Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother's DayWhat would I be without my mother? Nonexistent, for sure! Nobody, no one, nowhere, nothing, nil, zero, nada, zilch, wala! I wouldn’t be here…because I wouldn’t be alive! For nine months she carried me in her womb. I ate what she ate, drank what she drank, felt what she felt. In other words, I am here because of her! Every one began with a mother. And I am no exception.
For me, the love of a mother to her child is the most universal expression of true love. Nowhere in nature can you find a love more instinctive than a mother’s. An Asian mother loves her child in the same vein a Caucasian or an African-American mother loves her own. It is not diminished and prejudiced by race or color because a mother’s love beats the same way in every mother’s heart. In some small ways they may differ because of culture, but the undeniable, unquestionable feeling of love is there, ever present! They say that a mother will give up her life for her child– I believe that. Because that’s exactly what she did when she gave birth to her child. It’s an unconditional love that goes far beyond a mother’s regard for her own safety. As it’s been said, a woman in labor pains is like having her one foot in the grave. Indeed! Yet the pangs and danger of childbirth all seem to vanish the moment she hears the first cry of her child! A cry that would also bring tears to her eyes, only this time, not from pain but from joy. Their bond that started during conception also ushered in the beginning of their love for each other. And many years later, when her child leaves home to seek his/her own place under the sun, the love never wanes. And even when he/she starts a family of his/her own, a mother’s love always provides. Because a mother is a mother and her love endures forever! This is the cycle of humanity. The first seed of love a child learns is nourished while yet in the womb. And the first lessons in life is nurtured thereafter after birth by a mother’s love. Such is the mother that I have and I know. A mother who loves me despite my flaws, who is prouder of my achievements than I can ever be, who is more devastated in my failures than I can ever feel, and more hopeful for myself than I can ever hope to be. She exists for the sake of love. And I am forever grateful she is my mother! I love you so much, Mom!!! Happy, happy, happy Mother’s Day to you and GOD Bless you with His Love forever, Mom!!!



