fornication and violence---that God reminded us repeatedly of the stories of Noah and the burnt Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah where there was a banishment of a great number of men. In the story of Noah in fact, the entire human population was drowned into the Great Deluge. Of the sin of pride and vain, there was the story of the Tower of Babel, where punishment was to separate men into different tongue, where with one and the same tongue, they became god-like and attempted to usurp the person and authority of God.
            It was fornication and violence of men that for once, God Himself had repented that He had created man. “So the LORD said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’”
            A man was born out of the image of God, to walk upright and stable upon his two feet, to have a heart and mind. Beasts fornicate without regards to relation but that is their nature, that is, to lack the mind and heart of a man, the likeness of God. Look at us in the mirror, are we beasts?
            A man may have killed and yet he was only a soldier in the battlefield or a man thwarting or defending himself against a greater harm. But a man may fornicate and he would have no reason to present except the excesses of his lust.  A man to fornicate oftentimes has to rape a woman or has to abuse his moral authority upon a woman that is his subordinate.
            A hungry man may steal a fruit from another man’s tree and yet he is merely to survive. A man to fornicate is never to survive.
            That is the weight of our sins. A man is born not in order that he may be perfect and was born to commit mistakes. Man is inclined towards sin from the day he was born. But there are those sins that are mortal and grievous such as murder, fornication, adultery, and blasphemy, sowing conflicts and rumors, as well as thievery. In the concept of a man as an imperfect creation, it is merely to err that is acceptable but not to err so intently and knowingly and to err so gravely.
            If fornication is as base as murder, is to steal a small sum of money and to gossip sparingly less abominable? Perhaps not, but are we to stain ourselves with less abomination when we could live without any?
            Consider this: Is gossiping less harmful than stealing? A man whose name besmirched in the eyes of many men would be so tainted that no one may even consider employing him, to seek his person and companionship, to provide him with credit and confidence that there would be no food on his table and there would be no milk for his infants. What makes gossiping less abominable then if by gossiping you could take away the food on another man’s table?
            You may steal from me one thousand pesos where perhaps your mother was dying in a hospital bed and you run out of remedies that you took my money without permission. Or perhaps you stole when your infant was crying from the vicious pangs of hunger. You may steal my money and yet you would still be able to repay it to me if I confront you. In fact, if I learn that your mother was dying, I may feel so much sympathy that I would even condone your misdeed against me, or I may just consider it a loan in order for you to repay it back to me later on. In fact, I may even increase the amount if I learned that your infant is suffering the ultimate pangs of hunger. For how could one allow the most innocent infant to suffer the suffering meant only for grown men?
            Now, if you steal my name by gossiping against me, even if I forgive you, you may never entirely be able to repay it back to me for my name would be so stained forever in the eyes of others. Even if you would find all the men you have gossiped with and trace the people where the wild fire had spread in order that things would be straightened up, in order that the truth of my person would prevail, there would still be a stain in my name.
            Now, what is the greater sin?
            If to gossip is such a sin, we must strive then to evade the act of gossiping. If for gossiping we must evade, then the more we must strive to evade the act of stealing, murder, adultery, and fornication.
            We must see the real weight of our sins. There are those sins we thought of lightly but in fact they are so grievous in character. We must make our souls lighter by unloading it with any weight that is brought by sin.



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Chapter 9
The Brotherhood of Man

            I had once come across a principle whose progenitor now I could not remember so well. Such principle is actually a theory upon an aspect of man’s purpose here on Earth. It declares that all men were meant to be different from each other so that they may understand each other all the more. It elucidated quite explicitly the reason why some of us are white and some of us are black. There are some of us who are Caucasians and then there are the Malays, the Africans, the Yellow Race and many others. We even speak in variant languages and dialects, to the most evolved tongue and to the crudest ones. Just the same that we are all separated into many cultures aside from the major division of being Western and Eastern. Just also as we have diverse geographical conditions obtaining, from the jungles of South America to the desert of the Sahara. In my own meanderings, I reckoned also that there is a major reason or cause for these differences that is, in order for us to ponder upon these differences and inquire upon them the more, gaining answers to many questions and therefore promotes more understanding among us. There is synergy in diversity, the wise men say.
            At a glance, the principle above spoken seems to be ridiculous and absurd.  Is it not that wars and conflicts of the world are mostly premised upon the differences of men? - whites against the blacks, Jews against the Arabs, the Yellow Race looking down on Malays, Malays distrusting the Yellow Race, Christians against the Muslims, Englishmen against Irish people, and The Socialist against the Liberals? 
            Upon further thought, the principle on the differences of men above spoken has certain form of credibility. Let us for example imagine a world where everyone else is Caucasian living in the same culture and having the same language, breathing in the same environmental conditions. When all the lands having been conquered and peopled, what would be left then to urge a person to visit and see other places when everything outside is the same as the home country? Even with some differences attending, still many would have no motive to travel and reach out to others except for the usual reasons of pursuing business and visiting family relations.
Without the uniqueness silk, the Chinese people would have no motive to travel half the world away to sell it, as well as to the Europeans who would have had no desire to staged major expeditions to China to buy silk and porcelain. Now, could we imagine with the same practicality Americans inventing or creating porcelain? The making of porcelain is deeply rooted in the Chinese culture, without that culture, there would be no porcelain but jars of clay. If the land in Europe produced spices in abundance, Ferdinand Magellan would not have been able to circumvent the world, upon the purpose of finding the Spice Island. Alexandria of the Old World was a haven of scholars that people of all races traveled to that place to earn their education. If the same education were everywhere at that time, there would be no traveling of such great number of people.
The uniqueness of each land and culture are the things that pushed men in the past to spread out and explore. If without the differences in geography, climate and environment, mankind would have not reached the level of understanding as we have today, where economy had become so global that barriers have become invisible and communication happens with just a click of the button anywhere in the world.
It was for the fervent travels made by our ancestors in the past that we have now achieved greater understanding of the Chinese man, of the American, of the Italian and of the African---what food they eat, their temperaments, and the clothes they wear. We have become familiar with the music others play and the many dances they do. We have become wary of the things we could do and the things we could not do while we are in their country. They say, when in Rome, do what the Romans do. But how could we ever know what the Romans do if men did not travel as much as they did in the past and until today?
A wandering man reaches places and discovers the unknown. A motionless people remain trapped in the past.
And why would men travel vigorously if everywhere there were silk and porcelain? If every nation or country has the same kind of produce, environment and culture, if variety does not take place, men would rather stay home than roam.
Nowadays, those who travel the world are tourists and businessmen. Why would one be a tourist today if everywhere there were beaches and Buddhist temples and pyramids? Why would one travel the world and make business contacts across the continents if everywhere there is microchips or mangoes?
If I were born Caucasian, with bristled blond hair and skin pale as the cloud, I would not mind so much a white man walking our local streets for I will find no new things in him. But because I am of the Malay Race, I would be a little more interested in him if he materializes in my presence. I would probably ask his country of birth and the concerns he has in life, the things he does for his daily bread. With some probability, he would more or less ask for my name also, the place where I reside and the things I do every day. And possibly, he could become my friend and perhaps offers me opportunities in his land of milk and honey. We could not say what opportunities that might come our way through meeting other people from some faraway land. Or perhaps I could assist him in finding the best antiques in town and we could go to our house for dinner after that. There are many stories like that. The basic difference in the way a man look brings people closer and gives forth more understanding among them.
In the old times, an ancestor of ours might have asked why a Spaniard’s hair was blond, his skin pale and his tongue queer. Or an Italian coming in peace may have asked if gold was abundant here for he has some fine leather shoes in his baggage that may be of interest to the natives.
Let us imagine also if we all have the same faith and religion. To what form of belief would my faith differ from if there were no other religion but my religion? To what other form of belief would I compare my faith from if there were no other faith but mine? How could I say the color purple is the finest if there is none other shade existing but purple? How would I value and accept my faith the more if I do not have a point of comparison? 
The matter of faith is of course not a matter of comparison but a matter of truth. But if man is indeed a little vain by nature---where man is an imperfect creation---then man would always look at their possession and belief in contrast to others. Why would I gleefully wear my leather shoes made of fine Italian craftsmanship if all others wear the same?  How do I see my faith in comparison to others? That is man, imperfect and tainted with vanity. Do we still argue on this point? If we say men should not be vain, then we are imagining a different creature. It is not altogether proper to say that men hold their faith in vanity, but it would do them good to appreciate their own faith in contrast to others, to hold it so dearly and then to follow its edict so diligently.
In order to see white, we must also see black. The diversity of man’s faith is to see white from black without saying that either black or white is the more enlightened.
Let us walk further into these meanderings. If we wish that all men should be Christians or Muslims all, then it should be upon the premise that we all are of the same race and culture, and that would be impracticality of nature and of circumstance. Even if such spiritual utopia is possible, it would take humanity thousands of years of struggle and strife to achieve such peak level of unity in spiritual mind and purpose.
            A Jew like Jesus Christ, the Son of God, may have walked the hills and valleys of China yet he would not have been as acceptable and as effective. If he had walked in the land of Arabs, he would have been in the most precarious position. Imagine if Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon Him) walked the lands of the Jews or Hindus, he would not have had much impact or enough ground to take off.  If Buddha walked the streets of England, he would have been relegated to the status of a minor spiritualist, an inconsequential oriental spiritual master.
In the olden times, perhaps until now, to teach the Chinese people about faith, a preacher must be also a china man in order for education to be full and fruitful, moving within the structure of the Chinese culture. For the matter of faith is fragile when culture clashes, and in fact blood are often spilt as it had been in the past, where men in great number died for and in behalf of religion.
Today, an American preacher may teach the words of God to his Chinese followers and may have some success, as humanity today has grown mature. In the olden times, this is a highly impractical task.
Now, is there one true religion? The answer to this inquiry is highly debatable, ever since and up to now, where no particular religion could claim the truth upon incontrovertible facts.   They may present all the thesis and hypothesis, invoking even all the historical fossil and yet not one sect could come up with conclusions beyond reasonable doubt, that the argument may take the debaters through hundred days and hundred nights of professing and arguing, to somnambulate with passion, to be so wise in words and actuations, and yet the clash of ideas and principles would not meet a delta of unity, at least a conclusive unity. The debate may not end but there is a premise where all could concur, a premise that declares that even before the word “Catholic” or “Islam” was invented, there is already Him, the Creator of All Things. Is God a follower of Muhammad or of Buddha? Certainly not-- He is the One to be followed and not the One to follow.
And when every religion speaks of good against evil, why should we then squander our mind upon the inconsequential differences?  When every religion preaches the belief in a Greater Being as the Father of All Things, at which point or significant matter do we really differ? Is the Caucasian a lesser man just because he has blond hair and not black as Asians have? Is the African becomes a lesser man just because he has darker skin? Is rice a lesser food just because it does not grow from underground like potatoes does? Is the language Filipino becomes a false language just because it is not as widely used as English?
Do I become a false human being just because I am a Filipino or a Jew or an Arab or an American?
            When men have been created differently from each other, born in different civilizations and culture, is it for us to expect that we all have the same religion? Is it for all of us to expect that we all eat rice or drink tea on a sunlit afternoon?
            My blood brother does not look like me nor talk like me. He does not act like me or believe the things that I believed and yet he is my brother. My brother is not like me and yet he is my brother.
            I may eat some other kind of food and speak a different tongue but you could not say I am a false human being. You like to sing popular music while I hum lullabies in the stillness of the night yet that does not make me a false man. You eat with chopsticks while I eat with spoon and fork and yet you could not say I am a false human being.
            Religions are the embodiment of ethics that leads us all towards the good and away from evil and they become an important aspect of our humanity. Religion purifies us and structures our faith within the confines of disciplines in order that we may not go astray. We are like the water siphoned-off of the many impurities it carries and religion is the mesh that cleanses this water.

            Religion must not lead us towards violence, prejudice and contempt. It is only to evil things and to evil men that we should be prejudicial and contemptuous.
             There must be a “brotherhood of man” in order for us to diffuse widespread violence and contempt among men today. We must accept others as brothers and sisters without regards for race and geography, and most importantly, without regards to faith. The diversity of humanity is something that we should accept as a mechanism for unity, and not a cause for quarrel, for in diversity there is synergy.
            Diversity in the world has its purpose for without it, this world would not turn and revolve, as it turns and revolve for us now, in order to create and recreate the truest meaning of life and the potentialities of mankind are exhausted. For no matter the mass of norms and standards that had been laid upon our consciousness and no matter how we accept them as part of our reality, there is always something out there for us to search and wonder upon, that if it reaches the point where a man loses his sense of wonderment, it is the time that he loses the true meaning of life.
            Would you want to eat the same viand over and over again? Would you rather see and visit the same places over and over again?
            In the concept of the real “brotherhood of man”, the key towards lasting peace and harmony in this world, as the Creator had desired it to be, is acceptance and understanding of the differences of man. To be different is to be interesting. To be different is to understand others.









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Chapter 10
The Creator of the Wind

