The Joyful Mysteries

Saturday, November 28, 2009,

According to Pope John Paul II, “The Rosary belongs among the finest and most praiseworthy traditions of Christian contemplation. Developed in the West, it is a typically meditative prayer, corresponding in some way to the “prayer of the heart” or “Jesus prayer” which took root in the soil of the Christian East.” (Apostolic Letter ROSARIUM VIRGINIS MARIAE).

When Holy Mass was not yet celebrated in the vernacular, people “passed the time” in church by reciting the Rosary, under the illusion that it was the best thing to do, since they could not follow Latin and the priest had his back to them, anyway. It was as good a way as any to “imitate” the recitation of David’s 150 Psalms by the clergy, in their minds.

Saint Louis Marie de Montfort, whose devotion to the Madonna was the inspiration behind the Legion of Mary, tells us that in principle, the Holy Rosary is composed of the Lord’s Prayer, the Angelic Salutation, and a declaration of faith in God.

In 1214 the Church received the Rosary in its present form through Saint Dominic, who had received it from the Blessed Virgin as a means of overcoming the Albigensian heretics and other sects, as an “Angelic Psalter”, and later “The Psalter of Jesus and Mary”. In actual fact, however, the word means “Garland [or Garden] of Roses”.

The traditional 15 Mysteries of the Rosary were made standard Pope St. Pius V in the 16th century. In 2002, Pope John Paul II instituted the Luminous Mysteries, which are extremely close to an idea Saint Gorg Preca had documented.

History records how, as Dominic made his way to church to preach, the bells began to ring of their own accord, and a terrible storm and mystical occurrences took place. The Saint prayed, and the weather returned to normal.

Pope John Paul II declared that “It is also beautiful and fruitful to entrust to this prayer the growth and development of children”, since the Rosary is practically a précis of the Life of Christ, it could be a shorthand way of teaching it to them. Little wonder then, that he said the “The Rosary [is] a treasure to be rediscovered”.

During the period of Advent, we are encouraged to pray the Joyful Mysteries – unless we prefer to follow the usual allocation by day, viz:

The Glorious Mysteries (Sunday and Wednesday)
1. The Resurrection
2. The Ascension
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
4. The Assumption of Our Lady
5. The Coronation of Our Lady

The Joyful Mysteries (Monday and Saturday)
1. The Annunciation
2. The Visitation
3. The Nativity
4. The Presentation of Christ in the Temple
5. The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple

The Sorrowful Mysteries (Tuesday and Friday)
1. The Agony in the Garden
2. The Scourging at the Pillar
3. The Crowning with Thorns
4. The Carrying of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion

The Luminous Mysteries (Thursday)
1. The Baptism of the Lord
2. Christ’s Self-Revelation at the Wedding Feast at Cana
3. Christ’s Proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with His Call to Conversion
4. Christ’s Transfiguration
5. Christ’s Institution of the Eucharist

The First Joyful Mystery
The Annunciation

God sent the archangel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee. He visited Mary, who was engaged to Joseph, of the House of David, and told her “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”
Mary could not imagine what he meant, and so the angel explained everything to her, and also mentioned her cousin Elizabeth who was also expecting a child. Mary answered “May it be to me as you have said.”

The Second Joyful Mystery
The Visitation

Mary decided to give Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah a helping hand and travelled to Judea. Her cousin, surprised, felt the baby (John the Baptist) quicken, and was moved to exclaim “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!”
And then follows the Magnificat, one of the most beautiful prayers of all. “My soul glorifies the Lord; and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant…” Mary stayed there for about three months.

The Third Joyful Mystery
The Nativity

Joseph and Mary had to travel from Nazareth in Galilee to Judea to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David, in order to be enumerated in the Census as decree by Caesar Augustus. While they were there, it was time for Jesus to be born; she wrapped him in swaddling clothes placed him in a manger “because there was no room for them in the inn”.
An angel appeared to the shepherds to tell the Good News, and suddenly the sky was filled with more angels praising God. So the shepherds made their way to Bethlehem to see Jesus. Mary “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart”.

The Fourth Joyful Mystery
The Presentation

On the eighth day Jesus was circumcised and given His name. When the time of purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, since he was a Firstborn Son. The offering was “a pair of turtledoves or a brace of young pigeons”.
The Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon, a righteous and devout man, that he would not die before seeing the Messiah. As soon as he saw Jesus, who was about forty days old, he prayed “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel”.

The Fifth Joyful Mystery
The Finding of Jesus in The Temple

Every year, Mary and Joseph travelled to Jerusalem for Pesach (Passover). When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. On the return home, Mary thought He was with Joseph, and he thought Jesus was with her.
He had stayed behind, so they returned for Him; and after three days, they found Him amongst those well-versed in the Laws of Moses, taking an active part in the discussions and amazing everyone with the depth of his familiarity with and knowledge of the texts.
Mary, however, chided Him. “Son, why have you done this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” But Jesus simply replied “Why were you searching for me? Don’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” The story concluded by saying that “He went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them.”


