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January 31, 2000


Via Joyce: URGENT REQUEST to contact NIH about "stem cell" human embryo research

Please take a moment of your time to send the NIH (National Institute of Health) a fax or email expressing your opposition to the following proposed guidelines. Tell the NIH that funding this horrific work isn't even necessary: stem cells from adults, umbilical cord blood, and placentas all provide another way of doing the research without causing the death of a human being.

Comments must be received by January 31, 2000.

mailto: [email protected] and/or [email protected].

Washington -- The National Institutes of Health has issued draft guidelines under which, for the first time in history, our federal government will officially approve and regulate the destruction of innocent human life for research purposes.

The guidelines instruct researchers in how to harvest versatile "stem cells" from living week-old human embryos, a procedure which kills the embryos. They also establish standards for harvesting similar cells from dead unborn children following induced abortions --a practice that has its own increasingly visible moral problems (see our website for reports on trafficking in fetal body parts), but is in accord with a federal law enacted in 1993. The new moral and legal frontier broached by these guidelines is the destruction of live embryos specifically for federally sponsored research --on the pretext that no one will care anyway, because these are "spare" embryos from fertility clinics that are "in excess of clinical need." Only a large volume of critical comments by taxpayers will convince federal lawmakers that people do care about this moral atrocity.


(Reuters) -- The scientists that cloned Dolly the Sheep are working on a new method to cut the need for human egg cells and cloned embryos. If successful, Geron BioMed's technique could remove a major ethical obstacle to using therapeutic cloning to repair cells or human organs damaged by disease, New Scientist reported.

The research firm, launched by the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh where Dolly was cloned and now owned by U.S. biotechnology company Geron Corp, is already testing the technique on mouse and sheep cells.

"We have some completely novel ideas which we can't disclose now. Once we confirm the hypothesis in sheep, we might be able to try it in people three years later," Simon Best, Geron BioMed's managing director, told the magazine.

New Scientist said that unlike conventional cloning, in which the gutted egg reprograms the genes of the donor cell, winding back their developmental clock, the new technique will use embryonic stem cells.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

42. Those who lack experience should know that it is only through the unceasing watchfulness of our intellect and the constant invocation of Jesus Christ, our Creator and God, that we, coarse and cloddish in mind and body as we are, can overcome our bodiless and invisible enemies; for not only are they subtle, swift, malevolent and skilled in malice, but they have an experience in warfare gained over all the years since Adam.

January 30, 2000

(Luke 10:2) He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.


(AP) - He appeared out of the blue back in October, clad only in a dirty white robe as he walked barefoot along the two-lane highway into this struggling former coal town, Hazelton, Pa.

Folks pointed at first as the man with the shoulder-length hair and scruffy beard preached to whoever would listen. Before long, though, many in this largely Roman Catholic community were embracing him as a holy man.

``He was in the car with me and a man came up and started banging on the window,'' said the Rev. Gerard F. Angelo, pastor of the Shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. ``He said, 'Thank you so much for what you're doing. I haven't been to church in 25 years and now I'm going again.' His effect on people is amazing.''

Though he has preached for up to six hours at a stretch, he is a man of few words when it comes to himself. In interviews, he would not divulge his birthplace or background, saying it would detract from his message. The robe and messianic appearance, he says, bring attention to his ministry and make him more approachable.

When anyone asks his name, he replies ``What's Your Name?'' He says it is part of a Hebrew tradition to not reveal one's name to a person until you become their friend, and it is what the locals now call him.

He says his nine-year trek has brought him to 47 states and 13 countries. But never has he remained in one place for so long before.


Through Gianna Talone Sullivan (Bishop's Statement)
at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Emmitsburg, MD January 27, 2000

My dear little children, praise be Jesus!

Little ones, God the Father is full of kindness and is infinite love.Turn to Him and open your hearts because you belong to Him and the Kingdom is yours to inherit. You fail to realize how close He is to you. He is by your side and yet you are convinced that He is far away.

I cannot speak enough of His love for you and urge you to draw strength from Him. He is full of mercy and He is your security. Take refuge in Him and trust in divine filiations. You should be happy and satisfied that you are loved by Him. The most important thing for you to know is that God loves you and you should prefer His love above anything else, above hardships or honors. You are His children so do not fear life and do not fear death. trust in His care and find joy in Him. Tell Him how much you love Him and how grateful you are to be His little child.

You are discouraged because you have become distracted and have made the ways of your life complicated. Simplify and open your hearts so you can move ahead victoriously with more love. God's love will become the voice in the midst of apathetic silence and His light will bring peace to the world.

I bless you in the name of Jesus and I take your petitions to His most Sacred, Silent Heart. Peace be with you. Thank you for responding to My call. AD DEUM.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

41. The more the rain falls on the earth, the softer it makes it; similarly, Christ's holy name gladdens the earth of our heart the more we call upon it.

January 29, 2000


(Reuters) - The heaviest snowstorm to hit the Holy Land in half a century blanketed Israel and the Palestinian territories Friday, causing several deaths and paralyzing life from Galilee to Gaza.

Some 12 inches of snow turned Jerusalem white, covering Islam's golden Dome of the Rock, Judaism's Wailing Wall and Christianity's Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Forecasters predicted up to 20 inches would hit the holy city.

Click here for a beautiful picture of the snow-capped Old City.


Supercomputer fails to notice huge US snowstorm
Storm Crawls Across Southeast
Another major winter storm
Weather headlines at


(AP) So you want to be a psychic? No problem. New York City is recruiting welfare recipients to work from home as telephone clairvoyants. And for those who aren't gifted with prophetic powers, the city offers job training.

The effort began last April and has led to 15 people on welfare being hired by a company called Psychic Network, said Ruth Reinecke, a spokeswoman for the city's Human Resources Administration. Ms. Reinecke said applicants were trained to read tarot cards at the city's Business Link office by a Psychic Network representative.

(Lev 19:31) "'Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

40. Let your soul, then, trust in Christ, let it call on Him and never fear; for it fights, not alone, but with the aid of a mighty King, Jesus Christ, Creator of all that is, both bodiless and embodied, visible and invisible.

January 28, 2000


(Eph 6:12) For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.


Filipinos freed after being jailed for Christian worship
Freed Muslim cleric urges holy war against India
Clashes claim more lives in Indonesia's Aceh province
New Arrests of Roman Catholic Bishop and Priests in China
Islamic Jihad vows to keep fighting Israel
Religious Quarrel Sprouts in Ore.


Via Marion: Believing that through your website you must be privy to lots of information from fellow Catholics, I was just wondering if you had gotten any feedback on the March for Life held on Monday. I haven't had a chance to check various sources yet today, but I did a lot of searching yesterday and didn't come up with much in the way of reporting. For instance, have you heard any really reliable stats on the number of people marching?

I can't say I was surprised but I was dismayed that the March was totally ignored by most of the main media outlets. In fact, I did a search using keywords "March for Life", etc. on such primetime sites as "", and "" on the web and the answer came back "0" items related. It's more than a sad reflection on media bias - it feels more like a politically-inspired media conspiracy to keep the general public unaware of the number of people with deeply held convictions against abortion - in particular, the partial birth abortion.

Anyhow, in case you hadn't heard from other sources, I'd like to report (in my own small way) that I estimated the crowd at around 200,000 marchers - way up from last year. I joined a group from the Worcester Diocese here in MA and we filled 6 buses! This was up from 4 buses last year. I was also surprised to see a remarkable increase in the number of young men and women in their teens and even the number of young families with youngsters in strollers or being carried along.

The trip down to DC by bus was long and uncomfortable, but not nearly as bad as the return trip, when our bus driver got hopelessly lost for 3 hours in Washington during the rush hour and then apparently had a hard time staying awake about 10 hours into the trip!! So the bus ride, which usually takes 8 hours took us nearly 12 hours to get home. But it was all worth it when I woke up at 11:00 AM yesterday morning after getting to bed at 6:00 AM and seeing the blizzard outside, realized that we had managed to keep a half hour ahead of the storm. And then to realize, while watching the weather channel, that the storm was unleashing the very WORST of its fury right over Washington, DC - did my heart good!! It even shut the government DOWN!!