            There are at least five major religions existing today with a lot of sects taking root from these major faiths. In the olden times, there would have been many more. Today we have Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism. All these faith for certain propagates different beliefs and practices but almost all admits the existence of God. A God that is good and not bad. A God that is beautiful and not ugly.
            However, despite the proliferation of faith throughout the world, there remains a question hanging in everyone’s head, a question resulting from a reasonable doubt and uncertainties where God is mostly unseen. Is there really a God? What kind of God is He?
            The existence and nature of God remains the greatest mystery of all. Nobody saw Him. Or if He had walked the Earth before, it was in the form of the Son of God, and that was too far into our past. Does He have the image of man? What language does he speak? And what are His powers? How did He create things great and small? Does He have a huge laboratory or workshop in order to evolve atoms and molecules into great things living and non-living? How did he create Heaven and Earth?
            Different faith clashes every now and then, on the debating stage, on television, on radio, and even on the warpath, for none could easily claim that their kind of god is the true god. No particular man of faith could summon their kind of god to appear before the television, to speak on radio broadcast in order to present the god that they should bow and pray to. Is Christianity the true faith or is it Islam?  Or is it Judaism? What if it was Buddhism? These are questions that nobody could answer with finality and definiteness for nobody has the clearest evidence of the truth of God. If there were, there would have been no more argument.
            And yet I say to you without hesitation that there is God. There is One God. And He is a good God. And He is the Creator of All Things.
            Follow my footsteps my brothers and sisters. As I wake upon my sleep each morning, there is the sunrise that illuminates upon me and upon the things I see around me, as mist serenades my waking breath. And it gives me joy. There is always a new day for things to be done and old things to be redone. As I lay to find sleep in the harbor of my bed, there is the stillness of the night that provides me the silence to which my mind experiences the peace that daytime could not provide.
            I walked upon the light of the morning sun and there, more often than not, are the colorful flowers in the garden. Sooner I would hear the chirping of the birds in the trees swaying to the dances of the wind. If the clouds were a little pregnant, the earth would be showered by some rain from where we know as the sky in a beautiful hue of blue, a shade that is incomparable.
            I quite remember those days in my childhood, as the summer bristles with the warm but furious sunlight, I could smell the scent of the soil as we children play and traipse above it, running through and fro, jumping upward, skidding and falling towards it. It was the smell of something living where so many things grow as well as things that die into it. Food grows upon it. Water runs through it. Flowers and grasses decorate it like an everlasting work of art.
            The moon illuminates the otherwise dark and shadowy night, in conspiracy with countless stars and meteors that flickers and stutters like living beacons endearing and appealing for our attention. Lower to the moon is the atmosphere that passes us by in the form of winds blowing in myriad of directions, from the gentleness of the summer wind to the ferocity of the cyclone.
            In the wind we hear the songs of nature, the crickets serenading us in the coldest of the night and the songbirds singing the lullabies of daylight. We hear the frogs croaking of an ending rainfall where soon a display of colors would enchant our view with the magic of rainbows.
            The sun and the moon do not breathe nor speak. The flowers do not converse with us also. The trees and the birds lay apart from us with their uniqueness of being. The wind has no name for there is no Peter The-Wind-of-North or John The-Southbound-Wind. We do not call water Marvin The-Gushing-Spring. And yet they are our friends for without them this world is cruel like a Martian landscape and not one of us would live.
            Let us walk further, my brothers and sisters. Follow my footsteps. Do we think of trees to be something of manufacture?  For certain there is no tree that is made in Japan, complete with batteries. Or that the flowers made in Germany has better specification. Certainly there is no wind that was made in America or water that is developed in France.
             You could say that the personal computer made in Taiwan is just as good as those coming from South Korea but you could not say that the air in Canada is more advanced than the air in the Philippines?
            If man did not create these things I spoke of above, who did? There would only be two possible answers. One is that God made them. And the other is that they are the result of pure accident, nothing and no one put them in place but merely by chance and then by millions of years of evolution.             
            Could nature be the product of accident? Even the smartest of scientist living today would attest to you that the structure of every creation, whether living or non-living is so deliberately formed that accident is way out of the question for in every molecule there are atoms, neutrons and electrons consisting an organized whole that if one element is absent or taken away, such structure would go haywire or at least be deformed into some other element impure and be of another purpose aside from its original intentions.  
            The earth, the sun and the moon, including the planets and the galaxies moved in mysterious ways and yet they move in conspiracy with each other. Without this conspiracy and great coordination, existence of man is fragile at the least and non-existent at the worst.                     Look at the tree, its leaves full of webbing veins in which water flows upward from the roots that in turn draw off the necessary nutrients from the ground---could this be accident? Look at the flowers in the garden, is it not a work of engineering with an intention and a plan, with a plan of beauty and adoration. For such is the flower, full of colors and scents that solicits endearments. Then look at man---our hands, our tongue, and our feet, even the hairs on our skin---Are they not all of purpose? Is the ultimate purpose of every body part a result of accident?   We know how accidents are. In accidents, ugly things mostly results that man--as beautiful as a creation he is--could not have been a consequence of accident. In a serious car accident, the result is mayhem that structures, either of the car or of the person driving it would be so deformed and perjured.                     Now let us imagine a carpenter building a house. If he gathers all the wood and cement and nails and steel and throw them into a place without planning and design, by pure accident the materials may form something of a habitat where a man could find a roof here, a covering there, a wall somewhere and a floor on the ground. Everything is possible in an accident. You may even find a nail driven into some wood or cement hardened by the humidity of the weather, but whatever house the harshly thrown materials could most possibly produce would be a very ugly and uncomfortable house.   
            But if on the other hand the carpenter gathers all the materials and put each part in the proper place, driving each nail into the proper location of wood, to glue them together, to put water into cement and mold them into walls, to cut the wood into level and put on a decent floor, to arrange the tin and metal to form a sturdy roof, then we would have a beautiful house. So what is a man? Is he a house made of materials randomly thrown into a place or is he a house built with intent and planning?           
             And so we have finally arrived my brothers and sisters, at least nearly arriving there; if man and nature are not products of accidents, then a God must have created them for no man or animal, much less a thing could have the intent and purpose of a One that has powers so great, the power to create things that no man could create.     Is he a good God? What kind of God then that provides air for us to breath and water for us to quench our thirst? What would be a God that creates so colorful a creation as a flower if He is not a good God? Is He not a Benevolent God to create fishes in the ocean to satisfy our hunger? To let rice and potatoes grow from the soil to fill our stomach? This is the God that I am proving to you, a God so Benevolent that He provides everything to us, so that we may experience life in its truest meaning, a life that is also provided by Him. And yet many of us defy Him.            
            We are like the children who despite the providence of many blessings, we still defy our parents. And yet all of us do not want hardheaded children that we castigate them and straighten them up. So what more is with God, The Provider of All Things? He had given us all things and yet we defy His judgments and ordinances and statutes whether written in the Bible or in the Qur’an or in the Torah, ordinances that are simple to comprehend that a man may not even have to ponder so much on the significance of such ordinances, for while looking inwardly into himself, he has a conscience to guide him, the inherent and natural ability to know what is right and what is wrong.                   
            To those who have defied even the most basic judgments of God, could they expect considerations in the life hereafter if there would be billions of children that God has to contend to?                 
            “Thou shall not kill,” said Moses the savior of Jews whom God has spoken to. “Thou shall not commit adultery,” and not to covet thy neighbor’s wife. Jesus Christ said “thou shall do your alms’” and the better if in secret. And Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) instructed one to always pray to God and put Him always in your everyday lives. Buddha, the Enlightened One, promoted a life full of spirituality and devotion, the ethics of living the Middle Way. These are edicts and instructions that implore the individual to do good and avoid evil, and yet many easily disregard these most simple but enlightened edicts.                         God is the creator of the wind, of the air we breathe. For without air, we would be gasping in discomfort. He is the Creator of All Things Great and Small, of the Living and the Non-Living.                         
            God is the Creator of Heaven and Hell for indeed he has created all things. He even allowed demons to be born in order to test the pureness of our faith and belief in Him, in order for us to pursue the true purposes of human existence, for us to live a life of goodness and not a life of wantonness and of evil.                
            Why do you think there is Heaven and there is Hell?               
            See then the ways of our earthly fathers, there is crime and punishment in the discipline of their children. When the children are good and obedient, they are rewarded. When they are naughty and bad, the children are castigated. It is that simple. Be obedient to the dictates of the Creator for the rewards is so great, an everlasting life of joy and happiness, where there would be no more sorrow, no more pain, no more suffering and there is even be no more death. The obedient shall have full rewards, to eat upon the tree of life and drink from the river of life.                       
             There are the castles amidst the gaiety of the clouds and a Paradise for us to dwell where Heaven is a universe by itself. Those among us that would be chosen shall have wings of the greatest span and indeed, to roam with our wings is to roam the entire universe. The divinities shall welcome us with trumpeting and merriments and there we see a world where no darkness reigns, where the air is filled with music and songs. Among us, there would be winged horses traipsing in the wind, hordes of cherubim and seraphim would embrace us in their playful meanderings, and the angels would guide us through the Kingdom of God, as we become like them. The gardens thereat are like no other where the flowers bloom in the fullest of shades and the air we breathe is the breath of the angels.                        But to be bad and disobedient, to defy the most basic dictates of the Creator, is to enter the Gates of Hell, a never-ending strife amidst rings of fire and cauldrons of molt and lava, bristling furiously with unending flames in order to gobble up the unrepentant and the most wicked, for them to suffer the second death, amidst the flooding lake of fire. Hell is what was mentioned in the Bible as “the vengeance of an eternal fire”.                 
            Life in this material world is so short compared to the everlasting life that awaits us. The life of a man does not end by the decay of his mortal body, it continues until the hereafter. Be patient, my brothers and sisters for the rewards are great.                 
            So what good does it do to you to gain the pleasures of this mortal world and yet to lose the Heaven that had been promised to us by Him?               
            So what good does it do a man to have faith and yet do not have works? Does faith alone could save him?                                                                           





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Chapter 11
The Power of Prayers

            Prayer is our key to God. There are among us who prostrate and kneel while praying. Others would put their hands together and kneel before an altar. There are some others among who would sit with their legs crossed in order to meditate. These are all manners of prayer, reflections that invoke the presence of the God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth. Why do we need a key then?  Does God sometimes sleep and at times absent from this living world. The answer is no. God does not sleep and is ever present. Rather, it is us that are absent from His presence, while we are busy with our other daily concerns and duties.                        
            By the act of praying, we unlock ourselves from too much immersion in this material world where at most times we forgot that He is ever present. Prayer is an act that symbolizes our obedience and subjugation to a greater force and power. We pray by words and deeds, we pray at times uttering words we learned by heart, and we also pray in our own spontaneous utterances. Does it make a difference? Not so much, for God is indeed above all structure and system. But at the same time, the memorized lines and the structured acts of praying are important for us so that if we pray in the presence of others, such mode of prayer give us a source of oneness and unity, that we are all of the same faith and belief and that we are all brothers and sisters, a congregation of many men in a church or mosque moving and praying as one—united in purpose and one in faith.            I remember quite well in my younger days, even up to now, that before I go to sleep, I was always holding a Tasbi, the one given to me by my late grandfather, Hadji Unih Bandaying, a Muslim preacher, just before he bade farewell to this material world. I would recite the “Fatiha” (a Muslim prayer) first and then I would go spontaneously with my own words, speaking to God, to Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Omnipotent, and speak to Him like He was just nearby, floating just above me or sitting on air in front of me. I would speak to Him about the things I have done for the day and all the things that I have not done and those things that I should have done. I repeatedly ask for His forgiveness for all my sin and my mistakes, those I have committed just recently and those in the past. First, I tell Him that I recognized and admit my errors as well as my sins, and then promised to Him wholeheartedly that I would never ever do them again. I do not ask much but all I ask of Him frequently is to guide me for I know He has all the good intentions and the best of plans and purposes for me. I do not ask from Him any material wealth or pleasures for if I deserved them, they would come. Never did I ask any material benefit, not even luck and fortune in life for I know I should be the one responsible for them. If I want wealth and fortune then it would be for me to achieve and attain them and not for Him. All I asked from Him was His guidance, not to let me fall deeper into the ugly things that I have been doing. “Please help me,” I would keep on saying, “Please help me avoid all these things that I have been doing wrong for I know and fully realized that they were just doing me harm, harm not only to myself but also to those whom I loved and to those who loves me”. It was my simple prayer---a prayer that seeks guidance from above instead of benefits, a prayer not to seek nor to ask material benefits, a kind of prayer in order that I bestow obedience and not to ask for advantage, a prayer for guidance and forgiveness and not to seek any gain. Not to question the fact of my misery for I am solely responsible for them and not Him.  I am not carrying my own seat, my brothers and sisters but that was my prayers. What it does to me is a feeling that someone is there for me, a feeling of relief that in my sorrow and suffering, I had someone to run to in order that I may release my pain. I would run into the seclusion of my room whenever I despair, and invoke His companionship and guidance. There were times that I struggled into the darkness of misery that I barely have my head above flooding waters, with all the problems and difficulties hounding me like a monkey on my back, it was only the prayers that had somehow gave me a floating mechanism then, staying away the raging waters that attempted so vigorously to hold me down.             
And then came a time that I have lost Him completely for a prolonged period of time. During that stretch of time, I have refrained from my prayers and completely forgot about my night calls to Him, and that was the time I felt so lost into the darkness of my miseries. If before I was still a drowning man, that time, I have already receded to the pit of the ocean, drowned and helpless. There are wrongs that I have done so grievously that my heart was filled with heavy resentment and frustration. My life had turned from bad to worst that I felt everything was lost and nothing is ahead of me. When in the past I could still float, the darkest years have drowned me into the deepest trenches of sorrow. The power of my prayer, my only floating mechanism has finally abandoned me.              
In those darkest years, I was walking the street barely breathing, surviving only to live, for the misery had blinded my view about the beauty of life. The mornings did not enchant the songs and me anymore and serenade of the night a harbor to me no more.              
It was only when I have started to call Him again amidst the stillness of the night that my humility and submission to His Greatness had returned and was again fortified. After a number of years of feeling lost in the drudgery of despair, I finally started to regain hopefulness that I started to believe again that many good things ahead awaited me. The night calls (those nightly prayers) rejuvenated my spirit all over again, providing a rope that pulled me out of my quagmire.               
It is not to say that I have led a life of righteousness, but to feel His presence had somehow protected against from greater evil that any man is capable of doing, evils that I could have done easily if my faith to Him was a little more weaker than it was, if my prayers were a little lesser, or none at all. That is the power of prayers. Do not be mistaken that God is not Ever-Present for somehow, there are many among us who pray and yet do not believe that God is listening. God is everywhere. He is in the woods and in the mountains. He is in the desert and valleys and along hills. He is in the stillness of your bedroom or in your homes for that matter. He is in every street that you walked along every day. He is in the 89th story of the skyscraper in Chicago or in Singapore. He is in the crystal beaches of Tahiti. He is in the slums of Calcutta. He is in the garbage dumps of Manila where the poorest dwell. He is in the streets of Philadelphia as well as in the streets of Beijing. He is in the congressional halls and in the august chambers of courts. He is in the palaces of the kings as well as in the nipa hut s of farmers and in the humble houses of the laborers. He is in the wind and in the atmosphere. He is in nighttime and daytime. He is in the sea and rivers and lakes. He is in the trees and in birds and every possible geographical location. He is in the entire universe of constellations and galaxies.          
God is everywhere and he sees everything that one does and does not. He hears every word you speak and do not speak. He could even read your mind and all your intentions. That is the mystery of God. He is everywhere and at every time.               
Speak to Him my brothers and sisters for He is everywhere and at every time. It doesn’t matter where you are. Pray to Him for He listens. Ask his guidance and you shall be guided. Ask and you shall receive.                  
The Lord God Almighty---along with His angels, His prophets and Messengers---is everywhere. Jesus Christ is not merely inside the churches and chapels. Buddha is not merely in temples and shrines. The God of Abraham is not merely in synagogues but also in the streets. Allah the Most Merciful and the Most Omnipotent is not merely in Mosques.                      
The God that we pray to is but One, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, The Creator of All Things Great and Small. The Maker. The Most Benevolent. He is a God that is most intelligent beyond calculation, a God that is not narrow-minded by any means of understanding, a God that is very rational beyond any human estimation, a God of Goodliness and a God who despises all evil things. He is a God who is provident beyond any estimation.                    
This is the truth of God faith and the truth of our faiths. Whatever differences man has with each other concerning their faith are inconsequential if we realize that every faith is unified in its teachings of the basic good and the dispelling of every evil. Does it matter to you that we speak in different tongues when the true essence of our faith is to bring forth peace and harmony and not conflict, to promote the causes of goodness and to dispel the malice of all evils? What good does it do to be called a Christian and yet you steal? What good does it do to be called a Moslem and yet you murder? 



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Chapter 12
 The Voyage

            Aside from the Angels I have seen, there was also one vision that I keep seeing repeatedly, communicating to me while I was reading my law books. There were the images of two persons on the wall just in front of my study table. They took the form of little men with smooth round head and bodice, like they have no hairs on their skin whatsoever. In the midst of the visions on the wall was a boat and the persons were standing on each end, which I took them to be the captain and the navigator. They relayed to me through signs and symbols that they were Angels too, taking other shape, in order to relay the messages on the wall more effectively---in order that their sign languages could be more emphasized.
Their hands would signal many pantomime in order to converse with me and their heads would nod or shake whenever I confirm their messages (whether I got it right or I got it wrong). Why they did not converse to me in spoken language is a question that I have no definite answers. My heart told me that if they came so vividly to me and spoke to me like usual persons do, I may be shocked beyond my wits and be overly consumed with the stream of supernatural things that came to me so rapidly without proper notice.
The captain was always pointing upwards, towards a destination, towards a place high up. Through signs and symbols, they made me write this poem, which is titled as “The Voyage”.   

