April 23, Viva Saint George!


It is likely that Saint George was born to a Christian noble family in Lod, Syria Palaestina during the late third century between about 275 AD and 285 AD, and he died in Nicomedia. His father, Gerontius, was a Roman army official from Cappadocia and his mother, Polychronia, was from Palestine. They were both Christians and from noble families of Anici, so by this the child was raised with Christian beliefs. They decided to call him Georgius (Latin) or Geōrgios (Greek), meaning “worker of the land”. At the age of 14, George lost his father; a few years later, George’s mother, Polychronia, died.Eastern accounts give the names of his parents as Anastasius and Theobaste.

Then George decided to go to Nicomedia, the imperial city of that time, and present himself to Emperor Diocletian to apply for a career as a soldier. Diocletian welcomed him with open arms, as he had known his father, Gerontius — one of his finest soldiers. By his late 20s, George was promoted to the rank of Tribunus and stationed as an imperial guard of the Emperor at Nicomedia.

In the year AD 302, Diocletian (influenced by Galerius) issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods of the time. However George objected and with the courage of his faith approached the Emperor and ruler. Diocletian was upset, not wanting to lose his best tribune and the son of his best official, Gerontius. George loudly renounced the Emperor’s edict, and in front of his fellow soldiers and Tribunes he claimed himself to be a Christian and declared his worship of Jesus Christ. Diocletian attempted to convert George, even offering gifts of land, money and slaves if he made a sacrifice to the Roman gods. The Emperor made many offers, but George never accepted.

Recognizing the futility of his efforts, Diocletian was left with no choice but to have him executed for his refusal. Before the execution George gave his wealth to the poor and prepared himself. After various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords in which he was resuscitated three times, George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia’s city wall, on April 23, 303.

Saint George’s tomb in Lod, Israel

Source: Wikipedia

The code of hospitality

Two men were crossing the desert when they saw a Bedouin’s tent and asked him for shelter.

Even though he did not know them, he welcomed them in the way that the conduct of nomads dictates: a camel was killed and its meat served in a sumptuous dinner.

The next day, as the guests were still there, the Bedouin had another camel killed.

Astonished, they protested they had not yet finished eating the one killed the day before.

“It would be a disgrace to serve old meat to my guests,” was the answer.

On the third day, the two strangers woke early and decided to continue on their journey.

As the Bedouin was not at home, they gave his wife a hundred dinars, apologising for not being able to wait, because if they spent any more time there, the sun would become too strong for them to travel.

They had travelled for four hours when they heard a voice calling out to them. They looked back and saw the Bedouin following them.

As soon as he caught up with them, he threw the money to the ground.

“I gave you such a warm welcome! Aren’t you ashamed of yourselves?” In surprise, the strangers said that the camels were surely worth far more than that, but that they did not have much money.

“I am not talking about the amount,” was the answer.

“The desert welcomes Bedouins wherever they go, and never asks anything in return. If we had to pay, how could we live? Welcoming you to my tent is like paying back a fraction of what life has given us.”


“If I Should Die,” Emily Dickinson



If I should die,
And you should live,
And time should gurgle on,
And morn should beam,
And noon should burn,
As it has usual done;
If birds should build as early,
And bees as bustling go,–
One might depart at option
From enterprise below!
‘Tis sweet to know that stocks will stand
When we with daisies lie,
That commerce will continue,
And trades as briskly fly.
It make the parting tranquil
And keeps the soul serene,
That gentlemen so sprightly
Conduct the pleasing scene!

The power of the prayer

I have have asked my readers to reflect upon “prayer” and write to my blog.

Amanto: The only true prayer is the one in which our heart burns with the presence of God. If you have prayed in this way, perfect! If you have prayed because you want something, or because of financial difficulties, you are just wasting your energies.

Marie: Lord, I just want to say “thank you”. That is enough to connect me to Your presence.

Warrior of running water: May all of you find happiness, and the reason for happiness. May all of you manage to shake off sadness, and the reason for sadness.

Florence: I always use the prayer of the third step of the Alcoholics Anonymous: “God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy Will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help.”

Nitoo: Being a Hindu, I use the universal prayer: from ignorance to blessing, from darkness to light, from mortal to immortal. Let peace come, let there come peace.

