MY REVIEW OF FACING YOUR GIANTS

LUCADO
Facing your Giants by Max Lucado has helped me overcome some of the challenges I have encountered in my life. While reading it, I have also looked inside myself to understand my real nature. I consider this book as powerful as psychoanalysis, maybe more.
A maxim in Max Lucado’s Facing your Giants impressed me a lot: “Focus on giants, you stumble. Focus on God, your giants tumble.” David could kill the giant, Goliath because he focused his attention on God, not on the giant who was facing him. Obviously, the giants are just metaphors that symbolize the difficult situations we encounter along our way.
I have applied this maxim to my ordinary life and I have to say that it has always helped me. Whenever I confronted a giant, that is a very difficult situation, I tried to overcome it not through my reasoning, but simply by trusting in God. Through God’s help, I have always succeeded, while through my reasoning, sometimes I lost.
I would recommend this book to whomever wants to proceed on their spiritual path toward the final destination, which is to be one with God.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind

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

TRAVELING FROM ENNA (SICILY) TO BANNEUX (BELGIUM)

 

our-lady-banneux-statue-source-inside-sanctuary-belgium-125672172[1]When we arrived in Banneux, the bus stopped next to a square. At the end of the square there was a street that led to the sanctuary. The atmosphere in Banneux was different from other Marian sanctuaries. It was much simpler and there weren’t many shops. We walked towards the chapel and found a water basin on the right, which was where little Mariette had dipped her hands. We too dipped our hands and drank some of the water.
After visiting the chapel, we walked through the woods that bound the water basin. While we were walking, I realized why Our Lady had called herself The Virgin of the Poor. We well-to-do people tend to underestimate the issue of poverty. It is one of the most serious social problems.

Here amid the woods of Banneux, in my mind I saw all the jobless, poor Sicilians that had migrated to Belgium to work in the coal mines after the end of the Second World War. Many of them died trapped underground, while those who survived contracted an illness called silicosis, which was a progressive disease caused by the inhalation of dust in mines. My mind went to the immigrants that try to reach the Sicilian coast packed in precarious boats, which sometimes wrecked, causing the deaths of hundreds of people, whose only fault is to be poor and searching for a better place to live.

I recalled a butcher in Enna who had a large family. My father used to go to his shop to buy lamb at Easter. Over time, many butcher shops sprang up in Enna, so that butcher couldn’t match the competition and became poor. He took on debts to feed his family, hoping he would be able to pay them, but things didn’t go well. He fell into despair and couldn’t find a way out. One night he left his home and told his wife that he had to cut a few lambs’ throats, but things went differently. He pulled down the shutters in his shop, and instead of cutting lambs’ throats, he cut his own. The following day his blood still leaked through the chink of the shutter, flowing into the street.
There are many tragedies caused by poverty that we don’t know about. Sometimes, even when we know about them we ignore them instead of doing something to try to overcome the scourge of poverty.
Here, where Our Lady of the Poor appeared, I saw in my mind’s eye how many conflicts were sparked off by poverty. Indigence gives rise to social malaise, and then to a Mafia, terrorism, and war. It is not by chance that terrorists and members of the Mafia are recruited from the poorest classes.

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History 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

THE BORDERS OF THE SKY

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“What is that long line of clouds in the sky?” I asked.
“Those are not clouds, Vincenzino. It is Saint James’s Ladder, also called the Milky Way. Through it souls go up and down. They come from faraway stars, stay on the earth for a
while, and then migrate towards new lands in the sky, always passing through Saint James’s Ladder.”
“Where are the sky boundaries, Sebastiano?”
“There are no boundaries in the sky. It is infinite, with neither beginning nor end.”
“That’s impossible! I cannot imagine anything without a limit. Everything has a boundary. For instance, our estate borders other neighboring properties.”
“If you are convinced that there is a border in the sky, tell me what there is beyond the border, Vincenzino.”
“Another universe, of course!”
“And where is the border of the second universe? And that of the third and so forth? As you see, we cannot find the last border, and we cannot understand the universe because our minds are limited. It is like trying to teach our dogs to read. You’ll never succeed.”
“When was the universe created, Sebastiano?”
“According to some scientists, it seems that the universe is expanding; in fact, both stars and planets run away from a center. In other words, there was a time when all the matter of the universe was concentrated in only one spot—like a storehouse where bricks are packed. Then suddenly the storehouse exploded and the bricks were cast into the space. They started moving in different directions and are still moving.”
“Who made the storehouse explode?”
“I don’t know, Vincenzino. Christians say that it was God who did it. Atheists, who are people that don’t believe in God, think that the explosion happened naturally.”
“What was there before the explosion? Has the storehouse always existed or was it made by someone?”
“I am not able to answer your question, Vincenzino, but I am sure that when you become an adult you’ll study this subject and find the answer. Now, it is the time to go to bed.”
“Do you know, Sebastiano, where all those souls are going that you say come up and down through Saint James’s Ladder?”

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History 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

MY REVIEW OF ROBINSON CRUSOE

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Robinson Crusoe was the first novel in the world. In fact, the literary genre, novel, didn’t exist before Daniel Defoe created it.
The birth of the novel happened in an environmental context steeped in Puritanism. This religious group wanted to purify the Church of England from Catholicism – hence the name Puritans – and aimed at promoting the individual instead of society as a whole. In Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, individual privacy became the subject of narration.
The novel is written in the form of a diary and shows how the individual can overcome all hindrances, if he has enough faith and the ability to open his heart to everybody, regardless of race or skin color.

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 REVIEW OF THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS

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Every now and then, I purchase a book at random. By doing so, I broad my horizons and I am not confined to reading books that are within my sphere of interests.
A year ago, while I was walking on the high street of Southport, a city in the north of England, I entered a used bookstore. Using a special ladder provided by the owner, I picked two books from the upper shelf: one by Samuel Richardson and one by Henry Fielding; then before going out I closed my eyes and picked up at random a book among those lying on the table at the entrance. It was The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.
“I’ll give it to you for free! It is the most boring book in the world!” said the bookseller.
I kept The Pilgrim’s Progress for several months on my bookshelf and then I read it. To my surprise, the book was not boring at all; it is one of the most interesting books I have read so far; it is an allegory of life and a window to look into the amazing world of the Puritans.
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 SOURCE OF ENERGY

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This exercise reminded me of the festival of the patron saint in my hometown. Barefoot brethren carry a very heavy litter with the statue of Our Lady on their shoulders in procession. It is very heavy, so sometimes it seems to be about to fall down. But the brethren endure the hardship and keep bearing the statue until the end of the procession, risking being crushed by the weight of the litter.

I also recalled the feast of Tarantolate. It takes place in Apulia, an Italian region. Some women who, people say, have been stung by a particular species of spider, jump and dance for several days without ever stopping!
From where do both the brethren in my hometown and those women in Apulia get the energy they need to sustain themselves? Is there a kind of energy from above? If we knew the source of the energy, could we get it whenever we need it?

This is an excerpt from Travels of the Mind 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

TRADITIONAL SICILIAN PRAYERS


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My grandma taught me these traditional prayers, which I still say in Sicilian every night before sleeping, even now that I am old. The first prayer is:

I MI CURCU NE STU LETTU

I mi curcu ne stu lettu

C’è a Madonna supra u pettu

I dormu e idda viglia

su c’è cosa m’arriviglia

I SLEEP IN THIS BED

I sleep in this bed

There is Mary over my chest

I sleep and she watches over me

If something bad is going to happen she will wake me.

The second prayer is:

CCU GESU’ SUGNU

Ccu Gesù sugnu, ccu Gesù staiu.

Stannu ccu Gesù I paura un’aiu

Sacciu a curcata,

Un sacciu a livata,

L’arma mi sia sempri raccumannata

A Gesù

I AM WITH JESUS

I am with Jesus, I stay with Jesus.

As long as I am with Jesus, I have no fears.

I know I am going to sleep

But I don’t know if I will awake.

My soul is always commended

To the protection of Jesus.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2 The Day of the Dead in Sicily
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

AN ANCIENT SICILIAN TRADITION

20190702_191153It is said that Demeter’s home was in Enna, a city in the center of Sicily. During paganism, the belief that the goddess of agriculture lived in Enna was so deep-rooted and widespread that even the Roman Senate sent a delegation to Enna to appease Demeter when a great famine occurred in the empire. Then, as by magic, the earth started to bear fruit again.

After Catholicism took over from paganism, the citizens of Enna didn’t give up their old procession in honor of Demeter. They just replaced the statue of Our Lady for that of the pagan goddess, Demeter.
Every year, on July 2, the litter with the wooden statue of Our Lady covered with golden votive offerings is carried on the shoulders of barefooted brethren through the streets of Enna, as it happened with Demeter during paganism.
The religious feeling doesn’t change. Demeter is still present through Our Lady. Tradition will go on. People will keep worshiping divinity beyond time.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD ABOUT SANTO DAIME?

