Posts Tagged ‘Religion’

Thanksgiving

ktadmin Posted in Events & Holidays, Religion,Tags: , , ,
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Today we gather, we eat, we celebrate, we relax, we eat some more, but many of us miss the Thankful part of the day. We miss what we should be thankful for; and we miss what others are thankful for. Today try to see what you have to be thankful for. Try to see what others are thankful for; like the companionship and warmth of a family gathering; a reprieve from what may be the solitude they live daily. Or simply for a warm meal in a safe environment, things most of us take for granted. Be thankful.  In our recognition of our blessings comes peace of heart.  Peace of heart makes us content and calm.  So,

Be Thankful

I leave you with this prayer:

Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, for health and for grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us. Amen.

 

Happy Easter!!

ktadmin Posted in Events & Holidays, Religion,Tags: , , , ,
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Sjesus-resurrection-tomb-maryPE SALVI facti sumus”: In hope we were saved, says Saint Paul to the Romans, and likewise to us (Romans 8:24).

Today, of all days, I thought it appropriate to share some of Pope Benedict’s words:(emphasis mine)

We who have always lived with the Christian concept of God, and have grown accustomed to it, have almost ceased to notice that we possess the hope that ensues from a real encounter with this God. The example of a saint of our time can to some degree help us understand what it means to have a real encounter with this God for the first time. I am thinking of the African Josephine Bakhita, canonized by Pope John Paul II. She was born around 1869—she herself did not know the precise date—in Darfur in Sudan. At the age of nine, she was kidnapped by slave-traders, beaten till she bled, and sold five times in the slave-markets of Sudan. Eventually she found herself working as a slave for the mother and the wife of a general, and there she was flogged every day till she bled; as a result of this she bore 144 scars throughout her life. Finally, in 1882, she was bought by an Italian merchant for the Italian consul Callisto Legnani, who returned to Italy as the Mahdists advanced. Here, after the terrifying “masters” who had owned her up to that point, Bakhita came to know a totally different kind of “master”—in Venetian dialect, which she was now learning, she used the name “paron” for the living God, the God of Jesus Christ. Up to that time she had known only masters who despised and maltreated her, or at best considered her a useful slave. Now, however, she heard that there is a “paron” above all masters, the Lord of all lords, and that this Lord is good, goodness in person. She came to know that this Lord even knew her, that he had created her—that he actually loved her. She too was loved, and by none other than the supreme “Paron”, before whom all other masters are themselves no more than lowly servants. She was known and loved and she was awaited. What is more, this master had himself accepted the destiny of being flogged and now he was waiting for her “at the Father’s right hand”. Now she had “hope” —no longer simply the modest hope of finding masters who would be less cruel, but the great hope: “I am definitively loved and whatever happens to me—I am awaited by this Love. And so my life is good.” Through the knowledge of this hope she was “redeemed”, no longer a slave, but a free child of God. She understood what Paul meant when he reminded the Ephesians that previously they were without hope and without God in the world—without hope because without God. Hence, when she was about to be taken back to Sudan, Bakhita refused; she did not wish to be separated again from her “Paron”. On 9 January 1890, she was baptized and confirmed and received her first Holy Communion from the hands of the Patriarch of Venice. On 8 December 1896, in Verona, she took her vows in the Congregation of the Canossian Sisters and from that time onwards, besides her work in the sacristy and in the porter’s lodge at the convent, she made several journeys round Italy in order to promote the missions: the liberation that she had received through her encounter with the God of Jesus Christ, she felt she had to extend, it had to be handed on to others, to the greatest possible number of people. The hope born in her which had “redeemed” her she could not keep to herself; this hope had to reach many, to reach everybody.

Aside: I love to study history and foreign cultures so the previous passage resonates with me.  It leads nicely into the next passage from the same encyclical from Pope Benedict, which ultimately leads us to ask, is being a good person, good enough, I am increasingly of the opinion that it is not; that much more is expected of us in this life.

Again from Pope Benedict’s Encyclical:

How could the idea have developed that Jesus’s message is narrowly individualistic and aimed only at each person singly? How did we arrive at this interpretation of the “salvation of the soul” as a flight from responsibility for the whole, and how did we come to conceive the Christian project as a selfish search for salvation which rejects the idea of serving others? In order to find an answer to this we must take a look at the foundations of the modern age. These appear with particular clarity in the thought of Francis Bacon. That a new era emerged-through the discovery of America and the new technical achievements that had made this development possible-is undeniable. But what is the basis of this new era? It is the new correlation of experiment and method that enables man to arrive at an interpretation of nature in conformity with its laws and thus finally to achieve “the triumph of art over nature” (victoria cursus artis super naturam). The novelty-according to Bacon’s vision-lies in a new correlation between science and praxis. This is also given a theological application: the new correlation between science and praxis would mean that the dominion over creation -given to man by God and lost through original sin-would be reestablished.