Salma: I am a Moslem, and I should pray five times a day, but I don’t. I believe that God is in everything I have received, in the faith I have, in the happiness that I can feel.
God is a secret garden where I sit down to talk about life, and prayer may be just a chat with someone, although we don’t always have the immediate answers.
We have the signs, and that is enough.

Pramado Kureel:
Prayer is no more than sending an SMS (mobile telephone message) to God. It isn’t necessary to say a great deal, and it’s worth remembering: the message is free – as long as the intention is good.

Annamaria: This morning I received a message from a friend who lives thousands of kilometers away. I hadn’t heard from him for over a year, and all of a sudden there he was, right there in my electronic mail box: “I want you to know that you are loved, and that you are not alone”.
That was the prayer that illuminated my day.

Naved Shoaib: My favorite prayer is to climb onto the roof of my house and look at the sky. The firmament calms the mind and the soul, and it gives me the sensation that a superior power exists and that it is there for my sake, and that it loves me and knows that it is loved by me.

Smaragdus: Oh! mysterious and indescribable Presence, first and last in this Universe, kindle the flames of my soul and burn whatever is wrong. Clean my soul. Let me wash in Your brilliant light.
Free me from my past, cut my shackles. Let Unity be manifest in my life, because therein lies my strength.
Fill my chalice with Your presence, let me see through Your eyes, allow me to penetrate Your Mind.

Mari Raphael: Lord God, thank You for the grace of this new day! I don’t know what it has in store for me, but trustfully I deliver myself into Your hands. Let no harm come to me, to my family and my friends.
Watch over my steps. Illuminate my thoughts, my decisions and my attitudes. May all who come today to meet me leave with the comfort of a friendly word, the comfort of a smile and a gesture of affection, for these are the signs of Your presence in me. Amen.

Paulo Coelho: My favorite prayer is from Matthew 7;7: “Ask, and what you ask will be given you. Search, and you will find what you search for. Knock, and the door will open to you.”


Father and Daughter (Oscar 2000 short animation)

6:36 min beautiful video.

The atheist and the lion

An atheist is going through a forest in Africa, filled with admiration for everything created by that “accident of evolution”.

“But what majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals! And all this happened by chance, without anyone interfering! Only the weak and ignorant, afraid they cannot explain their own lives and the universe, feel the need to attribute all these marvels to a superior entity!”

There is a noise in the bushes behind him; a lion is about to pounce on him. He tries to flee, but the animal knocks him over.

With nothing else to lose, he shouts out: “My God!”

And a miracle happens: time stops, the atmosphere is drenched in a strange light, and a voice is heard:
“What do you want? You have denied my existence for all these years, you have taught others that I do not exist, and you reduced Creation to a “cosmic accident”.

Quite confused, the man exclaims:
“It would be hypocritical of me to change my mind just because I am about to die. All my life I have preached that You do not exist.”

“So, what do you expect me to do?”

The atheist reflected for a moment, knowing that the discussion could not last forever. Finally he says:
“I can’t change, but the lion can. So, I ask the Lord to change this wild, murderous beast into a Christian animal!”

Right there and then, the light disappears, the birds in the forest renew their singing, and the river begins to flow again. T

The lion climbs off the man, pauses, lowers its head, and says very earnestly:
“Lord, I am ever so grateful for Your generosity, for this food that I am about to eat…”

What is a miracle?

For a few months I have stimulated my readers to write in my blog on seven words that I consider fundamental to our world today: miracle, torture, prayer, suffering, advice, xenophobia (fear of the unfamiliar), and marriage.
Below some comments on miracles

Radu: I don’t talk to God every day, and He has never invited me to have a coffee with Him.
But I know that I am close to His Energy, and I try to take my steps in such a way that I am never ashamed of what I do.
And I have managed to do so, not only thanks to my efforts, but also to His vigilance at each and every moment.
This is a miracle.

Mirjam: A miracle is re-discovering oneself as a child.
Finding a reason for fighting, managing to protect oneself without losing one’s innocence.
Miracle is communicating with others, and finding oneself.

Jesse King: To be like a flower, and to understand that everything passes.
To look at the wind and to become the wind, because you are capable of loving enough to change reality.