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“All of a sudden, Natasha introduced a new topic, ‘Have you ever heard about voodoo?’ she asked me. ‘Yes, but I’ve never done anything like that,’ I answered. ‘And what about shamanism?’ ‘I shiver with fear at the thought of doing a shamanistic ritual. But I’d like to know more about the Australian Aboriginals. It is said that they have special powers.’
“Natasha went on, ‘Did you study only the Catholic religion, or did you experience other religions?’ ‘I’ve studied many religions, from the mainstream to the small ones. At the moment, I am studying Scientology and a religion called Eckankar. The latter practices spiritual exercises by uttering the word HU, an ancient name of God.’ ‘I don’t know Eckankar. I attended a Buddhist center where we chanted mantras. What changed my life was an experience I had in Amsterdam one day. At that time, my mother was in hospital. It was a difficult moment in my life. A friend of mine asked me to go to Amsterdam with her. That travel was the turning point in my life.’
“I stopped eating and turned to Natasha with increasing interest. She continued, ‘When I arrived in Amsterdam, I called the hospital and asked about my mother. Everything was okay. Then, my friend took me to a place where almost three hundred people were participating in a kind of ritual. In the middle of the room, there was a table on which the Seal of Solomon was drawn. A cross was on the Seal of Solomon. Some persons from the Amazon rainforest came in with a drink. We chanted and prayed for a good while. Then I drank the beverage they handed to me. Soon after drinking it, I felt like dying. Everything became dark. Suddenly, many doors appeared in front of me and the name of a religion was written on each door, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, and so on. I entered the door of the Christians. I followed a dark tunnel for a while, and then a great light appeared. All the symbols of religions disappeared, and I saw Jesus standing in front of me. I looked at him and stood in awe of him. Afterwards, I opened my mouth. I am Jewish, I said. Why are you worried? I am Jewish too, Jesus answered. From that day on, I went to Amsterdam many times to attend the meetings. Once more Jesus appeared to me and said, Why do you come here? It’s enough for you to observe the seven sacraments. Hearing Jesus’s words, I realized that I ought to follow another way, but which? My lineage was Jewish. I wanted to be Christian. But which branch? Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant? I had also the option to practice Judaism, for my parents were both Jewish.’…

“Giovanna wanted Natasha to continue to tell about her experience in Amsterdam. So she asked Natasha, ‘What happened when Jesus said to you that the seven sacraments were enough? Which was your choice?’ ‘I opted for the Catholic religion and was baptized.’ ‘I want to know something about the religious group you met in Amsterdam. You said that it changed your life. Does this religion still exist?’ I asked Natasha. ‘Yes, it does. It is illegal in many countries. Many trials are under way. But in Holland it is legal,’ Natasha answered.”
“Uncle Salvatore, it seems that there is a kind of persecution against this religion. It is anachronistic nowadays, isn’t it?”
“No. There is no persecution. Natasha said that the problems arose from the compound of the holy beverage she drank. In Holland it was analyzed. They found a small amount of hallucinogen in the drink. The judgment was pro the religious group. In other countries like Germany and Italy, the trials were in progress. ‘What is the name of this religion?’ I asked her. ‘I can tell you the name. It is Santo Daime. It is widespread. You have it in Italy, too. A lady who had been diagnosed with brain cancer brought this religion to Holland. According to the doctors, she had only two months left to live. She went to Brazil and met the Santo Daime group in the forest. She stayed with them there for some time. When she returned to Holland, the cancer had already disappeared. The government of Brazil sent fifty special experts to the forest to study the Santo Daime phenomenon. When they wrote their report, they couldn’t find anything bad and even they became involved in the religious practices of the Santo Daime.’

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

 

BURIAL RITES IN THE WORLD

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“I think, Uncle Salvatore, there are countless burial rites in the world according to culture, custom, ethnic groups, historical periods, and so on. Last year I visited Korea with my father. I saw many rounded mounds in a mountain. They were graves shaped like maternal wombs. Somebody said that the womb-shaped grave completes the cycle of life. There are two wombs, the womb of the mother and the womb of the earth.”
“There are people that practice neither burial nor cremation. For instance, in Tibet dead bodies are dissected and thrown to vultures. Buddhist tradition gives less importance to the body, which is considered as a mere container of the soul. For the Buddhists, what matters is the soul, a continuum without beginning and end, not the body. But for the Christians, the body will be resurrected on the Last Day. So, it is important.”
“Supposing that the body will be resurrected, I don’t think the new body will be the same as it was before death. It may be a body of light, ethereal and subtle.”
“Yes, I think so. All four Evangelists are unanimous in admitting that Jesus resurrected, but his body was not the same as it was before death. Even the Apostles couldn’t recognize the risen Christ at first glance.”
“Uncle Salvatore, I want to be cremated after I die. I read somewhere that a few body functions continue for some time after death, for instance, nails and hair keep growing. It would be hideous to feel still alive while you are being buried. What about you? What do you think about the cremation of your body?”
“I don’t want to be cremated after I die. I will follow my family tradition. I’ll ask to be buried. The most important thing is God’s help. It’s not important which funeral rites you choose.”

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