Meeting an Assyrian Girl

Savina-Dawood.jpg

[This photo I took from the internet is of Savina Dawood, an Assyrian.  Her face  looked similar to the one I met  in Baghdad]

In 1988 I was in Iraq when my father died!

One afternoon of July that year , after my siesta I saw a brown butterfly inside my room in Nassiriya Saipem Base. I wondered why!

Later I  would receive the news that my father had passed away.

The main Office of Saipem in Baghdad asked me to come and I immediately did.

There, I was told that the Philippine Embassy has conveyed the message of my father’s death.( My brother-in-law , the late Romy Millan has sought the help of the Consulate  because at that time communication was not that easy. Cellphones did not yet exist!)

I wanted to get home but thinking that no one at that time would cover my duties I decided to stay.

Meanwhile, I passed by the lobby of a hotel coffee shop to buy me some sandwich.

A strange thing happened that I would never forget!

A young beautiful girl in the queue talked to me. She asked if I were a Philippine. I said yes  and responded with a question.

” How did you  know ?

You look like one, she said.

But what about you?, I returned.

I am an Assyrian!

After that very short conversation I left but could hardly forget her pretty face.

 

For a few days she had occupied my mind. I had forgotten my father had just passed away.

 

Years later I would realize that Assyrians are natives of an old known civilization in the northern part of Iraq. To note, even our father Abraham was an Assyrian too! Interestingly they speak Aramaic, the same language our Lord Jesus used.

 

So was that girl I saw in that July of 1988 in Baghdad, Iraq an ordinary person or was she an Angel?

 

Whoever she was or whatever it was, what I could be happy about was that I felt so blessed to have seen Iraq and witnessed an ancient culture having met in real life an Assyrian!

We Crossed The Atlantic Ocean and God Was With Us

DSC00275

 

Castoro 10, an Oil Pipelaying Vessel was towed from Curacao to Congo on the 6th of August 2014. It was a month-long journey cruising the Atlantic Ocean and a great experience crossing the  Equator too. I was on board together with sixty-eight others.

There were mixed feelings , perhaps, when the trip started. We were travelling on a vast space of nothingness but still I have seen the beauty of life! A pair of doves was with us!

One morning before sunrise, the brown bird joined me in the helideck where I have started the day praying the rosary! Amidst the blue skies, floating white clouds, and the bright orange sunrise on the horizon of the dark blue ocean I realized it was a perfect day acknowledging the Author of the beauty of Creation.

It was so refreshing to feel the seabreeze and the splashing of the waves on the side of the ship made me felt really close to heaven. I could only thank God for the new day, another experience of His great love. He is indeed real and for the moment I knew with faith that I was sitting on His great Hands. I had so much joy!DSC00548

Tithe, Trouble, Triumph

Tithing photoMy wife and I decided to pay our tithes (to donate 10% of earnings to support the Church)not just because we thought the Lord wanted us to do so but also to thank Him, the Source of all good, for the blessings we had been receiving . It may have looked strange but the Company I had worked with ( Saipem) had recalled my services after 3 years of being out of work.

As a blessing in disguise, just a few moments after we decided to offer our tithes an unfortunate thing happened in 1997 in the  office on board “Israfil Guseinov” , a Pipelaying Vessel in Azerbaijan. I had an argument with one of the Inspectors regarding his complaint about his lost luggage at the airlines when he arrived on site. I would confess that I did raise my voice during the exchange in opinions  and that made the other person lost his temper and  patience and hit me straight to my face. I was surprised!

At that time, I was on a very high morale, perhaps due to the fact that we had finally committed ourselves, my wife and I, to the Lord by way of tithes. And so the punch was not able to jar the spirit! I did not fight back. Revenge did not play a part. I prayed silently inside of me. I started to talk to God. How could this happen after one has finally returned to accept Him? And before I could even hear an answer the second punch hit my face again and finally a third strike. So much of a test of faith! At that instant the Purser next to me , a colleague of mine, stopped the man for further proceeding  with his brutal act. Some blood gushed out of my bleeding nose. Dr Milorad Prso attended to me in the medical clinic.

