THE SHROUD OF TURIN MAY BE AUTHENTIC

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“Maria Paola was a sincere Catholic with different ideas than Giuseppe’s. ‘I have been leading studies on the Shroud of Turin, and I have concluded that it is authentic. It is the shroud in which Jesus’s body was wrapped,’ said Maria Paola with her birdlike voice.
“Giuseppe was anticlerical. He was convinced that all relics were tricks to deceive people, so he interrupted Maria Paola. ‘Don’t be absurd! You must know that some samples of that fabric were cut out from the shroud and sent to three different laboratories in different countries. All three fixed the time when the fabric had been made. The result was that the shroud dated back to about the fourteenth century AD. It
means that the Shroud of Turin is a fake.’ ‘No, it is not a fake!’ replied Maria Paola. ‘Do you think the Carbon-fourteen test is unreliable?’
“Maria Paola looked upset but tried to control herself. And then, she expressed her opinion calmly. ‘I don’t want to say that the Carbon-fourteen test is unreliable, but energy can alter matter. At the moment of Jesus’s resurrection, the energy was so powerful that all physical laws were upset. Therefore, it is reasonable to infer that the fabric of the Shroud of Turin is beyond time. The Carbon-fourteen test can’t work with such an altered material.’

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words – second edition- by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

SIMILARITIES BETWEEN MITHRAISM AND CHRISTIANITY

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“His easy and fluent talk was like the rushing of a river. It seemed unstoppable. ‘Do you think the Christian religion is original? Not at all! Christianity borrowed its rites from the cult of the god Mithra, who was also born in a cave on December twenty-fifth.’
“I stared into his eyes, and then I raised my voice, ‘Tell me! Where did you find such information? Can you prove what you said?’ ‘Yes. I’ll give you written proof, but don’t ask me to prove anything else. Everything I say is true. I don’t invent anything,’ he said severely. Actually, a few days later, he showed me the encyclopedia through which he had learned about the god Mithra. While I was driving toward downtown Isola, he kept talking about religion. ‘The Roman Catholic Church built many cathedrals on god Mithra’s temples. Do you want me to give you evidence?’ ‘Yes, I do!’ I answered eagerly. ‘Hence, go to Rome and visit the Basilica of San Clemente. It’s near the Colosseum and easy to reach. This basilica has one ground floor and two basements. At the entrance, on the ground floor there is the newest church dating back to the twelfth century. If you go down to the first basement, you’ll find another church which goes back to the fourth century. On the second basement, you’ll find god Mithra’s temple. Some people perceive a peculiar energy in the lowest basement, especially when they stand near the water which flows down there. I don’t believe in extrasensory energies. I only believe in what I can touch, see, and hear. I am just reporting that somebody feels an arcane energy in the Mithraeum of San Clemente Basilica.’
“Giuseppe was still telling me the story of the god Mithra when we got to Umberto Sabatini’s house. Umberto’s build was different than Giuseppe’s. He was a tall redhead with a more refined way of dressing. Umberto had the air of a teacher, while Giuseppe looked like a blacksmith. Actually, he had been a teacher of Latin and ancient Greek, but he quit his job. Even though he had a degree in classic literature, he wanted to become a municipal policeman. Strangely, although Giuseppe and Umberto had master’s degrees, they didn’t want to have the job they had studied for. One wanted to be a writer instead of a physician, and the other a municipal policeman instead of a teacher. Two uncommon persons! Like them, maybe many of us would want to be uncommon, to lead a different life, change jobs, move away from our country, city, family, and so on. But we don’t do that because we tend to live according to the social patterns that have conditioned us since childhood. Umberto, at a brisk pace, got into my car and sat in the back seat. We introduced ourselves briefly and set off toward Capodarso, which is almost a half hour away from Isola.
“On the road Giuseppe resumed his tirade. ‘The Christians changed the figure of Jesus. The Greek word Christos, which means anointed, doesn’t apply to Jesus. The term was coined later by the early Greek-speaking Christians. Jesus was anticlerical, but the Christians turned him into a priest. Jesus didn’t hand over any rite, but the Christians borrowed their rituals from Mithraism, such as baptism, Holy Communion with bread and wine, and so on. The idea that Jesus was born from a virgin was also borrowed from Mithraism. In fact, Mithra was born from the virgin Anahita, who had been inseminated by the god Ariman through a miracle. Like Jesus, Mithra promised eternal life to his followers and was very popular among the Roman soldiers who could die in battle.’

