SNOW IN ENNA (SICILY) GREETS LUNAR NEW YEAR

I consider myself a citizen of the world, beyond creeds, fixed ideas, and religions. I dare say that I accept all religions, as Alexander the Great did. Whenever he conquered a new country, he paid homage to the local gods and even made sacrifices to them.

Having this forma mentis, I celebrate New Year’s Day twice: once according to the solar calendar and once according to the lunar calendar. Lunar New Year falls on January 22, this year.

We had a tasty lunch, and then we watched the snow falling in Enna. Soon, a white mantle enveloped the city.

It was amazing to see the snow-covered streets and the white roofs. It does not happen often in Enna, in these days of global warming.

The white color of the snow is a symbol of candor and purification. I love snow!

I hope the New Year will bring into the world the candor, innocence, and peace it has been missing for a long time!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

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

THE CATHEDRAL OF SYRACUSE, ALSO KNOWN AS THE TEMPLE OF ATHENA

More than once, I have visited the Cathedral of Syracuse and every time I have been impressed by the interior of the church, which is nothing more than the old temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, still well preserved.

The columns with their Doric capitals are intact and even the drapes of the Virgin Mary’s robes recall those of the Greek goddesses.

Paradoxically, the Catholic Church saved this pagan temple by incorporating it into the Cathedral Church.

This also happened in other places. For instance, the Church of San Clemente, near the Colosseum, houses the Temple of Mithra, still visible in the second basement. The same goes for the Pantheon, in Rome, built by the pagan emperor Hadrian to worship all gods of all nations and now turned into the Church of Santa Maria della Rotonda.

What can we infer from this? The desire to worship God has always been present in human beings, from the Stone Age to the present day. Let us be tolerant of all religions and cults!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

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

A SPECIAL STATUE OF MARY HOLDING THE CHILD JESUS

Is it man who creates God in his image and likeness?

In the entrance courtyard of the oldest Catholic church in Korea, a particular statue of the Madonna and Child Jesus stands out. Both the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus have almond-shaped eyes and oriental features.

The depiction of the Madonna with features typical of the local population also occurred in other parts of the world: In the sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Mexico, the Madonna appears as a mixed race young woman; in the sanctuary of Kibeho, in Rwanda, the Virgin Mary has a dark complexion.

Not only the somatic features change, but also Mary’s language is expressed in different ways: In Lourdes and La Salette, Mary speaks in the local dialect!

What is the bottom line? Mary and Jesus are beyond time and space. They even existed in the pagan era, although they took different forms.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English version)

A Hidden Sicilian History (English version)

The Vibrations of Words (English version)

Travels of the Mind (English version)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (versione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (versione in lingua italiana)

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

ROBOTS ARE HERE TO STAY

Yesterday, I was sitting in the living room of my sister-in-law’s house in Suwon, Korea, when a small robot passed by. It was a cleaner. For me, a man who still cleans his house with a broom and a mop, that little device was something new. So I asked her,

“What is this?”

“It is a cleaner robot. It keeps the map of the house in its memory. When I need, I just touch a button on my smartphone and ask it to vacuum the floor. It does the job flawlessly!”

Undoubtedly, computers and robot are wonderful devices. Their brain is similar to humans’. They can do the same job as men and even better, but without a person that turns them on, they are just useless pieces of metal.

Who turned human beings on? Did they give themselves life or was it God who gave them a soul?

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English version)

A Hidden Sicilian History (English version)

The Vibrations of Words (English version)

Travels of the Mind (English version)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (versione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (versione in lingua italiana)

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

THE SPECIAL SKY OF ENNA (SICILY)

When a person visits a new place, he is usually attracted by something interesting to see: historical monuments, leisure places, beautiful landscapes, museums, and so on. It is quite unusual to find someone fascinated by the color of sky. Nevertheless, if you come to Enna, you will see that here the hue of the sky is different.

In my life, I have traveled across all continents, from north to south, from east to west, but I have not seen in other places the same sky as that in Enna. It has something magic and special.

If I were a painter, I would try to paint it on a canvas, but it would be difficult to find a mixture of colors to paint Enna’s sky.

What is the cause of such a peculiar color? The citizens of Enna think that Our Lady watches over them, as Demeter did in ancient times. They think that Mary’s blue mantle envelops the city. “Blessed are they who live in the city of Enna,” once a seer said. Who knows! Anyway, I love to see the sky of Enna. Whenever I see this magic sky, I feel blessed. I become a part of the universe!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

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

THE STATUE OF SAINT FRANCIS IN ENNA (SICILY)

A small green area has recently been attached to the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi, in Enna, with an olive tree and a statue of the saint surrounded by white doves. While we were going back home and passing by that green, we noticed a fragrance emanating from the area.

We turned in all directions but could not spot a flower or a tree from where that subtle scent might be emanating. The following days we passed by the same place again, but we could not smell anything.

