CANTICLE OF THE CREATURES

Ettore Grillo's Blog

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Most High, all-powerful, good Lord, Yours are the praises, the glory, and the honor, and all blessing, To You alone, Most High, do they belong, and no human is worthy to mention Your name. Praise be You, my Lord, with all Your creatures, especially Sir Brother Sun, who is the day and through whom You give us light. And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor; and bears a likeness of You, Most High One. Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars, in heaven You formed them clear and precious and beautiful. Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind, and through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather, through whom You give sustenance to Your creatures. Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water, who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste. Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother…

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THE LAST AND THE FIRST DAY OF THE YEAR

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Now I am at Arambol Beach in Goa (India) for my winter holidays.
How did I spend the last day of the year? At dawn, I went jogging on the beach, saluted the rising sun, and helped some fishermen that asked me to give them a hand to beach their heavy boat.
At night, I walked along the seaside where thousands of people were waiting for the stroke of midnight.
On the first day of the new year, I went to the beach at daybreak again. There were a few cleaners that were collecting the garbage littered by those who had celebrated Happy New Year all night.
I jogged and then saluted the rising sun as usual. It was the same sun as yesterday. Seeing me, the fishermen waved their hands from a distance. Nothing had changed! We humans divide time into days, months and years, and make wishes whenever a new year comes, but in nature there is only an uninterrupted flow of happenings without beginning or end.
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

PURITANS AND PILGRIMS

Ettore Grillo's Blog

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PURITANS AND PILGRIMS

Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday have just passed, but not everybody knows the meaning and history of Thanksgiving Day.

After the Church of England had split off from the Roman Catholic Church, a few Christian groups that didn’t identify themselves with the Anglicans, took root in England.

Puritans were a dissident faction who wanted to “Purify” – hence their name Puritans – the Church of England from the trappings of Catholicism.

Pilgrims, also called Separatists, aimed at separating themselves from the Church of England, which they considered corrupted, and giving rise to an autonomous entity.

Both groups were not tolerated by government authorities, but Separatists were persecuted to such an extent that they were forced to leave the country. They settled in Holland, where they remained for a long time.

In 1620,  one hundred Pilgrims or so landed on the shores of Massachusetts. Once there, they came…

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THE POWER OF WRITING

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Besides Christianity, Buddhism, and Sufism I have come across several religions and once I even joined an esoteric group that claimed to hold hidden truths. But, I have to say that writing has been the best way to know myself, the others, and the meaning of life. I don’t want to say that religions, the esoteric experience, and reading books have taught me nothing; not at all! But, I want to stress that what I achieved through my writing I couldn’t get from different sources. In my opinion, writing is more powerful than psychoanalysis. As for me, it was like seeing my mind reflected in a mirror. By and by I was writing a book, not only I discovered something new inside me, but also I understood human behavior a little better. It was as if my pen scratched and then stirred up the deepest layer of my mind. Writing made me understand how to overcome my shortcomings, my difficulties and fears. While I was writing I could see things as they really were because my detached view of reality was more objective and serene.
My writing has been like a mirror to my mind. By mirroring myself in it, I have realized that most likely the quality of my relationships with others depended on my make-up and on the law of attraction. I attracted good or bad people, good or bad situations that suited my good or bad mood, the weakness or strength of my character.

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

CEMETERIES IN THE WORLD

 

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Before the Napoleonic edict, the dead were buried in the churches. Later, this custom fell into disuse.
In the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, the friars used to embalm the dead. Still now it is possible to visit the underground cemetery of the monastery where the embalmed corpses are displayed. Through this practice, the Franciscan friars wanted to draw attention to the frailty of human life.
The Franciscan friars of Rome did something similar in the Capuchin Church on Via Veneto. In the crypt are displayed the bones of about four thousand Capuchin friars. With the bones, the friars made chandeliers, chairs, tables, decorations on the walls and other objects in the Baroque style. Also in this case, the Capuchin friars aimed at making people meditate on the impermanence of life.
In Korea there were no family vaults. They set the dead into the ground and then made a womb-shaped mound. They called it the womb of Mother Earth, the final abode of the body. But, cremation was also practiced in Korea.
In some tribes I have visited in Tanzania, the dead were buried in front of the house where they had lived. But, before being set in the underground niche, the dead person was placed on a chair in front of his house for some time. This way the relatives and friends could offer condolences to the family,
In America I couldn’t spot any chapel in the cemetery of Arlington in Washington DC. I just saw a vast expanse of graves. Even the president of the United States had been buried in a grave. What impressed me for its simplicity was the grave of Robert Francis Kennedy. It was located at the foot of a grassy hill. On it was just a cross on one side and a small tombstone with the name Robert Francis Kennedy and the dates of his birth and death on the other side. At that time, I meditated for some minutes in front of the graves of John and Robert Kennedy. They were my idols when I was a boy. When I was about to leave the cemetery, a guard approached me, saluted me, and then shook my hand. I was shocked! Did the Kennedy brothers order the guard to treat me as a special guest?