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words – second edition- by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

KHNUM, THE GOD OF CREATION

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‘The stories told in the Bible are not original at all. Many religions tell the same stories as those written in the Bible. For instance, the myth of creation in Egyptian mythology is older than that in the Bible by at least fifteen hundred years. According to Jewish tradition, the first book of the Bible, Genesis, was written by Moses when he led his people through the desert. The Exodus from Egypt happened around fifteen hundred BC, while the Egyptian mythology ranges between five thousand BC and three thousand BC.’
“I listened to him silently, and for the first time I had doubts about the originality of the Bible. Even though I was and still I am Catholic, my desire to know the truth was much bigger than my blind faith in the Bible. He went on. ‘The myth of the creation of man from clay is in the Egyptian mythology as well. Khnum, the god of creation, was called the Potter God, because he gave life to living beings by shaping clay. The God of the Bible created Adam in the same way. Hence, the Bible is not original. It imitates other religions.’

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words – second edition- by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN THE RICH CANNOT ENTER PARADISE

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“Starting from nothing, I have become very rich. Hence, I have asked myself, ‘With all these riches, do I deserve the kingdom of heaven?’ In fact, in the Gospel it is written: It is
easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:24).
What does this passage mean to you? Do you think I have sinned by accumulating wealth on behalf of our families?”
“In my opinion, in that passage, Jesus wanted to say that you must create riches on behalf of others, not only for yourself. You have built the fortune of our families. This was a good action, because now we are rich, thanks to you.”
“My interpretation is different. With money we can buy external things, not the inner world, and the kingdom of heaven is linked with the innermost heart. To be close to God, the heart should not be spoiled by the lust for wealth. At the beginning of my life as a rich man, I was sure that I could purchase everything with money. But over the years, I came to realize that I couldn’t buy love, friendship, or the esteem of others. In other words, I couldn’t buy feelings. I couldn’t buy invisible valuable things for my soul.”

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words – second edition- by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE

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It was early in the morning, but the street already swarmed with people and food vendors. After ten minutes of walking, I arrived at the side entrance of the basilica. There was a large square before the main church. Actually, there were a few churches in the area besides the basilica that houses the original cloak on which the image of Our Lady is imprinted.
The place where the basilica now stands was a holy place long before the Spanish conquered Mexico. It is called the Hill of Tepeyac. At the site there was a temple devoted to the mother goddess called Tonantzin. Later, the Spanish destroyed the temple and built a nearby chapel. But the destruction of the temple couldn’t prevent the natives from pouring into the site.
Ten years after the Spanish conquered Mexico, a local peasant named Juan Diego, who had recently converted to Christianity, had a vision said to be Our Lady in the same area, who asked for a chapel to be built in the place. Diego reported what Our Lady had requested to the Franciscan bishop, but his account left the bishop doubtful. In fact, he required proof to corroborate what the native had reported.

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Juan Diego went back to the hill where the vision had happened, and asked Our Lady to give him proof that she was really the Virgin Mary. This time, Our Lady asked Juan Diego to pluck some flowers and take them to the bishop. This would prove the truthfulness of the vision.
He did as Our Lady required; he picked some roses and wrapped them with his cloak. Then he hastened away to the bishop. When he was in the presence of the bishop, he unfolded his cloak. The roses fell onto the floor, and the image of the Virgin Mary was shining on the cloak. From then on, Juan Diego’s cloak was guarded with care by the Franciscan friars, and a chapel was built in the place of the apparition.