THE VOYAGE 
Come my dear child,
follow the footsteps of my symbols,
towards a voyage curved in stone,
as I have murmured and whispered to your ears
from the beginning until the End of Times;
where humankind shall persist in eternal Peace and Love
among brothers and sisters all.  
Be the harbor of your patience,
like the child as you are  and grow into the strength and courage 
that I have seen in you,
 as you have to your own children. 
Mold them into the Light,
so that they may not be lost in the Darkness that you once knew. 
The Heavens are for you to dwell, and for those who believe shall be chosen;
that an enormous Love shall make you fly, with wings of the greatest span. 
Carry your brothers and sisters like you carry your own children
so that the evil forces shall be vanquished
by the armies I have sent to defeat and subdue them. 
And evil shall be vanquished indeed
by the Angels within us  and around us.                         

The signs on the wall were a magical exposition. Like the visions of angels in the sky, it was hard to fathom at first that somehow there are sets of realities that are not as it were before, as they all happened beyond my wildest dreams. These were things that made sense only in movies and in children’s stories, and yet those were the things that invoked me to accept a newer reality.         
            “The Voyage” is a simple poem. It may be in metaphor but it does not confuse the reader as much. As we examined it, “The Voyage” speaks of things to come, of the promise that has been made known to us since time immemorial, the rewards of the faithful and of the obedient.              
Each and every one of us should prepare ourselves for the voyage towards eternity and beyond. There is a ship on dock, to receive those who have done good works and men of greatest faith and obedience to the dictates of the Creator. This is the voyage that could end all voyages and we shall not let pass this opportunity to be part of the ultimate adventure towards the life hereafter. It may not come our way as easily again.                      
Prepare your own gears and effects. The voyage may be long and arduous and yet the rewards are great. Be patient for the destination is almost at hand. Those who shall overcome their will against the temptation of the devil shall be aboard the ship, and when he is already aboard, the road ahead is less laborious; in fact it would be a skyway to Heaven, a trip that has no stop but only destination. Be patient so that you may have the purity of soul. A righteous man’s soul shall be your ticket to the Gate of Heaven. Do all things that are good and avoid every evil conduct. Is that too much to ask? What good does it do a man to receive the pleasures of a mortal world when he loses the Kingdom of God, an everlasting life?                    
Be prepared, for it is an enormous love that shall carry us towards eternity. Cultivate your heart so that you may be able to “carry your brothers and sisters like you carry your own children”, for an enormous love decides the purity of our soul. It is an enormous love to be a man for others, to look out not only for the self, but also for those who need help and assistance.                
An enormous love shall give us wings of the widest span and the Heavens are for us to dwell. In the house of the Creator, there would be temples in the clouds, and Paradise everywhere. The Universe is so wide that there would be limitless geography in which we could spread our wings. There would be everlasting joy, peace and harmony. A life of music and dances, of merriment and celebrations and there would be no daytime or nighttime, neither Muslim nor Christian, neither black nor white.                     
To those that have not been able to prepare themselves, they shall be cast away and shall not be aboard the ship that awaits us at port. They will have another destination, downward to the road of perdition where the vengeance of eternal fire awaits them.                
It is easy to prepare when patience is on our side. All we have to ask every now and then is: Would God desire to have me in His Temple? Would He allow me to live with Him and dwell with Him?  Am I worthy of His presence?
             “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying; neither there shall be any more pain: for the former things have passed away.”                       
Am I a thief? Am I a fornicator?
Am I a murderer? Am I a gossiper? Am I an adulterer?                                  
Am I a Liar? Am I a blasphemer?                      
The life of each and every one of us is a voyage by itself. The voyage in fact starts now as we speak and shall end at the place and time God had promised all His children. Let us treat every day as a step towards the voyage, as a time and opportunity to prepare our souls, to carry God’s desires and wishes; to follow all His dictates and instructions.                
What does it do a man to have faith and yet do not have works? Does faith alone could save him?                         
Be patient and be disciplined. Have faith but know the meaning of real faith. It is not how much or how deep you practice your faith but how you apply righteousness in your everyday life. Not to be pious in men’s eyes and yet evil in the conclave of your homes. For God knows everything. To have faith as it is too often said is also to have enormous love, to have hope, and to have charity. For what is faith if we do not have the basic concept of goodliness? What is faith if we continue to do abominable things? 
I may not be perfect and yet I am imperfect without committing any sin. As a man, I am often envious and frustrated by anger, and jealous and yet I would not let my envy and anger consume and stain me. I may have nothing what others have but my lack of things would never lead me to steal. I may have the instinct of lust and yet I recognized that I have been given a heart and mind to dissuade me from bestial acts. 
It is not to be perfect in order to come aboard. It is only to be good and disciplined that is required of us. Not to be perfect but merely to be righteous.      
Let us go aboard my brothers and sisters. The voyage has just started.



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Chapter 13
The Origin of Man

            Let me venture in matters of pure philosophy---into a territory that has been explored by even the brightest of scientists, and yet still remaining greatly unconquered. From which and from whence did man come? Even with utmost effort, we could not come to a point of conclusion. What is fairly certain to me though, is that man, like all other things, comes from a being more primary than man, The Creator of All Things.                      
In our religious life, it had been inculcated to us the idea that we all come from Adam. In our scholarly pursuits, we were taught that we evolved from a creature closer to apes. In both pursuits of knowledge, there would be no conclusive evidence. Even in the scientific world, there is the “missing link” between Homo sapiens and the closer previously known specie of man or man-like creature. But any which way, if we believe in the concept of a Creator of All Things, the sources of all existence, then man comes from one source of life. Man comes from and born out of God.                        
Being of one source, we are but one then. We are like a root whose veins have spread out into many directions, like water coming from a solitary mountain spring flowing to the arid and curvaceous ground and then finding myriad of courses to pursue and eventually taking different paths, some farthest from than the others. Of being white and black, or of being brown or yellow, is a matter of pure circumstance. White men have paler skin for they lack melanin while black men needed a heavy dosage of such kind of protein to protect their skin from too much sun glowing over Africa. Differences in body features are also mostly a matter of adaptation to the environment. Giraffes have developed their long necks through centuries of reaching out to a food source that is placed so high that they have to reach upwards in order to fill their hunger. This is the theory of evolution, a protracted adaptation to the environment.                  
As the giraffe adapted well to its environment and so were men, for men adapts highly to their environment that comes in the form of culture and tradition of the nation of his birth among others. A French man would have not much choice but to drink wine because man has to adapt to his environment. A baby born in China would surely become oriental in attitude and more or less practice Buddhism or Taoism for he has to adapt in order to survive. An Arab youngster could not be expected so much to be a Christian in Arab lands for he would find many difficulties in the form of culture clashes. If the giraffes have not adapted, they would not have lived to this very day.            
            To be outside the religion of others is not a matter of choice for many of us but rather by a seemingly unavoidable circumstance of environment and culture. If an American baby for example would depart this world too early without having religion, would it go to hell despite of not having known any faith?  A Chinese man may live and grow too old and die in the isolated region of China without coming across a single word of Christianity or of Islam, but did good works mostly, by being the most steadfast of a farmer, by being so responsible as a head of a family, by having cared and loved his brothers and sisters, and his wife and children, and relatives, and yet we ask: Does he deserve the punishment of hell?                     
And perhaps we ask: Do we need religion then? But I ask if without religion could we become like that China man? Who did all good works without committing the abominable things that God had instructed us to evade?                  
It is to recognize the concept of man coming from one source that would allow us to appreciate more keenly the idea that we are but one and the same. Our differences are just a matter of circumstance and should not be a source for brutal conflict and desolation, for envy and prejudice to take place, and for contempt and discrimination to arise. If we realize these facts to be universal, then we could attain the real brotherhood of man.                       
Unlike the poem “The Voyage”, I have written a work while looking into myself, invoking the spirit of the Lord’s wisdom, of how a river usually comes from one source to flow towards different direction, where all these directions pursue a path that leads surely to the sea.
 This is the poem I call “The River of Mesopotamia”.   
The River of Mesopotamia 
In the ancient valleys of Tigris,
in the days of still molt and rock;
a river sung the serenade  of the beginnings of life,
as it moved in crystalline fluidity, to brim with sparkles and light,
and come across upon a rock reckoned in time,
it is a moment set forth as a matter of design. 
And the river became two,
the great parting of waters  in the dawning of the Earth,
to thread two different roads and two different eras,
one found in the East, another in the West,
to spread further and further,
until the sound they hear were  merely of their own and nothing more. 
Rushing in vigor and strength each alone in the wilderness,
among the great wars of the world, through the ashes of kingdoms burnt,
the mischief of kings and emperors, through scorched earth of conquests,
of kingdoms and empires both the fortunate and the inopportune;
as they run feverishly, one oblivious to the other,
welcoming merely the beatings of their own hearts and of no other,
and every other beating of the heart they hear was of the enemy
and the enemy merely. 
Amidst the rage of their marathon,
seemingly unending and without destination,
and with ferocity so great
that even rocks of great prominence would crumble into dust---
by the sheer strength of their pursuits,
or by the wave of their hands. 
As another time was set forth,
where for once  they looked heavenward
the journeys they threaded  finally  found a single star,
to speak the truth in their own hearts that in their own glorious runs,
no matter how magnificent and forceful,
still the Heavens are their own navigators,
upon the comets and constellations,
so that the rivers would find a path to travel,
a road set forth from the beginning of time
while they go nearer and nearer,
they begin to hear the same beat
that is not merely of their own separate hearts,
but of two hearts moving as one running faster and faster,
like stallions in the hills of a desert
where in the beginning of time
there is only one river that became two,
and then becoming one again.           


END
Supplementary Text

THE VOYAGE:

The Revelation of Angels

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I.            THE MUSH ROOM CLOUDS

“I saw mushroom clouds in the sky, so huge and menacing, like a breathing monster that is silently heaving of havoc and mayhem.”

“God blesses those people who make peace.
They will be called his children!”
-- Matthew, chapter: 5, verse: 9

“ Those who believe (in the Quran),
And those who believe in the Jewish (scriptures),
And the Christians and the Sabians-
Any who believe in Allah
And the Last Day,
And work righteousness,
Shall have their reward
With their Lord; on them
Shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.”
--The Quran: Surah 2: Al Baqarah: Verse 62.

I saw the symbol of mushroom clouds forming in the sky, mirroring exactly the umbrella-like formation of the resultant smoke coming from a nuclear explosion. I saw them first when I was in Manila, among the visions of angels and flying horses and many other images. Months after, while I was already in my hometown of Zamboanga, the images appeared to me again, about a couple more times. For certain, the message it invoked was insistent that it is among those that are repeatedly relayed to me. We must heed the warning signs so that mankind may be warned of impending catastrophe if the will of the Lord is not attained.
I remember Hiroshima as I gazed towards those humongous umbrellas, just as I recalled them in old black-and-white pictures as the dark clouds rose to the sky and took the daylight out of the horizon.
It is not a time for us to be unmindful to the signs of the times and we must take heed always. Dissensions and isolations creep amongst nations nowadays that we must consider taking further steps for international comity and understanding before mankind would implode by itself -- by its own mischief and excesses -- and thereon thwart and dispel the risk of earthly destruction.

In the international political arena, world leaders are continually faced by the ever-reverberating menace of conflicts and arguments; among these issues is the impending proliferation of nuclear technology and nuclear warfare for that matter. This is beside the admitted threats of weapons of mass destruction that had brought America to its latest war and caused the downfall of Saddam Hussein, a self-styled autocrat who is believed by many to be a major threat to world peace.
Let us not be foolish to think that proliferation of nuclear technology would forever be stifled as we have so far. To regulate it is the hardest thing to do, as the world becomes continually borderless that people and materials could come and go in all geographic partitions without being detected.
Years ago, computer technology was merely the domain of the few developed nations. Now, more than half of the world manufactures and assembles computers. It is not difficult to surmise that nuclear technology could have the same fate as computer technology. Especially now that somewhere beneath international attention, some nations is wickedly salivating to have a grasp of such technology.
The potentialities of this warfare are so attractive. Nuclear power is the best defense against the mischief of neighboring countries with malicious schemes. It is the greatest “balancer of power”, the most effective bluff against enemies. And yet, nuclear warfare is the greatest threat to human existence at present.
Today, nuclear proliferation is regulated with relative effectiveness while admitting that some underground trading is happening. This is mostly due to the efforts made by international bodies, mainly by the United Nations.

Let us not be fooled however by the seemingly stable peace the present world is experiencing. While we indeed desire that peace should be everlasting, we must not let down our guards. We must be continually vigilant against those who seek conflict. This vigilance shall be the crucial sacrifice that we shall make which would include protracted and determined effort to bring more understanding and cooperation among nations and among men of different race and creed; between the East and the West, among Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists and Hindus, between the whites and the colored, between the wealthy and the poor, and among the fortunate and the oppressed.
Let us remember clearly that the peace we have been experiencing at present is merely for a relative short period of time, when we just had the most destructive war fifty years ago in World War II, not to mention the also-destructive World War I in the earlier part of the last century.
If we study and examine human civilization, through thousands of years of human existence, mankind had repeatedly been disturbed by countless wars, huge and small, among many empires and kingdoms. There are the wars that gave rose to the empires-the Persian, the Byzantine, and the Romans among many others-as well as those that brought their downfalls, and wars among neighboring nations. There was the Hundred Years War between France and the Great Britain, there was the war that caused the colonization of nearly half of the world territories, the Crusades by the Europeans against the Arabs, the conquest of Arabs of nations in the name of faith, the North and South War in America, the Vietnam and Korean War, the war between Iraq and Iran, the Baltic Wars, the Gulf war, the war of India against Pakistan---these among many. In the end, we must realize that every war seems to be impending, that every tension may possibly explode and that every conflict may possibly escalate.
Admittedly, international comity and understanding at present help us stave away uncertainties and probable ignitions of war. The establishment of the United Nations is the greatest innovation that man had achieved in recent history for it had allowed nations from all four corners of the world to seek a forum for understanding, for redress and grievances and arbitration of conflicts. Yet, we must not stop at this for we need to promote more understanding and cooperation among peoples and nations especially among people of different religion for it is religious wars that are most menacing. A religious war connotes unimaginable mayhem and havoc. Many men readily kill and die in the name of religion.
International understanding and cooperation among all people is mankind’s greatest weapon and guard against the risk of impending wars. Let us remember always that if we do not seek “oneness of men” as early as now, decades from now, wars may be more virulent and destructive that mankind may implode upon itself and find its own apocalypse.
It is the hope of this author that men should understand that men are equal in the eyes of God. The differences in faith and religion are just circumstantial. For in Arabia people grow dates while in America they grow apples. We could not expect to be the same and yet we could be one.
And further, if every religion seeks righteousness, then let us all be righteous for those who repent and seek the righteous path shall gain eternal life but the wicked who seek the evils of the world---of violence and fornication---shall wallow in eternal punishment in Hell.

