Archive for March, 2013

 

Your problem is really not your problem, it is your attitude that’s your problem.

Find out why in this Video.

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The Vatican is not normally the subject of breaking news, but when a Pope decides to step down, that’s big news; the last time it happened was around the time when Johannes Guttenberg invented the printing press in the 15th century, 300 years before the United States was born.

The news has put the spotlight on the Vatican, but interestingly, many North Americans know very little about it as a sovereign city-state. The Vatican is located within the city of Rome; it is 110 acres large and has a population of 800. This makes it the world’s smallest country.

SEE: A Guide To Faith-Based Investing

Holy See Revenue and Investments
In order to gain an understanding of the complex economy of the Vatican, it is important to establish the differences between Vatican City and the Holy See. The Holy See is the governing body of the nation. If you entered into a contract with the territory, you would do it with the Holy See, in most cases. Vatican City is the physical area where the Holy See resides.

The Holy See generates revenue from Peter’s Pence, an 8th Century term for donations that are received from Catholics all over the world. From individuals to dioceses, the Holy See collects the donations through a special department. The Holy See also gains revenue from interest and investments of its reserves.

Historically, the Holy See invested mainly in Italian industries, spreading its portfolio between stocks and bonds, and limiting its stake in companies to less than 6%. It has invested conservatively, choosing to buy and hold proven companies in strong industries; because of this, investments in the developing world are limited.

More recent investments have been more international, however, particularly in western European currencies and bonds, with some activity in the New York Stock Exchange. The Holy See also has investments in real estate around the world, particularly in land and churches.
There are some investments that the Holy See won’t make however; no investments are made in companies that go against church values, such as pharmaceutical companies that manufacture birth control.

Currently, the Holy See is running a deficit. The Los Angeles Times Reports that the Holy See had a shortfall of $18.4 million in 2012. Officials blamed the soft European economy and the cost of paying its 2,832 employees, as well as spreading the Catholic faith through its various media outlets.

Although Pope Benedict XVI, had made efforts to make the country more transparent, its finances are still a bit of mystery, and some believe that the numbers are more general in nature than accurate and audited. MORE HERE 

 

 

Why are you downcast, O my soul? (Psalm 43:5)

Is there ever any reason to be downcast? Actually, there are two reasons, but only two. If we were still unbelievers, we would give a reason to be downcast; or if we have been converted but continue to live in sin, we are downcast as a consequence.

Expect for those two conditions, there is never a reason to be downcast, for everything else may be brought to God “by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving” (Phil.4:6). And through all our times of need, difficulty, and trials, we may exercise faith in the power and love of God.

“Put your hope in God” (Ps.43:5). Please remember there is never a time when we cannot hope in God, whatever our need of however great our difficulty may be. Even when our situation appears to be impossible, our work is to “hope on God”. Our hope will not be vain, and in the Lord’s own timing help will come.

Oh, the hundreds, even the thousands, of times I have found this to be true in the past twenty-six years and seven months of my life! When it seems impossible for help to come, IT DID COME, for GOD has His own unlimited resources. In ten thousands different ways, and at ten thousands different time, God’s help may come to us.

Our work is to lay our petitions before the Lord and in childlike simplicity to pour out our hearts before Him, saying,

“I do not deserve that you should hear me and answer my request, but for the sake of my precious Lord Jesus; for His sake, answer my prayer. And give me grace to wait patiently for you to grant my petition. For I believe you will do it in your own time and way.”

“For I will yet praise him!” (Ps.43:5). More prayer, more exercising of the faith, and more patient waiting leads to blessings- abundant blessings, I have found it to be true many hundreds of times, and therefore I continually say to myself, “Put your hope on God.”

 

 

 

Alcohol, alcohol. Never again.

Arrghh! I can feel the pain in my head as I stretched my arms above me. I don’t know how long I had my arms stretched that way. The pain is simple and crisp. After getting my eyes used to the light in that room, it began to dawn upon me that this is not the last place I remembered I was at.

My mind was suddenly flooded with gushing questions. It is about to burst due to overload when I heard someone knocking at the door of that unfamiliar room. After ten seconds of battling questions in my mind I have not yet figured out where I am at.

I remembered I was just home celebrating the college graduation of my sister. We have a lot of visitors since lunch and the flow of people is not yet waning even as late afternoon. I’ve seen different faces. And some of them I have just seen that day. My sister would be the last on my 2 siblings to finish college. I know it was a relief to my parents to have us all graduate in college therefore; my father blew a lavish party. More than what I had as his only son.

After entertaining a few strangers outside our house, I walked towards our dining area and there saw glistening bottles of familiar substance. It was waving towards me like a kid inviting for an ice cream delight. I refuse to look further as I do not want to get drunk early that day. It was easy to refuse this time. It’s been quite years since the last time I befriended this intoxicating aroma. I almost forget how it smells.

Yes! I used to be friend with “Mr Brandy”. I was so young then when I experienced certain confusions within myself. I had no one to confide with. And even if I had, I would choose not to say anything for I fear that I might be misunderstood. Nobody wants to be taken differently for sure. So much so, that we find comfort with alcohols hoping that the short span of intoxication will actually bring us into a trance of forgetfulness leaving behind bothersome thoughts and feelings. Actually, my beautiful body could not tolerate any alcohols other than beer. But beer causes your abdominal muscles to expand (hence, your beer belly) so I tend to avoid it as much as I can.

