Thoughts To Live By…

Archive for February 2009

Mk 1:12-15 – The Temptation of Jesus
Sunday Gospel Reflection

The longing and  desire for heaven  or the single indestructible longing for God, for an eternity spent in intimate, blessed communion with him is the deepest desire of human heart. Heaven is “the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness” (CCC 1024). This is always what we pray for, what we strive for, what we hope for. But there were and will always be temptations, trials and tests on the way that will prevent us, hinder us and steal away from us the heaven that we long for.

The Gospel for today tells of Jesus’ retreat and temptation in the desert and the beginning of his preaching of God’s good news. Today’s Gospel simply tells of Satan tempting Jesus. But Jesus passed the test and overcame the test and temptation.

What is temptation? A temptation is anything than inclines a person to commit sin. It is enticement to evil, seduction to sin and death. Though it is not a sin it is more than trial or test because it lead us to sin. Once we enter into, give in to and submit to, temptation we are already committing sin which will bring us alienation, corruption, death and ultimately hell where Satan reigns and where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth because of it unquenchable fire.

What distinguishes temptation from trial? Trials or tests are necessary for growth while temptations incline us to sin. “No one who is tempted is free to say, “I am being tempted by God.” Surely God, who is beyond the grasp of evil, tempts no one” (Jas 1:13). God tests the heart puts his own in trial (1Th 2, 4) while only Satan tempts them (Lk 22,37; Ap 2, 10; 12,9). Trial is indispensable condition for growth (cf. Lk 8, 13ff), for sturdiness (1 P 1, 6f), for the manifestation of the truth (1 Co 11, 9: the reason for Christian divisions) and humility (1 Co 10, 12). When we overcome trials, temptations we are proven to be steady and strong (subok na matatag at subok na matibay. Thus freed, tried and tested Christian knows how to discern, verify and “try” everything (R 12, 2; E 5, 10). Trial is therefore the condition of the Church which is still to be tested, although she is already pure; stll to be reformed, although she is already glorious.

St. Paul assures us that “God will not let you be tested beyond your strength. Along with the test he will give you a way out of it so that you may be able to endure it” ( 1 Cor 10:13; cf. CCC 2848). In fact St. Paul wrote that we should even boast of our tests/afflictions, knowing that afflictions produce endurance, and endurance, proven virtue (cf. Rom 5:3-5; CCC 2897).

Sources of temptations:

  • Some temptations arise from within ourselves. “The tug and lure of his own passion has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin reaches maturity it begets death” (cf. Jas 1:14).
    • Our passions and emotions incline us to long for attractive gratifications even through doing acts we know are evil.
    • Pride incline us to sin.
    • Imperfection of our very nature are sources of sin more particularly concupiscence and bad habits or vices.
  • We also experience temptations from the world. Persons, places and things can be occasion of sins to us. Even things good in themselves can be incitements in us to seek the attractive goods in unreasonable ways.
  • Faith also recognizes Satan, once an angel, but now hostile to God and to us, as one source of temptation. In his hatred for God, he seeks to drive us toward sinful and self-destructive choices (CCC 394-395).

Consequence of being tempted: slavery to sin, alienation and separation, death and ultimately hell where Satan dwells and where Satan reigns and where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth because of it unquenchable fire.

How do we handle with temptations?

  • Avoid temptations and keep yourself busy. Idleness is the workshop of the devil.
  • Resistance, faith and vigilance. Stay sober and alert because your enemy the Devil is like a prowling lion, waiting for someone to devour. Resist him and solid in your faith.
  • Prayer. In communion with their master, the disciples’ prayer is a battle; “only by keeping watch in prayer can one avoid falling into temptation” ( cf. Lk 22:40, 46). “Pray that he will not let you be tested beyond your strength” (cf. 1 Cor 10:13). Pray that the Father “lead us not into temptations and allow us to be overcome by it (cf. CCC 2846). Nothing is equal to prayer; for what is impossible it makes possible, what is difficult, easy…Those who pray are certainly saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned.
  • Repentance and conversion. Always return to the Lord with fasting, weeping and mourning. For he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, rich in kindness and relenting in punishment.
  • Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Always seek in everything the will of God. Nothing more, nothing less and nothing else.

Temptations are not themselves sins and no one entirely escape temptation. Hence, be vigilant and pray that God our Father may “lead us not into temptation” or allow us to be overcome by it and “seek it with all our hearts His sufficient grace to overcome temptation and to remain faithful to God (cf. CCC 2848).

Picture: http://www.padrebergamaschi.com/Pets/images/Temptation.jpg

turmeric.jpgTurmeric is one of nature’s most powerful healers. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Tumeric has been used for over 2500 years in India, where it was most likely first used as a dye.

The medicinal properties of this spice have been slowly revealing themselves over the centuries. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that turmeric is a natural wonder, proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.

Here are 20 reasons to add turmeric to your diet:

1. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.

2. When combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.

3. Prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.

4. May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.

5. Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.

6. Is a natural liver detoxifier.

7. May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.

8. May prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.

9. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.

10. Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.

11. Is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.

12. May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.

13. Has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.

14. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

15. Boosts the effects of chemo drug paclitaxel and reduces its side effects.

16. Promising studies are underway on the effects of turmeric on pancreatic cancer.

17. Studies are ongoing in the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma.

18. Has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.

19. Speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.

20. May help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.

Turmeric can be taken in powder or pill form. It is available in pill form in most health food stores, usually in 250-500mg capsules.

Once you start using turmeric on a regular basis, it’s fun to find new ways to use it in recipes. My favorite way to use it is to add a pinch of it to egg salad. It adds a nice flavor and gives the egg salad a rich yellow hue.