II. THE MESSAGE OF MERCY
“I saw the man clearing a canal with a long wooden pole, carefully letting water flow unhindered by any obstructions. Then I saw another man pointing his right hand upwards, dressed as a traffic officer, where amidst this image were two pathways; one leading upward to where the man was pointing to, while the other slope gradually downwards.”
The angels have come to give us the rewards of repentance, in order for us to turn around from our sinful ways, and return to Him by leading the life of the righteous-a simple life but a life righteous and free of wickedness.
My brothers and sisters, the Great Divine acknowledges our imperfection and our inclination towards the many traps of human existence that in the end, His mercy supersedes everything that He had given us, that in the end, He gives every man a chance for repentance and an opportunity to flee from the stranglehold of our wicked ways.
We must not be adamant to deny our collective guilt for man today had succumbed to the many evils that had stained the peace of mankind.

Shall we hide our darkest intentions under the veil of imperfection? To say and declare to Him that we sin because we are merely humans? Are we courageous enough to defy Him?
Let us not tolerate our excesses by invoking our humanness for it will only lead us deeper into the quagmire of sinfulness. The more we sink into the quicksand the harder for us to escape certain perdition.
We are human that is why we err. But we do not sin just because we are human. We sin because at times we forget our faith.
But men who steal in the millions and practices fornication do not merely forget their faith but are clearly courageous and defiant enough to go against the will God. They have become the followers of Satan themselves and they shall never gain their salvation, lest they repent so heavily.
Every day we see the common thief and he is just another thief. Every day we see men who covet lustfulness and deify the pleasures of the flesh and yet we seem to be not surprised anymore. At times, we even take pleasure by their displays of lustfulness and ravishing of the flesh.
There are many of them who savor the irresponsible call of lust and even gainfully and leisurely exhibit them in the eyes of other men; they are the most evil of all. They are like the moth that seeks the flame not knowing the flame would bring its end. They know nothing of consequences of wantonness and only live in temporary pleasures.

Evil has a way of clouding our intentions even the careful insights of our mind. What we knew of evil then, is not evil no more. What we know as improper then is not improper anymore.
Let us go back to the basic dictates of the Lord. Every religious book will point you to the righteous path-may it be the Holy Bible, the Torah, the Noble Quran, the teachings of Buddha the Enlightened One, or the Hindu scriptures. The basic evils are prohibited in whatever creed--murder, fornication, and thievery; as well as gossiping and rumor-monging, warmonging and blasphemy.
Let us not be misled by beliefs and premonitions that has no basis and has no Divine Guidance.
Be steadfast against the might of the Evil One, for those who shall take rein of their lust for flesh and material wealth shall gain a life everlasting in the Hereafter. Those who wallow in wickedness shall slither in boiling mud consisting of bristling molten lava in the underground world known as Hell and their suffering shall never cease.
As we repent, we must produce the fruits of our repentance by charity and alms to the poorest of the poor for those who have a good heart show to God clearly how godly he or she is. Those with the greatest love shall gain wings of the widest span and shall roam the entire universe as a soldier of God.
As we repent, we shall undo what we have done wrong. We must return what we have taken improperly. We must seek forgiveness from those we sinned against while we ask forgiveness from Him, Our God Almighty.

As it is of old, how do we say that we love God whom we do not see and yet hate our brothers whom we could see? How do we profess to the greatest of faith when there are many among us who sleeps naked on the streets, infants suffering the weather for lack of roof on their heads?
We do not have faith if we remain blind to the suffering of others. And even if we have faith, they are of no significance to you unless you have works.
It is not how much we pray or how much we practice religion that would save our souls but rather it is how much we live a righteous life. Religion alone will not save us. What will gain us our salvation is the goodness of our hearts, to be men for others and not for the self merely.
In our return to the fold of the Light, we must leave behind even the commonest of evil, even the everyday wantonness of our tongue to spread rumors and conflicts; so if we repel this simplest of evil the more then we repel the gravest of evil like fornication and violence.
For God the Father loves the humanity so much that He does not relent in reminding us the things that would save our souls and He offers this redemption of our sins once more. We should not be foolish to deny it.
For those who are obedient shall gain eternal life in a kingdom of peace and harmony among brothers and sisters all, where humanity shall persist in blissfulness in the arms of the Lord.

II.         THE PARABLE OF THE GOLD AND WATER

“The angel pointed to his arms (brothers in arms) and then signaled another message by carrying a load on its back (to carry our brothers and sisters).”
There is the man who trekked the hinterlands, through the empty desserts and barren hills, to seek a high rocky mountain of gold. Day and night he labored like a mule until one day he had mined enough gold, more than the weight he could carry.
He was blissful of the promise of things that he was laughing inside as he walked down from the high rocky mountain. And yet he had to pass the empty dessert and the barren hills when his parcel of food and water was starting to run out of him. As he walked the miles, he became weary and exhausted and his bag of water finally became empty. He died before he reached any water well.
And then there was the man who had nothing and yet he had found a water-well. He put up a tent nearby and guarded the place with his own life. Long after, he made use of the well in many ways and cultivated plants and vegetables to nourish him until he had a farm. Soon after, animals roamed his lot and he became a wealthy man in several years, although not in a day. He died of old age and lived a good life. He did not have gold but he did not perish.
A man may have all the gold that he could carry and yet without water he would soon perish.

What is more important then, water or gold?
For certain many of us chose to labor upon gold and yet we do not realize that the most important things in life are there for us in bountiful quantity. Before we seek gold, we must seek water.
And then you might ask: why would I look for water when I have enough of them? I looked for what I do not have.
For certain, we do not indeed look for what is already at hand and yet we could not deny that in the wholeness of things, we truly disregard the things that give us life and at many times kill ourselves for the things we could not have, we even risk our souls through mischief and evil ways in order that we may have the things we do not have and we do not need.
There is a pyramid of wants and desires that continue to blind us to this day--a pyramid of needs that has blinded us away from the true meaning of life. In this scheme of wants, we put primordial the things that we do not need and we put at the least the things that really give us life.
We turn in our beds and scream invectives into the night when we could not have the riches of the world when all we need to live are always at hand. We disregard the many gifts that the Great Divine had provided us, even to the extent that we forget the omnipotence and providence of the Lord.

Many seek the treasures of the world and yet they lose the water of life. They mined the high rocky mountains for gold endlessly even up to their last breath and yet they do not soon realize that the moment they are called to return to the Lord, their water has run out, that their souls have lose their salvation, and that their rewards in Heaven nil. They would even meet the flames of the Unending Fire in Hell.
We always see the gold while we are blind to the water. We find fault for all things that we do not gain instead of being grateful to the things that we have. We deny the Lord and all the good things He had given us.
There are those amongst us who are restless and impatient that once they do not gain these earthly treasures, they turn to evil ways. They kill and kidnap, they rob and cheat, they steal and deceit. They harm the peace of others in their endless pursuit of happiness. They are not merely impatient but they are also ungrateful to the Lord. They have their souls slaved upon silver and gold and they have sold them to the devil and hence they shall be the Companions of the Fire in the Hereafter and their suffering shall be without end.
They defy and ignore the commandments of the Lord. They set aside the words of the prophets and the messengers. They bark their protestations for all the things they lavish upon, upon the pleasures and temptations of wealth and of strange flesh.
Shall we ask the Lord for reasons why we are born wanting in many things? We shall not be blind for all the things we need is given us by His Providence.

If we are born without water, then it would be the moment for us to question the Lord: My Lord, why was I born and yet there is no water to be found?
If we are born without air, then it would be the time for us to protest to Him and ask: My Lord, why should I live here and yet there is no air for me to breathe?
If plants and fruit trees do not grow from the ground nor animals could gain offspring then we might even ask Him: Oh Lord, why did you allow me to be born in this world and yet I could not grow food from the soil?
But shall we ask him: My Lord, why do I have no gold and pearls?
Shall we ask Him: My Lord, why should I be born and yet I could not lavish myself in lustful pleasures?
We shall be fools and defiant if we ask Him these questions.
Without   air and water we shall persist but shall we perish if we do not have gold?
For the righteous man, life here in this mortal world may be a continual existence of toil and strife and yet he does not bark protestations and yet he is the one who has no heaviness in the heart, and he shall be always be ready to face every sunrise and to bade to every sunset, and he shall be the one to face the Lord with the lightest of soul.
He shall be the one to reap the rewards of the Lord-an Eternal Life in the Hereafter.
And yet, those who seek all the treasures in this world even through violence and deceit shall lose their salvation and shall gain the flames of the Unending Fire.

For it has been said before that those that are first here on earth shall be the last in Heaven and those that are last here in Earth shall be the first in the Kingdom of the Father.

III.       THE RIGHTEOUS MAN

“And then I saw three angels nearby, sitting on a roof of a building just across the street from where I sat. Their wings were high-arching as they sat there and their bodies so muscular and so well built--they looked perfect. Once also, a lady in the whitest of gowns suddenly appeared before me, with a charm and mystic so enchanting that I shivered. She had medium-sized wings. Before my amazement consumed me altogether, she suddenly disappeared.”
The righteous man is not a blind man being led by the blind, unlike the men full of wickedness led by their evil ways.
He is one whose eyes are wide-opened to the Light, the Enormous Grace of the Lord. He is one who takes faith in the Eternal Life, even without witnessing any miracles--one who has the proper mind to follow the dictates and commandments of God Almighty.
The righteous man believes in the Mightiness of God as above all other forces in the universe; a strength far stronger than the Darkness that holds down this mortal world like a monkey wrench---a world fraught with violence and of lust.

The righteous man is never boastful even if he has all the things in the world, of mountains and mountains of things. He is meek even in the greatest of success. He does not hold on to riches like a leech even if he has so much already and even if at times he faces uncertainties. He parts easily with whosoever is miserable, even to those who are merely wanting in things. He clothes those who sleep naked in the streets, wearily bothered by the weather for having no roof on their heads.
He feels for the wounded for he is wounded himself when he sees the suffering of innocent infants crying in the night. And he may not have so much for himself but he thought not merely for himself but also for others, and takes what is merely due him.
The righteous man is blind to the color of the skin or to any man’s chosen creed for he is certain that a man is blameless for being born a Christian or a Moslem; for he knows that his God is the God of all men--the God of All Things.
He is one not to murder; neither to lie or takes God’s name in vain. He is never an adulterer or seeks and covets the flesh of any other men’s wives and daughters; his will is steadfast like a high rocky mountain.
The righteous man does not merely seek pleasures or look out for his own self merely. He is a brother’s keeper, a ready hand to lift the miserable in our midst. He seeks in paramount the righteous path, the greater glory of God.
For he knows that it gains him nothing to seek pleasures stained by the blood of innocents or by extreme mischief that only evil men could do. He has patience for he knows his rewards are far greater only if he seek not merely temporary pleasures but the ultimate pleasure of all, and that is, the reward of an Eternal Life, a life in the Hereafter where there is no more pain nor sorrow; a life of bliss amongst radiant gardens and crystal rivers.
For he knows that he loses everything if he lose his own salvation. What does it matter him to have the world and its worldly pleasures if in the end, he shall be sought by the flames of an unending fire in Hell, a fire that burns without end, a fire vengeful to the wickedness of men. Vengeful enough that men would realize that God the Father have given us the beauty of life-of water and wind-and yet many still disobey Him.
Many murder as well as to endanger the life of innocent children-of men and women-in crime and in torts-just in order for them to gain worldly possessions; of relief and luxury that excessive wealth could offer them. They are purely evil that repentance for them is even far worse than an elephant threading the needle’s eye. Even in their earthly existence, they shall have no peace for they shall be continually running away like scared dogs whose mouths are frothing. They could not run away from their own shadows, only if they knew this. They could never hide anything from God and His angels. Every eye shall examine them and every mirror shall reflect the evil things that they have done. They shall carry their loads up to the fires of Hell that awaits them and this weight is carried even by their offspring, even by their children’s children, for the shame of their misdeed is like the world falling down on them. They shall gain their indignities for God sees everything and indeed they shall be the Companions of the Unending Fire.
They have done that is difficult to undone. They have taken what is impossible to return. They shall never bring life to the deaths that lie in their hands. They have completely closed their own doors towards salvation.

The righteous man shall never fear evil for evil shall fear him. He may suffer the weather and the pangs of hunger yet the lack of things does not imbibe him to seek the hand of Satan for he knows, that what is more important is to be at peace with God, to welcome every day the daylight full of confidence that the graces of the Lord is with him and that he shall certainly gain his rewards in the Hereafter, of a life without end where there is eternal bliss and not a thing to worry the heart, along mystical gardens and crystal waters, among enchanting temples and white castles with red turrets, where there are trees whose fruit never ceases in any season and so tasty that one could not get enough of them . Nothing could be sweeter than a man stained not by evil things or mischief for he is ready to face the day at all times and he has the most peace in his heart and mind. He may suffer and yet, he has no heaviness in his heart, he has nothing to answer for before any men, and most of all, before God.
The righteous man shall gain wings of the widest span to become the soldier of God, to roam the skies as an angel not only in Paradise but also in the entire universe, even towards this earth that he has left behind.
Salvation is certain for the righteous man, my brothers and sisters; we must all strive to be one.
In heaven, in the company of the Lord, there is no more class or distinction for everyone is a righteous man, may he be a Jew or a Hindu, a Caucasian or African, a rich man or a poor man. Everyone is brothers and sisters to all.

V. FREEDOM
“And then I saw the Angel with the dance. When its wings have spread from one end to another end, to the East and to the West, I saw its hands appear. Its arms started to make movements with its palms wide open, moving from all directions into a symmetry of motion that was beautiful to the sight-it was the angel’s dance, so enchanting and so mysterious.”
A slab is a piece of slab. You run your hands through it and you would know very well that it is a piece of slab. You would feel the contour, the roughness or the smoothness of the surfaces.
And then you smell it and to be certain it would have the same wooden aroma of any piece of slab you have ever hold.
But freedom to us is freedom without the sense of sight or the sense of touch. Freedom is never always freedom when it is not susceptible to a very particular sense or meaning, but always floating in the air. You would never smell it nor touch it. You would not be able to see it also.
It is invisible to the eye and what is invisible is always a mystery. It is aside from the forces of our senses, even outside the power of our wills.
Freedom has gained its own masters and its own set of philosophers-to be defined and classified in so many words and terms-- and yet it remains that men kill and die for their own kind of freedom as against another man’s freedom for the freedom of one may not be the freedom of another. For at times the freedom of one man means the detainment of another.