What do you think, Doc? Maybe the good Lord was with us and decided to give Sin City a good sucker punch after most of the marchers were long gone and home safely? If that storm had arrived only a few hours earlier, it would have been a disaster for the March and the marchers.

Via Erland: Powerful video testimony: A dad loses his baby to abortion - scroll down to #102

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

39.  The devil, with all his powers, 'walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour' (1 Pet. 5:8). So you must never relax your attentiveness of heart, your watchfulness, your power of rebuttal or your prayer to Jesus Christ our God. You will not find a greater help than Jesus in all your life, for He alone, as God, knows the deceitful ways of the demons, their subtlety and their guile.

January 27, 2000

(Psa 47:2) How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth!


Given so many stars - a hundred billion in our own galaxy, the Milky Way, alone - and the belief that life on Earth had evolved of its own accord, it became impossible to believe that similar life had not evolved elsewhere.

But that is exactly what two American scientists, Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee, argue in Rare Earth (Copernicus/Springer) due out in the next few days. "The underlying theme is that the Earth is a charmed place," says Brownlee, Professor of Astronomy at the University of Washington in Seattle. "We know of no other body that is even remotely like it."

The arguments in Rare Earth rest on astronomy, geology and contingency. First, life needs a stable parent star, such as the Sun, capable of producing a steady energy output for billions of years. "Animals as we know them require oxygen," they say. "Yet it took about two billion years for enough oxygen to be produced to supply all animals on Earth. Had our Sun's energy output varied in rapid swings during that long period of development (or even afterwards), there would have been little chance of animal life evolving on this planet."

There is a narrow habitable zone around any star within which a planet must orbit in order for water on its surface to be liquid, a prerequisite for animal life. In our solar system, the habitable zone stretches from 5 per cent closer to the Sun than the Earth actually is, to 15 per cent farther away - a narrow region which, perforce, we must occupy.

Other astronomical accidents are also needed. One is the presence of a giant planet, such as Jupiter, not too close and not too far away, that can act as a gravitational shield against too many impacts from comets and asteroids. Jupiter has spared Earth from jolts that would have destroyed life altogether.

The Moon is also important. It is improbably large for a moon of an inner planet and its effect has been to stabilise the tilt of the Earth's axis at or near its present figure of 23 degrees. This is important because it has preserved the stability of surface temperature vital to animal life. Yet the formation of the Moon appears to have been a freak, caused by an impact on the young Earth of just the right sort, and at just the right time, to create the situation we now enjoy.

The coincidences multiply as the argument unfolds. Even the solar system's position in the galaxy - not too close to the edge, where stars have insufficient metals for planet formation, or too close to the middle, where radiation would kill us off - turns out to be important.

"What if the Earth, with its cargo of advanced animals, is virtually unique in this quadrant of the galaxy?" they ask. "What if it is utterly unique, the only planet with animals in this galaxy or even in the visible Universe?" In that case, it is time for thanks, and even a little pride, in having pulled off the greatest accumulator in the history of betting.

Heads up, Earthlings!

RELATED: Sun watching satellite catches flashy solar show

(Psa 139:14) I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.


HIV, AIDS cases in Japan hit record in 1999
Cholera kills 19 Somalis in two days
Dysentery outbreak kills 27 people in Ethiopia
Millions of Trees at Stake in Fla.
Malaria in England in the Little Ice Age

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

38. Let us learn humility from Christ, humiliation from David, and from Peter to shed tears over what has happened; but let us also learn to avoid the despair of Samson, Judas, and that wisest of men, Solomon.

January 26, 2000

(Mat 25:31-36) "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'


(Reuters) - Vatican officials who paid a humanitarian visit to North Korea at the end of last year were allowed free movement around the country, the news agency of the Vatican's missionary arm said Tuesday.

Kaethi Zellweger, the head of international cooperation of Catholic charity Caritas in Hong Kong, said the top priority was food security and long term development, adding that if international aid was halted, the horrors of 1997 would quickly return. She said many ordinary people were embarrassed at having to accept handouts and charity but once trust was established, they very much appreciated the help.


(Reuters) - Eight million Ethiopians will need food aid next year after drought led to a sharp drop in the country's food production, the government said Friday.

The key crop belts of Tigray and Amhara in northern Ethiopia were among the worst affected areas from the lack of rain, while the Oromo regions in the country's south were also badly hit. Hailstorms and flash-floods affected growing areas in the west of the country.


(ZENIT).- Christian Unity Week is being celebrated in the Holy Land by a series of ecumenical prayer services. The progress made in recent years was evident as the week of prayer began Sunday afternoon in Jerusalem.

This year the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is being lived in a special way in the Middle East, since the text being used for meditation by the world's 2 billion Christians was written by the Council of Churches of the Middle East.

The common celebration of this Week of Prayer was held Sunday afternoon in St. George's Anglican Cathedral. On the remaining days, celebrations will be held in the Latin Cathedral, the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, and the Coptic-Orthodox Church of St. Anthony. On Thursday, the participants will meet in the Cenacle, where tradition commemorates the Last Supper and the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Virgin Mary and the Apostles. The Week of Prayer will end at the Armenian Cathedral of St. James, the Ethiopian-Orthodox Church and, finally, the Catholic Greek-Melkite Church of the Annunciation.

(Zec 14:9) The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

37. We are not mightier than Samson, wiser than Solomon, more knowledgeable about God than David, and we do not love God better than did Peter, prince of the apostles. So let us not have confidence in ourselves; for he who has confidence in himself will fall headlong.

January 25, 2000


(Reuters) - The United States opposed efforts by developing countries to expand the scope of a proposed agreement to regulate trade in genetically modified organisms (GMOs), a U.S. official said Monday.

David Sandalow, assistant secretary of state for oceans, environment and science, said the so-called "Like-Minded Group" of developing countries want the Biosafety Protocol to cover pharmaceuticals, goods in transit through countries, and goods for "contained use" in research and similar activities.


(AP) - Japanese scientists have bred the clone of a cloned bull, the first time a large cloned animal has itself been cloned, researchers said Monday.The calf born Sunday night is part of a project to study the life expectancy and aging of cloned animals, scientists at the Kagoshima Prefectural Cattle Breeding Development Institute said.The three generations of genetically identical bulls - the original animal and the two clones - are being studied at the institute in southern Japan.


(Reuters) - Gene therapists said on Saturday they welcomed the surprise suspension of gene therapy trials at a university where a teenager died during an experiment last month, saying it might help restore confidence in the field.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it had stopped eight trials at the University of Pennsylvania, where Jesse Gelsinger, 18, died last September during a gene therapy experiment aimed at correcting an inherited liver defect.

An FDA spokeswoman said an inspection had turned up "deficiencies in the procedures for oversight and monitoring of the clinical trial," which was suspended immediately after Gelsinger's death. She said the agency was concerned other trials might have the same problems, so they were halted.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

36. A single sinner, says the Holy Scripture, destroys much righteousness (cf. Eccles. 9:18); while an intellect that sins loses its heavenly food and drink (cf. Eccles. 9:7).

January 24, 2000

(Mat 28:19-20) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."


It has been nearly 2,000 years since Paul, the greatest early Christian missionary, journeyed to Cyprus, Ephesus and Corinth, exhorting, chastising, fund raising, healing.

Countless other missionaries have followed in his footsteps, and today, experts say, more than a third of the human race calls itself Christian, largely because of their work.

Missionaries have changed the world, but the world has changed them, too. Today they fly in jets and send e-mail to spread their gospel. And in many other ways, modern Christian missionaries live in a far different world from that in which Paul preached.

Islam's powerful message, spread by modern Islamic missionaries, is proving a formidable challenge for Christian proselytizers around the world, especially in Asia and Africa. While the world has 1.9 billion Christians, more than 1.1 billion people are Muslims. And, experts agree, Islam, not Christianity, is the world's fastest-growing religion.

Since 1900, the Earth's population has climbed from roughly 1.5 billion to more than 6 billion. Yet the percentage of Christians in the world remains virtually unchanged at 34 percent, experts say.