The Stranger at The Crossroad

You know what they say about truth being stranger than fiction?  Well, you can believe it’s true.

So there I was, convalescing in Rome, reading Murder on the Orient Express, while on one of those buses that have the middle like an accordion so they can go round corners. Bendy buses, I think they call them.
I was thinking that this would have been the ideal vehicle on which to kill someone – you just sit at the back, with a potential victim, when all the people are in the front half, and do the deed. Then you alight from the door serving the hind part of the vehicle, and Bob’s your uncle.
And then it happened. You know how in another book – or was it another film? – Miss Marple saw a man strangle a woman on another train, and since a body was not found the police assumed she was rambling, what with being old and all? We were just nearing Le Quattro Fontane (the Four Fountains) – that group of four Late Renaissance fountains located at the intersection of Via delle Quattro Fontane and Via del Quirinale, the most famous crossroads of the world – or so the Italians say.
Well – I happened to look out of the window and I saw a bus coming the other way, and – suddenly – I saw a woman stand up thump a man on the head with what looked like a frying pan, and then, she just rolled him out of the emergency door.  I gasped, and followed the body with my eyes.

Suddenly, from behind the sill of the Fountain of Diana (the only one of the four, as I recall, designed by the painter and architect Pietro da Cortona, for the rest were the work of the fortuitously-named Domenico Fontana), up jumped a man dressed in black from head to toe.  He sneezed, and put his little fingers to his lips – I am assuming he whistled in that shrill chav ways I hate so much. A Black Maria-like car drew up, the driver hopped out, and together they half-pulled, half-lifted the man into the back.   Hecate would have been proud of them.
Our bus rounded a corner – I rang the bell but the driver did not stop.  I ran to the front of the bus, but I could not make the driver understand what I wanted him to do.

My Italian is patchy at the best of times, and he kept saying something like “Espresso, diretta, non posso fermarmi”.  I couldn’t have cared less about his offer of coffee when we got to the terminus – I just wanted him to stop, so I said “Polizia” and he said something that sounded like “My my my!” and I thought he was telling me I was making a fuss.

Of course, the nuns at the Convent of Saint Elisabeth, at whom I was staying, saw how shaken I was, and they understood what I was saying because a couple of them spoke almost perfect English.  They explained that I had inadvertently caught the direct line that did not stop. What the driver had really said was “Mai!” which means “never”.
So they drove me to the police station where I made a report about what I had seen. They found the body a week later, when they dredged the section of the Tiber nearest the place I indicated, weighted and dumped. Later on, the full story was splashed across the papers, on all three RAI television stations and on the Mediaset ones too. The woman was an Albanian hooker, and the man she attacked had been her pimp. The man at the crossroad was her boyfriend – an ex-client who wanted to give her a better life and had hatched the plan. The pimp had been threatening to have her deported, because she was not earning him enough money, and she did not want to go back home.
I had to stay in Italy longer than I planned, but since I was a key witness I was given free board and lodging for the extra fortnight I remained; and of course, my Italian improved no end, in that short period.  For a time, I was quite the media star.
This is weird, considering that I am a Maltese nun.

Iva, iva… imma…forsi…aħjar le

Time Table


L-struzzjonijiet li hemm fil-Bibbja ma jistgħux ikunu iżjed ċari minn hekk – ħallu li l-iva tagħkom tkun iva, u li l-le jkun le.

Għalissa ser ninjoraw il-parti l-oħra tal-paragrafu, li tgħidilna biex ma naħilfu b’xejn, għax inkella ikkundannati. Dan għax is-sentenza sejri noħorguha mill-kuntest u  nużawha għal xi ħaġ’oħra.

Kważi kuljum, niltaqgħu ma’ xi ħadd li jgħidilna… ommi ma x’ġenn ta’ ħajja.  Ma nustax inlaħħaq.  Xogħol, xiri, tfal, ġenituri, tisjir, privatijiet…anqas cans niekol bilqegħda u naħsel xagħri m’għandi…  bħallikieku xi ħadd ser iwaħħlilhom midalja mal-pavru bħala rikonoxximent li qegħdin qishom jissagrifikaw ħajjithom għal ħaddieħor.  U, x’aktarx li jżidu… u jaħassra dejjem bla nifs, qisni ċippitatu, minn haawn għal hemm minn hemm għal hawn

Għaliex huwa daqshekk diffiċli għalina li ngħidu issa daqshekk? Għaliex irrridu nokupaw kull sekonda ta’ ħajjitna b’xi ħaġa x’nagħmlu… u nuggistifikaw ruħna billi ngħidu li qed naħdmu għall-familja, jew biex nagevolaw lil ħaddiehor… iżda qatt ma nsemmu li nħosssu sodisfazzjon kbir meta xi ħadd ifaħħarna ta’ dak li nagħmlu, biex nidhru li aħna ta’ qalb ħelwa u umli?