There is that kind of freedom that is harbored by men of ardent philosophies-adventurous and complicated-to reason out that man should be left alone to determine his or her own fate, to be responsible for its own action, to be independent of thought and will, to the extent that they defy not only the norms of man but even the dictates of our God Almighty. Free will had become their sole reason for being and being for them is merely to lavish themselves with the dictates of their instincts-to the most mundane and to the basest. And further on, they trample upon every reason in order to free themselves of natural inhibitions and lavish themselves in improper pleasures of the mind and of the flesh, for they say they should be left alone; for they say man is born free. They are blind to the nature of things.
They are the ones who would travel the ends of the world just in order to unearth every loophole in any man’s law and that of the laws of God. They would scream and shout invectives if they are caught upon for they deify freedom like a religion and their religion is merely their own will and that of no one else. They are like beast in the wilderness that, once caught in their own traps, would gnash with the most ferocity at their captors, frothing in the mouth, unyielding and defiant.
They do not overcome their own will, they let it flow unhindered and spoil their own souls. They open the floodgates of excesses that they do not only become merely excessive but they take pleasure in wicked things. They introduce themselves into conducts nearly bestial and diabolic. They wallow in the flood of lust and violence; truly they are wickedness reborn. They are the descendants of those who were burned in the Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and their fate shall be as worse, if not worst. For just they know that man is born free, they let themselves wallow in the muck of wickedness. They soil their bodies and bring death to their own souls.
They are men wanting in faith, lacking the power of the will, and they are not patient. How could they be patient when they do not believe in the Judgment Day and in the promise of Eternal Life in the Hereafter? They have disregarded the forewarning of the Lord, through the prophets and the messengers. They have a universe centered on their selves that primary upon them is the pleasures of the body-they do not overcome their will.
Indeed, man was born free, to be able to have volitions and independence of thought and action. Freedom is the greatest gift of God to man. He is born free so that he would savor with delight the beauty of life here on Earth and yet freedom was not given for man in order that man should defy Him. Freedom is for man to live an eventful sojourn in this temporary world.
Even as a child grows into adulthood, he realizes that he has the power of self-determination, to steer his mind and body towards the ends that he desires. And yet, he also realizes that despite the independence of his will, there are many things that he could not do. He realizes that he is susceptible to many limitations---both seen and unseen. He is hindered by the forces of nature just as when he could not stay dry when a storm pours down on him while he is walking on an open field. He is also hindered by other men that he could not for example take anything in sight lest his possession be at risk of being taken.

Despite of freedom, he could not be underwater for long less his breathe is sucked out of his breast.
Despite of freedom, he could not lift himself above ground like birds do.
Despite of freedom, he could not spit on another man’s face lest he be at risk of danger.
He could not do violence less he be violated himself. He could not take lest his possession be taken also. He preserves his things. He could not as easily speak against anyone less he be spoken also in the darkest of manner. He could not kill for he would be at risk of death himself.
Man therefore has freedom but he is not free to do all things. There is no freedom absolute.
And yet many deify freedom like a religion. They cry freedom like they were in battle and their lives were on the line. In the name of freedom, they lavish their flesh in strange lust and in violence. It is false freedom that they speak of.
Let us see the man who simply walks the streets and then he meets another man walking towards his direction. For this man, it is freedom for him to just pass by and ignore completely the man he meets. It is freedom for him not to address him nor offer comfort to that other man even if that man would be dying of starvation. There would be no law or ordinance that he would violate. It is also freedom for that walking man to greet the other man, feigning a pleasant façade, to welcome him and give him comfort even if he is at the least of discomfort. There are just a lot of things that the walking man could do in such a situation, a lot of space for freedom.

And yet despite freedom, that walking man could not just spit into the face of the other man for he would invite havoc and mayhem possibly. He could not kick or trample him unless he be trampled himself and kicked towards the ground. It is not freedom for him to shout invectives and insults and accusations lest he be insulted himself.
Men may do many things but there are things they could not do.
The Lord has not been wanting in reminding us towards the proper freedom. We have our own volitions and yet through many prophets and through many messengers, He has guided us with His dictates and commandments in order for us to balance our use of freedom as against wickedness, in order that we may be guided towards the Light and towards the righteous path, the path towards Eternal Life.
Freedom is beauty to mankind and yet its unhindered use is dangerous. It is like upon salt that a pinch shall add taste to the viand but a horde of it shall suffocate the eater.
Would you be the one who is impatient and to wallow in the muck of wickedness and in temporary pleasures, only to lose everlasting peace and blissfulness in the Afterlife?
What would you gain if you gain all the treasures in the world and yet to lose your salvation when death comes calling?
Would you be the rabbit who sought pleasure first and let pass his destination for long?

Or would you be the turtle that labors with every step and be the one to reach destination first?
Do not be impatient and overcome your will against the temptation of wealth and of the flesh for the rewards of the righteous is enormous-an Eternal Life in Heaven-while the punishment for those who defy shall be the torment of the Unending Fire.
The beauty of freedom is for us to savor the beauty of life; to breathe the breezy air; to welcome the warmest of sunrises and sunsets; to bask in the most effervescent of daylight; to be enthralled by the flowers in the garden; to be endeared by the singing of robins in the summertime; in other words, freedom allows us to have a wonderful sojourn in this mortal world as we wait for the next phase of existence, an existence more glorified and gratifying to the soul where righteous man shall gain wings of the widest span in order to roam Paradise and the entire universe.
They say to love is freedom. That freedom is love and that love is freedom.
But a man loves the whole and not merely the superficial. To love is to give and not to ask. It is to love the wholeness of being and not merely the superficiality of things.
To love is to seek the person as a whole and not merely a part of him or her.
To love is never merely to seek the flesh for it is never to love when lust is the primary purpose of adoration--it is an abuse of person. For it is to love to seek the gain of the other and not merely the benefit of the self.
Many seek love in the name of freedom that they result into excesses of the flesh.
They say it is freedom for man to seek the flesh for man is free and so he is free to be blissful. They seek wickedness if they only know this, for man is created apart and above those beasts in the wilderness.
These are men and women who see another person as merely objects; as merely tools and weapons in order to pursue their selfish and improper intentions.
It is not merely a question of what I want but also what others want and ultimately what the Lord Almighty wants.
Let us seek the proper freedom so that we may be guided towards the Light, towards the goodness of things and not to wallow in wickedness.
Those who are excessive shall never sleep tight in the night for their own shadows shall bother them and they always realize these things too late.
Be free and yet be patient.

VI. THE FRUITFUL BASKET
“Then there was a pageant of men that I saw in the sky, as the clouds formed their images, holding each other’s arms as an image of an angel appeared out of nowhere in order to reach out for them and led them towards a direction that pointed upward.”
Among the most beautiful and most delightful symbols that I have seen from the sky was the scene of men holding each other’s hands, as if they are brothers to each other, not letting go of another, while a man with a span of wings on his back appeared out of nowhere in order to extend his hand, and in order to lead them towards a place full of hope and promise.
My brothers and sisters, there is no far greater purpose in life than to seek the oneness of all men, as we are all created equal, no matter how we were created differently. Nothing far more heroic in the eyes of men and mostly in the eyes of Our Lord, than to seek the fellowship of other men, although these men may be of different race or creed. Nothing is greater than a love to one who differs from us, for they differ not of their own intentions, but merely the intentions of nature and circumstances. For the Arab is man of the dessert while the Asian is mostly of the plains.
And yet to this mission, nothing could be far more daunting, for while we seek the peace among ourselves we are continuously haunted by our unpeace. We see with every eye and we hear with every ear how we wear many shades of skins and how we speak in many tongues, we are not blind to this. We are never blind also as to how the differences in us give rise to conflicts and arguments, and even to bloodshed that in one man’s hands lies the blood of his brother.
Far too difficult this task may be and yet we do not take heed to the weaker side of our minds and hearts. We shall strive to seek peace amongst us no matter how the storms may shatter our resolve, for it is the will of the Lord God Almighty, that we seek now the Brotherhood of Man.
We must fill the basket with apples and oranges; and then we still have to fill it with peaches and mangoes; and then further, we still have to load it with mangosteens and bananas. And we shall carry this basket no matter how we realize that our load had become heavier. We must strive harder, for sooner than we know, we shall reap our rewards in the end, and savor the basket full of fruits of many kinds.
We are like the river that threads many paths and yet to end merely in the same ocean. We all must thread the same path in the name of Our Lord God, for whomsoever conflicts with his brother, also conflicts with Him.
For He is like the Father who has many children and does not in any manner leave any child to suffer the weather, out in the coldness of the night. And He whispers gently to the ears of the older and wealthier children in order to persuade them to seek out their poorer and suffering siblings, for He suffers also when one of His children suffers.
He is the Father who suffers the wounds of His children.
How blinded have we become by our prejudice? How we take others aside for lack of knowledge that all men are seen as equal in the eyes of God. He did not deem it that He shall favor some and disfavor others, for He is the God of All Men.
Could you honestly believe in your hearts that He had allowed many other men to be borne only for them to lose salvation, just because they have not come to the folds of Christianity or Islam? There are just too many of them that we could never be blind.
Have you actually expect the china man to speak the white man’s tongue? Shall the African drink wine on his daily table when he grows root crops to drink some other beverage?
Shall you ask why the Jew did not become a Moslem when all his life he was tended and made to learn his own scriptures? Could you blame anyone? Blame is never in the side of the Lord.
We may imbibe a Hindu to seek your own creed, by teaching him all the books that may be at hand and yet you could go for a thousand days and a thousand nights and you would soon find out that you were only made to imbibe a few of them, if ever there would be learners of your kind of faith. It would take a millennium for you then to imbibe most of them, a task nearly impossible.
In so long that any one remains in the righteous path, to follow the basic teachings of the major faiths---Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism---then there would be no more argument for every religion seeks the righteous path, seeks the goodness in every man.
For a Moslem is blameless if he professes to Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Omnipotent because mainly, he had been thought by his forefathers in the learned ways of Islam, until he had embraced genuinely the faith of his forefathers?
In so as the Christian, he remain blameless in the eyes of other men, for mostly he has learned in the way of Jesus Christ even from birth, and even until death comes to him.
And so is with the Jew, for he was born a Jew in the first place and learned mostly the teachings of Abraham and Moses. How could blame be upon him?

For faith can be bared to its simplest form and that is, in order for man to pursue the goodness of our hearts and to dispel wickedness. What is evil is the grave things that men do-fornication, adultery, murder, thievery, the wantonness of the tongues, the propensity to conflict, selfishness and apathy to the plight of the unfortunate. These are the things we must take issue and not the differences of our faith.
We must seek the unity in our faith rather than make war with the differences, for it is like upon seeing the rose then hating upon the thorns rather than being enamored by the beautiful red petals.
For a man may be rich in faith and yet in the confines of his own home, he is wicked and evil in his heart, faith then is of no essence to him.
Yet a man you see on the street may be of another faith aside from your own, and yet he is kind in his heart and light towards his other fellow men---his faith is of the greatest essence to him and to the whole world.
It is foolish now to believe that we could all be harbored in the same singular faith. Let be what could be let be. In so long as Evil does not reign in this world, then live and let live.
It is childish and at times foolish if we should expect the china man to speak the white tongue from his birth. We knock on empty doors if we should seek that in the end, men should speak the same tongue and believe in the same creed. Without our differences, existence in this world would be insufferable for its monotony. The world would not turn and revolve.

Our differences allow people to roam and explore the unknown, to be interested in the other. Men traveled in the past to find things different from what they have. They rode the waves and braved the great ocean waves in order to find porcelains and spices in some faraway land. If spices were all abound, we would have not reached these level of understanding amongst people of different nations for men would not have traveled in the past. It was differences that brought men of different race closer together in the past and until now.
Prejudice put a seed of viciousness in our hearts that often we are led to hate and violence towards other men whose only pain was to be born different from us. To seek prejudice is to plant a seed of conflict, to seek the weapons of war, instead of fellowship.
We see the thorns and not the flower.
We must now realize that the Lord had intended it that we are born different. Our differences are for a purpose, even our differences in faith. If all religion seeks the path of righteousness, then there shall be no point of dispute.
Let not prejudice put you at risk of the Judgment Day for whomsoever conflicts with his brother, conflicts also with Him, Our Lord God Almighty.
There shall be no argument as which is the greatest of faith for even if we debate for a thousand days and thousand nights, no one could ever claim the truest faith with irrefutable evidence. The words would not end and the arguments would not cease. Let be what should let be and live so that others may live.

For righteousness is never the monopoly of any faith. In so long as we are all righteous and prayerful to the Lord God, we shall be rewarded with our peace in the Hereafter.
For those who shall make peace shall be called the Children of God.

VII. THE GREAT VISITOR
“At a glance, the image invoked no particular message, but a mere embrace, a warm welcome. I saw Him, an enigmatic figure.”
I trained my eyes so carefully as I looked for further messages from the angels when all of a sudden, as if my body was lifted above ground for a second or two, as I sat there stuck to my own chair, a bearded man appeared sitting on a huge throne, smiling at me so warmly like a beautiful sunrise as if saying to me ‘See, I have come’.”
My eyes were a little wet and teary-eyed when I saw this most enigmatic of all images. I have seen this man, Jesus Christ sitting on a huge throne, a warm smile on His face, like a warm embrace that almost I felt some trembling on my skin. A cold wind passes me by so suddenly.
It was the most enduring of all images that I have seen from the sky, a bearded man on a very huge throne, lasting for a full minute or so. It was a face so familiar for I have seen that face countless times in the past, in pictures hanging from walls and corridors, on doors and entrances, on the bulletin boards, in churches and offices, and even in public markets; it is the picture of a man so adorned by many. I could never be mistaken, I could never go wrong.
Speaking through my mind and heart, He evoked the personage of enormous Love and Caress-He is indeed the Redeemer of Humankind.
It was an image of great welcome, a stark introduction to His person because right from that moment, I have scoured and read more about Him. The image was a revelation that finally now I am certain that He existed in the past, as we know Him in those bible stories, in books and in televisions, and He will continue to exist. It had led me to search the wisdom of the Gospels, as well as of other writings. He is the Beginning and he is the End. The Alpha and the Omega. For He has been raised towards the Heavens in order to return in the End of days--to be the Judge of All Men, the Witness of God.
And He shall be the visitor that we shall all expect. We shall clean our houses then, to sweep the floor of grime and dust the windows from dirt, to put on the red carpets and prepare the best wares in our dining tables. We shall put on our best garments and make the flowers bloom in the gardens of our front yards. Make the gardens bloom my brothers and sisters for we all shall welcome a great visitor.
We shall be ready with our water of life for if He shall come, we shall prepare Him coffee and tea, and confectioneries of all kind. We shall prepare Him a drink made from the water that we have invested with our good intentions and righteousness. Let our water of life be overflowing, so we may not be lacking if the time comes. Shall we be the bride who uses up the oil in her lamp and not providing light when the time comes?
It came to me finally, that Jesus Christ---the Son of Mary, the Messiah---was the one orchestrating the great stage show that I have been witnessing in the sky, as the angels flew here and there, to invoke messages in beautiful pantomime and exhibiting groups of symbols that completes a thought-so that I may find the answers and write them and relay them to you-to you all who may be righteous and good. It is then for me to serve a purpose, a purpose that is worth trying, to say the least. I would be the servant of God, if He wishes, as each and every one of us could be His servant too. We should find this in our hearts, for nothing is more admirable than this purpose, nothing far greater of a sacrifice.
This is no time to doubt nor a time to while away precious time; it is a time for us to rekindle the flame that burns in our hearts ever since we were born, the faith and belief in the Goodness of God, the rewards of the righteous, the Eternal Life that awaits us. It is a time for us to seek the path of the Light again, and none of the road that has blinded us into evil ways and wickedness. It is a time for our spirits to rise again against the might of the Evil One, as we struggle against the influence of the Darkness, as we live in this present world haunted by men and women slaved to flesh and prone to violence; those that are easy to deceit for in their hearts is unfaith and disbelief.
Now I know the man better. He is Christ, the Anointed One, and the Son of Man. He was the one who said, “ Do not look upon another person with one eye and lust upon that person. For you have committed adultery already”. For He was the one who said, “those who come in peace shall be called the children of God.”
Let us overcome our will against the temptation of the flesh and of wealth for those who shall remain in faith shall reap the rewards of Eternal Life. Let us all be Children of God. Follow my footsteps my brothers and sisters.

