Vanity of vanities, all is vanity

Pietre Vive Malta

The title is an old testament quotation (Ecclesiastes 1:2) offering the foundations for a type of painting called vanitas. These essentially consist of still life paintings which flourished in the Netherlands throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth century. The aim of such paintings was to deliver a morally-driven message by putting a distinction between objects symbolising mortality and those symbolising worldly pleasure. One of the pioneers ...

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Honour thy father and thy mother

Christine Galea

Growing older seems to be taking its toll on my younger, somewhat rebellious, self! Not that I ever was very troublesome in my coming-of-age years (if one excludes a consistent tendency to speak my mind too plainly and my insistence upon having things my way!). Besides, there is no denying that since my days of early motherhood, which were characterised by a strong sense of ...

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Il-Festi u x-Xorb

Aġenzija Sedqa

Issa anke mal-festi qabdu?! Lanqas tista’ tixrob xarba bil-kwiet (insomma mhux eżatt bil-kwiet, imma taf xi rrid ngħid).M’għandhomx x’jagħmlu jaqaw? Ara naqra, x’fiha ħażin li xxarrab naqra griżmejk fil-marċ u waqt il-purċissjoni? Mhux kulħadd jixrob? Aħna l-Maltin hekk imdorrijin. Li kien għalihom dawn iħassruhielna festa bil-qabda prietki kontra x-xorb. Għax ma jħalluniex bi kwietna niddevertu u niċċelebraw kif nafu aħna? Diffiċli timmaġina festa mingħajr xorb. Donnu ...

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Much Confusion

Maria Vella

Those who have met them at some point in their life or have been lucky enough to work with them, know them as MCs; others refer to them by their official name – the Missionaries of Charity; however, they are more commonly known as the Sisters of Mother Teresa. One expects from such a huge organisation, which caters for thousands if not millions of poor ...

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From ‘doing’ human to ‘being’ human

Christine Galea

Recently I came across a very interesting book by American author John Bradshaw.  One of the quotes which really grabbed my attention was “we are human BEings and not human DOings”.   This led me to reflect upon how important it is to keep our priorities in order and on the value of slowing down every so often, to evaluate whatever it is we are doing, ...

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We are not God

Fr Gilbert Scicluna

As I was nearing the first anniversary from my priestly ordination, I stopped for some days of rest and reflection. I started rereading the book Heart of the World by Hans Urs von Balthasar, which begins by describing human persons as “Prisons of finitude”! This somewhat shocking statement is not the fruit of some Platonic allegory or a Nietzschean description of man before the revelation ...

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Sacralising Feminism

Jean Claude Attard

Defining feminism is controversial. Not even self-acclaimed feminists seem to agree amongst themselves about what feminism is. Gloria Steinem famously claimed that “Feminism is not about a piece of the existing pie… It’s about baking a new pie.” The writer, lecturer, political activist and feminist organiser argues that feminism is about making life fairer for women everywhere. Jessa Crispin, on the other hand, describes Steinem’s ...

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How much is too much?

Christine Galea

We might as well face it… the wedding season is in full swing! Indeed, May and June are reputed to be two of the most popular months for couples to tie the knot. And why not? The weather is normally absolutely beautiful during late Spring and the scorching summer heat is still at bay, so the couple can set their minds at rest where that ...

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Good intentions are not enough

Dr Andrew Camilleri

You can almost feel it on your skin. That mixture of excitement and nervousness that is emanated when a group of young people gather in one place with a particular goal in mind. Goal is a very generous word, because goals require planning and serious reflection, but most people in this room don’t really know what has brought them there, nor what it is that ...

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The painter who cut up his own masterpiece

Pietre Vive Malta

The newly-built Amsterdam town hall was to feature a stirring depiction of a legendary meeting, at night, between tribal chiefs about to revolt against their Roman invaders. The above painting is what Rembrandt, the great Dutch painter commissioned to paint the meeting, came up with. This is, according to art historian Simon Schama, ugliness. The Conspiracy of the Batavians under Claudius Civilis was, of course, rejected. ...

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