An hour later when things pacified the man approached me to ask for forgiveness. He explained that he had just received some  bad news that  his wife abandoned  his family and so he lost control of himself. He was so sorry. He wrote his apology in a piece of paper and at the end of the line he promised on his own accord to pay me $3000 for the mistake that he had done. The trial was over! I passed the test! Forgiveness triumphed and I knew God smiled. I thought I heard Him said, “ Well done my faithful servant!”  Humanity has inched forward a bit.

It was not until another 3 years later when I discovered that giving tithes is the most rewarding thing one could ever do in this life. John Huntsman of America was interviewed in the CNN while I was in Nigeria and I could remember him saying that in the Bible, in Malachi Chapter 3,  we are obliged to give part of our income in order for the Church to be able to perform its responsibilities.

But why 10%, one may ask. For me it is comparable to someone purchasing a piece of property. Isn’t it that a down payment is necessary to show the commitment? Well, likewise with tithing, setting apart the 10% of our income proves our real trust in the Lord. It’s the best litmus paper  test  to see what is inside  the heart and soul. Moreover, doing it consistently shapes one’s  character making him detached in material concerns keeping the closest relationship with the Almighty.

I believe this is the key to human happiness! We need to connect to Him! We need to commit! We need to show our trust! We need to live with Him. Feel Him as He touches your heart while reading this story. Hold on to Him. This is true. The experience is being shared for you! He has been waiting…..

Since then, my family and I have been seeing the mighty works of God, Opus Dei. Life has become more beautiful and so meaningful! Eureka!

Malachi 3:10

“10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

Oldest Known Prayer to the Blessed Mother

Source: θεοβλογούμενα (theoblogoumena)  Monday, August 06, 2007

John Rylands Papyrus 470

Reproduced by courtesy of the University Librarian and Director, The John Rylands University Library, The University of Manchester

You can also go to Rylands Papyri and use the insight browser viewer to search by Reference number for Greek Papyrus 470 and view it in zoomable high resolution.

This papyrus fragment is a prayer to the Theotokos written about 250 A.D., per papyrologists who have examined the handwriting style. (Theotokos means “God-bearer,” a term for Mary that was formally affirmed at the Third Ecumenical Council held at Ephesus in 431.) Some initially placed the papyrus in the fourth or fifth century (the John Rylands Library description below lists it as 3rd – 4th century), perhaps because they didn’t think that Christians would have been praying to the Theotokos that early. If the early dating is correct, this prayer must have already been part of the Church’s services or prayers, showing that petitions and prayers to the Theotokos and the Saints go back to the early days of the Church, perhaps to the second century.

Reference number: Greek Papyrus 470
Side: recto
Image Number: JRL021620tr
Image Title: Christian Prayer
Alternative Image Title: Prayer to the Virgin Mary
Subject: Christianity
Subject: Religion
Description: This fragment was probably a private copy of a prayer addressed to the Virgin Mary. It is written in brown ink. The verso is blank. Lines 4-9: “Mother of God (hear) my supplications: suffer us not (to be) in adversity, but deliver us from danger. Thou alone….”. Aquired in 1917.
Date created: 3rd – 4th century
Time period covered: 1 BCE – 500 CE
Place covered: Egypt
Language: grc
Item height: 180 mm
Item width: 94 mm
Technique used: Scripts (writing)
Medium: Ink
Support material: Papyrus
Discovery site: Egypt
Bibliography: Catalogue of the Greek & Latin Papyri in The John Rylands Library at Manchester
Current repository: John Rylands University Library, The University of Manchester, U.K.
Type: Text
Category: Archives & Manuscripts
Sub-category: Fragments
Image rights: JRUL
Work rights: JRUL
Image sequence number: grc0470r
Image technique: Scanned from colour transparency by Gten, August 2003
Metadata language: eng-GB

Image ID: 100285
Resolution Size: 6
Format: JP2
Media Type: Image
File Name: jrl021620tr.jp2
Width: 3683
Height: 4743