For He had come now, not perhaps as the resurrection as He had promised once but perhaps to merely make a stopover, a brief reminder to us before the day of reckoning shall come. In order to ease us our minds, to reassure us that despite our toil against the many temptations that hounds these present days, there is a pot of gold waiting for us at the end of the rainbow. So that we know that after we labor in our faithfulness, we shall be rested in an oasis of love and that we shall be put into good sleep by the lullaby of hope and redemption.
We are the fortunate ones--- this generation is gifted with a vision, a clear sign from the Lord God. We must not remain blind lest we missed out on our chances. There is no other time like this again for all of us. There was a promise made in the days of old and indeed, it is to be fulfilled.
For whosoever among us shall say that this generation has not been lost into the labyrinth of temptations, for every side we see, we see the might of evil. Shall we not confess our sins? It has been centuries and eons ago that Our Lord Almighty has given us His words, so long ago that not one among us to deny that the flames of faith have somehow mellowed down in our hearts, like a well-kept secret, like a treasure forever lost. It is time then for us to rekindle the Light in our hearts.
And now He has come through my visions to reawaken us from our deep sleep and face a brand new sunrise. We are the lucky ones indeed and we shall never let go of this moment for we may never pass this way again. We must all be one in the righteous path for the promise of Eternal Life is for all mankind. For whomsoever walk in the righteous path shall walk in the Way of the Light. A man may spend all his life in a cave and yet if he is righteous, he had walked in the Way of the Light. And a man may live in the temples all his life and yet if he is wicked in his heart, he had turned away from the Light.
There is a time to live and a time to rest, and a time for everything in between, and yet, this is the time for us to awaken our spirits and wash our soul clean. We must be born again and like a child, we must see the goodness in every man, to expect the brightness of life, and to evade every evil thing.
Let us cleanse our spirits and wash our souls. Let us repent and produce fruits from our repentance. For those who repent may find relief in the arms of the Lord. Let us open our hearts to those who suffer, bring life to those who are sick, to feed those who hunger and bring water to those who thirst; for we have been thirsty ourselves and now He gives us a fountain of life - our water of life.
Let us bathe and drink in this Fountain of Life.

VIII. A MEMORY OF PARADISE
“In my dreams, those memories came; of old things that reminds me of the gloriousness of salvation, in countless times and in countless ways. They are dreams full of colors-of castles and temples; of radiant valleys and hills; of splendid gardens that seeing them makes the heart sigh.”

There is a form of bliss that one never feels on this mortal Earth for it is beyond imagination. It is a kind of bliss that makes the eyes teary-eyed with overwhelming gratitude; thankfulness to the Mightiness of God.
There is the harbor of the clouds, the road towards Heaven. Above is sky so clear that it is very cool to the sight. The sight gives a feeling of enlightenment, like having been doused by a pail of ice. In the clouds, we could float and navigate it easily. The feeling of flight itself is so exhilarating that it will make you wish that you should have not waited so long to reach the place. As you flow through the thickness of foamy clouds, you would hear the sound of music, more particularly the sound of strings from a guitar and that of a violin. The moment you hear this music, a mixture of emotions enveloped you that once again you would feel overwhelmed by the supernatural form of existence in the afterlife. There is indeed a kind of bliss so powerful that one loses his or her self into it.
Then there is the white castle that we shall approach, with turrets red as red can be and you could not miss them, for it shall enthrall your sight like no other and shall amaze you, for how come there are castles in the clouds?
In this castles and temples, the angels roam. You could see them playing games and enjoying musical concerts. Everyone is up and about in merriment and joy. There are many eventful happenstances there that existence there is a continual labyrinth of celebration and joy.
Paradise is a place prepared for us by the Lord, a new Eden somewhere in the constellation apart from us. It is Earth reborn. An Earth more beautiful a hundred times over. It is the return of Eden.
There are radiant hills and valleys and forest that look like giant gardens sculptured into perfection and symmetry. There are exotic birds that roam and four-footed animals that clatters above it. The flowers are so beaming with beauty that they are like no other. They are the reddest of red and the greenest of green. Where the color yellow is the yellowest and the color blue is the most blue. It is a world full of vivid colors that enchants the sight to no end.
The air we breathe there is thicker than the one we breathe here on Earth and that every time you breathe them, you would feel exhilarated by an overwhelming joy, a feeling of well-being that never ceases.
The rivers and brooks are so clear that they shine, to glow like crystals and to reflect the skies like a colossal mirror.
This is so far my memory of Paradise; a memory that is so long past that somehow recurs to me every now and then, in my dreams as well as in my mind whenever I close my eyes.
Let us come to the Garden of The Father.

IX. THE WEDDING RING
“There was the brightest star that guided me through the night in those nights of enchantment. While the angels flew here and there in order to execute their graceful pantomimes, in order to relay the Divine Messages, the bright start stood there like a beacon that somehow I knew I would never lose my way.”


There was once a common man that got betrothed and married his long-time fiancé in a simple bridal ceremony. There was the wedding ring that he bought and he gave it to his bride.
They lived contentedly although the at times life was hard on them. There was even a time that he had so much difficulties making ends meet that he had to pawn his wedding ring. His wife lamented this fact but he merely explained that what was more important is that they have food on their dining table. His kinsmen knew about this and even berated him for it and he merely said, “It is merely a ring.”
He went about with his work in his humble farm and with his other duties that it came that even if his financial means had become stable, he never redeemed the ring again and of course, he never wore them back again in his hands.
And so while he was with his friends and kinsmen, they all asked him, “Why is it that you are a wedded man and you do not wear a ring on your finger?” and then again, he answered merely, “I do not need a wedding ring in order to be married.”
For indeed the man knew that to wear the wedding ring is to declare to the whole world that he is married and those pretty lads from here and from nearby villages may not as much bother him no more. And yet he realizes that he needed no wedding ring in order that he may not be bothered, for he could be faithful without the ring glistening in his fingers.
And so our faith to the Lord God is at times like the wearing of the wedding ring. Many of us wear the ring and yet our hearts are full of adultery, betrayal and lasciviousness. And yet there are those who never wore them and yet their faith to their marital bow remained unshaken like a giant cliff amidst the bursting waves.
Many of us profess to faith as we pray in the temples while many eyes are watching and yet in our hidden lives, we disparage faith like a woman scorned. It is merely prayers to the wind if in our hearts is not the glory of God but the glory of lust and wealth. To pray at times is merely to honor and glorify ourselves.
Foolish it is for one to let their gold and diamonds shine in their hands and yet they are full of mischief and unfaithfulness. They are the ones who seek lusts like they are merely walking in the park and they disregard the words of God as easily.
Shall we become faithful merely in the eyes of men and not before the eyes of God? There is no escape from the inquiries of the Lord and His angels, and when the time comes when judgment shall be laid upon all men, we can never deny anything.
In the basking of high noon, we hear the words of the preachers essaying the truthfulness of the gospels, the exemplar kindness of Christ, and yet as we go to the streets we easily forget these lamentations and we merely watch while some lay naked in the streets and suffering the cold wind as darkness approaches each time. They are deaf to the whining of the hungered amongst us.
Greed is at most times a vice that bothers the purity of our soul and blinds our hearts from the suffering of our brothers and sisters who are caught in the storm of suffering and desperation. How we forget the widow who gave a penny and yet she had given almost everything she had. For oftentimes, we are the tax collector who is merely noisy with a pittance of his wealth clunking on a beggar’s tin can.
The widow is like the married man who wears no wedding ring for her faith may not be well known yet her faith is the greatest.
For what if we have not sinned and remained prayerful to the Lord, shall we be perfect and assure us the Kingdom of God? We are perfect if we are able to dispel the everyday sins and yet we are far from the Gate of Heavens if we are greedy although we have not sinned actively. We have not gossiped but we are grievously imperfect still if we disregard the needy amongst us. We pray to God and have not murdered and yet we are still imperfect if we retain more than what is due us. We have not coveted and committed adultery and yet if we do not heed the call of those who are sick and dying, we are blind to faith. We may not have stolen anything in our life and yet when we are greedy, we remain farthest from the glory of the Lord.
We must love our neighbor the Lord God has once imbibed us and often we forget this. To love the neighbor is not merely to love those who are physically present within us and around us but it is to love every other one who lay naked in the street, to provide water to anyone who is athirst, to comfort the sick and dying. If we have not loved our neighbor, we remain farthest from the Gate even if we have followed all the rest of His commandments. How could faith alone save us when it is works that shall purify our souls?
We merely wear a wedding ring and not truthfully married if we do not take heed to the call of the Lord towards charity and the giving of alms. We must practice alms often so that our hearts may be purified. If possible, we must have works in a week. If in a week it is not possible, we must do it once in a month. If in a monthly basis we could not do this, then we must do it once in a year, in an amount relative to our wealth.
In the days of old, it is one part for every whole of ten that men determine their alms. Even at present, this estimation is still reasonable. Take away from your profits all the expenses of your households and your taxes paid, as well as to the account of your personal needs, then whatever is left, one part for every whole of ten is reasonable. Seek the poorest among the poor for it is them that needed your helping hand. It is also of importance that before you give food to the hungered, it is primary to give life to those who are sick and dying.
Nothing is far greater in faith than a man who has nothing and yet he gives almost everything in his hands.
If it comes to you to ask yourself that although you have followed every commandments of the Lord, what it is that you must do in order to be perfect? If you have been truthful to the all the commandments of the Lord, you must further be faithful by seeking to work for the Lord, to be a man of great charity and of alms, and then your faith may be perfect and the Gates of Heaven shall be well at hand.
We must wear our faith neither in our necks as a gold chain nor in our fingers as a wedding ring. We must take faith in our hearts and a good heart is one who hears the cries of those who are suffering.

Our love to the Lord God Almighty needs no signs or symbols. It needs our good hearts.

X. A MYSTICAL POEM: THE VOYAGE
There was also one vision that I keep seeing repeatedly, communicating to me while I read in my study table. There were the images of two persons on the wall just in front of my study table. In the midst of the visions on the wall was a boat and the persons were standing on each end, which I took them to be the captain and the navigator. They relayed to me through signs and symbols that they were Angels too, taking other shape, in order to relay the messages on the wall more effectively. Their hands would signal many pantomime in order to converse with me and their heads would nod or shake whenever I confirm their messages (whether I got it right or I got it wrong). The captain was always pointing upwards, towards a destination, towards a place high up. Through signs and symbols, they made me write this poem, which is titled as “The Voyage”. Since it is of divine source, it is of the essence that all men shall read this and find the meanings in their hearts.

THE VOYAGE
Come my dear child,
follow the footsteps of my symbols,
towards a voyage curved in stone,
as I have murmured and whispered to your ears from the beginning until the End of Times;
where humankind shall persist
in eternal Peace and Love
among brothers and sisters all.
Be the harbor of your patience,
like the child as you are
and grow into
the strength and courage
that I have seen in you,
as you have to your own children.
Mold them into the Light,
so that they may not be lost
in the Darkness
that you once knew.
The Heavens are for you to dwell,
and for those who believe shall be chosen;
that an enormous Love
shall make you fly,
with wings of the greatest span.
Carry your brothers and sisters
like you carry your own children
so that the evil forces shall be vanquished by the angels I have sent to defeat and subdue them.
And evil shall be vanquished indeed
by the Angels within us
and around us.

The signs on the wall were a magical exposition. Like the visions of angels, it was hard to fathom that somehow there are set of realities that are not as it were before, as they happened beyond my wildest dreams. There are things that made sense only in movies and in children’s stories, and yet these are the things that invoked to me to accept a newer reality.
“The Voyage” is a simple poem. It may be in metaphor but it does not confuse the reader as much. As we examined it, “The Voyage” speaks of things to come, of the promise that has been made known to us since time immemorial, the rewards of the faithful and of the obedient.
Each and every one of us should prepare ourselves for the voyage towards eternity and beyond. There is a ship on dock, to receive those who have done good works and men of greatest faith and obedience to the dictates of the Creator. This is the voyage that could end all voyages and we shall not let pass this opportunity to be part of the ultimate adventure towards the life hereafter. It may not come our way as easily again.
Prepare your own gears and effects. The voyage may be long and arduous and yet the rewards are great. Be patient for the destination is almost at hand. Those who shall overcome their will against the temptation of the devil shall be aboard the ship, and when he is already aboard, the road ahead is less laborious, in fact it would be a skyway to Heaven, a trip that has no stop but only destination.
Be patient so that you may have the purity of soul. A righteous man’s soul shall be your ticket to the Gate of Heaven. Do all things that are good and avoid every evil conduct. Is that too much to ask? What good does it do a man to receive the pleasures of a mortal world when he loses the Kingdom of God, an everlasting life?
Be prepared, for it is an enormous love that shall carry us towards eternity. Cultivate your heart so that you may be able to “carry your brothers and sisters like you carry your own children”, for an enormous love decides the purity of your soul. It is an enormous love to be a man for others, to look out not only for the self, but also for those who need help and assistance.

An enormous love shall give us wings of the widest span and the Heavens are for us to dwell. In the house of the Creator, there would be temples in the clouds, and Paradise everywhere. The Universe is so wide that there would be limitless geography in which we could spread our wings. There would be everlasting joy, peace and harmony. A life of music and dances, of merriment and celebrations and there would be no daytime or nighttime, neither Muslim nor Christian, neither black nor white.
To those that have not been able to prepare themselves, they shall be cast away and shall not be aboard the ship that awaits us at port. They will have another destination, downward to the road of perdition where the vengeance of eternal fire awaits them.
It is easy to prepare when patience is on our side. All we have to ask every now and then is: Would God desire to have me in His Temple? Would He allow me to live with Him and dwell with Him? Am I worthy of His presence?
Am I a thief? Am I a fornicator? Am I a murderer? Am I a gossiper? Am I an adulterer? Am I a Liar? Am I a blasphemer?
The life of each and every one of us is a voyage by itself. The voyage in fact starts now as we speak and shall end at the place and time God had promised all His children. Let us treat every day as a step towards the voyage, as a time and opportunity to prepare our souls, to carry God’s desires and wishes, to follow all His dictates and instructions.
What does it do a man to have faith and yet do not have works? Does faith alone could save him?
Be patient and be disciplined. Have faith but know the meaning of real faith. It is not how much or how deep you practice your faith but how you apply righteousness in your everyday life. Not to be pious in men’s eyes and yet evil in the conclave of your homes. For God knows everything. To have faith as it is too often said is also to have enormous love, to have hope, and to have charity. For what is faith if we do not have the basic concept of goodliness? What is faith if we continue to do abominable things?
I may not be perfect and yet I am imperfect without committing any sin. As a man, I am often envious and frustrated by anger, and jealous and yet I would not let my envy and anger consume and stain me. I may have nothing what others have but my lack of things would never lead me to steal. I may have the instinct of lust and yet I recognized that I have been given a heart and mind to dissuade me from bestial acts.
It is not to be perfect in order to come aboard. It is only to be good and disciplined that is required of us. Not to be perfect but merely to be righteous.
Let us go aboard my brothers and sisters. The voyage has just started.