Anyone who reads and reflects on these statements attentively will recognize that a disturbing step has been taken: up to that time, the recovery of what man had lost through the expulsion from Paradise was expected from faith in Jesus Christ: herein lay “redemption”. Now, this “redemption”, the restoration of the lost “Paradise” is no longer expected from faith, but from the newly discovered link between science and praxis. It is not that faith is simply denied; rather it is displaced onto another level-that of purely private and other-worldly affairs-and at the same time it becomes somehow irrelevant for the world. This programmatic vision has determined the trajectory of modern times and it also shapes the present-day crisis of faith which is essentially a crisis of Christian hope.

So, I will leave you on this Blessed of Holy Days with these passages to reflect upon.  I would further ask, if faith is not individualistic, then which is the true path, which path contains Truth you need?

Have a Happy and Blessed Easter

The Way

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Religion, State of Mind, Video,Tags: , , , , , ,
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The Way we should live but usually don’t. As Martial Artists we are supposed to be role models, we usually are not.  Like so many we do things for selfish reasons.  We miss the multitude of opportunities God sends our way to do those small (and big) things and improve the lives of our fellow man.  Selfish.  Any discipline requires some denial of the self, be it diet to lose weight or not watching TV so you can practice that kata or technique a few more times.  If only we would apply that same sacrifice in our dealings with others.  The noise of the modern world seduces us so we can ignore those small important acts of kindness and love which help us grow and find internal peace.  What surprised me was the fact that it was a TVC Thai Life Insurance commercial/public service announcement that inspired me to reflect on this very fact…

Who did you help today?

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

ktadmin Posted in Events & Holidays, Religion,Tags: , ,
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st.patrickThis day is not all about leprechauns, shamrocks and green beer.  This is a day to honor and pray to St. Patrick.  He was an influential saint who, 1,500 years ago, brought Christianity to the little country of Ireland.  He was born about 385 in the British Isles, was carried off while still very young during a raid on Roman Britain by the Irish and sold as a slave.  At the end of six years he contrived to escape to Europe, became a monk and was ordained; he then returned to Ireland to preach the Gospel.  During the thirty years that his missionary labors continued he covered the Island with churches and monasteries; in 444 he founded the metropolitan see of Armagh. St. Patrick died in 461.  After fifteen centuries he remains for all Irishmen the great bishop whom they venerate as their father in the Faith.

While St. Patrick most likely did not drive out all the snakes in Ireland (there is no record that there were any) he did convert a nation state, I think driving out the snakes might have been easier!

Read more here.

st.patrick-facts

Have a Happy and Blessed St. Patrick’s Day

Following isn’t just for Twitter…

ktadmin Posted in Religion,Tags: , , , ,
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follow-me-really

Unity, Truth, and Goodness

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes, State of Mind,Tags: , , , , ,
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What do Unity, Truth, and Goodness have to do with the Martial Arts?  That is perhaps hard for many to see, especially those new to the Martial Arts.  Here is a quote to start the conversation with:

Franciscan John Duns Scotus says that when the one, and the true, and the good are operating in unity, whatever is happening will always also be beautiful! This is his de facto definition of beauty: the harmony between unity, truth, and goodness. When you can see all three, or even one, you will always be delighted.  Beauty is experienced precisely in our ability to hold together the oneness, the truthfulness, and the goodness of things—despite all the seeming contrary evidence (which is always there!).  –Richard Rohr, Catholic Franciscan and Founder of the Center for Contemplation and Action

Now that may not seem to apply to the Martial Arts but I hope you will find that it actually does.  When we begin to train in the Martial Arts there is nothing beautiful about it!  We are awkward because we lack understanding and knowledge, we lack experience necessary to perform the basic movements of the Martial Arts.  Our mind and body do not have Unity, they both resist in relinquishing control to you, the student.  The more you practice the more Unity you gain, things begin to become natural and flow.

If you stop your training there, you have accomplished much and it will serve you well in every aspect of your life.  But you will be lacking.  As we continue to train the Unity of our practice becomes comfortable and smooth, but is missing something.  With continued training you will begin to experience moments of epiphany when you see the Truth of your perfect execution and the True uses of that particular technique.  You will even see the Truth of using a particular technique in ways you were never taught.  You will feel confidence and power swell in a type of calm pride.

If you stop your training at this point you will be a formidable opponent who can handle most situations that would call for Martial Arts skills.  But you would still be lacking.  Because at this point you have only seen the partial truth of your training.  You have the Truth of each technique but you have yet to assemble them to their true ending.  Goodness.  This training part of your training is difficult to be taught, because you feel your training is complete.  Your physical training is, but we are more than physical beings and the Martial Arts at every point recognizes that.  I will try to explain this next step in your training, most ignore it, few understand what they seek, and fewer discover it (I am not professing that I have).  Goodness comes from the picture and feeling of the Unity and Truth you have gained.  The Goodness comes from understanding that all your training, all your sweat was not leading where you thought.  You thought you were training to be a Master Warrior near indestructible!  Instead you start to see the Goodness, the Truth the Unity that in training and honing your body and mind to fight, you no longer desire to.  You seek Justice through peace not strength or will or power of what you could do.  Rather your skill and power is only meant to be used in a reflective manner, defensive only.

