Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Friday, February 15, 2019

Everything is a Grace

I am with my wife and her sisters, who are visiting us from France, at a hotel in Niagara Falls. The great falls show how nature is serving man and how God helps everyone and everything to develop and become new. In the Book of Revelation, the Seer wrote "And he who sat upon the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.' " (Rev. 21: 5).  The hydro-powers are used to generate electricity that keeps the city and other cities highly in-light at night. In fact, my oxygen tank uses the same electrical power to generate oxygen for breathing with my lungs, and my BiPap that helps me sleep. God has blessed me since my conception in my mother's womb - I have been God's answer to a vow that my mother of blessed memory promised St. George to name her first child after him as she had a heavy pregnancy while my father of blessed memory wanted to name his first child after his dad - so much he loved his mother that he wanted to name his first child after his father...Heaven's intercession brought a twin to satisfy both needs - the first twin my brother was named after my dad's father, and I was named after St. George. Since 1986, I have gone through much health problems that caused suffering for my wife, my mother and my mother-in-law of blessed memory while I believe that God used the great doctors that treated me in Canada to extend my life...(If interested read me here , here , and here). I would be selfish to only mention things that happened to me as there are many more sick people (whether physically, psychologically, or spiritually) that need care by the minds of more skilled persons in every field... For instance, many in the Dark Continent of Africa still need much care. One of my cousins is a sister in the "Missionaries of Charity" Congregation founded by Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She works with the destitute and dying persons, carries them with other co-workers to be hospitalized and helps them to see the light of Christ. Many Christian missionaries are also active in Africa. I know two Jesuit scholars who have been missionaries in Africa: The first is Fr. John Perry from Canada continuing his missionary work there, and the second is Fr. Henri Boulad from Egypt who in the late eighties of the 20th century went with some of his students to the Sudan in order to help Muslims see the light of Christ.
As we discuss the technological achievements in Canada, America and the West, I wish to share a few findings that came to my attention in 2019...Titled "Einstein's Quantum Riddle", NOVA published this quite impressive finding on January 10, 2019 - Watch it here. Donna Strickland from the University of Waterloo in Canada shared the 2018 Nobel Prize in physics -Watch here her lecture on generating high-intensity ultra short optical pulses. On January 10, 2019 Quanta Magazine published a "New Approach to Understanding How Machines Think" here.  On February 13, 2019 Quanta Magazine published a report titled "Mysterious Quantum Rule Reconstructed from Scratch" here - It is a new research to understand the quantum entanglement of particles at great distance from each other...In Artificial Intelligence a great discussion on the future of "Augmented Intelligence" was held by a panel of scientists and researchers at the World Science Festival in November 2018 here. The idea behind Augmented Intelligence can be summarized in the statement "If you can't beat machines, join them" or collaborate with machines...It is a fascinating approach to ensure that humans continue to control their future since humans have emotions and different goals that cannot be predicted by artificial intelligence machines. It implements "Positive Psychology" founded by Professor Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania. This is great...
Humanity continues to advance and find its "repose in God " (Cf. St. Augustine of Hippo and Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.).
In closing, let's sing "Love Divine" with the Congregation and Choir at St. Anne's Cathedral in Belfast - The devotional words to Christ thus say "Finish then thy new creation - Pure and spotless let us be. Let us see thy great salvation, perfectly restored in thee...changed from glory into glory till in heaven we take our place...till we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder love and praise !"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sw5ZCZeS32M

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Truth of Revelation

It is an ominous sign that liberals among Cardinals and Bishops in the Church work to please the majority regardless of the Truth that is Jesus Christ. In reading The Catholic Register, a news article published on February 11, 2019 mentioned a 'Manifesto of Faith' published on February 8 by Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in which he emphasized the responsibility of the Bishops and Priests as well as the entire people of God  according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