XI. PURIFICATION OF OUR SOULS
“A soul rose up towards the high heavens, reaching the darkening clouds when a horned creature suddenly appeared out of nowhere and grabbed the soul and led it towards a direction. As the soul was being led away towards the eastern side of the sky, slowly downward to its perdition, three angels appeared in their most valiant forms with immense swords in their hands, and took away the lost soul from the hands of the dark creatures. There is a battle between good and evil and the battle is also within us.”

Man is born into the ruins of humanity fraught with temptations, that while he was born sinless and pure, he is bound to sin after all. No one is left unscathed and no soul is given rest as the hands of evil continue to dissuade us from the path of the Light.
But the Light never rests and never withers in order to make our burdens lighter and our load lesser. That even as darkness sometimes consumes us, there remains a flicker in which we could hold on to, even if it is fainter than the farthest star and yet it remains that the Light shall illuminate us only if we seek for the truth and not the untruth that blinds us.
And yet, Darkness continues to perturb us.
Even as a child, we succumb to our imperfections and that as we have grown, the temptations become harder to contend. Nobody is sinless and no one could escape sin, this is one of the mysteries of our existence. Even as the Lord instructs us to be perfect and yet we struggle with every footstep that we make, we stumble when at times we run too fast.
We are the lost sheep at most times waiting for the shepherd to come for us in the wilderness, to show us the way out our mires. It would be fruitless to be the least of candor and deny these things that perturb us. We must see the Light again, to open our hearts so that we may see, so that we may be awakened from our deepest slumber. One is not awakened if one has not slept and one may not see the Light if he did not see Darkness even for once.

We must be born again in order to enter the Kingdom of God, as Christ had once invoked us in the days of old and in these times of greatest temptations; it is one great notice that is most beneficial to us. It is one message that is of great weight. No one shall be ready to face the Lord except that he had made steps to purify his soul.
For like a child, we must see everything with good intentions. Every child is sinless at most times for their hearts are pure and devoid of wicked intentions. They see things in great hope and honesty. They trust truthfully and can easily be trusted with all the truths. We must see the world like a child again.
If you would be the one to give great thought to the salvation of your souls, listen now for it is of the moment that we must be reborn and be purified in our souls. We must embark on a spiritual awakening; into a voyage that would lead us back again into the arms of the Lord. The road may be difficult and arduous for many amongst us, and yet the rewards shall be enormously worthwhile. If only one could know how heavenly is the promise of Paradise, how bliss is pure in the Hereafter for those who shall be worthy, one would even give up everything in order that one may gain it. For once it was said that in the Kingdom of God, there shall be no more sorrow and pain, there shall even be no more second death.
We must see our failings within ourselves, for us to know ourselves better, for at most times, it is us who knows ourselves the most and nobody else. Nobody is awakened unless he had been asleep and nobody shall see the Light unless he learns Darkness for himself. We must dive into the recesses of our persons and examine every nook and crevices of our hearts, every facet and every feature; this is how we must relearn our own persons. We must not deny our failings and open our hearts to Him, the Lord Almighty and be honest for it is the most beneficial for us to be of truth and not of denial. The moment we see those things that stains our hearts, then it would be easier for us to untangle the darkness of our soul. How do we change if we do not know what to change?
We must confess our sins to Him and take oath to never commit these grievous things again. This is the way to our salvation. There is no other road towards salvation except through the repentance of our sins and repentance does not occur whenever we chose to remain blind and continue to deny our failings. And nightly prayers shall calm our fears like a balm upon a heavy wound. We pray even when the moon does not appear in the darkened sky. How do we know we failed Him if we continue this blindness of the soul, and further add blight to our impure hearts?
Do not be like Judas who kept his failings in his heavy heart that in the end, only a rope would free himself of his own shadow.
At times, worry comes to us at midnight and yet we remain heedful to the greatest of faith. When silence encompasses us, this is the time to unload our misgivings, in order for us to confess our sins. Sit and be strengthened by His presence and kneel so that He may be honored and revered. Pray until your hearts welcomes the Lord and pour out all the things that bother you. For we have been lost and now we are found again, there shall be no more hurdles that shall distance me from the Gates of Heaven. I have found the Lord again and shall remain faithful from now on; to remain prayerful until the end that Eternal Life shall be mine again.
Let us talk to the Lord and lay open all the grievous things we have done, to those mischief that we have committed openly as well as those we have hidden from Him. Let us seek Him in the temples and the churches if need be. For to be purified again in our hearts, is to be cleansed from our previous failings. And the Lord shall certainly be heedful to our pleas, for His mercy is endless to those who seek Him genuinely.
There shall be no blindness again if you take faith in Him and you shall never fall again into the temptation of evil, into all the stains that hounds this present world. Let goodness be the captain of your hearts that even when the ocean is trembled by countless storms, the Light does not fade away from your lives. If we are now made to see by the Lord, to be able to find again in our hearts that salvation and Eternal Life is almost at hand, shall we let this chance slide away again from the grasp of our hands like it had slipped away before as a result of our mischief and erroneous beliefs?
There shall be no other time again like this time when we are made to see again by the Lord with the clearest of signs. To disregard the murmurs of the Lord is extreme foolishness and pure folly. We are made to see and yet we chose to remain blind.
Do not let our faith be like upon a business contract where we sin now and repent later for this is doubly malicious and the Lord never fail to see the malice in our hearts. We could not hide even the motives that are locked hidden in our mind. There are things we do not see and yet the Lord and His angels never fail to see.
This is the time and there is no other time to be reborn. The sinful ways is like a quicksand, the more you sink into the quagmire of sin, the more that it is harder for us to escape sin. The heavier the sin becomes, the further we are from repentance and forgiveness of the Lord. Repent while the sin is light, for a heavy sin is at most times difficult to undone.
Let us remember that to the modern man, the road that lies between the Kingdom of God and us are temptations so numerous that there had been no other time in the past like the present time. In every corner we turn, our patience and discipline are tested by the many temptations that our hearts desire. If we have none of the greatest of faith surely we surrender easily to these desires and then we become farther again from the Lord. Our faith is like a plant that needs constant watering and attention. If we become neglectful in a matter of days, this plant withers and dies.
For many of us, to keep the faith strengthened is hardest of all, for we admit that the practice of faith requires extraordinary perseverance and discipline. But if we gain perseverance, the reward is greatest for there is none other fruitful to our sacrifices than an Eternal Life in the arms of the Lord.
Do not heed the heckling of those who disparage faith, saying devotion to the Lord is something impractical in this modern world and seemingly out of time. Their apostasy shall make them weep in a river of tears, when the Lord finally calls upon them and found them wanting of faith. For a man without faith--without prayers and works--is like upon an ant lost in the middle of the Saharan Desert.
Take a time for your own souls and retreat into a spiritual awakening. For men are born into sin, no one shall be saved unless he is born again. To be born again is not to find another faith, but it is to be able to be honest to ourselves, in order that we may be able to confess all of our sins before the Lord and His angels. We must outpour our heavy hearts before Him and ask for His forgiveness, and then we shall start to trek again the road that we have lost. We must find our way again into the way of the Light. The angels have come in order to relay to us this important message, among many others. We must be born again. We must have a spiritual awakening.

XII. THE WAY OF THE LIGHT
“For several nights, I saw a shapely woman dressed in a bridal gown, so perfectly enticing, moving slowly and gliding across the sky like an angel should be. There was the bride adorned in the night sky.”
For Christ Jesus Our Lord have appeared to me in one enchanting vision, we must see the way he is leading, the way to the Light, into the path of righteousness. He once said that the Kingdom of God is like a bride adorned for her groom, and so with the clearest sign from the sky, our salvation is now at hand, as had been promised to us since time immemorial.
Let us relive again this path that Christ have shown, a long and winding path and yet a road that will for certain bring us back to the Father and towards Eternal Life in Heaven. In the present days, this road had become least traveled for too often we forget the Light, and accept Darkness like it is the truth.
Let us seek the Light again for whomsoever shall seek Him, shall seek the salvation of the soul. We seek the Light in the path of righteousness for no one shall enter the gates if the heart is full of doubt and unbelief, full of wantonness and mischief.
To my mind there is no more doubt for the signs of the Lord are clear as ever. He does not fail to remind even when we have lost Him through our own mischief and disregard. He is ever loving and ever merciful. It is unlikely that the common eye would see the bride in the sky and the symbol of the bride adorned is meaningless to one who is full of unfaithfulness and disbelief. This is no time to doubt for the time may be at hand, for the signs of the times is not blinding us, but reminds us that whatever the Lord had promised before shall be fulfilled, and whatever was prophesied shall take place. The Kingdom of God is at hand.
For whom to say when the day of His coming shall be? These things, only Him shall know. Yet, who’s to say that the time may not be at hand? Shall we be surprised upon our wits if the time comes when we expect it the least? Let us take heed for even the sign of the mushroom cloud continue to permeate.
And so we must seek the righteous path now for the time of reckoning may be at hand. It is the way of the Light that we must seek and none other.
And then it comes to our mind, what path is the most certain towards righteousness? Do not be misled for righteousness is in the hearts of any one who is full of good intentions and encompassing a forthright spirit.
The righteous path is never in the hands of a measly few, but shall be achieved by anyone who is truthful to their own consciences, to follow the basic judgments of the Lord.
In truth, those who follow the way of Christ Jesus Our Lord are in the righteous path--towards the way of the Light--and he or she shall not be blinded by the Darkness, lost and wandering in the wilderness.
In truth also, anyone who lives a life of righteousness shall also be in the righteous path, regardless of his creed.
Let us find again the truth in our hearts for it is a time that men should follow the same path of righteousness. We must spread the words not only to a measly few, but let us extend our hands to all the children of God. For God loves all men that He had sent many prophets to many nations. And every man who heed the call of these prophets shall be led accordingly towards Him, for righteousness is universal and not trapped into the fold of some chosen few. We are all the creations of God.
There was the man who lived his life virtually in a cave. He was born of wilderness and the jungle is the only world he knows. He died without a creed for no missionary had come to him. And yet, despite of his ignorance, he led a virtuous life, not having killed or maimed any other man, not having coveted, and not having stolen. You could say he was more sinless than more than half of man living in the cities. He was a righteous man, and he trek the path of righteousness, the path towards the Light. For whosoever follows the way of the righteous shall follow the way of the Christ.
To be in the way of the Light is not to be defiled in our hearts. It is of no essence that we are faithful in the eyes of men when in our hearts are full of mischief. Jesus had once said that what defiles a man is not to eat with an unwashed hands; what defiles a man is the evil in their hearts—fornication, covetousness, thievery, murder, blasphemy and grievous lies. It is not to defile a man to be of different creed for it is not of his own liking, but what would defile him is if he ever would commit the evil things that stains the soul.
For whosoever is prayerful to the Lord, to believe in His Might and the guidance of His angels, to follow the commandments of righteousness, to believe in the judgment of the soul, and the promise of Eternal Life, shall be one who is in the way of the Light. Let no man be the enemy of any other man, for the real enemy is the evil that haunts this world. Let no one man claim the love and caress of God for himself merely, for every man was born into this world in the grace and love of the Lord Almighty God, for only Him could give life, and every life had come from Him.
Faith is of no essence to us if even if we are prayerful in the temples, and yet we are tainted with greed and lust. Hypocrisy is the enemy for it shall lead us towards great tribulation, towards the underground cages where an unending fire shall torment those who are full of disbelief and mischief.

XIII. A GOD OF ALL THINGS
“The middle cloud exploded like dust and then suddenly a wide gap opened up in the sky, like a gate, where lo and behold, three white winged horses trotted gracefully among each other, in beautiful circular motion. Their wings fluttered and their bodices swiveled in tremendous elegance that the vision is one that as very mystifying.”
In Heaven, in the company of the Father and His angels, mystical creations shall continue to enthrall us and bestow our eyes with so much delight and glee. There would be the winged horses that we could ride upon and we could journey into eternity in one magical ride.
The angels shall welcome us with great trumpeting and jubilation. The red carpets shall be spread before us as we prepare to enter the Temple of the Father.

He had made everything possible that even as we depart this mortal world, a promise of new life shall await us for the obedient flock shall be rewarded with life eternal and unending bliss in Paradise. Nothing escapes Him where nothing is impossible to Him.
No man had seen Him, not even the prophets and messengers that came in the times before us. He is the Light that shines alone even before the universe arose from the dust in His hands.
In my mind the Light appears and continues to shine on me, in three circles that appear inside my head, whenever I close my eyes, in order to rain the greatest of His Wisdom, and manifest His inspiration.
He is the One mostly unseen and yet He is the One that is the most Present. He is the Most Mighty and yet He remains the Most Mysterious. This greatest of mystery somehow perturbs our faith, for even as imperfect as we are, we continue to grasp the meaning of God in our lives, as we grasp the meaning of everything that is unseen. We are like upon to enter a room so steeply dark that we grasp for both the way in and the way out. We often waste the hours in search of Him.
Men of different faith clashes often in the tarmac of debate and arguments in order to present the kind of god they each believe in, and yet the hours would not end and the words would never find a conclusion, that in the end nothing is concluded in their arguments. They often present their own god as different from the gods of others. They are far from the clearest sign when they do not see that the God of Abraham is the God of every man. He is the One in Might and nothing equals Him that only He that gave rise to every breath of every being in this world.

The disputes shall last into thousands of dawn, and yet not one shall carry His greatest of manifestations. If we continue to seek the unseen and labor to take hold of what is invincible, our pursuit shall be in great naught. We must seek Him through our hearts for at times; the heart sees what the eyes would not. Despite of the unseen, we must strive to dispel any doubt and we shall seek Him in the Mightiness of His signs. Let us trek the path toward His presence. We shall walk slowly and carefully until we find our destination, step by step with great prudence and thought, and open our hearts away from the blindness of prejudice.
In the morning, as we prepare ourselves towards another day, the morning sunrays illuminate us with the greatest of radiance, a light that gives life that the leaves of the plants in the field would also rise up and welcome the day. It awakens every life that comes from the soil even as we become alive by the effervescence of a brand new day.
The morning mist serenades our waking breath as the flowers in the garden blooms into myriads of colors and scents, and they feel our hearts with glee and wonderment. The sun strengthens our bodices and allows us to meet the new things that must be done and the old things that must be redone.
The daylight shine further into the hills and valleys, into the forest where the animals roam the earth and the greeneries littered the landscape while the trees gently sway to the lulling of the wind, the lullaby of Nature.
If the clouds darken at some other moments, it is rain that shall bring us strength instead, and life begins further as the fertile ground thirsts for water and the rainwater quenches the callings of the dry land. When the weather softens, the rainbow seeks our senses in hue of colors not easily replicated by mortal hands, as the sky explodes in the softest blue that the eyes could ever see.
We hear the laughter of the children playing above the welcoming earth, the earth that brings life to countless vegetation and let beasts of many kinds roam and multiply above it.
When the night comes, the stars and riveting comets make us wonder what great causes are there in the heavens that allow them to shine and remain like fireflies in the sky. The moon is like a giant lamp that illuminates the sky and we are made to see our way even into the darkest of the night. Below the sun and moon, the atmosphere encompasses every living breath of every living being that without the wind that carries the air, we are frigid like stones and lifeless like dusts.
The sun and the moon do not bear the language of man and yet they relate to us in the most enlivening manner. Without them, life would not matter. The flowers in the garden and the grasses in the fields would never speak any word, and yet they become the companions of our soul by serenading us with the beauty of nature. The wind does not whisper to us like the way the ladybird lull us with her heartrending song, and yet it is the songs of the wind that we need the most. The sun, the moon, the flowers in the garden, the trees in the forest and the wind that gently passes us by do not have names like any man has, and yet they are the greatest of our companions. We may not call on them always like we call upon those whom we seek always, and yet without them, we are without the very life that the Lord had bestowed us through His Providence.