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People from all over Mexico rallied to the chapel to worship the shrine, and it is reported that many miracles occurred. Nevertheless, the natives kept calling Our Lady by the name of Tonantzin, the ancient mother goddess revered by the native population. This gave rise to the doubts of the Franciscan friars, who were convinced that the veneration of the holy image was a pagan cult.
Something similar also happened in Enna. In fact, Our Lady, who is the patron saint of Enna, replaced the ancient cult of Demeter, who was the town’s mother goddess. The celebration in honor of Our Lady happens on July second every year, the same time when the old pagan cult of Demeter was celebrated. People of Enna today still invoke the name Kore, who was Demeter’s daughter.
In my opinion, it doesn’t matter the name you give to God; what matters is the spiritual feeling that radiates from the worshipper. So you can call God Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, or Shiva without losing the purity of your heart. Jesus and the Virgin Mary are beyond time, as they existed before time, long before coming into human history. They also existed in the pagan era and were worshipped differently.
The Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego in the form of a crossbreed maiden, and in the same place where the Spanish had destroyed the temple dedicated to the goddess Tonantzin. That means that nobody is allowed to destroy others’ temples, even if they are considered pagan. In fact, religion and spirituality are not related to a particular cult. Over the years people have given various names to God and worshiped Him in different ways, but it doesn’t entitle anybody to resort to violence to make one religion prevail over another.
As for the holy image imprinted on Juan Diego’s cloak, it was kept for some time by the Franciscan friars until it passed under the custody of the diocesan priests. With the passing of time, possibly in good faith, the original image was retouched in some spots. For instance, the crescent on which the Virgin Mary stands was painted with silver. Apparently, nowadays the retouches have discolored naturally, while the original image is still unaltered.

Pilgrims and visitors flocked into the square in front of the new basilica. I saw people, who from their olive complexion seemed to be natives or crossbreeds, carrying litters full of flowers. Some of them laid the litters on the floor and staged devotional songs and dances. I have to say that few times in my life have I seen such beautiful scenery. After having danced and sung, the pilgrims went into the basilica with their litters covered with flowers. I followed them and entered the basilica from one of the gates. It was a round church with an altar opposite the many rows of pews, and the holy image of the Virgin Mary was over it.
I sat on one of the pews and watched the shrine from a distance. Meanwhile, other groups continued to arrive in the basilica and headed for the back of the altar. I followed them and arrived at a moving walkway below the shrine. I admired the holy image for a few seconds while the walkaway moved.
Then I went out of the new basilica. I spent all day at the Villa de Guadalupe and visited the churches and buildings scattered in the area.
The old basilica housed Juan Diego’s cloak until 1974. A museum stands not far from the small old chapel erected on the same spot where the apparition happened. There were many exhibits in the museum. I lingered in a room full of many paintings that portrayed the Virgin of Guadalupe. The painters had tried to make a copy of the original image, but none of them had been able to reproduce it perfectly. Then I stood in front of a photograph, which was an exact copy of the original and had been approved by the ecclesiastic organs. While I was admiring the copy, I heard a voice behind me.
“Who knows what the number eight symbolizes?” said a man who was leading a group and who had the air of being a professor.
Nobody in his group answered his question. “The number eight symbolizes the infinite,” I answered.
“Exactly!” said the professor. “Now look at Mary’s pink robe. There are eight four-leaf clovers on it.”
Yes, I thought, the Virgin Mary is infinite, beyond space and time. She always has been and always will be. That means that she was on the Hill of Tepeyac long before the Spanish came to Mexico, even though she was worshipped under a different name.
This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History)
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

 

THE TUNNEL TO THE STAIRS OF THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON

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“While waiting for the opening of the Garden Tomb, I strolled about the area. I crossed the street and bought a ticket to visit the archeological area. I entered there. A few ruins were scattered here and there. Then I arrived at the entrance to a cave. There was also a group of tourists guided by an English-speaking guide at the entrance. A lady from Australia came close to me and asked me to join the group. How strange! Whenever I was in need, someone appeared and helped me. I joined them and listened to the guide. ‘We’ll cover a distance along a narrow underground tunnel with shallow water, which can sometimes rise up to the height of your trouser pockets.’
“Actually, at the entrance the water was high up to the pelvis. Then, it shallowed. The tunnel was narrow and low. Sometimes we had to bend ourselves forward. If I had suffered from anxiety and claustrophobia as before, I couldn’t have walked through the tunnel. I was happy that I could walk underground without fear. The tunnel was long and seemed to be never ending. How many laborers left the marks of their pickaxes on this tunnel! Three thousand years ago they were alive and worked to dig the tunnel. But they disappeared like a dream. Did they vanish into thin air? Were they reborn? Did they go to heaven or to hell? Nobody knows, and maybe we will never have an answer to such questions. Only saints and enlightened ones can know the truth.
“Walking through the tunnel, I compared it to the tunnel of my life. I had spent my life without seeing the light of joy, like a fish swimming in the water of a dark cave. I didn’t know that the tunnel was connected to the stairs of the Temple of Solomon, a place where Jesus had been definitely, but, to my surprise, it led me there! How mysterious it was! After about ten minutes, the tunnel ended. We kept walking underground and gathered in a place with several stairs. I sat on one of those steps and listened to the guide. ‘According to more than one archeologist, these are the stairs of the Temple of Solomon. As you can see, the stairs are neither too distant from each other nor too close. So at that time, people could go up to the temple easily, and in the meantime, the sacrificial animals could walk up without difficulty.’
“Were these the real stairs of the Temple of Solomon on which Jesus had walked? I can say only one thing: I was attracted to these stairs by a mysterious energy. When I came to Israel, I didn’t know about this place, nor had I a map to locate this spot. I arrived there naturally. I think those were the real stairs of the Temple of Solomon.
“Beyond the stairs was an open space with a pool that could be the Pool of Siloam where Jesus performed the miracle of healing a blind man, according to John’s Gospel. At the Siloam Pool I left the group. It was almost three-thirty in the afternoon, and I had to hurry to get to Gordon’s Calvary in time…