So, at the start of the year 2000, Christian missionaries, including thousands from the United States, are finding that the old mindsets need to change if they are to meet the challenges of a new era.


During a speech in Malta on Saturday, Cardinal Thomas Winning drew parallels between the lobby's push for greater powers to bombing of the Mediterranean island by Germany and Italy during the war.

"All over Europe, an active and militant lobby is pushing for greater power and the threat to the Christian family is very real," Winning said.

"Cast your minds back to the dark days of World War Two," he added. "The parallels with today are striking. In place of the bombs of 50 years ago, you find yourselves bombarded with images, values and ideas which are utterly alien."

(Jude 1:7) In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

35. 'His majesty is upon Israel' (Ps. 68: 34. LXX)- that is, upon the intellect that beholds, so far as this is possible, the beauty of the glory of God Himself. 'And His strength is in the clouds' (ibid.), that is, in radiant souls that gaze towards the dawn. In such souls it reveals the Beloved, He who sits at the right hand of God and floods them with light as the sun's rays flood the white clouds.

January 23, 2000

(Mat 24:14) And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.


In a country where Buddhism has been the chief religion for more than 800 years, Christianity is gaining a firm foothold. Over the last 10 years, the number of Cambodian Christians has grown from 200 to an estimated 60,000, says Steven Westergren of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, based in Colorado Springs, Colo.


Via The M+G+R Foundation: Peace be with you, William!

With all these predictions recently streaming through the Trib Times, may we
remind you and your audience of how it will all unfold?  It may be found in

The financial collapses, etc. are just some of the minor details that will dot the
path to the resurrection of Christendom. Let us face reality - the collapse of Wall
Street is a minor detail when compared with the death of hundred of millions of

After all... Wall Street was made for humans; humans were not made for Wall

As of the other Roman Catholic Church approved s and prophets - we
strongly recommend an in depth review of what our Heavenly and True Mother
has told us through La Salette, Fatima and Garabandal. She is really "hard to beat"
as a Communicator between God and man.

And... while we are on the subject...

Are those who are preoccupied with the minor details of the Crucifixion, Death
and Resurrection of Christendom offering at least fifteen decades of the Holy
Rosary a day, spending quality time before the presence of the Second Person of
the Most Holy Trinity, a.k.a. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, present at every
Roman And Orthodox Catholic Church, doing appropriate fasting to spiritually
help those in need and praying for their enemies and persecutors and those of

We encourage one and all to focus more on what can be done to soften the blows
than on what will take place. We can still influence the severity of the blows,
although that privilege will soon be withdrawn.

In His Name we speak.

May God continue to Bless your Ministry.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

34. The task of moral judgment is always to prompt the soul's incensive power to engage in inner warfare and to make us self-critical. The task of wisdom is to prompt the intelligence to strict watchfulness, constancy, and spiritual contemplation. The task of righteousness is to direct the appetitive aspect of the soul towards holiness and towards God. Fortitude's task is to govern the five senses and to keep them always under control, so that through them neither our inner self, the heart, nor our outer self, the body, is defiled.

January 22, 2000

(John 10:14-16) "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-- just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.


(ZENIT).- When John Paul II, Orthodox Metropolitan Athanasius of the Ecumenical Patriarchy of Constantinople, and George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury and President of the Anglican Communion, opened the Holy Door of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls on January 18 in Rome, the dialogue toward the unity of Christians made its most decisive step since Vatican Council II.

At the end of his address during the meeting, the Pope could not contain his emotion. In face of the imposing presence of Orthodox representatives, John Paul II could not but recall his unforgettable trip to Bucharest last May, the first by a Pontiff to Orthodox land. In total candidness the Pope cried out: "Unidade, unidade!"


Via Desmond Birch: The scenario described in the Trib Times on Jan. 21st is the scenario (at least in large part) painted in the prophecies from approved sources. I quoted many of them in Trial, Tribulation and Triumph. They predict a worldwide financial collapse at some point in the future - and indicate that that event is what kicks off the chaos which precipitates the Chastisement.

Via Patty: Fuel Price Spike Accelerates; prices now 200% above last January!

Via Rodolfo Benavides: Photo at right of yesterday's eclipse.

Via Maureen Braun:

Last night I was watching the lunar eclipse with my husband. The moon turned a ruddy reddish color, quite eerie! I told my husband that I thought we were in for some devasting earthquakes soon in our world. He asked me why I would say that and I attributed to perhaps reading so many prophesies...although I really do not know why I said it out loud. Directly after I said that comment I went into the laundry room to change the load. Immediately I flashed on the idea- Isaias 24 &Matthew 14. While I do read the Holy Bible, I had no idea what these chapters were about. Nor was I even sure there was a chapter 24 in Isaias...shame on me!

I felt compelled to get the Bible and find. I read Matt 14 first. This spoke to me quite significantly on a personal matter. I was floored. Not getting too excited, I went to Isaias 24 and I couldn't believe what I was reading. I read it out loud to my husband who was incredulous that this happened after what comment I had made while we were watching the moon....

Had to share this with someone who would understand....

PS. Urgent prayers for the babies to be slaughtered in the St.Louis Planned Parenthood tommorrow. Catholics will be gathering for Mass with the Archbishop Rigali in the Cathedral then we will walk 4 blocks to the mill, praying and singing. At the mill we will be witnesses to the cruel inhumane deaths of these babies as they are torn and cut apart. We will pray for God's Mercy on these babies and those involved in the homicides. It is supposed to be cold with ice and light snow : (((.

Please alert others to this plea for prayers that God will intervene, in His Mercy!!!

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

33 (cont.). Until you leave this world, do not trust the flesh. 'The will of the flesh,' it is said, is hostile to God; for it is not subject to the law of God. The flesh desires against the Spirit. They that are in the flesh cannot conform to God's will; but we are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit' (cf. Rom. 8: 7-9; Gal. 5:17).

January 21, 2000

(Rev 6:5-6) When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"


(CNNfn) - Americans' appetite for goods produced abroad resulted in a record trade deficit in November as demand for imported consumer goods surged, the government said Thursday. Export of goods also jumped to a record.

November's trade deficit widened to a record $26.5 billion, the Commerce Department said. That's well above October's revised $25.6 billion deficit and almost $1 billion above economists' estimates of a $25.5 billion gap.

RELATED: U.S. use of Iraqi oil soars despite overall drop in oil imports


Americans are still partying on the deck of the Titanic driven by raw unadulterated greed, materialism, pride and arrogance believing that nothing can touch them, nothing can bring them down. They are very wise and indestructible in their own eyes. They just dodged the Y2K bullet (or so they believe) or was it an iceberg? But they don't see that there are other, even larger icebergs directly ahead. The Bible says that "pride comes before the fall." Americans are a very proud and prosperous people and this writer suspects they are headed for a major fall in the not-too-distant future.

RELATED: Strong economy has not cut U.S. hunger


One writer in the papers (Jonathan Chevreau, National Post, 09,27,99) mentioned Ned Davis Research.According to this group, the average stock in its 7,736 stock database has fallen 20% since April, 98. This, and many other things I have read recently, is confirmation to me that there is a stealth deflation going on.The same writer said this sort of thing happened in 1929. This is not hard for me to believe, from everything I know.

This info is, of course, known to the elite who want to protect their wealth. It seems that the oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet has a very high cash position. His Berkshire Hathaway Inc.(down about 30% from last year) has $15 billion in cash. This means to me he expects a deflation where he can pick up stocks for cheap. This, plus his high silver position means that Buf edged for both a deflationary and an inflationary disaster. Apparently, George Soros and Bill Gates have also invested heavily in silver. I wouldn't bet against these guys. If inflation is coming as I believe it is, silver and other commodities will do very well. I have some interesting things to say about silver in my book.

RELATED: Replaying 1929! (Warning- some foul language)

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

33. One cannot befriend a snake and carry it about in one's shirt, or attain holiness while pampering and cherishing the body above its needs. It is the snake's nature to bite whoever tends it, and the body's to defile with sensual pleasure whoever indulges it. When it offends, the body should be whipped mercilessly like a drunken runaway slave; it should taste the Lord's scourge. Slavish nocturnal thing of perishable clay that it is, there must be no dallying allowed it; it must be made to recognize its true and imperishable mistress.