Hemm ambigwità fin-nofs.  Jgħidulek li għajjenin, mma meta tgħidilhom biex ineħħu dak li mhux assolutament meħtieġ minn ħajjithom, jgħidulek “U ma tarax… inkella nidher kerha… inkella ma jkonniex flus biex insiefru fis-sajf… inkella ma jkollix iex inbiddel l-għamara  kull meta jfetttilli…”

Mela, jew ingerger għax m’għandix minuta b’xejn x’nagħmel fiha, jew nisħaq li hemm irrid li nkun.

Mhux faċli li nitilqu kważi kollox u ngħixu ħajja minimalista… inżommu, nużaw, u nieklu biss dak li għandna bżonn.  U mhux dejjem tkun tista tevita xi dmirijiet jew ċirkostanzi li jillimitaw l-għażliet tiegħek.  U barraminhekk, mhux kulħadd jaf iqassam il-ħin sew.

Xi uħud donnhom jaħsbu li iżjed ma jkollok x’tagħmel, ‘l hawn u ‘l hinn, iżjed int importanti u indispensabbli.  Meta jgħidu li int “dejjem sejra”, tagħmel wiċċ ta’ martri, li jfisser bejn wieħed u ieħor “Allaħares ma kontx jien għalihom  għax keiku l-art ħamra u l-firien jiġru…”  Naraw x’nivvintaw biex ilpkalendarju jkun ġiġifogu sħih ta’ kliem u kuluri – għax kull membru tal-familja jkollu pinna l-istess kulur bħall-ixkupilja tans-snien, biex jikteb biha l-impenji tiegħu.

U qisu li dan ma kienx bżżejjed, inżidu  distrazzjonijiet oħra biex jekk ikun hemm xi ħames minuti vojta, dawn jimtlew ukoll.  Mhux biżżejjed il-ġimgħa xogħol ta’ 40 siegħa. Irridu l-gym, il-kompjuter, il-ħarġiet mal-ħbieb, jekk ma jkollniex l-għajnuna fil-paarrocca jew fil-każin jew fil-klabb.

Naraw tfal jagħmlu l-homework waqt li jaraw it-televixin u sewwieqa jieklu waqt li jżommu it-tmun b’id waħda… u jiftaħru li l-multitasking tagħhom hua sinjal ta’ progress u ta’ “kemm jafu”.

Fil-ktieb Lessons In ‘Essentialism’: Getting More Out Of Life By Doing Less, Greg McKeown jgħidilna li biex ikollok kollox, u tagħmel kollox, m’għandux għalfejn ikollok kollox u tagħmel kollox. Isostni li għandna nsegwu biss dawk l-affarijiet li huma verament importanti – u neliminaw kull ħaġ’oħra li ttellifna minnhom.

Għandek bżonn ħames dbielet suwed u sitt ġgieget beige? Għandek bżonn 50 tazza fl-armarju?  Għandek bżonn tkun f’għaxar kumitati, u ma tattendix għall-lqgħat kollha għax ikunu fl-istess ġurnata u fl-istess ħin, imm jiskużawk għax jafu li int bniedem imħabbat?

Forsi fl-aħħar mill-aħħar , ikun iżjed faċli għalina li nduru fuq il-fus ta’  “għandi x’nagħmel” milli nsibu ruħna waħedna mal-ħsibijiet  tagħna. Min jaf?


Meta Sigriet Ma Jibqax…

Lehen is-Sewwa 1 ta’ Frar 2015




Henry ried jiżżewwiġha biex ikollu t-tfal. Dorothy riedet tiżżewġu biex tgħix ħajja ta’ sinjura. Darba qaltli li beżgħet li jekk ikollha t-tfal “titlef kollox” inkluż il-figura sabiħa li kellha. Qaltli biex inżomm kollox sigriet. U jien hekk għamilt.

Dan l-aħħar iltqajt magħha, u bqajt issummata. Fejn kienet l-artista li kont naf? Niftehmu, xorta kienet qisha artista, imma flok Diva, kienet qisha s-Saħħara l-Ħażina tal-Wizard of Oz; għajnejha ħomor, xagħar b’ferq abjad ta’ pulzier, riħa ta’ għaraq qares, nifs jinten…

Morna nieħdu kafe. Qaltli li stajt ma nżommux iżjed is-sigriet. Anzi, insistiet li ngħidu biex jitgħallem ħaddieħor. Qaltli li kellha ħabiba tal-qalb li magħha kienet tafda kollox. Qaltilha li biex ma tinqabadx tqila, kienet tieħu l-kontraċettivi. U l-oħra qaltiha li sewwa kienet tagħmel għax it-tfal tagħha inkwiet biss kienu ġabulha. Għiduli naqra, x’inkwiet jistgħu jġibu tfal ta’ inqas minn għaxar snin, għajr xi ġlieda ’l hawn u ’l hinn u li ma jkunux iridu jistudjaw?

Darba minnhom Henry wasal id-dar tard wara x-xogħol, u Dorothy staqsietu, bla ebda ħsieb ta’ xejn, fejn kien mar. “Mhux aħjar tara fejn tmur int?” ħatafha. Hi ħasbitu qed jiċċajta. Imma kien qed jitkellem bis-serjetà kollha. “Għalhekk ma ridtx tmur taħdem, ja mara ħażina…”

Wara ġlieda papali, li fiha akkużaha li kienet qed taqlibhielu, u insinwazzjonijiet dwar li għalhekk qatt ma riedet tfal, biex tkun tista’ tiġġerra ’l hawn u ’l hinn, taha daqqa ta’ ħarta u qasmilha xoffitha. Din kienet l-ewwel darba li kien refa’ idu fuqha.

Dorothy intilfet. Filli dak il-fsied kollu u filli jgħajjarha mara tat-triq. U la ried jiekol u la ried jibqa’ fl-istess sular li kienet hi… Biex jorqod, issakkar fl-istudju tiegħu, fejn kellu sufan. Qabel ma sabbat il-bieb, qalilha li jieħdu żgur l-annullament għax kienet ħbietlu li ma ridetx tfal.

Hi kienet taf li qatt ma tat wiċċ lil ħaddieħor. Bilfors li xi ħadd kien gideb fuqha, u mlieh bil-velenu. Bil-kwiet, ippakkjat ftit ħwejjeġ f’basket, u telqet ’il barra bla ma taf fejn kienet se tagħti rasha. Ċemplet lill-ħabiba tagħha, u rrakuntatilha x’ġara. Din qaltilha li sewwa kienet għamlet li telqet mid-dar, għax la kien sawwatha (użat dik il-kelma tabilħaqq) darba, kien se jkompli jagħmel hekk.

Imma… ma setgħetx iżżommha għandha, “għax taf int, bit-tfal…”. U għal Dorothy dik l-enfasi fuq il-kelma tfal kienet kixfet lill-oħra. Qisha xegħlet bozza tal-elf f’daqqa. Mela hi kienet hi li kixfitha ma’ Henry. Ċemplitlu? Iltaqgħet miegħu wara x-xogħol? Bagħtitlu xi ittra?

L-oħra staqsietha x’kienet se tagħmel issa. Dorothy ħassitha mifnija. B’vuċi maħnuqa, staqsiet lil ħabibitha (għalkemm kienet taf it-tweġiba, imma bħal riedet konferma) jekk kinetx qalet is-sigriet tagħha lil Henry. “U ma tarax!” weġbitha l-ħabiba b’nofs daħqa. “Mela jien xi peċluqa għajjura, jew?”

L-istorja spiċċat b’li Dorothy marret tgħix ftit għand ħuha, u Henry baqa’ jsostni li daħqet bih. Hi, allavolja kienet taħlef li dejjem kienet retta, ma ridetx terġa’ tmur id-dar meta kienet taf li hu ma kienx jafdaha. U fejn qatt ma ħadmet f’ħajjitha, issa bdiet tmur taħsel għand in-nies, u moħħha donnu ħfief ukoll.

Saħqet li jien għandi ngħaddi żewġ messaġġi importanti; li ż-żwieġ mhux logħba, u li l-koppja għandhom iqiegħdu l-karti kollha fuq il-mejda. U siġriet tal-qrar, fil-qrar biss għandu jingħad.

Iżda l-iżjed ħaġa li nsistiet fuqha kienet li kulħadd jixtarr sewwa il-kliem tal-Mulej: “Kunu mela għaqlin bħas-sriep u safjin bħall-ħamiem. Oqogħdu attenti mill-bnedmin!” allavolja hawn meħudin barra mill-kuntest tagħhom.

Psst! Ħares ‘l Hawn…

Lehen is-Sewwa, February 28, 2016


Hawn min, biex ikellmek, jaħtaflek il-komma u jħares ċass f’għajnejk, qisu jrid jagħmillek seħer. Hawn min għandu ħabta jħares lejn ħuġbejk, jew moħħok, jew lejn imnieħrek.

Staqsejt lil xi uħud kienux lesti jħarsu fiss fl-għajnejn – u skantajt kemm kien hemm min ħadha bis-serjeta din il-mistoqsija.

# Jien insib li meta xi ħaddd iħares dritt f’għajnejja, jkun qisu qed jxrobl ruħi. Qisu jrid iku jaf jekk hux qed nigdeb, jew forsi jun qed jipprova jara sa fejn jista’ jasal miegħi – kemm jista’ jieħu mingħandi, sew jekk affarijiet materjali, jew emozzjonijiet.

# Għamilt ħabta inbati bid-dipresssjoni, u ma nsibnix kapaċi li nħares lejn dak li jkun, għax għaija hia xi ħaga emozzjonali wisq. In hoss li moħħi jitgħabba ż-żejjed meta rrid nikkonċentra fuq dak li nkun qed ngħid, u fuq il-ħarsa ta’ dak li jkun.

# Ommi u missieri nfirdu meta kont żgħira, u għalija, il-mod idejali biex nuri d-dispexx tiegħi lejha u lejn ir-raġel il-ġdid tagħha kienli ma nħarisx lejhom. Ma ngħidlekx kemm qlajt swat fuq hekk. Kont drajtha l-biċċa, u għamilt hekk fl-iskola wkoll, u l-għalliema kienu jgħidu li jien insolenti. Aħjar milli nirrispondi u naħli saħti.