Seven Deadly Sins

One of my favorite films of all time is Se7en (released in 1995). It stars Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow; it was written by Andrew Kevin Walker and directed by David Fincher.
The film, as the title implies, is about the so-called seven deadly sins: Greed, Gluttony, Sloth, Lust, Pride, Envy and Wrath. The story revolves around two detectives: William Somerset (played by Morgan Freeman) and David Mills (played by Brad Pitt). In the film, Somerset– who is about to retire– is partnered with a young detective, Mills. It started with two murder cases: that of an attorney with the word “GREED” written in the man’s own blood, and that of an obese man with the word “GLUTTONY” written behind the man’s fridge. Before long, Somerset speculates that the killer (named in the film as John Doe, and played by Kevin Spacey) is using the seven deadly sins as the bases or modi operandi for his crimes. Armed with this theory, the two detectives surmise that they are expecting five more crimes to go, thereby completing the seven deadly sins. The twist in the film lies in the last two deadly sins, ENVY and WRATH, as both the antagonist and the protagonist play a direct role in committing the final two crimes.
While the concept of the seven deadly sins is not entirely biblical– as one will not really find a direct mention of these seven sins in the bible all at once in their exact connotation– they can be taken in context through the New Testament’s Epistle or Letter to the Galatians 5:19-21. The verses state the sins as follows: “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (–New International Version)
The Old Testament, on the other hand, lists six things hated by the Lord (and seven abominable to Him). They are found in The Book of Proverbs 6:16–19, as follows: “There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” (–New International Version). All in all, biblical reference to each of the so-called deadly sins can be found in various texts in both the Old and New Testament (whether implied or directly referred to), but not in only one chapter or group of verses.
The origin of the seven deadly sins can be traced back to the early Christians during the fourth to sixth century when monks and priests laid down the things to avoid in their personal quest for a virtuous life. Originally, they were eight sins according to a fourth-century monk by the name of Evagrius Ponticus. And these eight sins were, listed from bad to worst: gluttony, lust, avarice, sadness [yes, sadness. So stop feeling so “emo” :)], anger, acedia (or spiritual sloth), vainglory, and pride. Eventually, during the late sixth century, a Roman Catholic Pope in the person of Pope Gregory I (better known as Pope Gregory the Great) would revise and reduce the list from eight to its present-day seven sins (which would, later, also play a major theme in Dante Alighieri‘s epic poem The Divine Comedy). The sins, listed from least serious to most serious, are as follows: lust, gluttony, avarice or greed, sadness, anger or wrath, envy and pride. The sin of “sadness” would later be changed during the seventeenth century to “sloth.” Interestingly, during these times, each of the seven deadly sins even had a corresponding punishment in hell (according to the research done by writers Ernst and Johanna Lehner in their book The Picture Book of Devils, Demons and Witchcraft). For those guilty of the sin of Pride, the equivalent punishment was to be “broken on the wheel”; for Envy, it was to be “put in freezing water”; for Anger or Wrath, it was to be “dismembered alive”; for Sloth, it was to be “thrown in snake pits”; for Avarice or Greed, it was to be “put in cauldrons of boiling oil”; for Gluttony, it was to be “forced to eat rats, toads, and snakes”; and for Lust, it was to be “smothered in fire and brimstone.” Moreover, a sixteenth-century engraver by the name of George Pencz even attributed a specific animal to a specific sin. They were as follows: for Pride, it was the horse; for Envy, it was the dog; for Anger or Wrath, it was the bear; for Sloth, it was the goat; for Avarice or Greed, it was the frog; for Gluttony, it was the pig; and for Lust, it was the cow. As if those weren’t enough, there was also a respective color associated with each deadly sin. They were as follows: violet for Pride, green for Envy, red for Anger or Wrath, light blue for Sloth, yellow for Avarice or Greed, orange for Gluttony, and blue for Lust. Conversely, the seven sins also have their corresponding opposites. And according to the Roman Catholic Church, these opposites are known as the Seven Virtues. They are as follows: Chastity for Lust; Temperance for Gluttony; Charity for Avarice or Greed; Diligence for Sloth; Patience for Anger or Wrath; Kindness for Envy, and Humility for Pride.
And then, a little over a year ago on March 9, 2008, the Catholic Church through its Vatican newspaper mentioned a list of the “seven modern social sins” (which differ from the original, more personal seven deadly sins). They are as follows: environmental pollution, genetic manipulation, obscene wealth, infliction of poverty, drug trafficking, morally debatable experiments, and violation of the fundamental rights of human nature.
Personally, I have no doubt that any sin is “deadly” and that no one is free from sin, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23, New International Version)…”For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23, New International Version). And for all Christians, the last verse clearly states the only truth that supersedes and overrules the reality of death from sin: the true faith that Christ is the Savior and Son of the Living God! Dying physically is part of being human and our sinful nature. In the eleventh chapter of the Gospel of John, we find the death of Jesus’ friend, Lazarus. And comforting Martha (Lazarus’ sister), “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26, New International Version)


Congrats, Manny!

One devastating left hook and that was all it took to become a living legend: Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao knocked Ricky Hatton out at 2:59 of the second round in their IBO junior welterweight title fight May 2nd in Las Vegas. A superb display of boxing mastery undoubtedly pinned Manny’s reputation hands-down as boxing’s greatest pound-for-pound fighter, a title that for a while remained to be proven among boxing purists before the outcome of last night’s fight. Now the world knows: Manny Pacquiao stands among the legends of boxing, one of only a few to rightfully earn the title of the greatest pound-for-pound fighter EVER! And he earned it while conquering the best and the finest challengers around! Congratulations, Manny! Mabuhay!!!
See video of his devastating punch here.

Pacquiao knocking out Hatton with a vicious left!

Pacquiao knocking the lights out of Hatton with a devastatingly savage left hook!

photo courtesy of FanHouse.com