January 20, 2000


(WebMD) -- When Aretha Franklin crooned the words "I say a little prayer for you" in the hit 1960s song she probably didn't imagine that the soulful pledge would become the stuff of serious science. But increasingly, scientists are studying the power of prayer, and in particular its role in healing people who are sick.

But a few scientists have taken a further step: They're trying to find out if you can help strangers by praying for them without their knowledge. A recent, controversial study of cardiac patients conducted at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, concludes that this type of prayer -- known as intercessory prayer -- may indeed make a difference. "Prayer may be an effective adjunct to standard medical care," says cardiac researcher William Harris, Ph.D., who headed the St. Luke's study. The study was published in the October 25, 1999 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Using a lengthy list of events that could happen to cardiac patients -- such as chest pains, pneumonia, infection, and death -- Harris concluded that the group receiving prayers fared 11 percent better than the group that didn't, a number considered statistically significant.

The Harris study, like its predecessor, has attracted both fans and critics, and plenty of each. Some critics say that adding up health events to judge a patient's outcome is subjective, open to bias, and therefore scientifically invalid. Others say not informing people they were in a study is unethical and disrespects personal religious preferences.


Venerable Bartholomew Holzhauser prophesies of the "Latin Church" being afflicted and weakened by "many heresies" prior to the Age of Peace. Then he gives an explanation of how this will come about.

"During this period, many MEN WILL ABUSE THE FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE CONCEDED TO THEM. It is of such men that Jude, the Apostle, spoke when he said: 'These men blaspheme whatever they do not understand; and they corrupt whatever they know naturally as irrational animals do."

"During this unhappy period, there will be laxity in divine and human precepts. Discipline will suffer. The Holy Canons will be completely disregarded, and the Clergy will not respect the laws of the Church.  EVERYONE WILL BE CARRIED AWAY AND LED TO BELIEVE AND TO DO WHAT HE FANCIES, ACCORDING TO THE MANNER OF THE FLESH."

"They will ridicule Christian simplicity; they will call it folly and nonsense, but they will have the highest regard for advanced knowledge, and for the skill by which the axioms of the law, the precepts of morality, the Holy Canons and religious dogmas are clouded by senseless questions and elaborate arguments. AS A RESULT, NO PRINCIPLE AT ALL, HOWEVER HOLY, AUTHENTIC, ANCIENT, AND CERTAIN IT MAY BE, WILL REMAIN FREE FROM CENSURE, CRITICISM, FALSE INTERPRETATION, MODIFICATION, AND DELIMITATION BY MAN"

( Apocalypsis, Bartholomew Holzhauser, 1850)

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

32. (cont.) So let us shun loose speech like deadly poison. As for forgetfulness and all its consequences, they can be cured by the most strict guarding of the intellect and by the constant invocation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For without Him, we can do nothing (cf. John 15:5).

January 19, 2000

(Jude 1:17-19) But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.


(AP) Seeking to counteract conservative teaching on sex, some 850 clergy and other religious workers today endorsed a declaration on morality that calls upon all faiths to bless same-sex couples and allow gay and ministers.

Though is currently the most hotly disputed issue in American religion, the declaration issued today also advocates open access to abortion and sex education at all age levels. It opposes ''unsustainable population growth,'' the ''commercial exploitation of '' and all forms of '' oppression.''


(CNN) -- The test of a proposed National Missile Defense system met with failure when an interceptor missile failed to collide in space with a mock warhead, a U.S. defense official told CNN.

The latest tests are being conducted during a time of shifting perceptions about external threats to the US. The acting president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, last week lowered the threshold for using nuclear weapons; George W Bush, the leading Republican candidate for the presidency has warned of threats posed by China; and the US fears that North Korea might be able to reach its shores with a ballistic missile within 15 years, to say nothing of a "rogue attack" from a country such as Iraq.


The Putin Doctrine: Nuclear Threats and Russia's Place in the World
US space missile test angers Moscow
U.S. sees North Korea as prime reason for building missile defenses
U.S cannot rule out Iranian A-bomb
Nuclear-armed neighbors warned to lower heat in post-hijacking threats

(Rom 8:15) For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

32. We should shun loose speech like an asp's venom and too much company like a 'progeny of vipers' (Matt. 3:7), for it can plunge us into total forgetfulness of the inner struggle and bring the soul down from the heights of the joy that purity of heart gives us. This accursed forgetfulness is as opposed to attentiveness as water is to fire, and forcibly fights against it all the time. Forgetfulness leads to negligence, and negligence to indifference, laziness, and unnatural desires. In this way we return to where we started, like a dog to his own vomit (cf .2 Pet. 2:22).

January 18, 2000

(John 17:20-21) "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.


(ZENIT).- The Week of Prayer for Unity Among Christians became the subject of the Pope's Angelus message today. This event, which begins each year on January 18, is already considered by experts as one of the most significant ecumenical events of the short history of dialogue between the different Christian denominations. This year, the week will begin symbolically with the opening of the Holy Door of the Roman Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls. In fact, the Holy Door will be opened by six hands: the Pontiff's, and those of an Orthodox and a Protestant representative.

Anticipating details of the event, which will take place on Tuesday, the Pope stated, "We will ask God for forgiveness for sins committed against the unity of the Church and, at the same time, we will give thanks for the road of reconciliation followed especially over the last century."

The Holy Father then invited the world's 2 billion Christians to unite in common prayer "so that the beginning of the third millennium may evince promising development in ecumenical relations."

St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Phoenix, AZ  January 13, 2000

My dear ones, I am with you tonight to remind you of My continuing presence among you. That presence will always be with you until the end of time. I love you , My dear ones.

I call you this night closer to Me, just as in the days of old as My Father and Our Holy Spirit and I as the second person of the trinity. As we were with the Israelites in the Ark, we are with you always in My Most Blessed Sacrament.

My dear one, I am here to remind you that you need to continue to follow what I ask. As the Israelites did so long ago, many did not follow what My Father asked, but even though we were with them, they were defeated because of their disobedience.

My dear ones, I encourage you all again this night to follow My example of obedience. In obedience you honor My True Presence. You honor the presence of My Father and Our Divine Holy Spirit. This night, I give you the strength to be obedient children of the Father. I bless you with My mercy. Remember I am with you. There is nothing to fear.

(1 Sam 15:22) But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

31. The incensive power by nature is prone to be destructive. If it is turned against demonic thoughts it destroys them; but if it is roused against people it then destroys the good thoughts that are in us. In other words, the incensive power, although God-given as a weapon or a bow against evil thoughts, can be turned the other way and used to destroy good thoughts as well, for it destroys whatever it is directed against. I have seen a spirited dog destroying equally both wolves and sheep.

January 17, 2000

(Rom 8:22) We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.


(Reuters) - A volcano looming over Guatemala City erupted on Sunday, spewing lava and ash into the air and prompting emergency officials to evacuate at least two neighboring villages.

Officials said the eruption was sending spurts of lava 3,000 feet (914 meters) into the air and that  heavy winds were carrying flakes of ash as far as 30 miles (48 km) south of the volcano.



(Reuters) - A group of pers inaugurated what they called a Temple of Lucifer on Saturday, saying it was the first of its kind in Denmark.

"We believe in something, in some power...he (Satan) is the symbol of nature," cult leader Petra Johansson said.

Among artefacts placed on a low altar in front of a huge in red with a goat head at its centre -- the ancient symbol of the devil -- were a black chalice and a long sword, which Johansson said were used in rituals and ceremonies.

(Eph 6:12) For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

31. We who live in coenobitic monasteries should of our own free choice gladly cut off our whole will through obedience to the abbot. In this way, with God's help, we shall become to some degree tractable and free from self-will. It is good to acquire this art, for then our bile will not be aroused and we shall not excite our incensive power unnaturally and uncontrollably, and so be deprived of communion with God in our unseen warfare. If we do not voluntarily cut off our self-will, it will become enraged with those who try to compel us to cut it off; and then our incensive power will become abusively aggressive and so destroy that knowledge of the warfare which we have gained only after great effort.