# Jekk inħares f’għajnejn xi ħadd, nitfixkel, għax nipprrova nifhem dak li ma jkunx qed jgħidli. Nibda’ ntemtem, u ma nkunx naf fejn jien.

# Jien inħares lejn dak li jkun, għax m’għandix x’naħbi – kif tarani, pinġini.

# Jien bi-polar – u ma rridx inħares lejn għajnejn dak li jkun, li ma murx ninduna li jkunu qed jaħsbu ‘din miġnuna’ għax ikollna xi ngħidu żgur.

# Jien nitlef il-konċentrazzjoni meta xi ħadd iħres f’għajnejja. Rari ninża’ n-nuċċali tax-xemx, u nħobb nuża minn dawk li jirriflettu, biex żgur ma jkunux jistgħu jarawhomli.

# Hija tattika tiegħi li nħares fitt lejn dak li jku, biex nagħmillhom pressjoni psikologika. Inħobb nagħmel in-nies skomdi, bħallikieku qed niskrutinizzahom u niġġudikahom. Nitpaxxa narahom jintlew bit-tensjoni, u jirrepetu l-kliem fil-vojt.

# Jien nitlef għajnejja, u nħossni tac-cajt nipprova nħares lejn l-għajnejn, għax qisni nitwerreċ. Kieku kelli nipprova, imma, xorta kont inħossni anzjuża, għax jien mistħijja ħafna. . Forsi hawn min jaħseb li għax ma nħarsix lejh, ma nkunx qed nagħti kasu, imma nikkompensa għal dan billi nuża leħen ħlejju u nistaqsi mistoqsijiet li juru li jien qegħda attenta għal dak li jkunu qed jgħidu.

# Jien ma nittolerax li ħaddieħor iħarisli f’għajnejja, għax fix-xogħol tiegħi ma jaqbilx li nikxef dak li naħseb. Allura ma nħarisx lejhom jien, hux? Kien ikun diffiċli għalija li nispjega dan lill-klijjenti tiegħi, li ma jmurx jaħsbu li qed nidħaq bihom – imma fil-fatt, jien ma nħarisx lejhom biex inkun nista’ nibqa’ imparzjali, u ma nikxifx is-sigrieti fdati lili.

# Ma nafx għaliex, imma għajnejja jiekluni u jdemmgħu meta nħares lejn għajnejn oħra. Ikolli jew inħokkhom jew inxappaphom bil-maktur. Mela allura aħjar xejn – kuntenta li jgħidu kemm jiena stramba.

Jien naħseb li wasal iż-żmien li ma nibqgħux naħsbu li kull min jiftaħ għajnejh daqs plattina, ikun sinċier, u min jevita li jħares fl-għajnejn, għandu x’jaħbi. U int, x’taħseb?

Imma kemm int injoranta!

August 16, 2015

Darba kien hemm mara li kienet taf kollox.  U bħal ma jiġri meta jkun hemm xi ħadd li jaf kollox, kienet dejjem tkun trid tgħallem lil kulħadd. Kienet tagħmel hekk billi tuża kull metodu li jgħaddilha minn moħħha. Ħoloq għal artikli f’gazzetti u pubblikazzjonijiet oħra, mistoqsijiet li kienet tkun taf li dak li jkun ma jafx iweġibhom, kummenti sarkastiċi u anki xi insult ‘il hawn u ‘l hinn.

Kienet tiftaħar li qatt m’għajret lil ħadd “injorant” imma bħala mara sew kienet fid-dmir li turi lil dak li jkun fejn ikun żbalja. Mela allura, biex turi kemm hu ikrah l-abort, erħilha ssib stampi ta’ trabi mbiċċrin u titfagħhom fuq is-siti soċjali, waħda wara l-oħra kemm fuq il-paġni ta’ dawk li jgħidu li ma jaqblux mal-abort u iżjed u iżjed fuq ta’ dawk li jgħidu li mara għandu jkollha d-dritt li “tagħżel”.

Biex turi kemm hu ikrah id-divorzju titfa’ stampi ta’ kejkijiet tat-tieġ imkissra, tfal jibku u nies irrabjati.

Biex turi kemm hi kerha l-ewtanasja titfagħlek gozz stampi ta’ xjuħ f’qiegħ ta’ sodda bil-qraba madwarhom, formoli bir-ras ta’ mewt fejn suppost ikun hemm il-letterhead u klieb imkebbin fuq l-oqbra.

Kieku qatt kienet titfa’ stampa ta’ nies ferħana. Kienet issostni li tagħmel hekk għax il-ħajja qasira u mhux ta’ min jaħli l-ħin fil-ħmerijiet. Kienet tgħid li ma kellhiex stonku tħares lejn wħud mill-istampi li kienet titfa’. Imma xorta kienet tagħmilhom għax hi kellha missjoni li teduka u tgħallem. Wara kollox li tgħallem lill-injorant hu wieħed mill-opri tal-ħniena!