A Man of Peace

On February 5, 2019 Pope Francis, in a historic visit to Abu Dhabi, concelebrated a Mass with bishops and priests, particularly from the Eastern Catholic Churches, in a variety of languages (including Arabic) that signified the universal character of the Church (see it here). It was like a new spring or Pentecost with some 135,000 Christians participating too with different services with a large choir and a number of readers as well as servers in the large stadium. Muslim leaders attended the Mass and, in a gesture of mutual respect, embraced the Bishop of Rome. It was the largest ever Christian act of worship in the Arabian Peninsula. In his homily, the Holy Father acknowledged the suffering endured by foreign workers who left their families behind to come and work. He called them "Blessed". He said "To live the life of the blessed and following the way of Jesus does not, however, mean always being cheerful. Someone who is afflicted, who suffers injustice, who does everything he can to be a peacemaker, knows what it means to suffer. It is most certainly not easy for you to live far from home, missing the affection of your loved ones, and perhaps also feeling uncertainty about the future. But the Lord is faithful and does not abandon his people. A story from the life of Saint Anthony the Abbot, the great founder of monasticism in the desert, may be helpful to us. He left everything for the Lord and found himself in the desert. There, for a time, he was immersed in a bitter spiritual struggle that gave him no peace; he was assaulted by doubts and darkness, and even by temptation to give in to nostalgia and regrets about his earlier life. But then, after all this torment the Lord consoled him, and Saint Anthony asked him: “Where were you? Why did you not appear before to free me from my suffering? Where were you?” But then he clearly heard Jesus’ answer: “I was here, Anthony” (Saint Athanasius, Vita Antonii, 10). The Lord is close. It can happen that, when faced with fresh sorrow or a difficult period, we think we are alone, even after all the time we have spent with the Lord. But in those moments, where he might not intervene immediately, he walks at our side. And if we continue to go forward, he will open up a new way for us; for the Lord specializes in doing new things; he can even open paths in the desert (cf. Is 43:19)." The entire homily can be read on the Vatican website here. The visit marked a historic reconciliation between Christians and Muslims since the Pope had warned that the future of humanity can be directed by human leaders and their followers to love and collaboration or to hatred and violence which would result in no future and the end of humanity. Regardless of what inner intentions of leaders may be, we can continue to trust that God will always walk with those of good will. "God is love" (1 John 4:8). In the beginning, the Spirit of God hovered over darkness to transform it to light (Genesis 1: 1-2). Creation is a reflection of God's own self-less love. Everything demands love to live. Selfish husband or wife will likely see their marriage in ruins and their children will pay the price psychologically. The God of Christians is the reverse of Allah that "plots and Allah is the best of plotters." (Qur'an Surah Al-Anfal 8:30). For defending the truth, Christ was betrayed and crucified by his own people...He did not go on conquests to force tribes and peoples into his religion. Yet, God is so close to the little souls and ordinary people that "a bruised reed he shall not break" (Isaiah 42)...
Reconciliation is a blessing for all in God's eyes since it could end violence caused by radical Islam and other radical groups...

Saturday, February 2, 2019

The Presentation of Jesus

Today, February 2, the Church celebrates the Feast of the presentation of Our Lord Jesus in the Temple in both East and West. In the Byzantine Churches, it is referred to as the "Purification of the Blessed Virgin" called "Hypapente to Kyriou" in Greek (i.e. the meeting of the Lord and his mother with Simeon and Anna). According to scholarly articles written in The Catholic Encyclopediathe first solemn introduction of Christ into the house of God was in the earliest times celebrated in the Church of Jerusalem. In Leveticus, the Law of Moses requires the mother of a male to be purified in the Temple after 40 days of his birth (Leveticus 12:2-8). "Fourty" is also symbolic in Jewish Tradition that awaits the advent of the Messiah (Cf. Moses awaits for 40 days to see the Lord on Mount Sinai). Driven by the Spirit, Jesus fasted for forty days during which he was tempted by the Devil who left Christ for an opportune time until after the Last Supper Jesus was left alone praying in Gethsemane while Judas planned to betray him (Luke 4:13;  Luke 22:44). In the Gospel according to St. Luke, it is written "When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, 'Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.' Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: 'Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.' The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, 'Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.' " (Luke 2: 22-35). Here is Jesus; the salvation and light for all nations - the "Sun of Justice" brought to light through Mary the "Morning Star"...Christ risen from the dead is the "Glory for Israel" (i.e. the People of God). Christ was destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel - He reveals the truth and founds the New Israel through his Apostles and disciples "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Matthew 28: 19, 20). And his mother the ever-Virgin immaculate Mary accepted the sword that would pierce her soul...It is the sorrow she felt when she was under the cross as she saw her son put to death as a criminal while 4 centuries later this same God and Christ is described by repentant St. Augustine in his Confessions "Late have I loved you O ancient beauty and New". Her joy was complete when she saw her son again after he rose from the dead and ascended bodily to heaven. Or is it probably that heaven came to earth?