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 HOMETOWN ENNA (SICILY)

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Although Enna is in Sicily, an island with a temperate climate, its weather is quite inclement during the winter. It is windy and above all foggy. The citizen of Enna have nicknamed the fog la paesana (the fellow citizen) for it envelops the city like a cloak quite often. Seen from below, the fog looks like a wide hat on the head of the plateau. Actually, the fog is nothing but low clouds. Once, the snow used to fall on the city, but these days, due to global warming, it has become more and more rare.
The plateau is not completely flat. There are three a bit elevated areas that gently slope down to the center of the city. Seen from above, the area looks like a triangle. On one tip is an old castle, called the Castle of Lombardy, which is still accessible even though a few towers have fallen into ruin. On the other tip, is the Franciscan monastery of Capuchin of Montesalvo, and on the third tip is the cemetery which lies on a hillock.
The Castle of Lombardy stands in the highest part of the city. According to some authors, it took this name from a garrison of Lombard soldiers who defended the castle during the Norman period. The best preserved tower is called the Pisan Tower. It was built by Frederick II of Swabia. It was so named because it was defended by a garrison of soldiers from Pisa. It was considered an impregnable castle. Later it was converted first into a prison and then into an open-air theater. It was called the theater closest to the stars. These days there is neither the prison nor the theater, but tourists come and visit it and the Pisan Tower. From the top of the tower it is possible to admire valleys, mountain ranges and Mount Etna.
The Monastery of Montesalvo is near the center of Sicily. An obelisk symbolizing the center of the island stands just a few meters away from the monastery. According to some, in ancient time the pagan feasts of Ceres, Kore, and Dionysus were celebrated in this place. Then, around the year 1300 a Catholic church was built to replace the pagan festivals with the one in honor of The Most Holy Mary of Visitation. The monastery is adjacent to the church. Once it teemed with Franciscan monks, but nowadays its many cells are almost all empty except for two or three where monks still live.
The cemetery is large enough to look like a town. It has broad streets and tall tombs. Many tombs are similar to small houses. They have a room inside with walled niches and an altar to celebrate Mass on November 2. My grandmother used to keep in her family tomb a few chairs for herself and for her families, relatives and friends that came to visit the tomb or passed by.

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

A TASTE OF SICILIAN HISTORY

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Enna is a small city on a plateau in the center of Sicily. Its foundation dates back to time immemorial. It is called the navel of Sicily. It is part of the Erei mountain chain and is located at an altitude of about one thousand and one hundred meters above sea level. Like all Greek cities, Enna was a city-state that had its own government and its own mint. It coined a coin called ennaion. With Greece Enna shared the same language and the same religion. The main worshiped goddesses were Demeter and her daughter Kore. Nobody knows exactly where the temples of Demeter and Kore stood, but it is certain that the main temple of Demeter in Sicily was that of Enna. Being Demeter the goddess of the crops, she was invoked to have a good harvest. It is said that during time of famine, even the Senate of Rome used to send a delegation to Enna to propitiate Demeter.
The people of Enna buried the dead by digging small rooms in the rock, usually facing south. In the room, painted terracotta vases were placed next to the corpse. Tombs have been excavated with well preserved skeletons and red-figure and black-figure vases. Sometimes in the mouth of the skeleton has been found a coin. The Greeks believed that to get to the Hades (the kingdom of the dead) the soul of the dead should pay a coin to Charon who ferried the dead across the Styx and the Acheron, rivers that divided the world of the living from that of the dead.
Enna has always been a city devoted to religion. When Cicero, the great Roman orator came to Enna to collect evidence against Verres, he was so surprised by the religiosity of the city that he had a feeling that the inhabitants of Enna were omnes sacerdotes (all priests).

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