Il-ħelwa hi li l-kelma injorant ġejja minn kelma Rumanza li tfisser “ma jafx” fis-sens li hu nieqes mill-għarfien jew taħriġ, li qatt ma tgħallem, mhux “ma jafx” għax moħħu ma jtihx jew hu stupidu. Filwaqt li kienet tgħid li tgħallem lill-injorant fl-ewwel sens tal-kelma kienet iġġib ruħha ma’ dawk li riedet tgħallem bħala injoranti fit-tieni sens.

L-opra spiritwali tal-ħniena “għallem lill-injorant” jinħtieġ li nħarsu lejha minn perspettiva xierqa. Meta nħosssuna fid-dmir li ngħallmu ejja ma nimmaġinawx li aħna għorrief iżjed minn ħaddieħor.

It-tfal żgħar imorru l-Kindergarten biex jitgħallmu. Imma tkun ħaġa ridikola kieku nippretenduhom jitgħallmu l-fiżika u l-eronawtika. L-iskop tal-Kindergarten hu li jitgħallmu jissoċjalizzaw, jaqsmu l-ġugarelli ma’ xulxin, jirrispettaw lil ħaddieħor u, f’xi każi, jitkellmu u jieklu wkoll.

L-għalliema għandha mnejn tiddejjaq li Jofram ma jafx jixrob minn tazza imma mhux se tgħidlu injorant. Forsi tiddejjaq li meta jaslu biex iżommu pinzell jagħmel straġi iżda żgur mhux se tgħidlu injorant għax ma jafx jagħmel il-kontijiet ta’ meta qed taparsi jixtru mill-ħanut tal-klassi.

L-istess fir-reliġjon. Nibdew billi ngħallmuhom is-Sinjal tas-Salib u mhux ngħidulhom li huma injoranti għax ma jafux l-għoxrin posta tar-Rużarju bl-amment.

U aħna kif inġibu ruħna meta “ngħallmu lill-injorant”? Bil-goff bħal dik il-mara li taf kollox jew bil-ħlewwa bħall-għalliema tal-Kindergarten u tad-Duttrina?

Francis I: The Game of the Name

No sooner had Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio chosen his name in religion, than the mispronunciations of his old one began.

This happened for the simple reason that although (as rumour has it) he had been the first runner-up to Benedict XVI in 2005, he had not been considered a favourite this time around. (Despite the fact that the combination of Argentina and Jesuit brings to mind Liberation Theology which, in “certain circles,” is said to be just the shake-up the church, nay the world, needs.)

Most of us knew about the African Cardinals from Nigeria, Ghana, and the Democratic Republic of Congo – but not about him. (Incidentally, Victor, Miltiades, and Gelasius were the names of three Popes who came from Africa.)

After all, what can you expect from a Jesuit (an order the members of which do not actively seek promotion) who used public transport and cooked his own meals?

A lot, apparently. Moreover, this is first and foremost indicated by his choice of name. He selected the name of “the poor one of Assisi,” as he is known in Italy. Then it gradually dawned on people that as a Jesuit, Francis I could well have been identifying with Francis Xavier, as well.

What is certain is that nobody bet on a ‘new’ name. There have been Franciscan popes – Nicholas IV, Sixtus IV, Sixtus V, and Clement XIV – but as we can see, none of them chose the name of their founder.

francis_crossFrancis of Assisi, a humble person, was directed by the crucified Christ to “rebuild my Church, which is in ruins”. Will this bring a new aggiornamento?  If, on the other hand, the allusion includes the Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier… we all know he was a missionary, and a prototypical evangelist.

Francis I is the first Latin American Pope. He is also the first Jesuit ever to be elected Pope (one of the charismas of the Order is to actively serve the Pope; never to seek to be him).

Pundits had devoted many column inches to the possible names that could be have been chosen by the new Pontiff.  Each name was accompanied by the baggage endowed it by the predecessors who used it, as well as the meaning of the name itself, and the message it would impart.

For example, Pius XIII would be indicative of a conservative outlook whereas Leo XIV could be a call for social justice.

As a corollary, therefore, a papal name with no precedent would leave people thinking for a while.

Gregory, John, Leo, Paul, Benedict, Pius… all these and more (except Peter) had been put forward as possible choices.

Just for the record, it is said that John III had begun the custom of choosing a new name in 533 because his birth one had been Mercurious (after the god Mercury); it would “never do” for a Catholic Pope to have a pagan name.

Be that as it may, re-naming was already present and important in Biblical times, as when Jacob was re-named Israel. In the New Testament, Saul was re-named Paul and Simon was re-named Peter.

Mocked with a Crown: The Third Sorrowful Mystery

A claim to Kingship. How best to quash it?ChristKing

…and they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had plaited a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’  And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head…

Jesus, Son of God, was led to the praetorium and mocked by the very people whose sins he bore, offended and ridiculed by those who genuflect in jest, divesting Him of his dignity as well as his clothes, and giving Him a reed for a sceptre.  Then, the cowardly Pilate presents Him to the baying crowd.

Ecce Homo – Behold the Man!

…words that unwittingly echo the ones said by the Father: This is my Son, whom I love; with Him, I am well pleased.