C.L.: Don’t fool yourself, the problems facing you aren’t just going to disappear in the air. Keep trying to solve them; if you do so, you will discover that everything ends up being easier than you think.
As the darkness disappears, the light appears, but don’t stop – try to become this light.

Neel Potgieter: I was walking down the beach the other day, and when I was about to cross the street I saw a girl talking on her mobile phone.
She was about to cross the street too, but from where I was positioned I could see that a car was coming in her direction.
I shouted to her to be careful, but she did not hear me.
She stepped into the street and just at the moment I expected a tragedy to happen, she stooped to remove a little stone from her shoe.
The car passed by, just missing her.
Miracles are what happens every day!

Paulo Coelho: I am sitting here in a bar, one of the many bars in many cities all over the world, writing this column.
Ever since I was a child I have dreamed of living moments like this, and I only managed to do so when I was almost forty years old.
The sun’s out, it’s springtime, people are happy, and although the world is not as perfect as we would all like it to be, nobody seems indifferent, everyone tries to make something better.
At this very moment I am doing what I most like, and that is the miracle that I try to work every day.


10 sec reading: the laundry is not very clean

A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside.

“That laundry is not very clean; she doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.”

Her husband looks on, remaining silent. Every time her neighbor hangs her wash to dry, the young woman makes the same comments.

A month later, the woman is surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and says to her husband:
“Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this? ”

The husband replies, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”

And so it is with life… What we see when watching others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look

sent by Buzz-Inn Community

On marriage

I just finished writing a book called “Adultery”. It will be published in Brasil on April 15, then France, and then world wide between May and August this year.

Some time ago, I decided to ask my blog readers about marriage. Here are some opinions

Stella: I am condemned to love you, and that is my salvation. I shall have to live for ever in the shadow of your eyes, accept the fact that everything your hand touches arouses the best in me. All that I know is your love, nothing else interests me.

Prajakta: Two people join together, love provokes more love. Two imperfect beings unite, and perfection becomes possible.

Leila: In my religion (Islam), marriage amounts to many ways of worshipping God. I cannot understand religions that preach celibacy and asceticism, which severs human beings from their natural condition.

Nadia: I need love. I need someone to tell me that he is in love with me, and that’s all. I have no need for a white dress and a church blessing, but I seem to be the only one among my friends to think this way. They are all afraid of loneliness; if I don’t find someone who understands me deeply, what’s wrong about being alone? But the pressure is so great that I think that I am gong to have to accept it sooner or later, or else my self-esteem will be seriously damaged.

Liz: I’m going to get married in two weeks, and I’ve been talking compulsively about it. What conclusion have I reached? With or without a formal ceremony, a couple will always be what they can be. The only thing that changes is that we will have to disguise our fighting with one another.

Neel P.: I believe that a couple that puts God at the center of their lives will also know where to put marriage where it belongs. Being with another person doesn’t mean making a god of them, this should be seen as part of the divine blessings that affect our lives every day – like love, sex, music, solitude, and even suffering. Marriage is by no means destiny, but rather part of our path, and I am sure that God uses this union for a reason that goes far beyond perpetuating the species.


Folsom State Prison & The Alchemist

Dear Mr. Coelho,

I am a psychologist working at Folsom State Prison and have therapy group designed to help inmates think positively and take positive action in their lives.

Recently, we have begun reading The Alchemist in group because I thought it would be good for the inmates to start thinking about their own personal legends so they can start to nurture their own paths.

I must say they are taken by the story and are freely sharing their hopes and dreams with one another. They are contemplating their obstacless and what they can do to get through them.
Society has told them that they are done but, as they journey with Santiago, they are learning otherwise and are inspired.

Thank you for The Alchemist on behalf of the inmates in the Positive Mood Group at Folsom State Prison!


Rachel Couzens, Psy.D.”

Dear Rachel

I just posted it here because this may serve as an example to many.
I also strongly encourage my friends in this blog to support you in whatever you need.
Here is a link to Folsom State Prison – Mission Statement with all the relevant addresses.
Thank you very much

You, who they call Lord

EM PORTUGUES AQUI: Você, que eles chamam Senhor
EN ESPANOL AQUI : Tu, a quien ellos llaman Senõr

by Abbot Burkhard

You, who I can feel deep inside my soul.
You, who has created this world.