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Sacred Cosmos of God

Years ago I read a book titled "The Sacred Cosmos" by  the late Terence Nichols who was Professor of Theology at St. Thomas University. The cosmos has been the object of scientific discoveries since the beginning of the 20th century.
On January 10, 2019, NOVA published a phenomenal research on the vast cosmos of which the earth is only a tiny planet. Named "Einstein's Quantum Riddle", scientists in the video explain how Einstein called it “spooky action at a distance,” but today quantum entanglement is poised to revolutionize technology from computers to cryptography. Physicists have gradually become convinced that the phenomenon—two subatomic particles that mirror changes in each other instantaneously over any distance—is real. But a few doubts remain. NOVA follows a ground-breaking experiment in the Canary Islands to use quasars at opposite ends of the universe to once and for all settle remaining questions. (Premiered January 9, 2019.) See this fascinating video here...

On January 10, 2019, TechRepublic published a report showing how IBM has made its own quantum computer (see it here and here).  This is also a milestone in the competition with Google in developing deep learning and other advanced technologies (here).

Only humans have been able to send people to the Moon, and recently NASA sent its so-called "Curiosity" discovery which gave us pictures from Mars for the first time (a sample can be seen here - See also this report here).

In June, 2018, I wrote here about a couple of recent phenomenal lectures by two outstanding professors in two countries whose research enlightened us about the vast cosmos we live in and its quantum fields that penetrate every creature on earth. The first lecture was given by Professor Leo Kowenhoven at Delft University in the Netherlands, 2015 (here). In his talk Professor Kowenhoven showed how nature itself works through quantum processes...As an example, a plant leaf takes the light of the Sun and, through quantum superposition, electrons find a way to efficiently bind to the oxygen molecule thus they together produce oxygen that is necessary for human life...Professor Kouwenhoven was speaking about building quantum computers already made in the lab - But the most interesting ideas come near the end of the talk where starting around the 11th minute he talks about the big challenges that people face such as spoiling energy, wasting materials, and not getting the right medicine,  then shows how (with investment by big IT companies), super quantum computers would help solve these problems and others such as electrical cables with zero loss of energy, better airplane design, optimization for robotics, machine learning, and of providing healthcare to needy people using nanotechnology, or avoiding the risk of climate change. The second lecture was given by Professor David Tong at Cambridge University in Britain, 2017 (here). 