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words: second edition

Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

PASSION SUNDAY IN ENNA

 

 

 

 

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In my hometown, the processions of Holy Week are ingrained in townspeople’s DNA.
On Palm Sunday the wooden statue of Jesus is carried on a litter in procession by the brethren who belong to the Confraternity of Passion, from the Church of San Leonardo to the cathedral.
The town band and the townspeople follow the statue. While I was in the procession I had a look at those around me. Some women who had been attractive one time, now had their faces seamed with wrinkles. An old friend of mine whom I had not seen for a long time came close to me and we walked together for a little while. He told me that he had undergone two difficult surgical operations, but now he was in a good condition. I also saw a woman who had a bad reputation. Although she was a doctor, she was considered by everybody a rude and malevolent woman. There were also young people with a jaunty air. Everybody followed the procession as if they were going with the current of a river. At the end we arrived at the cathedral. The procession was over and I returned home to write something about what I had seen.
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

SPRING-CLEANING IN MY HOMETOWN

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When Easter draws near, the housewives in my hometown clean their houses deeply. They move the furniture from one side to another and clean everywhere. Apparently, they follow an old Jewish tradition. In fact, during Passover, which symbolizes the liberation of the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt, the Jews clean deeply their houses to remove all traces of leavened products.
I, too, started cleaning my apartment, room by room. Doing that, I realized that cleaning the rooms was like cleaning my mind. Can you imagine a person with a clean mind that lives in a dirty house? Of course not. Actually, everything is connected: mind, body, soul, and environment.
Once, I knew a housewife that couldn’t find anything well in her house. She was very untidy and dirty. Do you think she could have a clean mind? Of course not. Her mind was as messy and dirty as her house.
From a Christian perspective, cleaning our house and mind may mean that we get ready to welcome Jesus who comes and visits us. Only with a clean mind we can elevate our spirit toward higher spheres.
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
-The Vibrations of Words
Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MY VISIT TO THE WAILING WALL

cut-out-wailing-wall-3318602[1]The Western Wall is what remains of the Temple of Solomon. The first temple was built by Solomon in the tenth century BC and was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC. Then, it was rebuilt upon the return of the Jews from Babylonian exile in the fifth century BC. This second temple was remodeled and enlarged by King Herod and finally destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.
In front of the Western Wall, there is a wide square. The combined wall and square were enchanting. The houses, which looked onto the square, didn’t spoil the environment. They fit in the urban context. Everything there was white from the Wall to the limestone of the houses. Entering the square, I noticed a fountain with many water taps. Plastic jars were tied to each faucet with strings. At first, I thought it was drinking water, but then I saw people washing their hands. In fact, they filled the jars and poured the water on their hands before and after they touched the Wailing Wall. I poured a jar of water on my hands too. I rubbed them and went to the wall.
On the external part of the wall there were some scattered bushes of wild herbs. They looked like capers. I saw only men praying in front of the wall. While they were praying, they shook their bodies back and forth, bending their heads. On the left side close to the wall, I noticed a wide table with many books on it. Upon reading the books, the Orthodox Jews besides shaking their bodies, uttered a kind of gibberish, but different from that I heard in India and in the Protestant Church. This gibberish was much shriller.
The square was divided into two by a barrier. I peeped through it and saw women praying in the other side of the wall. The part of the square reserved for them was smaller, so they crowded in front of the wall.
When I entered the square, there was a stand on my right. A man sitting behind the table gave me a white-colored kippah. He said to me, “Talk with God! You have nothing to do but talk with God. Confine yourself to talking with God!”
I wore the kippah and headed for the wall. I took a seat on one of the many white chairs in the square, raised my head and admired that majestic wall that seemed to touch the sky. In my mind I relived its history and pictured the Temple of Solomon. How gorgeous it was! It had been built to house the Ark of the Covenant.
People prayed with one arm against the wall and their head against their arm. They were talking with God. I stood up, put my arm against the wall as well, and set my head against my arm according to Jewish custom. I talked with God, saying everything I felt at that moment. I loved that kind of prayer. Talking with the divinity is deeper than reciting an absent-minded prayer.
On the right side of the Wailing Wall, there were indoor vaults. I entered the hall beneath the vaults. I saw the original foundations through a glass floor. There were many shelves with plenty of books on them.
I went out and headed for the man from whom I had borrowed the kippah. He wanted to give me a leather black strap with a small leather black box in the middle of it.
“What is this for?” I asked him.
“Oh, you are not Jewish. Move on!”
I washed my hands one more time at the fountain and left the square for Jaffa Gate.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MY VISIT TO A HINDU TEMPLE IN LONDON