– – –

The present form of the prayer in the Greek services and prayer books is:

Υπο την σην ευσπλαγχνιαν
καταφευγομεν Θεοτοκε.
τας ημων ικεσιας μη παριδης εν περιστασει,
αλλ’ εκ κινδυνων λυτρωσαι ημας,
μονη αγνη, μονη ευλογημενη

This roughly translates as (adapted from the Wikipedia entry for “Sub tuum praesidium,” the Latin version):

Beneath your compassion
we take refuge, Theotokos.
Our petitions do not despise in time of trouble,
but from dangers ransom us,
Only Holy, Only Blessed

In uncial (capital) letters this would be:

ΥΠΟ ΤΗΝ ΣΗΝ ΕΥΣΠΛΑΓΧΝΙΑΝ
ΚΑΤΑΦΕΥΓΟΜΕΝ ΘΕΟΤΟΚΕ.
ΤΑΣ ΗΜΩΝ ΙΚΕΣΙΑΣ ΜΗ ΠΑΡΙΔΗΣ ΕΝ ΠΕΡΙΣΤΑΣΕΙ,
ΑΛΛ’ ΕΚ ΚΙΝΔΥΝΩΝ ΛΥΤΡΩΣΑΙ ΗΜΑΣ,
ΜΟΝΗ ΑΓΝΗ, ΜΟΝΗ ΕΥΛΟΓΗΜΕΝΗ.

The papyrus reads:

Note:

  • The writer uses a lunate Sigma (i.e., “C”) for Σ
  • Gray letters are those missing or partly missing from the papyrus; I wasn’t always consistent with whether to put a partial letter in gray or not
  • Some words are split at the end of a line and continue on the next line
  • The papyrus does not have spaces between words, but I used spaces in my transcription of the text

1 ΥΠΟ ΤΗΝ CΗΝ
2 ΕΥCΠΛΑΓΧΝΙΑΝ
3 ΚΑΤΑΦΕΥΓΟΜΕΝ
4 ΘΕΟΤΟΚΕ ΤΑC ΗΜΩΝ
5 ΙΚΕCΙΑC ΜΗ ΠΑ
6 ΡΙΔΗC ΕM ΠΕΡΙCΤΑCΕΙ
7 ΑΛΛ’ ΕΚ ΚΙΝΔΥΝΟΥ
8 ΡΥCΑΙ ΗΜΑC
9 ΜΟΝΗ ΑΓΝΗ, ΜΟΝ
10 Η ΕΥΛΟΓΗΜΕΝΗ

1 Beneath your
2 compassion
3 we take refuge
4 Theotokos Our
5 petitions do not de-
6 spise in time of trouble
7 but from danger
8 rescue us
9 Only Holy On-
10 ly Blessed

Note the following differences from the traditional reading:

6 “ΕΝ” is (mis)spelled as “ΕΜ,” probably because the “Ν” sound would have assimilated with the “Π” in the next word and been pronounced like “ΜΠ,” with the “Ν/Μ Π” perhaps even becoming a “mb” sound
7 ΚΙΝΔΥΝΟΥ (singular) is used instead of ΚΙΝΔΥΝΩΝ (plural)
8 ΡΥCΑΙ (ΡΥΣΑΙ) is used instead of ΛΥΤΡΩCΑΙ (ΛΥΤΡΩΣΑΙ)

 

Thanks go to Frederica Mathewes-Green for bringing this papyrus to my attention in her book THE LOST GOSPEL OF MARY: THE THEOTOKOS IN THREE ANCIENT TEXTS.

Posted by EricW at 7:50 AM

Labels: Christianity

 

Our Lady of Fatima on Fox News

The Miracle of the Sun in Fatima October 13, 1917

It is always good to see our Lady put in a positive light on public television.

Uploaded by kolbe1019 on Jan 24, 2009

God Heard the Father’s Prayer

By Jeba Angeles. Please watch an inspiring video on how God works to show His might and power.