We bristle when someone looks at us the wrong way. We bridle when someone does not give us the honours due to us. The Son of God bore the ignominies for us silently, without complaint. The savage beating was not enough to satiate the cruel nature of the tormentors.

Pilate’s henchmen could have wondered why this Jew – probably the reputation of Jesus as a miracle-worker has reached them too – had been sent to them for judgement by His own people.

Where are this poor man’s cronies? Where are His followers?  Why does he not protest, complain, or explain?

They believed that by demeaning Jesus, they would become greater than He; just as the bullies of today think that by humiliating, embarrassing or ridiculing someone else, they will satisfy their base natures.

Therefore, they dress Him in a robe dyed with Tyrian purple… a mockery of his status as King.

every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

And yet, they slap Him and garble words of tribute that are actually insults.

Shall I crucify your King?

JesusMockedThornyCrownThe story repeats itself. It is once again we, the people of Jesus, who seek to scorn him, by breaking the Commandments and cutting-and-pasting which bits of His teachings suit us best.  We are too lazy to bother going to Mass except on Sundays – and even then, some of us assume that it is all right to attend the celebration on a Saturday evening, just so that we can sleep-in before a day of lazy bliss, and not because there is an event that requires our presence, or because we are shift workers.

My kingdom is not of this world.

Pilate asks Him, “Are You a king?”, and Jesus replies that His kingdom is not of this world. The mob screams. Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

Ironically, Pilate proclaims that Jesus is King four times. “…you have a custom that I should release one man to you at the Passover; will you have me release for you the King of the Jews…?” “Behold, your King!”; “Shall I crucify your King?”; and finally, in the inscription “The King of the Jews”.

When you mock someone, you are trying to make him feel worthless by undermining his dignity.  Mockery attacks the soul and the mind.  We see this happen again and again at the workplace, in the classroom, in ward, in slavery… and even within the walls of the home, where the members of the households are supposed to be safe from all hurt.

It is definitely not enough to “not mock” others. We must actively nurture them and protect them from being belittled by others.

X’inhi l- Imħabba?


Image result for blue silk ribbon

Frar – ix-xahar meta kulħadd jitkellem fuq l-imħabba; iżda x’inhi l-imħabba ta’ veru?


Għalliema f’Wied Berquq kienet waslet fit-tmiem tal-aħħar sena tagħha qabel ma toħroġ bil-pensjoni.  Qatgħetha li tuża żigarelli koħol biex tirringrazzja u fl-istess ħin tfaħħar lit-tfal tal-klassi tagħha talli flimkien kienu għaddew sena li hi qieset l-iprem li qatt kellha.


Xtaqet turihom li hi kienet tgħallmet minnhom daqskemm huma kienu tgħallmu mingħandha.  F’kull wieħed u waħda minnhom sabet xi ħaġa xi tfaħħar.  Min għax kien qalbu tajba; min għax kien dejjem b’xagħru mimxut pulit, min għax dejjem bi tbissima; min għax kien tgħallem jaqra sew.  Maż-żigarella li tat lilhom, tathom tnejn żejda biex huma jgħadduhom lil ħaddieħor, b’messaġġ lit-tieni persuna biex jgħaddi t-tielet waħda lil ħaddieħor.  B’hekk iċ-ċirku ta’ mħabba u apprezzament jinfetaħ iżjed ʼil barra.

Lanqas biss laħqet daqqet il-qanpiena li wieħed mis-subien ma żgiċċax lejn il-ħanut tal-ikel ta’ ħdejhom, u sab lill-kok.  Qallu, “Ara, din, talli darba meta għaddejt minn ħdejk filgħodu u staqsejtni kontx ħadt kolazzjon, u jekk tiftakar, kont għidtlek li ma kellix min jagħmilli, u int tajtni ħobża u għidtli biex xi darba nħallsek, u minn dakinhar ʼl hawn, bqajt tnewwilli ħobża kuljum.  Biex nurik kemm jien grat għamilt l-almu tiegħi u bdejt nistudja ħafna.  Issa, hawn ara, għandek żigarella oħra biex tagħtiha lil xi ħadd li għamillek il-ġid, lilek ukoll.”  U hekk ġara.  Il-kok fiehem b’dak li kien ġara lis-sid tal-istabbiliment, u talbu permess biex jagħtih kwarta frank.  Telaq jiġri kemm jiflaħ lejn il-bank, u talab biex ikellem lill-maniġer.

Filwaqt li newwillu ż-żigarella qallu, “Tiftakar meta ġejt għandek biex nissellef il-flus ħa nixtri vann biex inkun nista’ nwassal ix-xogħol li nkun ħdimt, għax ridt naqla’ xi ħaġa żejda biex infaddal għax ridt niżżewweġ?  Tiftakar li int fassaltli pjan finanzjarju biex inkun nista’ nħallsu bla ma ndum wisq u neħel ħafna imgħax?  Mela, din iż-żigarella għalik!” u spjegalu x’kienet tfisser.