January 16, 2000


(Reuters) - Pope John Paul II will visit Egypt on February 25-26 and meet President Hosni Mubarak and political and religious figures, a government spokesman said on Saturday.

The visit will precede the Pope's historic pilgrimage to the Holy Land on March 20-26.

The trips are part of a series of overseas journeys that the Pope wants to make in the year 2000 to trace chronologically the history of the Old and New Testaments and the development of Christianity.


(AP) -- They've come from far and wide, clutching rosaries and cameras, jostling to peer through the afternoon heat at an improbable shrine on the cement floor of a Houston apartment complex.

In the midst of wilting roses, candles and crosses, they say, the Virgin of Guadalupe reveals herself to the faithful in an amorphous stain of melted ice cream.

To unfaithful eyes, the crusty smear looks about as earthshaking as, well, a melted popsicle. But ecstatic believers swear they can discern the form of the beloved Mexican idol.


(UPI) -- A University of Michigan study indicates attendance at organized religious services is dropping in the industrialized world even though half of those queried said God was of great importance in their lives.

Sixteen of the 20 most advanced industrial democracies surveyed showed declining rates of church attendance. France and Ireland show no change, while Northern Ireland and Great Britain show modest increases.

In the United States, the percentage of adults attending religious services at least once a month declined from 60 percent in 1981 to 55 percent in 1998, compared with a drop of 18 percent in Switzerland and 15 percent in Australia and Spain.

In formerly communist societies, researchers found church attendance rising and in developing countries, the pattern was mixed.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

30 (cont.). We on the contrary, through remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ, should redouble our efforts to achieve spiritual contemplation; and then the intellect again finds itself engaged in battle. Let all we do be done with great humility and only, if I may put it like this, with the will of the Lord Himself.

January 15, 2000

(Psa 47:2) How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth!


Just 20 days into this millennial year, a spectacular total eclipse of the Moon will occur over the Americas and Western Europe. Weather permitting, observers will see all stages of the event unfold -- something not possible from most of these regions since 1996 or earlier. Totality will be particularly dramatic in North America, where the red Moon will burn high overhead in a dark and crisp winter sky.

Since totality occurs so high in the sky for much of the Americas, observers here have an unparalleled opportunity to study color and brightness effects. The solid Earth blocks direct sunlight from reaching the Moon, of course, but it remains dimly in view thanks to stray light that is heavily filtered and bent by the Earth's atmosphere.

Totality, the time when the moon is completely immersed in Earth’s dark shadow, will begin at 11:05 p.m. ET on January 20th and last a whopping 77 minutes, which is longer than many lunar eclipses.

(Gen 1:27) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.


(AP) -- Microbe-bearing rocks could have been ejected from Mars and seeded the Earth with life billions of years ago, or the exchange could have gone the other way, a study says.

"The question is, are we really martians?" said Mauri Valtonen of the Turku Observatory in Turku, Finland, a member of an international team of astronomers and biologists who examined the question of whether primitive life forms could have been exchanged between planets. They concluded it is theoretically possible.

In a study presented Wednesday at the national meeting of the American Astronomical Society, experts said their calculations show that if life ever existed on Mars then it could have been carried to Earth aboard some 5 trillion rocks blasted from the Red Planet by impacting asteroids.

"The ancestral cell for life on Earth must have originated somewhere in our own solar system," said Curt Mileikowsky, an astronomer of the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and a leader of the research team.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

30. Those who love true knowledge should also be aware that the demons in their jealousy sometimes hide themselves and cease from open spiritual battle. Begrudging us the benefit, knowledge and progress towards God that we derive from the battle, they try to make us careless so that they can suddenly capture our intellect and again reduce our mind to inattention. Their unremitting purpose is to prevent the heart from being attentive, for they know how greatly such attentiveness enriches the soul.

January 14, 2000


(CNN) -- Oregon researchers say they have cloned a monkey by splitting an early-stage embryo and implanting the pieces into mother animals. The technique, detailed in Friday's issue of the journal Science, has so far produced only one living monkey, a bright-eyed rhesus macaque female named Tetra, now 4 months old.

Professor Gerald Schatten, a researcher at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland who led the research, said four more animals are on the way. "This is essentially the method of Brave New World," said Ronald M. Green, an ethicist at Dartmouth College. "This opens the prospect of mass identical replication."

Currently, most medical therapies are first tested in mice, but monkeys are much closer to human biology and would be more reliable in developing daring new techniques such as gene therapy or growing new organs using stem cells, Schatten said. "It is a huge leap from a mouse to a patient," Schatten said. "The monkeys could fill that scientific gap."


(AFP) - In the 1950s, the idea of the Earth being hit by an asteroid, wiping out civilisation at a stroke, was the stuff of pulp science fiction.

Today, space rocks are being taken seriously. No matter how remote, the danger from celestial objects is gradually prompting an international response, unlocking resources and setting the basis for a coordinated planetary defence against a faceless enemy.

Dozens of observatories around the world now scour the skies nightly for any threat from space. The United States has a dedicated deep-space telescope on asteroid duty, and Japan is building one. The British government last week set up a three-man task force to evaluate any peril from the skies.

An international measurement of risk assessment, called the Torino Scale, was agreed last year. The International Astronomical Union (IAU), based in Paris, has been placed in charge of vetting any warning to ensure the size of the danger and avoid any false alarm.


(Rev 8:10-11) The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water-- the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

29 (cont.) In the presence of Christ you will feel the Holy Spirit spring up within your soul. It is the Spirit who initiates man's intellect, so that it can see with 'unveiled face' (2 Cor. 3:18). For 'no one can say "Lord Jesus" except in the Holy Spirit' (1 Cor. 12:3). In other words, it is the Spirit who ally confirms Christ's presence in us.

January 13, 2000


(AP) France unveiled a publicity campaign Tuesday aimed at making women and especially teen-agers aware of their contraception options.

The $3.7 million initiative comes on the heels of a heated national debate sparked in November after the government announced plans to make the morning-after pill available to teen-age girls at school. That move was a bid to cut the rate of unwanted pregnancies.

The new campaign, with the slogan, ''It's up to you to choose your contraception,'' includes a series of television and radio spots, many aimed at young people. A guide to birth control also will be distributed to millions of high school and university students.

Labor and Solidarity Minister Martine Aubry launched the campaign Tuesday, citing figures that show 23 percent of pregnancies in France end in abortion. About 10,000 French girls under 18 become pregnant each year, and 6,000 of those have abortions.


"I read your 12 January commentary. Having worked and volunteered at a crippled children's school, I cannot help but think what genetic medicine could do for all of the CP, CF, MS, MD (Cerebral Palsy, Cystic Fibrosis, Muscular Sclerosis and Muscular Dystrophy) children that I worked with.

The suffering that would be alieviated and lives lengthened. There ARE evils in genetic manipulation, but there are also benefits.  Let us not throw out the good with the bad, but rather work for the good of all. Imagine a world where there is no suffering from genetic diseases."

Editor's response: As a physician I have frequently come in contact with individuals suffering from genetic diseases and their loved ones.  I feel deeply for them and I too pray for a time when such diseases would no longer exist.

However for man to use techniques such as cloning and genetic manipulation in an attempt to solve these problems is to implement a cure that is potentially more dangerous to society as a whole than the illness that it was devised to treat.  

An excellent example of this type of hidden danger is illustrated in today's news story regarding France's contraception campaign.  Such arguments as "let us not throw out the good with the bad" and "imagine a world in which the poor do not suffer as a result of overpopulation" were doubtlessly used to support the widespread use of birth control pills when they were first introduced. Birth control pills were trumpeted as a great advance in human reproductive technology.