If you stop your training here, you have much to teach the world of students who await you.

This is the secret of the Martial Arts that most have forgotten or chosen to ignore for a multitude of reasons.  Live in Peace (Goodness).  Live in Awareness (Truth).  Live at Peace with yourself (Unity).  You will be the calm, unmovable Stone at the center of a raging river of life.

Merry Christmas!

ktadmin Posted in Events & Holidays, Religion,Tags: , ,
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Merry Christmas…Eve…

ktadmin Posted in Events & Holidays, Religion,Tags: , ,
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Merry Christmas

 

 

My favorite holiday is almost here!  Christmas was, is and always will be my favorite holiday.  No not because of the present (though that is a nice touch) it is because of the spirit of Christmas.  If that doesn’t make sense then I am sorry to say you don’t have it…the Spirit that is.  But that is easy to get some Christmas spirit, just open your heart and be kind to someone, that is a great start.  You never know you might like it!  Well that was random, it has been a very long week, I just wanted to take a moment and wish all my readers (regardless of your religious persuasion) a Merry Christmas!

 

 

Merry Christmas Cookies!

Can You Say Merry Christmas?

ktadmin Posted in Charity, Events & Holidays, Religion,Tags: , , , ,
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This post is a bit stream of consciousness and a bit reflection.  I was out Christmas shopping today, people were pleasant enough but not once did anyone say Merry Christmas, not once did anyone say Happy Holiday’s, it was kind of sad.  It didn’t make me sad, it just seemed sad.  Have we become so disconnected or are we so afraid of offending someone?  I wished everyone a Merry Christmas that I spoke with today and the majority reacted surprised but happy.  The only note of Christmas Spirit I have seen so far has been in two Salvation Army red bucket collectors.  One was so filled with the Spirit of Christmas that he still has me smiling more than a day later.  Why?  He was standing in the cold, singing Christmas/Religious songs, opening the door for people and wishing them a good day.  He had such an impact I almost wonder if he was an Angel to be able to impart such goodwill in such a casual way.  I hope everyone gets to experience that this season, but it will never happen if we don’t share a little cheer with each other.  Then while reflecting on these happenings I saw this video (see below) which has nothing to do with Christmas, it is actually an advertisement, it does give pause to the idea that even the smallest gesture can have an enormous impact.

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hzgzim5m7oU[/tube]

Remember that Merry Christmas is not reserved for the day or so around Dec. 25th, it the greeting we use during this season to say hello and goodbye, to help us remember the reason for the season and to spread good cheer.

May the Blessing of this season be upon you, Merry Christmas.

Body, Mind & Soul

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Religion, State of Mind,Tags: , ,
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When a Wise man thought about the depth of the judgments of God, he asked, “Lord, how is it that some die when they are young, while others drag on to extreme old age? Why are there those who are poor and those who are rich? Why do wicked men prosper and why are the just in need?”

He heard a voice answering him, “Keep your attention on yourself; these things are according to the judgment of God, and it is not to your advantage to know anything about them.”
— From The Life Of St. Antony The Great (Anthony of Egypt is the Patriarch of all the Desert Fathers and of all Monks.)

How does this help us as a Martial Artist?  As a Christian it always amuses me how God gets blamed for everything yet credited for little.  We see things from our own perspective and assume omnipotence.  The funny thing is most of us don’t even know ourselves and what is in our own hearts, let alone to be in a position to judge the justness of a given situation.  Instead we should be focused on our actions and the state of our soul.  How often does a student look with envy at the abilities of another student thinking they are naturally better than themselves.  Unknown to them are the countless hours this student with “natural ability” practices.  What St. Anthony was driving at is, in focusing on things we can not control, we take away from time that could be spent in perfecting ourselves.  That is not to say we exclude thoughts of others, but that we do so without envy, we take lessons from the world around us without letting the events distract us from perfecting ourselves.  Instead, we to often use lessons from the world to justify our current selves.

This might sound a little high minded but it is the essence of Martial Arts training, perfection of ones self.  Unfortunately unlike the above passage, Martial Arts training deals with the perfection of your mind and physical self.  Many mistake Martial Arts training and this sense of perfection for religion.  The broadening of our senses through training can give us a feeling similar to that of a higher connection, it is a false connection.  Unfortunately many are willing to deceiving themselves as this false religious feeling elevates them to the station of God, even though they believe it a connection with some larger Universal force or power.  This is the trap of many pursuits, Martial Arts, Higher Education degrees, any practice which expands the powers of the mind and body, yet neglects the soul.

I will leave you with that to ponder, to comment upon, and hopefully, to stimulate awareness.