The Great Divine had given rise to Nature in the most careful of manner that no mortal mind could gain enough intelligence to equal His. Life on earth was intended to be a great cycle where every species of being exists with a purpose to carry, that without which being, the purpose disappears and existence of life becomes gravely altered and even endangered. The sun and the moon take turns to bring the proper illumination. The sea dries up and yet the clouds shall make them full again. The trees are cleared at times so that food crops may grow. The fishes in the lakes are eaten by the fowls in the air while beasts in the wilderness take these fowls for their sustenance. And man takes these beasts for their supper when the night comes.
There are swooping creatures that spread the seeds from faraway places, and there are creeping creatures that disturb the soil that makes these seeds grow without the intervention of man. Life is one great cycle that is well planned and well designed by the Great Divine. Every creation is of purpose that the end of specie means the alteration of Nature, and ultimately the end of Nature.
The creations of Nature are all beyond the grasp of the ultimate human mind that in the end, neither humans nor spirits could replicate fully these creations. There is no wind that is the manufacture of man. No nation could create water.
The planets revolved around the sun in mysterious ways and yet they move in coordination with the moons around them that without this coordination, they would collide with each other and life ends.
It is of no doubt that some Being of the most ultimate of power is behind the magic of life. Some may argue vehemently that Nature was a result of accident. They fill their ignorance with strange wits.

Look and examine the tree. It is a work of great engineering feat where the mighty roots establishes its enormous weight strongly to the ground, and would scurry and spread underground towards the end that water and nutrients would be sipped upward towards its trunks and veins. The leaves are of intricate workings of veins and stems that the water would flow into them. The branches are covered with thick barks in order to protect it from waterlessness and then flowers in mystical colors would bloom from its topmost region. If they are felled to the ground, they build houses and they light the cold night in flaming campfires. Accidents happen and yet does the tree arise from accidents?
Look at man itself, the most central of all God’s creation, is he a bastard of mayhem or is he the result of the greatest of all schemes and designs. Man moves intelligently and has the power of knowing. Every aspect of its body is of essence and purpose that the absence of one would lay him unnatural at least and inutile and lifeless at the most. Every organ is of great intricacy and some is of the most superb of symmetry. Is man a product of accident?
Let us see in our minds’ eye about a carpenter about to build a house. If he gathers all materials—all the wood, steel and cement, including nails and screws— and throw it into a particular place, with the intention of building a house, then what we could see would be an ugly mayhem of objects, pieced together by accident. One way or another, it may produce a roof covering here or there or a wall accidentally nailed to a leaning wooden post. The cacophony of things may bring some shelter from the night wind but for certain it would not be a fine shelter. But if the carpenter would gather all the materials very carefully, with planning and design in mind, and nail each wood into its proper place and smoothen every surfaces with the appropriate tools, to wet the cement with the right amount of water, and to dig into the ground to make the wooden posts most stable, then we would gain ourselves a real fine shelter. Is Nature a shelter of materials thrown indiscriminately into a place or is it a shelter of the greatest of all schemes and designs? We must all see this simple truth and not be blinded by the radicalism of some men with strange wits. Nature is the greatest evidence of the existence and the Might of God, it is a divine manifestation that we see every day and yet every day we forget His Providence. We do not often stop to see His creations and be grateful to Him and in the end, to be obedient to Him and be fearful.
Nature is the creation of the “most careful of carpenter” and one that is the most intelligent that it would tire our mind of thinking how Nature was created in its simplest form. We may know that each creation is made up of molecules, atoms and electrons, but no one knows exactly how electrons came upon in the first place. Even if we argue that in the coming times, far into the future, man may discover more and more knowledge, one thing would be sure, he would never find the key to the dusts of life, from which man was created.
Let us honor the Mightiness of Our Lord, The Father in Heaven, the Creator of the Wind whom in His Greatest of Providence, He had made life from the dusts of life and gave us Nature in its most magical form in order that we may have a fruitful sojourn into this mortal world.



XIV. THE SIEVE
“The angel pointed his hands towards his arms and proceeded to signal that he was carrying a load in his back. We must all be brothers and sisters in arms and we must learn how to carry each other.”
Let us be reminded for all times that a man without his prayers is like an ant lost and wandering in the middle of the Saharan Desert. He is alone and grasping for direction, he has no compass in his hands and the road ahead does not tell any clue about his destination. He has no map in his keeping and the path that he threads is dark and winding that no signposts would assist him in his journey towards Eternal Life.
Our religion and our practice of faith are part of our spiritual life that without the benefit of its ethical codes and guidelines, we would meet the hardest of times in coping with the disputes of the modern life where in every corner we turn, the temptation to sin and to do wrongful ways are ever threatening. Our faith is the sieve that shall purify us out of our impurities.
When daylight comes into view, we must remain before Him in thoughtful prayers for a new day is about to come and we need the beacon of his never-fading light, His ever-permeating wisdom and guidance. When dusk appears, as we ready ourselves in bidding farewell to another passing of day, our prayers shall be in gratitude for the wondrous gift of life.
While we know in our hearts that faith alone could not save our souls, it is of no wisdom to dispel completely our practice of faith and to disregard the power of our prayers. We must conform to the habits that give meaning to our pleadings before the Lord. We petition Him in many ways and our faith shall provide us the avenue for our supplications. Faith and works shall go hand in hand like hammer and nail for without the other, one alone would be fruitless at most.
We must seek the calmness of the churches and the temples at least once in a month so that we do not forget faith. We must establish regular prayers in the conclaves of our homes for to forget the practice of faith would redound to forgetting the Lord God and the things He desires us to be. We must not harbor apostasy for the flames of the unending fire shall await those who procrastinate.
Our act of faith is also our language of obedience. As we attend the ceremonies of our churches, we are declaring in effect that we are in full obedience to the Lord. How else could we show Him our greatest of faith if we just sit in the corner of our room, without prayers and without seeking the harbor of the churches and the temples?
Our path towards the Kingdom is often fraught with the many traps of sins and errors that whomsoever says he or she is without need of the churches is one who trek the perilous road, without a map in his or her hands, without a lamp that shall light the ways.
Without our prayers, the heart becomes inundated with discontent and sorrow that Satan knows always when to take the proper opportunity. When we are at our weakest, it is the very moment that the demons come to disturb our minds, and take advantage of our human frailties, to examine and study carefully our desires and wants, and then to reward these desires if we commit folly and mischief, upon their commands and biddings. When we are the weakest, our hearts desires the most things, even the things that we should not desire.

The demons come into us like water into a vessel. The moment they notice a man whose spiritual conviction is weak, they tempt him like a child reaching out for a candy. They would notice a desirous soul miles and miles away, like snakes in the mountain who seek their prey in hills miles and miles apart. There is the imbalance in a man that makes him an easy prey to the demons, and makes him fall on the wayside, and that would be the end of his spiritual balance. When a soul moves farther and farther away from the churches and from the harking of the priests and the preachers, the soul languishes in neglect of faith and becomes the slave of wanton desires and would be the most fragrant prey to the snakes in the mountains.
When the demons come, we often do not notice them for they come in the name of deceit and their masks are not easily uncovered. We only realize their grievous influence when it is already too late, when remorse finally fills our hearts. If they come often because of our lack of faith, there would come a time that the hearts does not feel remorse anymore that the soul and the demon becomes already one and the same, and salvation of the soul becomes the farthest.
We must shield ourselves from the snakes in the mountain for even if we are miles apart, we could become prey to these demons if we are the least in faith. We fortify our stronghold through our habitual practice of faith. The more we become closer to the men of God we become shielded the more. We must hear the preaching of the knowledgeable ones, and we must strive to fill our hearts with the verses of the words of God and be strict in our obedience. We must read the words frequently for they are like balms to our wounded soul. We must gain our shield against the menace of the Darkness and we must fortify our faith. In daily prayers, we are brought into the most righteous path and we shall not be like a lamb lost in the wilderness.

Religion, and the practice thereof, is like a sieve upon sandy water. It sieves away the materials that make our hearts impure. We go on sieving the water again and again in order that that the sands may not stain the water we drink. Is it not that the more we sieve the water, the more it becomes pure?
In our journey towards Eternal Life, we must be vigorous in sieving our souls, to chase away the many impurities that haunt the spirit. No one escapes sin and therefore no one shall boast that he or she will need to sieve no more. Our acts of faith are our compass, the maps in our hands. If we are without the signs that lead our voyage, we are easily led astray into the darkness of sins and soon our path would lead to the lake that burns with an unending fire.
We have faith that is why we do works. We should have no faith alone or works alone. We must have both faith and works. We must do both for the two must come like hammer and nail.

XV. OUR SIN IS LIKE UPON A QUICKSAND
“An angel held a huge sword in his hands and was about to vanquish a demon that was fallen upon the ground. The angel then signaled to me that in order to eliminate the demons completely, the sword had to be trusted right into its very own heart. We must vanquish our own demons into their very own hearts.”
In the scorched ground of the desert, one must walk not only having in mind the harshness of the blistering sun or the ever threatening sand storms that always brings havoc in the cold night. To journey upon the desert, one needs an extraordinary care for something that is often unseen yet the most fatal. It is not the danger of the scorpions or the treacherous snakes that I am speaking of but the lethal trap of a quicksand.
The man walking through the desert must watch out carefully for any hint of soft sand along the way. There is just no other way to foresee danger brought about by the quicksand except by the keenest of foresight. When one is caught in it, the fastest to any hard ground must be sought otherwise the sand would soon eat up towards the level of the knees. When the sand goes up to the length of the knees, others must throw a sturdy rope to the sinking man so that the sand may not reach the level of the waistline. If the waistline is already sunk into the perilous sand, a mule must be had in order to pull the man out of his quagmire. If the neck is already threatened even the might of a camel might not be able to save the sinking man.
Our sinful ways is oftentimes like upon a quicksand that the more we get sunk into it the harder we are able to pull ourselves from certain perdition. Like the man sinking slowly into the sand pit, the sinner must free himself at the earliest possible time for any wasted moment could mean the end of life.
This is the nature of our sins, they often start as trivial matters and ends up us grievous infractions. They are propagators of habit that the more we wallow into the irresponsible pleasures they afford us, the harder we could stay away from them. There are even those among us who thrives on sin that without sinning they become restless and impatient. It is most wise and ultimately the most prudent to anticipate every sin even when they are still farthest from us, that long before we meet could them along the way, we must change our courses immediately and evade them. It is of wisdom to be farthest from sinful ways even from the beginning.
When something wicked comes along the way, we turn the other way lest wickedness may abuse our weaknesses and we become wicked ourselves. If our eyes are threatened by indecency, we must cover our eyes for a little while until lewdness has already passed us by. We see no evil if we turn farthest from it. In the days of old, Jesus had once said that if one would look upon another person with one left eye and lusted upon that person, he or she has already committed adultery that it is better for one to pluck out the guilty eye rather than all the members of the body be thrown into the fire.
If men along the way shall speak something harsh, it is better to cover the ears for a little while until wicked tongue have already pass us by. We hear no evil if we refuse to hear or heed the words spoken by evil men.
If along the way, we at times feel the desire to speak evil things against a fellow man, it is better for us to close our mouth for a little while until the indiscretions of our emotions have already passed away and then we evade the inanity of gossips.
There are times that we become the child who drools upon a candy after gulping down a bagful, and our elders would reprimand us for our excesses. Thereafter, we would speak like our words become engraved into stones and promise not to take another candy. And yet, the stone cracks easily when no one is already watching and we break our promise as we go right back again into the forbidden ways.

At times, the sinful ways is like the huge ball of rock that Sisyphus had earnestly push towards the top of the hill over and over again only to fall back flat towards the ground every time he nears the peak of the hill.
For at times our sins starts like a ball of snow falling innocently from a steep Himalayan mountain until the kindly looking ball of snow gains more and more mass and weight and grows into a deadly avalanche.
There are grievous things that we do that started merely as daily errors. As we repeat them they grow into an avalanche. We often hear about the man of many small sins who one day finally committed the most heinous of all transgressions.
The thief would surely feel the heaviest of remorse the very first time he commits such grievous sin of taking away another man’s possession. The second time he commits the same wrongful act, the remorse may still be there but it becomes less and less in weight. When he repeats the act over and over again, remorsefulness would finally become a stranger to him that his conscience had already become stunted. Until the day that he takes the largest of all sum and feels no remorse whatsoever. He is the thief that is caught in the quicksand of his soul.
And so is with the grave murderer. The first time he commits the act of taking away another man’s life, he would turn in his bed until dawn comes and sleep would not visit him for a great number of nights. And yet, the second time he commits the same transgression the heart would feel a little less of remorse. And when the act becomes repeated over and over again, the remorse would fade away and become absent and his heart slowly becomes not that of a man but that closer to a wild beast.

And so is with fornicators and those who are adulterous in their passions, lavishing themselves in the irresponsible pleasures of the flesh. The man would wallow in lust for the first time and he would be like a child wounded in the heart and his eyes would be a little bit teary eyed for remorse would remind him heavily of his misdeed. But when the call of lust comes harking again, the man forgets his previous remorse and goes right back into the irresponsible pleasures of lust. When he becomes lustful at all times and always fail to heed the call of his conscience, remorse would become absent completely that committing these lustful sins become merely commonplace for him. He is already trapped in the quicksand of his bestial instincts.
For sin is a like a deceitful serpent that approaches us from the back, under the cover of darkness, while the wind is very silent in the stillness of the night and we are deeply lulled into sleep. When we become caught in the promise of a sudden but temporary onset of pleasure, the kind that our sins could provide, we become like upon a moth caught in the spider web or a journeyman who is caught in the certain peril of a quicksand. If we do not become heedful and vigilant, the sand may go towards our neck and we may not be able to get ourselves back into harder grounds and our souls would meet its certain perdition and lose the promise of Eternal Life. We must repent while the sins are lighter still, for the heavier the sin the harder would be the road towards a fruitful repentance.

END








[1] Revelation 21:4, The Holy Bible, King James Version
[2] Proverbs 14:9, The Holy Bible, King James Version
[3] Proverbs 14:9, The Holy Bible, King James Version
[4] Psalm 23:4, The Holy Bible, King James Version
[5] Revelation 22:14, The Holy Bible, King James Version
[6] James 2:17, The Holy Bible, King James Version
[7] Matthew  25:36, The Holy Bible, King James Version
[8] Genesis  14:1-3, The Holy Bible, King James Version
[9] Matthew  19:30, The Holy Bible, King James Version
[10] Genesis 4:9, The Holy Bible, King James Version

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