Contraindications: Turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction. Though turmeric is often used by pregnant women, it is important to consult with a doctor before doing so as turmeric can be a uterine stimulant.

Eat This!
http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/20-health-benefits-of-turmeric.html

Kissing secrets revealed (Getty images)

Kissing is probably one of the best things you can do with your lips. It’s not just the most passionate way of getting close to your partner, it’s also something that enlightens your mood and adds zing to your love life.

So, what comes to your mind when you first think of kissing? A peck on the cheek or a passionate French kiss? Well, if you want to explore what turns on your mate or simply add creativity to your kissing techniques, here are some lip smacking ideas …

Reverse lip kiss – Remember the sensuous kiss exchanged between Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst in Spiderman ? You can re-create the sizzling kiss with your partner. Of course you can’t hang upside down like the famed super hero, so kiss your partner when he/she is lying down or seated. Come from behind and have them tilt their head backwards. Lower down your head and gently kiss their lower lip and feel your partner breathe on your neck. Abhishek, who works with a software company in Mumbai says, “My girlfriend really took me by surprise when I was working on my laptop. She came from behind, tilted my head backwards and gave me a kiss upside-down while I could feel her hair tickle my neck. I must confess I was quite impressed with her initiative and it really turned me on.”

Underwater kiss – Dive to the bottom of the swimming pool, embrace your lover under water and suck in as if you were sucking air from their mouth. Leave them gasping for breath just for a few seconds. By the time you run out of air, reach the top, breathe and get set for the act again. If you are a guy, just pull your babe up above the water, while remaining in the pool and gently caress her thighs while rolling your tongue around her navel to provide the ultimate erotic sensation. Ashish Singh (name changed on request) says, “I would love to lock lips with my girlfriend under water. I love water sports and I think it would just add to the sizzling underwater action. What can be more sensuous?”

Ring kiss – When you and your partner are sitting together on a couch or lazing in bed, gently hold his hand and start kissing. Then smoothly, suck a ring out of his finger with the help of your teeth. Roll your tongue and slide the ring slightly to hold it around your tongue. Then share a passionate kiss by rolling the tip of your tongue to trace his lips. Let him suck the ring from your tongue and you can try stealing it again, it will heat up the scene.

Foot kiss – This one’s not just amorous, but also an erotic gesture. Gently move your fingers on his/her bare foot. It may tickle your partner initially, but relax and enjoy the sensations! Then, gently kiss her foot and suck her toes. You can make the act even more intense by rolling an ice cube on her foot as you gradually move the cube up her legs and then to her inner thighs. “My partner turns me on by massaging my foot. He rubs his thumbs in circular motions from the heel to the toe and then sucks my toes one by one. Some people think it’s kinky, but you have to try it to believe it. It works for me and it’s even more fun if you do it in the 69 position and face each other’s feet,” says newly married Meenakshi (name changed on request) .

Nip kiss – When you kiss your partner next time, gently nibble on his/her lips. Be careful not to bite too hard and hurt them though. While smooching on one’s lips is enjoyable, use your imagination and try exploring other body parts as well. Nibbling on the neck, for instance, is a great turn on. If you do it well, this kiss ignites flames of passion that will arouse you to explore your beau’s body further. Arvind (name changed on request) , who got married a year ago, says, “If I really want to drive my wife wild, nibbling is the best way to do so. It makes her squirm with desire. It is the best foreplay act and gets you in the mood for more action. Biting her gently at the right time and the right place just makes her scream for more.”

Earlobe kiss – As the name suggests, gently sip and suck your partner’s earlobe. Cuddle close to your sweetheart, bite gently to make him/her moan and whisper something naughty. Let him hear you breathe and feel your wet lips. This will surely make him want you more than ever. However, take extra care to avoid loud, sucking noises.

“My hubby simply loves it when I bite him on his earlobe. And if I say something wild or naughty during the act, it sets his mood right. Just telling him what exactly I want him to do to me…the dirtiest of things makes him long for more,” says Suchita Mishra (name changed on request) from Pune.

24 Feb 2009, 0000 hrs IST, RAKSHITA PANDEY
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/3531113.cms

Why men like wet kisses? (Getty images)

When you share a kiss with your man, you reveal a lot more than just passion.

US scientists have found that modern man uses smooch to pick up traces of estrogen in a woman’s saliva and thus gauge her fertility.

Anthropologist Helen Fisher of Rutgers University says that such behaviour may explain why men like wet kisses with more ‘tongue action’. While at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago, Fisher said that wet kisses could also be an unconscious attempt to transfer testosterone to the woman, which would stimulate her sexual interest.

“Men see kissing early in a relationship directly as a step to copulation,” she said. According to Wendy Hill, a neuroscientist at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, kissing may also serve as a way to assess the quality of a mate.

Helen said that research has shown that the majority of men and women rate their first kiss as either “the kiss of death” or the blossoming of a new relationship. The expert recently developed a personality test that measures four universal temperaments by using statistics from 40,000 people on the Internet dating site Chemistry.com.

Each temperament type was linked to activity levels of the brain chemicals dopamine/norepinephrine, serotonin, testosterone and estrogen/oxytocin.

Helen found that a person’s temperament guides which type of mate they select—boosting her belief that love involves some very powerful brain chemistry.

“People sing for love; they dance for love; they write about love; live for, kill, and die for love,” Helen told National Geographic News. “It’s a wonderful addiction when (a relationship is) working well—but perfectly horrible when it’s working poorly,” she added.

27 Feb 2009, 0800 hrs IST, ANI
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4149083.cms



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