But the Catholic Chuch, in Her wisdom, saw the great risk associated with "the pill".  She recognized "the apple" (Gen. 2) and the grave threat to human morality it would pose. An excellent online treatise summarizing the effects of birth control pills and contraception on society written by Archbishop Chaput of Denver can be found here. We have all seen the subsequent disassociation of love from sex and the dehumanization of the sexual act that has resulted from the extensive worldwide use of this form of contraception.  The resulting increase in immorality has contributed to the death of at least 30 million babies in the US alone through abortion.

Genetic diseases, though tragic, are fortunately very rare.  Though we should always as physicians and researches strive to alleviate suffering we must be mindful of our limitations as humans and not enter realms that are reserved for our Creator.

(Mark 8:36) For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

29. Be watchful as you travel each day the narrow but joyous and exhilarating road of the mind, keeping your attention humbly in your heart, reproaching yourself, ready to rebut your enemies, thinking of your death and invoking Jesus Christ. You will then attain a vision of the Holy of Holies and be illumined by Christ with deep mysteries. For in Christ 'the treasures of wisdom and knowledge' are hidden, and in Him 'the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily' (Col. 2:3, 9).

January 12, 2000



Though these headlines do not appear outwardly to be related, a very possible sequence of events can be proposed that makes them frighteningly so.  According to the first article, the human genome has been 90% sequenced and this company expects that before the year is over they will have finished sequencing the human genome.  This is approximately three years before another major group performing a similar task by more refined and exacting means is expected to finish.  The company further states that they intend to patent certain genes coding for particular proteins and characteristics.

The second article describes yet another proposed cloning project for a mammal, in this case an extinct goat species.

Finally the last article describes the sordid event of the artificial insemination of one "celebrity" by another in order that the female's lifestyle would not be disrupted.

Putting these three articles together it is not difficult to envision the future of this type of genetic and reproductive research:  the use of cloning techiniques to enable females to bear children of whatever genetic makeup they desired.  In this particular example, in the future the ist may decide rather than using artificial insemination to instead have a cloned cell of her fellow artist implanted in her.  This time, however, she could take the relatively simple precaution of not including the gene that codes for a tendency towards drug addiction. She could "customize" her designer baby for characteristics such as hair color, intelligence, and even the presence or absence of freckles!  Hitler and Dr. Frankenstein would be proud!

The question from our perspective is: will God allow this to happen?  The technological capability is almost there, so that without divine intervention the above scenario, or one very close to it, is highly probable.  But will God let it happen?  I am reminded of the following verse:

(Num 23:19) God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

We have at least three Scriptural examples of God's direct intervention in judgment when the corruption of mankind reached an intolerable level.  These include the Tower of Babel, humanity in the time of the Flood and finally, Sodom and Gomorrah.

It is my personal opinion that God will indeed draw the line at human cloning and genetic manipulation. It is for this reason that stories related to this topic are often featured in the Trib Times.  Ironically, just like geneticists use different physical characteristics of fruit flies to predict their underlying genetic makeup, I believe that the "lateness of the hour" can be determined by the progress in research and implementation of human cloning and genetic manipulation.  

Let us remain vigilant as we await the remaining divine intervention foretold in Scripture:

(Rev 6:12-17) I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"

A more complete discussion of this subject can be found at:

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

28. It is impossible to find the Red Sea among the stars or to walk this earth without breathing air; so too it is impossible to cleanse our heart from impassioned thoughts and to expel its spiritual enemies without the frequent invocation of Jesus Christ.

January 11, 2000


(Reuters) - Corporate researchers said on Monday they had sequenced 90 percent of the human genome -- the collection of human genetic material -- and said they thought this covered 97 percent of all the human genes.

Celera Genomics of Rockville, Maryland said it expected to be finished with its sequencing later this year -- years ahead of a similar project being undertaken by academic and government scientists in the United States and Europe.

Celera said its scientists had identified "several thousand" new genes that may play key roles in communication between cells and the regulation of functions such as blood pressure, cell growth, and neurotransmission.

Some experts have expressed fears that companies such as Celera will patent many genes, thus restricting research. But Venter has said his company will patent only a few hundred genes and will post most of the sequences publicly.



(Mat 11:28-30) "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."


(Reuters) - If you fly into a rage at the sight of a traffic jam or get impatient waiting for e-mails to download, you could be suffering from "hurry sickness."

People living in the fast lane are falling prey to a 21st century epidemic that leaves them feeling constant pressure to find time to fit everything into their day, according to a report on Monday in Health and Fitness magazine.

Jacqueline Atkinson, a psychologist at the University of Glasgow, blamed the sickness on new technology that makes it harder for people to maintain a sense of control.

(Mat 6:31-34) So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the s run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

27. If you wish to engage in spiritual warfare, let that little animal, the spider, always be your example for stillness of heart; otherwise you will not be as still in your intellect as you should be. The spider hunts small flies; but you will continually slay 'the children of Babylon' (cf. Ps. 137.9) if during your struggle you are as still in your soul as is the spider; and, in the course of this slaughter, you will be blessed by the Holy Spirit.

January 10, 2000


(Reuters) - A leading German bishop's suggestion that Pope John Paul should consider retiring if his health prevents him from doing his job caused a stir of controversy in Italy Monday.

The suggestion by Bishop Karl Lehmann was even more controversial because, while the Pope's critics inside the church have made such remarks in the past, it was the first time it came from a powerful figure in an important European bishops conference.


(AP) - You have to listen pretty hard to hear wedding bells in New York these days. The number of new marriages in the city is at its lowest point since the 1970s, pushed down by a decline in the number of people in their 20s, an end to the taboo on living together outside of wedlock and financial incentives that can make it more appealing to stay single, The New York Times reported Sunday.

In the last several years, city marriage rates have been at the lowest levels since the late 1970s. In 1999, the marriage rate in New York was 7.6 per 1,000, down from 9.1 per 1,000 in 1997. Marriage rates are also dropping nationally. In 1998, 8.3 per 1,000 Americans married, the lowest rate since 1958.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

26. The molten idol denotes our crippled intellect. So long as the intellect invokes Jesus Christ against the demons, it easily routs them, putting their invisible forces to flight with the skill born of knowledge. But when it stupidly places all of its confidence in itself, it falls headlong like a hawk. For it is written: 'My heart has trusted in God and I am helped; and my flesh flowers again' (Ps. 28:7.LXXX); and 'Who but the Lord will rise up for me and stand with me against the host of wicked thoughts?' (cf. Ps. 94:16). Whoever places his confidence in himself and not in God will indeed fall headlong.

January 9, 2000

(Ezek 11:17-20) "Therefore say: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.' "They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols. I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.


(AP) -- Russian emigration to Israel was more than twice as high in 1999 as in the previous year, the Interfax news agency reported Saturday.

According to the Moscow office of the Jewish Agency, which brings Jews to Israel, 29,534 Russian citizens emigrated to Israel in 1999, up from 13,019 a year earlier, Interfax reported.

The news agency quoted the executive vice president of the Russian Jewish Congress, Alexander Osovtsov, as saying that the main factors behind the increase were Russia's 1998 economic crisis and "general political instability, (including) the fact that last year's anti-Semitic component was far more in the center of attention in society."


(AP) - Doctors scribble notes into patients' folders while a young man lies nearby on a gurney, dying from AIDS-related tuberculosis.

His abdomen convulses with gurgling gasps as he struggles to fill his saturated lungs. The doctors will not transfer him to a bed in the intensive care unit because of lack of space.

``He's busy dying,'' says Dr. Iwan Bekker, sweeping past the youth in Dora Nginza Hospital. ``Sometimes we have to play God.''

The AIDS epidemic is overwhelming South Africa so badly that some public hospitals are turning people away, limiting treatment and forcing doctors to make hard decisions about whom to save.

With an estimated 4 million South Africans - one of every 10 people - already infected with the AIDS virus, the epidemic poses a huge challenge to the country's public health system.


(Luke 21:11) There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

25. Do not become conceited like the ancient Israelites, and so betray yourself into the hands of your spiritual enemies. For the Israelites, liberated from the Egyptians by the God of all, devised a molten idol to help them (cf. Exod. 32:4).

January 8, 2000

(Mark 10:14-16) When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.