Still in the room figuring out where I am, I told myself that I am doing it again. But last night was a blast. I remembered it was so much fun. And I had fun people around me. Now my brain starts to feed me with photographic events.

It was dusk and there were still many people around. My dad invited me in the nearby gazebo and some of his friends were there drinking as well. I think they already finished a bottle of “emperador light” (a famous brandy brand in the Philippines). I intend not to join them but he was so incessant so I finally give in. I thought all the while that he is drinking with people of his age but I was wrong. There was one person who caught my attention as he was smiling at me the whole time. I am sure this is the first time I saw this guy. I learned that he is the son of my dad’s friend. He introduced himself and I extended my right hand to shake his. He is Hope. What a name, right? There was nothing unusual except that uncomfortable sharp look I got from him. I feel like I am being stripped. I knew it. My radar is telling that he is bisexual.

After finishing another bottle, my dad decided to retire for the night. And some of his contemporaries already asked permission to leave. I was left with Hope and his younger cousin. Did I feel safe? No worries. I am a taekwondo athlete. I can summersault anyone disturbing my peace. I sheepishly smiled at the thought of it. But not to worry cause I can feel that he is harmless.

Another bottle was done and now I am feeling tipsy. I could barely stand on my feet. Everytime I go to the comfort room, I needed someone to accompany me at least. Hope was so kind to assist me. I honestly do not know if he has any ulterior motives but my senses are telling me that I am still aware of everything going on around. Hope suggested we go to a comedy bar to lighten up. It’s been a while since I went to such gay places. It’s one of the happiest places on earth for me. You’ll see almost anyone chuckling and giggling in the corner every time comedic punch lines were vibrantly thrown in the air by gay performers.

Not for long, I found myself climbing the scooter, sitting behind him. No Helmet. Much to my hilarity, we bolted down the road like Batman’s motor ride down the smooth highway, free from Saturday night traffic. I feel our speed snowballing as Hope stepped-in the accelerator. I knew that he is intentionally doing that so I could squeeze more myself into his. I shrug at the thought and we arrived at the bar in less than a few minutes.

The entire bar was filled with trifling number of guest but that is not enough to limit the laughers emanating the entire space. We sat at the table near the stage and ordered another bucket of beer. After a few minutes of laughing and sipping that bitter-tasting beverage, I can almost feel that I am going to lose consciousness any moment. Every chuckle I hear in that room echoes in the background. But I could no longer recognize the decent music versus the noise that has engulfed inside.

I noticed a ticklish breath blowing my ears down to my nape. It was electrifying. Unexplainable. Hope was leaning beside me and whispering what I could only hear as, “Let’s go”. I nodded in agreement. I could hear my heart pounding. I’m guessing that my heart rate is below normal. I am not sure if I am scared of my expectation or if I am just expecting something to happen wrongfully. At the back of my head I am asking myself, where the hell this guy’s taking all the strength to contain all the intoxication we’ve been having all this time. Maybe he’s just used to having a good time.

Before I ramp on his bullet ride again, I made a huge mistake. I took my phone from my pocket and drool over my twitter DMs and send a message to someone I hold dearly in my heart. Honestly, I thought that I have gone over with the feelings I have for this person. The spirits in my room can witness that I’ve tried my best to move on. I really expected everything else had fallen into their proper places enough that I can readily face this person without guilt. I’ve been preparing for this before I relocate myself in Manila. But I was wrong. At the time when my logical defenses were down due to alcohol, I only became more honest with myself. And admitted to that person how I still have not gone over him.

The alcohol betrayed me. Nonetheless, I was happy inside for I have finally freed myself from the lies I unwittingly locked inside.

I almost forgot Hope. And when I raised my head to look at his direction, he silently grabbed my left hand, wrapped his left arms behind me and guided my tired head to lean unto his left shoulder. I noticed that I am nearly teary-eyed. He told me that He understood what I am going though. I have no clue what he was talking about but when I saw him looking at my phone, I just told myself he must have read what I just sent.

He made me feel so safe and comforted. I needed it that very instant.

Everything happened so fast. The next thing I knew is that I am in this foreign room. It’s morning. I intend to wake up but the hangover just keeps breaking my head in two. I noticed I got no shirt on. Whoever must have undressed me, I have no single inkling.

Then the door opened and I saw Hope holding a cup of coffee. “Good Morning Fren, how’s sleep?” his greeting. “Hangover for sure, here’s coffee this should help…tell me if you’re okay so I could send you home.” He continued. I have not even said a single word. So I just took the coffee from his hand and threw him a smile. That should be enough to say, “Thank you.” Now it finally made sense. I slept inside Hope’s room.

After getting back my strength, I told him to not bother send me home anymore. I hailed a cab and headed home. My head is just begging for more sleep. I still have several questions in my mind about last night and about that mistake I did. I decided to just leave it that way. I think that’s a better idea. To forget it and let it be.

Alcohol, alcohol. Never again.