as Meanwhile, some 10,000 physicists have been busy at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in CERN, Switzerland looking for new findings of sub-particles that have so far generated more questions than answers. Some of the insights explained refer to Einstein's Theory of General Relativity (space-time flow), J. J. Thomson's discovery of the electron, Ernest Rutherford's model of the atom in which he showed by experiment that the mass of the nucleus of an atom fundamentally consists of protons and neutrons while electrons are much lighter that move around the nucleus,  Faraday's discovery of electromagnetism, James Maxwell's work that demonstrated that electric and magnetic fields travel through space as waves at the speed of light, Schrodinger's Wave-Particle Equation used in Quantum Mechanics, Heisenberg's Principle of Uncertainty and the thought-experiment of Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky, and Nathan Rosen (EPR) referred to as "Quantum Entanglement." 
Professor Tong spoke about the inflationary universe that started 13.8 billion years ago. He said that in the first milliseconds, the universe was a huge energy that with time solidified in the galaxies, stars, creating the so-called Black Holes since a Black Hole is that fearsome cosmic phenomenon created when a star dies which then would swallow everything in its surrounding...It is possible that the entire universe would be long dead before a Black Hole eats up the rest of things in its way. But a better understanding is found in this presentation at the World Science Festival in 2015 in the presence of the late British physicist Professor Stephen Hawking here
I studied most of the above introduction to quantum physics in my undergraduate studies in electronic engineering at Ain-Shams University in Cairo. My interest in space has been intensive since my late teens. I have continued to follow developments in quantum physics and space since our arrival to Canada. In reading, I found much material written by Sir John Polkinghorneretired professor of mathematical physics at Cambridge University, on quantum physics starting in the 1980s.  In 1982, Alain Aspect and his team were able to experimentally prove that two photons emitted from the same atom will still be in contact tens of miles away... The reader may wish to listen to his lecture hereJohn Polkinghorne, too, wrote, in one of his latest books: Quantum Physics and Theology in 2008, about relationship as science is attempting to discover it at the subnuclear level: “Quantum theory brought to light a remarkable form of entanglement between subatomic particles that have once interacted with each other (the so-called EPR effect), which implies that they remain effectively a single system however far they may subsequently separate spatially- a counterintuitive togetherness-in-separation that has been abundantly confirmed experimentally as a property of nature. The physical world looks more and more like a universe that would be the fitting creation of the trinitarian God, the One whose deepest reality is relational.” (Cf. John Polkinghorne, 2008, "Quantum Physics and Theology: An Unexpected Kinship" Published by Yale University Press). Dr. Stephen Barr has written extensively on the relationship of quantum physics and theology (See, for example, his article in First Things here).
The above findings support the 2 most important observations in quantum physics:
1. The probabilistic nature of particles which yields the Uncertainty Principle
2. The communication between particles at long distances (quantum entanglement)
From 2 above, everything must be in a relationship to live. In Christianity God is a relatedness or a relationship of selfless love. It is our belief that God the Father being love (1 John 4: 8) abandons the fullness of divinity and gives all he has to his image the Son (John 10:30; Col 1: 15-19; Phil 2: 6-11 ) who in turn returns this  love in the Holy Spirit who is the binding love of Father and Son (John 15). The concept that God is relatedness or relational is found not only in Holy Scriptures but also in doctors of the Church including St. Thomas Aquinas and, in our days,  Joseph Ratzinger (Bishop of Rome Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI).
If this is true, then we can say that the cosmos is signed by the stamp of the Triune God of Christians.
From 1, we all live in a cosmos still in development. Certainty is achieved beyond this life when we are in the togetherness of the family of the kingdom of God.  The reader may wish to read two posts here written in 2013 and 2017 respectively:

Fr. Georges Farah added to my knowledge about another great scientist. Georges LeMaitre, Professor of astronomy and physics at the Catholic University of Louvain from 1923 to the late 1930s is also well-known for his research on the origin of the universe and the Big Bang. He had several discussions with Einstein, Edwin Hubble, and in the United States participated in research at Harvard and MIT, and in Toronto with Ludwik Silberstein. His interest in Catholicism is shown in his Thomist approach to the distinction between "creation" and "beginning".  In order to reconcile the scientific approach with Biblical Christianity, he interpreted Genesis in a non-literal interpretation...Pope Saint John XXIII made him president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences...Georges LeMaitre passed away in 1964.
I should add my experience with, and graduate Masters study of, new technology to the above.
The advances in robotics are related to the advances in quantum computers that work fast and both are related to advances in Artificial Intelligence.
The search engine in Google uses a form of artificial intelligence that allows readers to search the Internet for any combination of words and pictures. Scientists are learning to predict psychosis years in advance.   On November 10, 2017,  IBM announced  its marketing for the first quantum process system -  its "20 qubit IBM Q Commercial Quantum Computer." Artificial Intelligence is also used for marketing of Amazon.com products online...If you look for a book/item on Amazon.com, the next time you open the Amazon.com page associated with Google’s YouTube, you will notice that it displays a set of books/items that you would be interested in buying. More info about the benefits and risks of using artificial intelligence can be found here.
Movies that show futuristic-machines usually give the impression that humanity may one day be enslaved to artificially-intelligent computers. The use of such automated systems by military forces is already found in missiles owned/used by current armies in battles. However, the human mind is still in control. International treaties are signed to protect humanity from the calamities of going to war with the threat of using advanced technology as weapons! But can this technology be used for the good of humanity?
All of the above could be used for reflection and deep thought about the implications as well as the benefits of applying new insights to help humanity.

Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)







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