When I look into the microcosmos, in the macrocosmos, everywhere I find you.
I sense your greatness.

You, who they call Lord,
who they call Father,
who they call Allah,
who they call Jahwe,
You, who is there.

Who is with us. Who walks with us.
The older I become, the more I can call you friend.
You are the friend of my life, who loves me and who called me to carry your message to the people.
Thank you.

I want to ask for everyone who is here today, to feel some of God’s Greatness and His love, who wants us, who loves us.
Jesus Christ showed us a way which we can walk together.
In spite of everything and everyone, we can find ways together,
seek and find ways which will gift us with a better and more beautiful life.

Paulo has written that he is searching for the sense in his life.
And while searching he went across new paths, wrong tracks and detours, like the all of us.

Let’s keep on looking for you in the humans beings that are present in our path.


Istanbul, Turkey, on March 19, 2011. You can see the video of Abbot Burkhard praying in German in 6:09 min of our collective prayer

(translated by Nayla )

The mouse and the books

In 1967,When I was interned in Dr. Eiras Mental Institution (yes, I was considered to be a lunatic), I began to have panic crises.
One day, I decided to consult the psychiatrist in charge of my case:

“Doctor, I am overcome by fear; it takes from me the joy of living”.

“Here in my office there is a mouse that eats my books”, said the doctor.
“If I get desperate about this mouse, he will hide from me and I will do nothing else in life but hunt him.
“Therefore, I put the most important books in a safe place and let him gnaw some others.

“In this way, he is still a mouse and does not become a monster.

“Be afraid of some things and concentrate all your fear on them – so that you have courage in the rest.”

Sant Joseph 2014 (March 19)

by Keith Parkins

A man without friends, a woman without friends, does not exist. — Paulo Coelho

An annual tradition friends gather together to celebrate St Joseph Day.

What purpose is life without friends?

A St Joseph Day Party, Paulo Coelho and friends at Hotel Fortaleza do Guincho.

Hotel Fortaleza do Guincho is a recently restored 17th century fortress-like complex along the coast from Cascais, which is along the coast from Lisbon.

The Portuguese were adventurers and navigators, what is life without adventure, without taking risks?

The evening started with cocktails, followed by Paulo and Christina welcoming everyone.

Rudolf sent his best wishes, he was sorry he could not be there, but Scorpions were performing in Moscow.

Prayers in many languages, Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Urdu, English, starting with Portuguese.


20 sec reading: Envy

According to the dictionary: s.f., from the Latin Invidia. Mixture of pain and anger; feeling of displeasure about the prosperity and happiness of someone else; desire to have what others have.

In a Jewish parable: A disciple asks the rabbis about the passage in Genesis:
“The Lord was pleased about Abel and his offer, whereas he was not pleased about Cain and his offer. Cain was exceedingly angry and his face fell. Then the Lord said to him: Why are you angry and why did your face fall?”
The rabbis answered:
“God should have asked Cain: Why are you angry? Was it because I did not accept your offering, or because I accepted the offering of your brother?”

Envy and ethics: For the scientist and researcher Dr. William M. Shelton, envy is a reaction provoked by losers, who seek to evade reality by hiding behind a crusade seeking to reinstate “moral values”, “noble ideas”, and “social justice”.
The situation becomes dangerous when the school system begins to develop in the student the conditioning for despising all those who manage to be successful, always attributing any success to corruption, manipulation and moral degradation.

As the pursuit of success is something inherent to the human condition, the students end up in a schizophrenic process of hating exactly that which would lead them to happiness, thereby increasing the anxiety crises, and reducing the capacity to innovate and improve society.

Satan and the demons: The demons came to complain to the Prince of Darkness. For two years they had tempted a certain monk who lives in the desert.
“We have offered him money, women, all we have in our repertoire, and nothing worked.”
- You don’t know how to do it properly – replied Satan. – Come and see how you should act in a case of this sort.
They all flew to the cavern where the holy monk lived. There, Satan whispered in his ear:
- Your friend Maccarius has just been promoted to Bishop of Alexandria.
Immediately the man blasphemed against the heavens, and lost his soul.