After that, we went to the crypt of the Basilica of Saint Francis, in Assisi. We sat on a pew facing Saint Francis’s tomb. As soon as I sat down, I had the sensation that a kind of energy was telling me something: “Purify your heart, mind, body, and actions, and then you’ll see God inside you!”

What was Saint Francis telling me this time? He meant that the real kingdom of God is inside every living being, but we cannot find it if our mind is contaminated by too many materialistic desires or our actions are not directed towards the well-being of our fellow creatures. I also inferred that prayer and meditation are a good way to purify my mind and get close to God, as long as my actions aim not towards an egoistic goal but to the love of all creatures.

Were my contacts with St. Francis the fruit of hallucinations? I cannot know. I can just say that what I have written above is the truth!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

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

THE PROCESSION IN HONOR OF ST. ANTHONY, IN ENNA (SICILY)

After more than two years, the processions come back to life in Enna!

Enna, in the center of Sicily, has been a religious city since time immemorial. In fact, it housed the main temples of Demeter and her daughter Kore.

When Cicero, the great Roman orator, came to Sicily to collect evidence against Verres, he had a feeling that the inhabitants of Enna were omnes sacerdotes (all priests).

Religion is imprinted in the DNA of the citizen of Enna. For more than two years, the city has been like in mourning due to the lack of processions. Now the time for mourning is over!

Yesterday, June 13, St. Anthony of Padua was taken in procession. He was a Franciscan friar. Actually, he was from Portugal, but he also lived in Padua. After the death of Saint Francis of Assisi, he became the Superior General of the Franciscans Friars. He died in a small town near Padua and is revered by all Catholics.

Carrying on their shoulders the litter with the statue of the saint, the brethren looked happy. Their beloved procession was back!

 Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione italiana)

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

A LIST OF FORTY-TWO BOOKS TO TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE

It was July 2000. While I was admiring the vault of the Church of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, a gray-haired guy about forty-five years old, with a southern Italian accent, came up to me. We talked about religion for a little while and then parted ways.

After about half an hour, I saw him again, sitting on a bench in the subway and waiting for his train.

“You are here again! Well! Since we meet again, it is not by chance. So, I want to give you this gift,” he said.

He took from his pocket a sheet of paper, a little bit crumpled, with writing on the front and back, and handed it to me. Meanwhile, the train arrived. Getting on the train, he waved his hand to me and smiled from ear to ear.

The train left. I have never seen that man again in my life, but the precious sheet of paper is still with me.

The listed books range over many subjects: literature, philosophy, meditation, cultures, and religions. There are books about Sufism, Gurdjieff, Saint Augustine, Plato, Osho, and so on. The titles are handwritten, so difficult to decipher. Some are almost impossible to read. Yet, there is a bookseller in my hometown who helped me to read the titles. Finally, we deciphered all the titles except two.

From time to time, I give a copy of the list to some friends of mine.

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

A RAINBOW IN ENNA (SICILY)

In my hometown of Enna, after two days of wind, rain and sleet, the rainbow appeared this morning. It means there will be good weather tomorrow.

The Old Testament reports that after the Flood, which lasted forty days, the rainbow appeared. It was the sign of the covenant between God and man. God regretted having sent the Deluge and promised that he would no longer punish the earth because of the wickedness of man.

As a sign of the alliance with man, he created the rainbow.

After bad weather, the rainbow appears. It is an allegory of life, which passes through an alternation of storm and sunshine. Sometimes it flows smoothly and sometimes stormy, but in the end, there is the rainbow to smile at life.

The rainbow has seven colors, as there are seven musical notes, seven days of a week, seven chakras, and so on. Number seven means good luck.

Certainly, there is something magic in the amazing seven-color arc that connects the sky to the earth!

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

THE HISTORY OF SANTA LUCIA

Santa Lucia belonged to a rich family from Syracuse (Sicily). From a young age, she wanted to consecrate herself to Jesus and made a vow of chastity. However, her mother wanted to give her in marriage to a pagan, named Timbrione. Since Lucia refused to marry him, he denounced her as a Christian. She was arrested and sentenced to spend her life in a brothel.

When the jailers tried to move her from her cell to be taken to the prostitution house, her body became so heavy that it was impossible to move. In the year 304 AD, Lucia passed away in her cell.

In the year 1039, the Byzantines stole the body of Santa Lucia and took it to Constantinople. However, during the fourth crusade, the Venetians took the saint’s body to Venice, where it is currently located.

I visited the glass sarcophagus where the remains of Santa Lucia are kept and I can testify, having seen it with my own eyes, that her flesh is still stuck to her body, despite almost two thousand years have passed since her death.

The feast day of Santa Lucia is December 13. On this day, many families in Sicily make a special meal called cuccìa. ̀It is made of boiled wheat seasoned with chocolate or sweet ricotta, honey, and pieces of candied fruit.

The tradition of cooking the cuccìa has lasted for many centuries and is still alive.

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