(AP) - Aracelia Garcia, who already has 15 grandchildren, was a bit surprised to find herself pregnant again - and with triplets.

``I could have imagined one but not more - not three,'' the 54-year-old woman said in Spanish. ``My heart is full of happiness. I feel happy God wants me to have three. ... A child is a gift, a treasure.''

The babies, all girls, could come as soon as next week. Garcia is waiting out the pregnancy at home, where the living room is filled with portraits of her and her husband surrounded by their eight children, whose ages range from 16 to 34, and their grandchildren.


(AP) - The number of American women who received abortions in 1997 was the lowest in more than 20 years, with experts citing everything from reduced access to clinics, more willingness to use contraception and changing attitudes about the procedure as causes.

The number of abortions for every 1,000 live births dropped from 314 in 1996 to 305 in 1997 - the lowest since 1975, the CDC said. The preliminary estimate of 1,184,758 legal abortions in 1997 was 3 percent less than the 1,221,585 abortions in 1996 and the lowest number performed since 1978.


(CNN) -- In the future, when couples decide to have babies, they may start with science instead of sex.

By the year 2003, scientists expect to finish mapping the human genome. That should give researchers unprecedented information about thousands of inherited disorders and increase the ability of doctors to screen for disease -- even before conception.

This same genetic information might be used by prospective parents to find out a range of traits an embryo has, such as eye and hair color, height, intelligence and life expectancy. And that means making complex choices about which embryos to implant in the mother's womb.

"We will, I'm sure, have the ability to increase the number of male babies being born or female babies being born, or blond babies," said Dr. Nathan Slotnick, a geneticist at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

Slotnick said that as the ability to predict traits expands, it will change the very nature of reproduction.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

24. The intellect cannot conquer a demonic fantasy by its own unaided powers, and should never attempt to do so. The demons are a sly lot: they pretend to be overcome and then trip us up by filling us with self-esteem. But when we call upon Jesus Christ, they do not dare to play their tricks with us even for a second.

January 7, 2000

(Eph 2:1-2) As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.


(Reuters) - China's state-backed Catholic church defied Pope John Paul on Thursday by ordaining five new bishops in a setback for efforts to normalize ties between the Vatican and the world's last major Communist nation.

The timing of the ceremony at a Beijing cathedral appeared to be an open challenge to the Pope, just hours before he was due to ordain 12 new bishops around the world at St Peter's in Rome.

China's officially sponsored Catholic church has around 70 bishops and five million members, according to Chinese figures. Vatican sources say eight million Chinese are loyal to the Pope and worship in secret.


(CNN) -- Thousands of Indonesian Muslims marched through Jakarta Thursday chanting "Jihad! Jihad!" (holy war) in a protest against minority Christians, while additional police and troops were sent to try to halt the religious unrest in Ambon.

The nearly 5,000 protesters, most wearing traditional white Muslim clothes, slaughtered a goat, smeared the blood on a wooden cross and demanded a holy war against Christians in the Moluccas. They also marched from a mosque in the city's center to the University of Indonesia.


(Reuters) -- Radical Muslim rebels shot dead six civilians and wounded 14 others in a small farming village near the Algerian capital before a local policeman opened fire on them and they fled, residents said Tuesday.

At least 146 people have been killed since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan Dec. 9, according to government and newspaper counts. Radical rebels see Ramadan as an auspicious period to step up what they call their "holy war" to set up a purist state.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

23. Just as someone in the midst of a crowd, holding a mirror and looking at it, sees not only his face but also the faces of those looking in the mirror with him, so someone who looks into his own heart sees in it not only his own state, but the black faces of the demons.

January 6, 2000

(Psa 30:11-12) You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.


(AP) -- For 16 years, Patricia White Bull was unable to speak, swallow or move much. She slipped into a catatonic state while delivering her fourth child.

On Christmas Eve, she suddenly snapped back to consciousness. "Don't do that," she blurted out when nurses were trying to fix her nursing home bed.

Doctors cannot explain why Ms. White Bull, 42, awakened. Her mother, Snowflake Flower, said it was a Christmas miracle from God.

VIA EMAIL valtorta <[email protected]>:

You have all heard the story countless times of the footprints in the sand where the man asked the Lord why there were two sets of footprints and then one and then two again, etc.  and the Lord replied that when there was only one set of footprints, that was when HE was carrying the man....Here is a new version....enjoy.....


Now imagine you and the Lord Jesus are walking along the beach together.

For much of the way the Lord's footprints go along steadily, consistently, rarely varying in the pace.  But your prints are in a disorganized stream of zig zags, starts, stops, turnarounds, circles, departures, and returns.  For much of the way it seems to go like this.

But gradually, your footprints come in line with the Lord's, soon paralleling His consistently.  You and Jesus are walking as true friends.  This seems perfect, but then an interesting thing happens; your footprints that once etched the sand next to the Master's are now walking precisely in His steps.

Inside His large footprints is the smaller "sandprint," safely enclosed.

You and Jesus are becoming one; this goes on for many miles. But gradually you notice another change.  The foorprints inside the larger footprints seem to grow larger.  Eventually it disappears altogether. There is only one set of footprints.  They have become one; again this goes on for a long time.  But then something awful happens.

The second set of footprints is back.  This time it seems even worse than before.  Zig zags all over the place.  Stop...start. Deep gashes in the sand.  A veritable mess of prints.  You're amazed and shocked. But this is the end of your dream.

Now you speak:
"Lord, I understand the first scene with the zig zags, fits, starts and so on.  I was a new Christian, just learning.  But you walked on through the storm and helped me learn to walk with You."

"That is correct," replied the Lord.

"Then, when the smaller footprints were inside of Yours, I was actually learning to walk in Your steps.  I followed You very closely."

"Very good.  You have understood everything so far."

"Then the smaller footprints grew and eventually filled in with Yours. I suppose that I was actually growing so much that I was becoming more like You in every way."


"But this is my question, Lord.  Was there a regression or something? The footprints went back to two, and this time it was worse than the first."

The Lord smiles, then laughs.  "You didn't know?' He says, "That was when we danced."

(Psa 30:11-12) You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

22. The glance of your intellect should be quick and keen, able to perceive the invading demons. When you perceive one, you should at once rebut it, crushing it like the head of a serpent. At the same time, call imploringly to Christ, and you will experience God's unseen help. Then you will clearly discern the heart's rectitude.

January 5, 2000


With the blistering pace of significant findings in 1999, one can be led to feel that it's all been discovered. But if you've ever felt even a twinge of that sentiment, hold onto your star charts and get ready for the year 2000. A convergence of cumulative knowledge, new observational techniques and ever more powerful computers is set to blow our socks off during the next twelve months.

Historians may one day call it the space renaissance that developed at the turn of the millennium.

Big, unresolved questions (click on link above to read entire discussion):

Are there other Earth-like planets out there? What is the fate of the Universe? Is there life elsewhere?


(AP) _ Poor farmers in Beijing's barren hills saw it: an object swathed in colored light arcing heavenward that some say must have been a UFO.

They're not alone. People in 12 other Chinese cities reported possible UFO sightings last month. UFO researchers, meanwhile, were busy looking into claims of an alien abduction in Beijing.

At the beginning of the new millennium, China is astir with sightings of otherworldly visitors. Such sightings are treated with unexpected seriousness in this country usually straightjacketed by its communist rulers.


(AP) _ Japanese researchers have grown frog eyes and ears in a lab using the animal's own embryo cells, technology a scientist said Monday could eventually help doctors replace lost or damaged human sensory organs using cells from the patients' bodies.

Makoto Asashima, a biologist at prestigious Tokyo University, said the process is an alternative to donor transplants.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

21. If we have not attained prayer that is free from thoughts, we have no weapon to fight with. By this prayer I mean the prayer which is ever active in the inner shrine of the soul, and which by invoking Christ scourges and sears our secret enemy. 