30 sec reading: let’s not waste time

A carpenter and his apprentices were travelling through the province of Qi in search of building materials.
They saw a giant tree; five men all holding hands could not encompass its girth, and its crown reached almost to the clouds.

‘Let’s not waste our time with this tree,’ said the master carpenter.
‘It would take us for ever to cut it down. If we wanted to make a ship out of that heavy trunk, the ship would sink. If we tried to use it to build a roof, the walls would have to be specially reinforced.’

The group continued on its way. One of the apprentices remarked:

‘Such a big tree and no use to anyone!’

‘That’s where you’re wrong,’ said the master carpenter. ‘The tree was true to its own destiny.
“If it had been like all the others, we would have cut it down. But because it had the courage to be different, it will remain alive and strong for a long time yet.”

20 SEC READING: part of the ocean

Illustration by Ken Crane

There was once a wave in the ocean, rolling along, enjoying the warmth of the sun and the swiftness of the breeze.
It smiled at everything around it as it made its way toward the shore.

But then, it suddenly noticed that the waves in front of it, one by one, were striking against the cliff face, being savagely broken to pieces.

‘Oh God!’ it cried. ‘My end will be just like theirs. Soon I, too, will crash and disappear!’

Just then another wave passing by saw the first wave’s panic and asked:
‘Why are you so anxious? Look how beautiful the weather is, see the sun, feel the breeze…’

The first wave replied:
‘Don’t you see? See how violently those waves before us strike against the cliff, look at the terrible way they disappear. We’ll soon become nothing just like them.’

‘Oh, but you don’t understand,’ the second wave said.
‘You’re not a wave. You’re a part of the ocean.’


in “The missing rose” by Serdar Ozkan

Saint Joseph’s Day

St joseph

St joseph
As I do every year, today we are going to celebrate (this time in Cascais, Portugal) the day of my patron, Saint Joseph. Together with 120 friends, we will say the prayer below at 8:30 PM. Be welcome to join us!

Glorious St. Joseph
model of all who are devoted to labor,
obtain for me the grace
to work conscientiously by placing love of duty above my inclinations;
to gratefully and joyously deem it an honor to employ and to develop by labor
the gifts I have received from God,
to work methodically, peacefully,
in moderation and patience,
without ever shrinking from it through difficulty to work;
above all, with purity of intention and unselfishness,
having unceasingly before my eyes
the account I have to render of time lost,
talents unused, good not done,
and vain complacency in success.
St. Joseph, inspire and guide me for the time to come.


True skill

By Paulo Coelho

The yogi Raman was a true master of the art of archery. One morning, he invited his favourite disciple to watch a display of his skill. The disciple had seen this more than a hundred times before, but he nevertheless obeyed his teacher. They went into the wood beside the monastery and when they reached a magnificent oak tree, Raman took a flower which he had tucked in his collar and placed it on one of the branches.

He then opened his bag and took out three objects: his splendid bow made of precious wood, an arrow and a white handkerchief embroidered with lilacs.

The yogi positioned himself one hundred paces from the spot where he had placed the flower. Facing his target, he asked his disciple to blindfold him with the embroidered handkerchief.

The disciple did as his teacher requested.

‘How often have you seen me practise the noble and ancient sport of archery?’ Raman asked him.

‘Every day,’ replied his disciple. ‘And you have always managed to hit the rose from three hundred paces away.’

With his eyes covered by the handkerchief, the yogi Raman placed his feet firmly on the ground, drew back the bowstring with all his might – aiming at the rose placed on one of the branches of the oak tree – and then released the arrow.

The arrow whistled through the air, but it did not even hit the tree, missing the target by an embarrassingly wide margin.

‘Did I hit it?’ said Raman, removing the handkerchief from his eyes.

‘No, you missed completely,’ replied the disciple. ‘I thought you were going to demonstrate to me the power of thought and your ability to perform magic.’

‘I have just taught you the most important lesson about the power of thought,’ replied Raman. ‘When you want something, concentrate only on that: no one will ever hit a target they cannot see.’

Bene Gesserit Litany against fear

I must not fear.

Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.

Only I will remain.


from 1965 novel Dune by Frank Herbert
Illustration by 5scanner