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#3029 - Thursday, December 27, 2007 - Editor: Jerry Katz    

Benazir Bhutto was assassinated today
she expired at 6:16
I have no poetry for you,
words have no meaning
and the poet is gone
absent from all reason,
all choked up
with nothing to say.


This really is a tragedy.  It's often very hard to view political leaders with anything but a jaundiced eye, but I felt that she really went to extraordinary means to help bring peace and justice to so many in that troubled part of the world.  Of all people, she surely knew the risk she was taking returning to Pakistan and trying to make a difference.  What incredible courage she had!


ts contributes...

Benazir Bhutto PBUH

i am deeply saddened ...
even tho this event was
not unexpected.
no doubt she also knew this ...
and yet, stepped up.

just some thoughts:


Action rightly renounced brings freedom.
Action rightly performed brings freedom.
Either is better ...
Than mere shunning of Action.
~ Bhagvad-gita

"Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and
another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and
abandoned, everywhere is war. And until there are no longer
first-class and second-class citizens of any nation, until the
color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the
color of his eyes and until the basic human rights are
equally guaranteed to all without regard to race, there is war.
And until that day, the dream of lasting peace, world citizenship,
rule of international morality, will remain but a fleeting illusion
to be pursued, but never attained... now everywhere is war."
~ Bob Marley


by Donovan

He's five foot-two, and he's six feet-four,
He fights with missiles and with spears.
He's all of thirty-one, and he's only seventeen,
Been a soldier for a thousand years.

He'a a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jain,
A Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew.
And he knows he shouldn't kill,
And he knows he always will,
Kill you for me my friend and me for you.

And he's fighting for Canada,
He's fighting for France,
He's fighting for the USA,
And he's fighting for the Russians,
And he's fighting for Japan,
And he thinks we'll put an end to war this way.

And he's fighting for Democracy,
He's fighting for the Reds,
He says it's for the peace of all.
He's the one who must decide,
Who's to live and who's to die,
And he never sees the writing on the wall.

But without him,
How would Hitler have condemned him at Dachau?
Without him Caesar would have stood alone,
He's the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can't go on.

He's the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame,
His orders come from far away no more,
They come from here and there and you and me,
And brothers can't you see,
This is not the way we put the end to war

Christmas in the Trenches
by John McCutcheon

    My name is Francis Tolliver, I come from Liverpool.
    Two years ago the war was waiting for me after school.
    To Belgium and to Flanders, to Germany to here
    I fought for King and country I love dear.

    Twas Christmas in the trenches, where the frost so bitter hung,
    The frozen fields of France were still, no Christmas song was sung.
    Our families back in England were toasting us that day
    Their brave and glorious lads so far away.

    I was lying with my messmate on the cold and rocky ground
    When across the lines of battle came a most peculiar sound.
    Says I, "Now listen up, me boys!" each soldier strained to hear
    As one young German voice sang out so clear.

    "He's singing bloody well, you know!" my partner says to me.
    Soon, one by one, each German voice joined in harmony.
    The cannons rested silent, the gas clouds rolled no more
    As Christmas brought us respite from the war.

    As soon as they were finished and a reverent pause was spent
    "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" struck up some lads from Kent.
    The next they sang was "Stille Nacht." "Tis 'Silent Night'," says I
    And in two tongues one song filled up that sky.

    "There's someone coming toward us!" the front line sentry cried.
    All sights were fixed on one long figure trudging from their side.
    His truce flag, like a Christmas star, shown on that plain so bright
    As he, bravely, strode unarmed into the night.

    Soon one by one on either side walked into No Man's Land
    With neither gun nor bayonet we met there hand to hand.
    We shared some secret brandy and we wished each other well
    And in a flare-lit soccer game we gave 'em hell.

    We traded chocolates, cigarettes, and photographs from home
    These sons and fathers far away from families of their own.
    Young Sanders played his squeezebox and they had a violin.
    This curious and unlikely band of men.

    Soon daylight stole upon us and France was France once more
    With sad farewells we each prepared to settle back to war.
    But the question haunted every heart that lived that wonderous night
    "Whose family have I fixed within my sights?"

    Twas Christmas in the trenches where the frost, so bitter hung.
    The frozen fields of France were warmed as songs of peace were sung.
    For the walls they'd kept between us to exact the work of war
    Had been crumbled and were gone forevermore.

    My name is Francis Tolliver, in Liverpool I dwell
    Each Christmas come since World War I, I've learned its lessons well.
    That the ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame.
    And on each end of the rifle we're the same.

© 1984 John McCutcheon
German and Russian soldiers together on the Eastern front, Christmas 1914.    

Ben Hassine contributes...

The Bright Sadness

by Catherine Doherty.

In the Russia of my childhood we felt deeply that the way to the cross—to Golgotha—is always filled with a “bright sadness,” for Christ is etched on the cross against a fantastic light, an explosion, a transfiguration: the resurrection.

So though I feel the pain, the somber tragedy of all that is happening in Lent, my heart sings an alleluia, because of that explosive light that is within me as I interiorly walk once again those roads that Christ walked.

The main point here is an interiorization. It is so difficult for the Western world to interiorize. In the West we always want to see and touch and weigh and measure. But with these things of the spirit, each one of us must undertake that long journey inward in which he or she will meet the Triune God who dwells within us.

It takes kenosis, a stripping of oneself, a totality of surrender. It takes a total interiorization, in which we recollect all our fantastically scattered thoughts. Because symbolically speaking, we must be naked and follow a naked Christ. We can’t take anything with us except faith, hope, and love.

This means giving up our manipulating of other people. It means giving up thinking that one’s ideas are the center of the universe. It means having a simplicity, a childlikeness, like that which Christ said we have to have to enter heaven.

“Lord, give me the heart of a child and the awesome courage to live it out as an adult.” These are the dispositions with which to enter the bright sadness of Lent.

In the Eastern Church, the alleluias are continued throughout Lent. Though there is a somberness, there is always a feeling that here, right at the edge, always growing, is the light of the resurrection. All throughout Lent I’m recollecting myself and preparing to enter into this light.

The “negative” aspects of Lent are important, but not as important as what my soul feels, which at this moment is the bright sadness, because Lent is shot through with the tremendous joy of Easter.

Easter is the apex of the liturgical year. Christmas, we of the East say, is for children. But Easter is the feast of feasts, and so our whole being moves toward Easter breathlessly like a lover toward his beloved. That is the Lenten atmosphere.

From Season of Mercy, pp. 25, 26, available from MH Publications.

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