“A life based on desires is like a spider’s web, says Saint Gregory of
Nyssa. Woven about us by the father of lies, the Devil, the enemy of
our sous, it is a frail tissue of vanities without substance, and yet it
can catch us and hold us fast, delivering us up to him as his prisoner.
Nevertheless, the illusion is only an illusion, nothing more. It should
be as easy for us to break through this tissue of lies as it is for us
to destroy a spider’s web with a movement of the hand.”
God vs Satan
In the beginning God covered the earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, with green, yellow and red vegetables of all kinds so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.
Then using God’s bountiful gifts, Satan created Dairy Ice Cream and Magnums.
And Satan said “You want hot fudge with that?
And Man said “Yes!”
And Woman said “I’ll have one too with chocolate chips”.
And so they gained 10 pounds.
And God created the healthy yoghurt that Woman might keep the figure that Man found so fair.
And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat and sugar from the cane and combined them.
And Woman went from size 12 to size 14.
So God said “Try my fresh green salad”.
And Satan presented Blue Cheese dressing and garlic croutons on the side.
And Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.
God then said “I have sent you healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them”.
And Satan brought forth deep fried coconut king prawns, butter-dipped lobster chunks and chicken fried steak, so big it needed its own platter.
And Man’s cholesterol went through the roof.
Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming with potassium and good nutrition.
Then Satan peeled off the healthy skin and sliced the starchy centre into chips and deep fried them in animal fats adding copious quantities of salt.
And Man put on more pounds.
God then brought forth running shoes so that his Children might lose those extra pounds.
And Satan came forth with a cable TV with remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering light and started wearing stretch jogging suits.
Then God gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite.
And Satan created McDonalds and the 99p double cheeseburger.
Then Satan said “You want fries with that?” and Man replied “Yes, And extra large size please”.
And Satan said “It is good.”
And Man and Woman went into cardiac arrest.
God sighed and created quadruple by-pass surgery.
And then Satan chuckled and created the National Health Service – where you have to wait years for your turn to get free surgery.
THE FINAL WORD ON NUTRITION:
After an exhaustive review of the research literature, here’s the final word on nutrition and health:
1. Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
2. Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
3. Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
4. Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
5. Germans drink beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you!!
“Jewish mystics teach that a happy person is not someone who has just the right set of circumstances. Instead, the happy person is someone who has the right attitude about any circumstance and is able to communicate that attitude to his or her soul, and then do something either to heighten a positive experience or lessen a negative one. It is crucial mystics say, to realize that the sharpest stones benath our bare feet can be diamonds, if we just recognize them as such. In other words, a happy person can bounce back from failure or defeat not only by looking at the bright side, but also by learning from the dark side…..
For most of us though, happiness is less a matter of bouncing back from defeat than making the routine parts of our lives seem interesting. It is so easy for us to go through day-to-day on cruise control, with our senses and minds disconnected. The mystics tell us that when we put ourselves on automatic we are merely going through the motions of life and not consciously noticing what’s around us. This tendency to cruise is our answer to daily routine. At best, it is a meaningless rest period that helps us get through the more mundane parts of our day. At worst, it is dangerous, physically and spiritually…..
Consider this story about a man named Mordechai, whom I met several years ago in Israel near the Western Wall. I was talking in English to a group of people, and he stopped nearby to listen. When I finished my impromptu lecture on the history and theological meaning of the Wall, Mordechai tapped me on the shoulder, and, in the softest voice, asked where I was from. When I told him, a glowing smile spread across his face. His uncle came from the same place. He asked me to recite the traditional Jewish blessing that marked coincidence. When I did, he said, ‘Amen.’
When I told him I was a rabbi leading a tour of the Holy Land, that smile returned, and he informed me that this was his lucky day. To meet a rabbi from the same place as his uncle was so fortunate that he felt compelled to recite the blessing spoken upon meeting a scholar. And I, of course, said, ‘Amen.’ After I answered each question from Mordechai, he found a reason to marvel. Something about each answer was utterly wonderful and amazing to him. He responded with a blessing, and I with an amen.
When I ran into Mordechai several days later, I asked him about all those blessing. ‘I make it a practice to meet many interesting people from all over the world,’ he said. ‘You see, I believe that God records every blessing that every one of us ever speaks. All God has to do is count how many blessings I’ve said and how many times I’ve made others realize the coincidental blessings in their lives. In this way, I can’t miss being with the Holy One for eternity.
‘You see, my rabbi,’ he continued with reverence and that wonderful smile, ‘the one with the most “amens” in the end, wins’…..
If we let our senses be dulled by the mundane, we will lose the risiliency of our spirit. If we don’t exercise our inner joy, we will not be able to cope with the worst of times, nor appreciate the joy from the best of times.”
– Dannel I Schwartz (Finding Joy:
A Practical Spiritual Guide to Happiness)