U l-maniġer, li kien għoddu nesa’ l-ġrajja tal-kok, fis ftakar.  U hemeż iżżigarella mal-flokk.  Meta daħal id-dar, sab lit-tifel tiegħu iħawwad xi ħaġa fuq in-nar.  Minn mindu kienet mietet il-mara, x’aktarx li dejjem ikel tal-friża kienu jieklu, għax ebda’ minnhom ma kien jaf isajjar.  Iżda llum, kienet ġrat xi ħaġa speċjali lilhom it-tnejn.  Kien hemm riħa ta’ brodu tat-tiġieġ tagħqad fuq id-difrejn.  Il-missier, bla kliem xejn, resaq lejn ibnu u ħaddnu.  U t-tifel ħass fawra tielgħa għal wiċcu, kemm għax missieru kien ilu s-snin ma’ jħaddnu, kif ukoll għax ra li fuq il-pavru tal-ġlekk kien hemm iż-żigarella li bħalha kien ta tnejn minnhom lill-kok.

“Pa!  Dik minn fejn ġibtha?” temtem.  “Dik, ibni?  Dik tahieli lkok tal-ħanut ta’ ħdejn l-iskola.”  U hawn it-tifel induna li dik kienet tabilħaqq it-tielet żigarella tiegħu.  Int, li qed taqra din l-istorja, jekk tħares madwarek, kemm għandek il-ħila ssib nies li ħaqqhom żigarella?

(Kitba ta’ Tanja Cilia u meħuda mir-rivista Sagħtar ta’ Frar 2008)


Eye In The Sky



I hated having to be the one to break the news. But heaven knows, they’d got used to seeing my mug plastered all over the plasma VDTs in the mall. I wondered if they’d notice how much of my speech was plagiarised.

Earthmen, earthlings, earthlies, earthers, lend me your ears;

I come to bury the past, not to resurrect it.

So let it be with our collective past.

You thought the Emperor was enlightened:

It was not so; it was a lie.

Now we live under our Reptilian Masters.

Come I to speak in The Emperor’s funeral.

He was my mentor once, constant and evenhanded:

But the Tzar says he was ruthless;

And the Tzar does not lie.

The Emperor hath brought many captives home to Earth

Whose ransoms did the federal reserves fill:

Yet the Emperor had a hidden agenda.

When the poor cried, the Emperor gloated and preened.

You all did see that on the night of the Oscars

The Lord Reptilian thrice presented him a crown,

Albeit in jest.

This he did thrice refuse, through spite, and mendacity?

The Tzar says the Emperor was ambitious and devious;

I speak to corroborate what the Tzar spoke,

Here I am to speak what I do know.

You all did love him once, because he fooled you all.

Yet now you must not mourn for him.

Oh, judgment! Thou art final, immutable, irrevocable.

Men must find their reason yet again. Bear with me;

My heart is happy, thinking of the future without the Emperor.

Good riddance.

And I bow to our Reptilian Masters.

Thus are the mighty fallen.




It went down a treat. They must have thought it was part of the hoop-la.  No one realised – or wanted to appear to have realised – that I was in earnest. As the spokeswoman for the Reptilian Masters, I had to keep deadpan. I knew that they were considered invasive alien species – but that, in reality they were Masters of the Universe.


Earth was nothing to them but a stop-gap – a place where to recruit (recruit did I say?) wombs for propagating their species, and dilute the genepool that had become stale through interbreeding.


It was business as usual for the Bodies that were hosting the Reptilian Masters.  No one dared question what they did, and to whom, and how, and when.  People disappeared without trace… only to turn up intermittently in different continents – older, or younger, with no explanation being offered. This wrought havoc with family bloodlines, of course – but families were now an alien (ha!) concept. Earth was under the rule of the Reptilian Masters.  We were but pawns in their herpetofaunal invasiveness games.


The ecological, evolutionary, and economic future Mankind had striven for were now so much dust in the cosmic wind. I remember it as if it were yesterday, the statement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to the effect that No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found.


With hindsight, I can tell that the flippant reference to amphibious humanoid extraterrestrials – well, actually they were called mermaids and mermen so the hoi polloi could understand what was being said – had been made to divert attention from the landings of the Reptilian Masters and the first landings and colonisations in Malta where Atlantis used to be, and suppress the truth until the operation was going full steam ahead.  Those who colluded – including the Emperor, have blood on their hands, and a special place in hell. Me?  I was just the star turn of the plasma VDTs. I knew on which side my bread is buttered.


However, somewhere deep in my what-used-to-be-called soul, I had a nagging feeling that Mankind had not evolved to where it had arrived before the arrival of the Reptilian Masters, just so that they could find uteruses to exploit.


I had always been a film buff – and that is why my solution was straight out of Village of the Damned (if you want to know I think the re-make was silly).


My status as a star meant that I could go where I wanted – no questions asked. And since I was so much a part of the picture, no one paid attention to my comings or going. So I surreptitiously laced the Vitamin Smoothies of pregnant women with lavender, and when they gave birth all the Baby Reptilian bastards were stillborn.


To cut a long story short – that is why the Reptilian Masters moved on to the next habitable planet on the next galaxy.