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In the London suburb of Southall, religiosity seemed to pervade everything. The Hindu temple was small and housed on the ground floor of a four-storied building. At the entrance, I took off my shoes and put them in a shoe rack. I entered the prayer room and sat down on the floor. Here, women and men were not separated, so everybody could sit wherever they liked. The walls of the temple were covered with typical Indian paintings. There was a very beautiful one representing Krishna in the act of driving Arjuna’s chariot during the battle of Kurukshetra. Many statues and portraits of Hindu deities stood in a semicircle, one close to another. I soon recognized the statue of Ganesh, the Hindu god of good luck with the body of a human being and the head of an elephant. This god was familiar to me because the statue of Ganesh was always set for the ceremony when I worked at the Empire Hotel getting the rooms ready for the weddings between the Indians. Once, I asked one of the wedding guests to tell me something about Ganesh. He said that Ganesh is one of the most important gods in the Hindu pantheon. His name means ‘Lord of all beings.’ He is the firstborn child of Siva and Parvati. He is short, big bellied, and has four arms. The elephant head has only one tusk. Close to Ganesh there is a little mouse, which symbolizes moderation in eating. It means to leave a small amount of food for the mouse.
Ganesh is considered the god who removes hindrances and brings good luck. He is invoked at the beginning of every job, enterprise, marriage, travel, and so on.
In that temple, the ceremony was performed by chanting. Now and then, they chanted before one of the statues of the gods. A table with fruit and typical sweets was laid at the exit. Before going out, I asked the man behind the table whether there was a guru in that temple.
“What kind of guru?”
“A guru with exceptional powers like Sai Baba,” I answered.
“If you want to see Sai Baba, come here at nine o’clock in the evening next Wednesday.”
“Okay, I’ll come.”
I said goodbye to that man, with the intention of returning for the meeting with the guru.
A week later, I stepped aboard the usual number 105 bus and went to the Hindu temple for the appointment with Sai Baba.
In the middle of the room, a big portrait of Sai Baba stood, surrounded by a flower garland. The Hindus chanted in front of the portrait for a few hours. Was Sai Baba with us in the room? Was his spirit, besides his portrait, among us? Honestly, I don’t know. I can say that not only verbal communication exists, but also non-verbal communication exists, which doesn’t need a physical presence. A few people, with regard to the saints of Catholicism, affirmed that they saw the same figure, at the same moment, but in different places thousands of kilometers away.
When I went back to the Empire Hotel, I talked about this topic with Alexander, a friend of mine from Ukraine, who worked there as a kitchen porter. He was a dear friend, but unfortunately, I lost contact even with him. He was tall with cropped hair and always smiling. Often, I could see him reading a book or a magazine in the canteen. He was proud of having been a seaman in the Soviet Navy. We often talked about spiritual topics. He was well-educated and had read many books about hermits.
“Do you think,” he said, “that the hermits who withdraw from the mundane world to live in the high mountains are really alone?”
“I don’t know.”
“They are not alone indeed. They communicate with other hermits, even if they are a thousand miles away from each other.”
“Maybe the contact with another living being does not need the use of senses. It may happen through the soul, the spirit, the mind…”

This is an excerpt from Travels of the Mind
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo