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The Truth About Mary & Jesus (II)


When Jesus was on His earthly mission, and He was on one occasion challenged in the Temple about his origin and accused by the Scribes and Pharisees that He “was a common man and that the Christ would not be like him”,  this is how, according to Valtorta (1, pp 464-466), Jesus reacted…..


 ‘Jesus looks in the direction and says in a loud voice: “So you know Me and you know where I come from? Are you sure? And the little you know, does it not mean anything to you? Does it not confirm the prophecies? But you do not know everything about Me, I solemnly tell you that I did not come by Myself and from where you think that I came. It is the very Truth, Whom you do not know, Who sent Me”


‘A cry of indignation rises from the enemies; Jesus continued: “The very Truth .Whose deeds you do not know. Neither do you know His way, along which I came. Hatred cannot be acquainted with the ways and deeds of Love. Darkness cannot stand the sight of Light. But I know Him Who sent Me because I belong to Him, I am part of Him and one Whole with Him. And He sent Me to fulfil what His Thoughts want”.   Said Jesus further:


‘The angels, spiritual creatures, servants of the Most High and His messengers, were created by God, as man, animal and everything that was created. But they were not begotten by God. Because God can beget only another of Himself, as the Perfect One could but beget another Perfect one, another being like Himself, in order not to lower His perfection by begetting a creature inferior to Himself. Now, if God cannot beget the angels or elevate them to the dignity of Sons of His, what will the Son be to Whom He says:  “You are My Son. I begot You today”? And of what nature he will be, if begetting Him, God says pointing Him out to His angels: “And let all the angels of God adore Him. And what will this Son be like to deserve to hear the Father say to Him, the Father by Whose grace men can mention His name with their hearts humbled in adoration: “Sit at My right hand and I will make your enemies a footstool for You”? That Son can but be God like His Father, with Whom He shares attributes and power, and with Whom He enjoys the Charity which gladdens them in the ineffable and unknowable love of Perfection itself”. “


‘But if God does not find it appropriate to elevate an angel to the rank of Son, or to be the Messiah and Redeemer, can He therefore elect a man? And could the Redeemer be only the Son of the Father without assuming human nature, but with means and power exceeding human limitations? Are you as a human being and your proud thoughts not upset by such questions which rise towards the realm of Truth, closer and closer to it, and find a reply only in a humble heart full of faith?’


‘Who is to be the Christ? An Angel? More than an angel. A man? More than a man. A God? Yes, a God.  But joined to human flesh that it may complete the expiation of the guilty flesh. Everything is to be redeemed through the same matter by which it sinned. So God should have sent an angel to expiate the sins of the fallen angels, to expiate on behalf of Lucifer and his angelic followers. Because as you are aware, Lucifer also sinned. But God did not send an angelic spirit to redeem the angels of darkness.

They did not worship the Son of God, and God does not forgive the sin against His Word begotten of His Love’.  But God loves man  and when man sinned  He sends the Man, the only perfect Man, to redeem man and obtain peace with God. ‘And it is according to justice that only a Man-God may fulfil the redemption of man and appease God’.


 ‘And the Father and the Son loved and understood each other.  And the Father said: “I want”.  And the Son said: I want”.  And the Son said: “Give me”.  And the Father said: “Take”, and this flesh was named Jesus Christ, the Messiah, He Who is to redeem men and lead them to the Kingdom, defeat the demon, crush slavery’.


Jesus loved man so much that he sought and obtained from His Father to sacrifice Himself. He loved man so much that He asked to become Man to save man ,’ to  consume all the Sorrow of the world in order to give man eternal salvation’.


Jesus says further to the crowd in the Temple: ‘’To defeat the demon! An angel could not, cannot accomplish what the Son of Man can do.  That is why God does not call angels but the Man to accomplish the great work. Here is the Man whose origin you doubt, you deny or are worried about. Here is the Man acceptable to God. The Man representing all His brothers. The man like you in appearance, superior to and different from you by origin, begotten not of man but of God and consecrated to His ministry…”


“Now consider this: God does not choose an angel to be the Messiah and Redeemer, if God did not find it appropriate to elevate an angel to the rank of Son could he ever have said of Man what he said of Him (at his baptism)  at the ford of Betharaba two years ago?  You heard Him and trembled … because the voice of God is unmistakable, and without His special grace it crushes those who hear it and shakes their hearts. Who is therefore the Man Jesus? Is He perhaps one born of human seed and by the will of Man like all of you? And could the Most High have placed His Spirit to dwell in a body, devoid of grace, like those of men born of canal will?”  Obviously not!  


It is a common disseminated claim that Mary bore children other than Jesus. To support the claim   Gospel accounts from Mathew, John, Acts and Galatians are cited to attest to the notion that Mary bore other children. The children mentioned are four:  James, Joseph Simon and Judas.  ‘The faithful know through the witness of Scripture and Tradition that Jesus was Mary’s only child’ and that she remained a life- long virgin. 

First, let me declare my belief.  I am a Roman Catholic who believes that the so-called Jesus brothers were Jesus cousins and that Mary remained a perpetual virgin.  I will try to show why.  First if you read the Bible closely, you will note that although the Bible talks about “brothers” of Jesus, the Bible also tells us that Joseph was a Nazarite like Jesus. A Nazarite  is a Hebrew who has taken special vows of abstinence. In other words Joseph was a celibate.  In Volume 1 of Valtorta alluded to above, a whole chapter (Chapter 12   is allotted to the ceremony where Joseph is appointed husband of Mary and another chapter (Chapter 13) to the wedding.


 At that engagement ceremony, after the High Priest announced Joseph as the chosen spouse of Mary, the High Priest told Joseph: ‘Mary wishes to inform you of a vow she made’. When the two were left alone after the betrothal ceremony, Joseph confessed to Mary: “I was not expecting to be the chosen one as I am a Nazarite and I have obeyed because it is an order of the Priest, not that I wish to get married”. 

So runs the episode further: ‘Mary is moved and looks at Joseph with a face that has become more and more confident and bright.   She feels certain of him. . When he says ” I am a Nazarite”, her face becomes bright and She takes courage. She said: “Also, I am all of the Lord, Joseph.  I do not know whether the High priest told you…  Joseph replied:” He ( the High Priest) only told me that you are good and pure, that you wish to inform me of a vow, and that I must be good to you. Speak, Mary. Your Joseph wants you to be happy in all your desires. I do not love you with my body. I love you with my soul, holy girl given to me by God. Please see in me a father and a brother, in addition to a husband. And open your heart to me as to a father and rely on me as a brother…”  


Mary in turn said: “Since my childhood I have consecrated myself to the Lord.  I know this is not the custom in Israel. But I heard a voice requesting my virginity as a sacrifice of love for the coming of the Messiah. Israel has been waiting for Him for such a long time! … It is not too much to forgo the joy of being a mother of that!”


‘Joseph gazes at Mary as if he wanted to read her heart then he takes her tiny hands’… and says “I will join my sacrifice to yours and we shall love the Eternal Father so much with our chastity that He will send His Saviour to the world earlier, and will allow us to see His light shining in the world. Come, Mary, Let us go before His House and take an oath that we shall love each other as the angels do…”   


Then during the wedding proper, Joseph takes Mary to one side, and says to her:” I have pondered a lot on your vows these last days. I told you that I will share it with you. But the more I think of it, the more I realise that a temporary Nazaritism is not sufficient, even if renewed several times.  I have understood you, Mary.  I do not yet deserve the word of Light, but a murmur of it comes to me.  And it causes me to read your secret, at least in its maim lines.  I am a poor ignorant man, Mary. A poor workman. I know nothing of letters and I have no treasures.  But I place at your feet my treasure: my absolute chastity”.


Thus, right from the engagement ceremony and the wedding, Joseph had been made aware of Mary as the chosen one for the coming of Jesus into the world and Joseph had entered into a vow with Mary to be holy like angels to await the coming of the Lord. Joseph had pledged himself to absolute chastity even as a husband of Mary.

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Can we cure ourselves from the cancer of corruption?

28th October 2020
DCEC DIRECTOR: Tymon Katholo

Bokani Lisa Motsu

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” Carl Sagan

Corruption is a heavy price to pay. The clean ones pay and suffer at the mercy of people who cannot have enough. They always want to eat and eat so selfishly like a bunch of ugly masked shrews. I hope God forgives me for ridiculing his creatures, but that mammal is so greedy. But corruption is not the new kid on the block, because it has always been everywhere.

This of course begs the question, why that is so? The common answer was and still is – abuse and misuse of power by those in power and weak institutions, disempowered to control the leaders. In 1996, the then President of The World Bank, James D. Wolfensohn named the ‘C-Word’ for the first time during an annual meeting of the Bretton Woods Institutions. A global fight against corruption started. Transparency International began its work. Internal and external audits mushroomed; commissions of inquiry followed and ever convoluted public tender procedures have become a bureaucratic nightmare to the private sector, trying to fight red tape.

The result is sobering corruption today is worse than it was 25 years ago. There is no denying that strong institutions help, but how does it come that in the annual Transparency International Ranking the same group of countries tend to be on the top while another group of countries, many African among them, tend to be on the bottom? Before one jumps to simple and seductive conclusions let us step back a moment.

Wolfensohn called corruption a cancer that destroys economies like a cancer destroys a body. A cancer is, simplified, good cells in a body gone bad, taking control of more and more good cells until the entire body is contaminated and eventually dies. So, let us look at the good cells of society first: they are family ties, clan and tribe affiliation, group cohesion, loyalty, empathy, reciprocity.

Most ordinary people like the reader of these lines or myself would claim to share such values. Once we ordinary people must make decisions, these good cells kick in: why should I hire a Mrs. Unknown, if I can hire my niece whose strengths and weaknesses I know? If I hire the niece, she will owe me and support my objectives.

Why should I purchase office furniture from that unknown company if I know that my friend’s business has good quality stuff? If I buy from him, he will make an extra effort to deliver his best and provide quality after sales service? So, why go through a convoluted tender process with uncertain outcome? In the unlikely case my friend does not perform as expected, I have many informal means to make him deliver, rather than going through a lengthy legal proceeding?

This sounds like common sense and natural and our private lives do work mostly that way and mostly quite well.

The problem is scale. Scale of power, scale of potential gains, scale of temptations, scale of risk. And who among us could throw the first stone were we in positions of power and claim not to succumb to the temptations of scale? Like in a body, cancer cells start growing out of proportion.

So, before we call out for new leaders – experience shows they are rarely better than the old ones – we need to look at ourselves first. But how easy is that? If I were the niece who gets the job through nepotism, why should I be overly critical? If I got a big furniture contract from a friend, why should I spill the beans? What right do I have to assume that, if I were a president or a minister or a corporate chief procurement officer I would not be tempted?

This is where we need to learn. What is useful, quick, efficient, and effective within a family or within a clan or a small community can become counterproductive and costly and destructive at larger corporate or national scale. Our empathy with small scale reciprocity easily permeates into complacency and complicity with large scale corruption and into an acquiescence with weak institutions to control it.

Our institutions can only be as strong as we wish them to be.

I was probably around ten years old and have always been that keen enthusiastic child that also liked to sing the favourite line of, ‘the world will become a better place.’  I would literally stand in front of a mirror and use my mom’s torch as a mic and sing along Michael Jackson’s hit song, ‘We are the world.’

Despite my horrible voice, I still believed in the message.  Few years later, my annoyance towards the world’s corrupt system wonders whether I was just too naïve. Few years later and I am still in doubt so as to whether I should go on blabbing that same old boring line. ‘The world is going to be a better place.’ The question is, when?

The answer is – as always: now.

This is pessimistic if not fatalistic – I challenge Sagan’s outlook with a paraphrased adage of unknown origin: Some people can be bamboozled all of the time, all people can be bamboozled some of the time, but never will all people be bamboozled all of the time.

We, the people are the only ones who can heal society from the cancer of corruption. We need to understand the temptation of scale and address it. We need to stop seeing ourselves just a victim of a disease that sleeps in all of us. We need to give power to the institutions that we have put in place to control corruption: parliaments, separation of power, the press, the ballot box. And sometimes we need to say as a niece – no, I do not want that job as a favour, I want it because I have proven to be better than other contenders.

It is going to be a struggle, because it will mean sacrifices, but sacrifices that we have chosen, not those imposed on us.

Let us start today.

*Bokani Lisa Motsu is a student at University of Botswana

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Accounting Officers are out of touch with reality

19th October 2020

Parliament, the second arm of State through its parliamentary committees are one of Botswana’s most powerful mechanisms to ensure that government is held accountable at all times. The Accounting Officers are mostly Permanent Secretaries across government Ministries and Chief Executive Officers, Director Generals, Managing Directors of parastatals, state owned enterprises and Civil Society.

So parliament plays its oversight authority via the legislators sitting on a parliamentary committee and Accounting Officers sitting in the hot chair.  When left with no proper checks and balances, the Executive is prone to abuse the arrangement and so systematic oversight of the executive is usually carried out by parliamentary committees.  They track the work of various government departments and ministries, and conduct scrutiny into important aspects of their policy, direction and administration.

It is not rocket science that effective oversight requires that committees be totally independent and able to set their own agendas and have the power to summon ministers and top civil servants to appear and answer questions. Naturally, Accounting Officers are the highest ranking officials in the government hierarchy apart from cabinet Ministers and as such wield much power and influence in the performance of government.  To illustrate further, government performance is largely owed to the strategic and policy direction of top technocrats in various Ministries.

It is disheartening to point out that the recent parliament committees — as has been the case all over the years — has laid bare the incompetency, inadequacy and ineptitude of people bestowed with great responsibilities in public offices. To say that they are ineffective and inefficient sounds as an understatement. Some appear useless and hopeless when it comes to running the government despite the huge responsibility they possess.

If we were uncertain about the degree at which the Accounting Officers are incompetent, the ongoing parliament committees provide a glaring answer.  It is not an exaggeration to say that ordinary people on the streets have been held ransom by these technocrats who enjoy their air conditioned offices and relish being chauffeured around in luxurious BX SUV’s while the rest of the citizenry continue to suffer. Because of such high life the Accounting Officers seem to have, with time, they have gotten out of touch with the people they are supposed to serve.

An example; when appearing before the recent Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Office of the President Permanent Secretary, Thuso Ramodimoosi, looked reluctant to admit misuse of public funds. Although it is clear funds were misused, he looked unbothered when committee members grilled him over the P80 million Orapa House building that has since morphed into a white elephant for close to 10 successive years. To him, it seems it did not matter much and PAC members were worried for nothing.

On a separate day, another Accounting officer, Director of Public Service Management (DPSM), Naledi Mosalakatane, was not shy to reveal to PAC upon cross-examination that there exist more than 6 000 vacancies in government. Whatever reasons she gave as an excuse, they were not convincing and the committee looked sceptical too. She was faltering and seemed not to have a sense of urgency over the matter no matter how critical it is to the populace.

Botswana’s unemployment rate hoovers around 18 percent in a country where majority of the population is the youth, and the most affected by unemployment. It is still unclear why DPSM could underplay such a critical matter that may threaten the peace and stability of the country.
Accounting Officers clearly appear out of touch with the reality out there – if the PAC examinations are anything to go by.

Ideally the DPSM Director could be dropping the vacancy post digits while sourcing funds and setting timelines for the spaces to be filled as a matter of urgency so that the citizens get employed to feed their families and get out of unemployment and poverty ravaging the country.
The country should thank parliamentary committees such as PAC to expose these abnormalities and the behaviour of our leaders when in public office. How can a full Accounting Officer downplay the magnitude of the landless problem in Botswana and fail to come with direct solutions tailor made to provide Batswana with the land they desperately need?

Land is a life and death matter for some citizens, as we would know.

When Bonolo Khumotaka, the Accounting Officer in the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, whom as a top official probably with a lucrative pay too appears to be lacking sense of urgency as she is failing on her key mandate of working around the clock to award the citizens with land especially those who need it most like the marginalised.  If government purports they need P94 billion to service land to address the land crisis what is plan B for government? Are we going to accept it the way it is?

Government should wake up from its slumber and intervene to avoid the 30 years unnecessary waiting period in State land and 13 years in Tribal land.  Accounting Officers are custodians of government policy, they should ensure it is effective and serve its purpose. What we have been doing over the years, has proved that it is not effective, and clearly there is a need for change of direction.

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Is it possible to make people part of your business resilience planning after the State of Public Emergency?

12th October 2020

THABO MAJOLA

His Excellency Dr Mokgweetsi EK Masisi, the President of the Republic of Botswana found it appropriate to invoke Section 17 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Botswana, using the powers vested in him to declare a State of Public Emergency starting from the 2nd April 2020 at midnight.

The constitutional provision under Section 17 (2b) only provided that such a declaration could be up to a maximum of 21 days. His Excellency further invoked Section 93 (1) to convene an extra- ordinary meeting of Parliament to have the opportunity to consult members of parliament on measures that have been put in place to address the spread and transmission of the virus. At this meeting Members of Parliament passed a resolution on the legal instruments and regulations governing the period of the state of emergency, and extended its duration by six (6) months.

The passing of the State of Emergency is considered as a very crucial step in fighting the near apocalyptic potential of the Novel COVID-19 virus. One of the interesting initiatives that was developed and extended to the business community was a 3-month wage subsidy that came with a condition that no businesses would retrench for the duration of the State of Public Emergency. This has potentially saved many people’s jobs as most companies would have been extremely quick to reduce expenses by downsizing. Self-preservation as some would call it.

Most organisations would have tried to reduce costs by letting go of people, retreated and tried their best to live long enough to fight another day. In my view there is silver lining that we need to look at and consider. The fact that organisations are not allowed to retrench has forced certain companies to look at the people with a long-term view.

Most leaders have probably had to wonder how they are going to ensure that their people are resilient. Do they have team members who innovate and add value to the organisation during these testing times? Do they even have resilient people or are they just waiting for the inevitable end? Can they really train people and make them resilient? How can your team members be part of your recovery plan? What can they do to avoid losing the capabilities they need to operate meaningfully for the duration of the State of Public Emergency and beyond?

The above questions have forced companies to reimagine the future of work. The truth is that no organisation can operate to its full potential without resilient people. In the normal business cycle, new teams come on board; new business streams open, operations or production sites launch or close; new markets develop, and technology is introduced. All of this provides fresh opportunities – and risks.

The best analogy I have seen of people-focused resilience planning reframes employees as your organisation’s immune system, ready and prepared to anticipate risks and ensure they can tackle challenges, fend off illness and bounce back more quickly.  So, how do you supercharge your organizational immune system to become resilient?

COVID-19 has helped many organisations realize they were not as prepared as they believed themselves to be. Now is the time to take stock and reset for the future. All the strategies and plans prior to COVID-19 arriving in Botswana need to be thrown out of the window and you need to develop a new plan today. There is no room for tweaking or reframing. Botswana has been disrupted and we need to accept and embrace the change. What we initially anticipated as a disease that would take a short term is turning out to be something we are going to have to live with for a much longer time. It is going to be a marathon and therefore businesses need to have a plan to complete this marathon.

Start planning. Planning for change can help reduce employee stress, anxiety, and overall fear, boosting the confidence of staff and stakeholders. Think about conducting and then regularly refreshing a strategic business impact analysis, look at your employee engagement scores, dig into your customer metrics and explore the way people work alongside your behaviours and culture. This research will help to identify what you really want to protect, the risks that you need to plan for and what you need to survive during disruption. Don’t forget to ask your team members for their input. In many cases they are closest to critical business areas and already have ideas to make processes and systems more robust.

Revisit your organisational purpose. Purpose, values and principles are powerful tools. By putting your organisation’s purpose and values front and center, you provide clear decision-making guidelines for yourself and your organisation. There are very tough and interesting decisions to make which have to be made fast; so having guiding principles on which the business believes in will help and assist all decision makers with sanity checking the choices that are in front of them. One noticeable characteristic of companies that adapt well during change is that they have a strong sense of identity. Leaders and employees have a shared sense of purpose and a common performance culture; they know what the company stands for beyond shareholder value and how to get things done right.

Revisit your purpose and values. Understand if they have been internalised and are proving useful. If so, find ways to increase their use. If not, adapt them as necessities, to help inspire and guide people while immunizing yourself against future disruption. Design your employee experience. The most resilient, adaptive and high performing companies are made up of people who know each other, like each other, and support each other.

Adaptability requires us to teach other, speak up and discuss problems, and have a collective sense of belonging. Listening to your team members is a powerful and disruptive thing to do. It has the potential to transform the way you manage your organisation. Enlisting employees to help shape employee experience, motivates better performance, increases employee retention and helps you spot issues and risks sooner. More importantly, it gives employees a voice so you can get active and constructive suggestions to make your business more robust by adopting an inclusive approach.

Leaders need to show they care. If you want to build resilience, you must build on a basis of trust. And this means leaders should listen, care, and respond. It’s time to build the entire business model around trust and empathy. Many of the employees will be working under extreme pressure due to the looming question around what will happen when companies have to retrench. As a leader of a company transparency and open communication are the most critical aspects that need to be illustrated.

Take your team member into confidence because if you do have to go through the dreaded excise of retrenchment you have to remember that those people the company retains will judge you based on the process you follow. If you illustrate that the business or organization has no regard for loyalty and commitment, they will never commit to the long-term plans of the organisation which will leave you worse off in the end. Its an absolutely delicate balance but it must all be done in good faith. Hopefully, your organization will avoid this!

This is the best time to revisit your identify and train your people to encourage qualities that build strong, empathetic leadership; self-awareness and control, communication, kindness and psychological safety.  Resilience is the glue that binds functional silos and integrates partners, improves communications, helps you prepare, listen and understand. Most importantly, people-focused resilience helps individuals and teams to think collectively and with empathy – helping you respond and recover faster.

Article written by Thabo Majola, a brand communications expert with a wealth of experience in the field and is Managing Director of Incepta Communications.

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