January 4, 2000


Several years ago I had the difficult chore of explaining to my then eight year old son that there indeed was no Santa Claus.  This disclosure was met with copious tears and sobbing, even more than I had anticipated.  I quickly related the story of Saint Nicholas, the spirit of giving associated with this Saint, and the subsequent tradition that he inspired.  Just when it appeared that I had turned the corner in his acceptance of this new revelation a look of great distress crossed his face.  His subsequent question came as a total surpise:

"What about Jesus?  Is His story real or is the Christmas story just a tale too?", he asked sobbing all the more.  

Fortunately he was quick to accept my reassurance that the Biblical account of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was not just a matter of faith but a historical fact. Jesus Christ was indeed HIS Savior and the Savior of all who would accept Him.

Y2K has come and gone. And it appears that, by the Grace of God, it has caused very little of the feared disruption that was forecast by some lay and religious leaders alike.  A prophecy from a Catholic "visionary" predicting a calamity in New York City during the New Years Eve celebration has passed unfulfilled.

Though certainly there is a great sense of relief and gratitude for our being spared the horrible grief that could have been, there is a danger which must be confronted and defeated.  That danger is to begin to doubt the importance of the present era in which we live.  To return to business as usual.  Or even worse to "eat, drink, and be merry" (Luke 12:19) as those who are "of the world" (1 John 4:5).

This Jubilee year is a tremendous opportunity for each of us individually, and the world as a whole. Let us resolve to, as did the five wise virgins of Matthew 25, keep our lamps filled with oil and be prudent stewards of this period of grace that God has mercifully awarded to us.


(NE) The organism of communications of the US Bishop's Conference recently informed that the country's bishops have presented their conjunct declaration "Because God loves you" at the beginning of this year 2000. "New possibilities lie before you -before all of us- at the start of the third Christian Millennium. This is a time to look at the world and decide how to better serve your neighbor," state the Bishops in the declaration. Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, who will discuss this declaration today at his radio program "Live with Cardinal Bevilacqua," recalled that "as we step across this great threshold, we know that there is still much work to be done." The Cardinal also emphasized that the Jubilee Year is a "time of great hope."

(Mat 24:45-47) "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

20 (cont). He should possess prayer so that as soon as he has rebutted the devil he may call to Christ with 'cries that cannot be uttered' (Rom. 8:26). Then he will see the devil broken and routed by the venerable name of Jesus- will see him and his dissimulation scattered like dust or smoke before the wind.

January 3, 2000


(Reuters) - Britain's Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual head of the world's 70 million Anglicans, on Sunday attacked the high status given to wealth, power and fame and urged people to adopt more Christian values.

Speaking at a millennium service in London's St Paul's Cathedral where Queen Elizabeth was among the congregation, Archbishop George Carey said today's generation had turned traditional Christian values upside down.

Teachings such as "blessed are the meek" and "blessed are the poor" had been replaced by "blessed are the famous," "blessed are those who are rich" and "blessed are the mighty," Carey said.

He called for a return to love for, and faith in, God and urged people to greet the third millennium with a new commitment to caring for one another.

"It means working towards a genuine pluralism which respects all people and resists intolerance, racism and bigotry in any shape or form," he said. "It means caring for the marginalised and having compassion for those who stray."


(Reuters) - Pope John Paul, speaking on the Roman Catholic Church's millennium day for children, on Sunday called for an end to what he called "hideous forms of exploitation" of the young and strongly condemned abortion.

"At the beginning of this year, dear children and young people, we cannot forget all those of your own age who are suffering hunger or violence, and those who are victims of hideous forms of exploitation," he said.

The 79-year-old Pope was speaking to more than 50,000 children and young people on the first of many "theme days" the Church will hold for its Jubilee celebrations for 2000.

Addressing the children in five languages from the steps of St Peter's Basilica, the Pope said that people had to observe the laws of God where children were concerned.

Otherwise, he said, they would be "giving rise to a situation of more and more suffering and injustice."

The Pope also condemned abortion in his address to the children, who included representatives from African and Asian countries. "How could we forget the many children who are denied even the right to be born?" he said.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

20 (cont). He should possess attentiveness in order always to keep his heart clear of all thoughts, even of those that appear good. He should possess the power of rebuttal so that, whenever he recognizes the devil, he may at once repulse him angrily; for it is written: 'And I shall reply to those who vilify me; will not my soul be subject to God?' (Pss. 119:42;62:1. LXX).

January 2, 2000

(John 14:27) Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.


Prime Minister Ehud Barak and the negotiations team are to leave for the United States this afternoon for the resumption of peace talks with Syria Monday in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

The talks are expected to last for about 10 days. However, officials said Barak most probably will return to Israel within a week.


Syrian editorials expressed hope on Saturday that a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East will prevail and that the new millennium would put an end to all conflicts in the region.

"At the start of the new millennium, we sincerely hope that a new era of peace and prosperity would prevail in this part of the world," said the English-language Syria Times newspaper.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

20. The man engaged in spiritual warfare should simultaneously possess humility, perfect attentiveness, the power of rebuttal, and prayer. He should possess humility because, as his fight is against the arrogant demons, he will then have the help of Christ in his heart, for 'the Lord hates the arrogant' (cf. Prov. 3:34.LXXX).

January 1, 2000


(Heb 13:8) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

VIA EMAIL Fr. Alex Roque:

The Birdcage Story

A man was on the side of the road with a large birdcage. A boy noticed that the cage was full of birds of many kinds. "Where did you get those birds?" he asked.

"Oh, all over the place," the man replied. "I lure them with crumbs, pretend I'm their friend then when they are close, I net them and shove them into my cage."

"And what are you going to do with them now?"

The man grinned, "I'm going to prod them with sticks, and get them really mad so they fight and kill each other. Those that survive, I will kill. None will escape."

The boy looked steadily at the man. What made him do such things?

He looked into the cruel, hard eyes. Then he looked at the birds, defenceless, without hope.

"Can I buy those birds?" the boy asked.

The man hid a smile, aware that he could be on to a good thing if he played his cards right. "Well," he said hesitantly, "The cage is pretty expensive, and I spent a lot of time collecting these birds, I'll tell you what I'll do, I'll let you have the lot, birds, cage and all for ten pounds and that jacket you're wearing."

The boy paused, ten pounds was all he had, and the jacket was new and very special, in fact it was his prized possession. Slowly, he took out the ten pounds and handed it over, then even more slowly he took off his jacket, gave it one last look then handed that over too.

And then (well, you've guessed it) he opened the door and let the birds go free.

The Enemy of the world, Satan, was on the side of life's road with a very large cage. The man coming towards him noticed that it was crammed full of people of every kind, young, old, from every race and nation.

"Where did you get these people?" the man asked.

"Oh, from all over the world," Satan replied. "I lure them with drink, drugs, lust, lies, anger, hate, love of money and all manner of things. I pretend I'm their friend, out to give them a good time, then when I've hooked them, into the cage they go."

"And what are you going to do with them now?" asked the man.

Satan grinned. "I'm going to prod them, provoke them, get them to hate and destroy each other; I'll stir up racial hatred, defiance of law and order; I'll make people bored, lonely, dissatisfied, confused and restless. It's easy. People will always listen to what I offer them and (what's better) blame God for the outcome!"

"And then what?" the man asked.

"Those who do not destroy themselves, I will destroy. None will escape me."

The man stepped forward. "Can I buy these people from you?" he asked.

Satan snarled, "Yes, but it will cost you your life."

So Jesus Christ, the Son of God, paid for your release, your freedom from Satan's trap, with His own life, on the cross at Calvary. The door is open, and anyone, whom Satan has deceived and caged, can be set free.


Two archaeologists say they've found the spot where Jesus was baptized- a discovery that could finally solve a dispute between Israel and Jordan. Rustom Mkhjian, a Christian, and Mohammad Waheeb, a Muslim, are convinced that a wild prophet named John baptized Jesus on this spot 2,000 years ago. And they make a compelling argument -- one based not on faith or national pride, but on solid archaeological and historical evidence.

(Mark 1:9-11) At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

19. When we have to some extent cut off the causes of the passions, we should devote our time to spiritual contemplation; for if we fail to do this we shall easily revert to the fleshly passions, and so achieve nothing but the complete darkening of our intellect and its reversion to material things.

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Jubilee 2000: Bringing the World to Jesus

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