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My Ancient New Faith

Recently I have connected with some old friends who have become Pastors and ministers in the Protestant tradition. A few questions have arisen about how I reached the decision to become a subdeacon in the Maronite Catholic Church since I grew up Presbyterian. The whole story is included in my first entry on this blog and I would encourage you to look at this if you are curious about how I came to this decision.

My purpose today is to share a new article by our Bishop titled: What it means to be Maronite. It touches on seven key areas of focus that make a lot of sense to me and I believe will give those who read the article a good introduction to being a Maronite. Specifically, the second area of focus where Bishop Gregory talks about Maronites being an ecumenical bridge among many faiths throughout history. I want to continue that tradition with all my new friends no matter what their faith tradition happens to be. I believe this open communication amongst those of different faiths is the key to world peace in the future.

Hope your day is filled Love and Peace and May God Bless you and your family.

Vocational Development

In my work as a vocational rehabilitation counselor, I continue to see people suffering from the economic downturn and job loss. Not only because a medical condition became a disability and changed an individuals ability to their customary work, but from sheer lack of employers need to hire workers. I keep wondering where is this country heading. What does the future bring?

Messages from my spiritual life, which includes church and contemplative prayer, continue to draw me to the term vocation. This is the term used by the church to encourage young parishioners, both male and female, to pursue service to the Church as a Priest, Sister or religious service of some kind. In the catholic church these are life time commitments usually not for those who have a family to support and mortgage to pay.

The word vocational is also used as a career development term. A person’s vocation is their life’s work. The job they are meant to do in service to humanity. I believe each citizen of the world has a vocation to serve in some fashion. It might be in business, education, the trades, high finance or industrial/commercial function. I also believe that when a person’s true vocation is found it will provide the needed income and environment specifically tuned to the style and needs of the individual and will provide a fufilling life. One way to find this vocation is to take career interest inventories or other assessments that help identify careers that fit with the particular aptitudes of an individual. World of Work Inventory is one tool, others include the Harrington Oshea Inventory and Choices. These provide a structured series of questions that the participant answeres about them selves which help draw a logical conclusion. These tools are used in One Stop Career Centers, Adult Education Programs and Vocational Rehabilitation programs through out the country. However, I would suggest that if you do not know your self well, the results from these exercises will not be as acurate as one might like.

I believe we each need to take some time and be with our selves long enough to let go of the external “shoulds” and allow the internal true self to provide the career decision. Then the above assessment tools are used after this they will be wonderful. I have discovered that using a centering or contemplative process prior to the decision making will make the results much more long term and acurate.

So… learn the contemplative prayer. Connect with your Divine within. Then ask God what your vocation should be…. I guarantee it will provide you a future you never thought possible. Let go Let God… Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Winter is coming

Today was cloudy, rainy and had the beginnings of winter cold. No more T shirts or shorts, even to run out to the mailbox. Thanksgiving this year brought great joy to our family. Allison and I invited both sides of the family. My two brothers, their wives and kids, Allison’s Mom, her sister and brother-in-law and my nephew and three of Allison’s aunts. You know those wise wonderful Lebanese Aunts who have an opinion about almost everything and they are usually right. They always have such nice things to say. Our son Matt the chef cooked two turkeys that served 28 people a wonderful meal. We have alot to be thankful for.

Life, work and other important things

I recently started working part-time for a case management agency in addition to my full time job at Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with the Maine Bureau of Rehabilitation Services. This was necessary because of the 20 furlough days all state employees have been required to take without pay. Budget problems you know. I was happy to find some additional work, but unhappy that I will be working more than 50 hours a week to make ends meet. And now we learn that the state budget for 2010 will have a 200 million deficit. How many furlough days can they give us?

It’s funny though… I am not as upset as I might have been 10 years ago. I am actually grateful to be paying my bills and eating on a regular basis. There are many in America, and the world for that matter, who barely eat each day. I think we may have become a little arrogant in our demand for more and better when we should be grateful for what we have. I know I am.

Forgiveness and gratitude are the key perspectives that make this world bearable and in many situations enjoyable, this combined with the Love of family members and friends makes it a pretty great time to be alive. I look forward to solving the problems of the future as a civil servant and VR counselor

May God Bless you and your family.

Stephen in Maine

Faith will Set you Free

Even with the troubles in the world, I remain amazed how when I let the love of God into my daily tasks I feel light and relieved. Even in traffic or other worldly frustrations. But, what I am learning is that it is very selfish to stay in my ideal world. I then engage the people I work with and for and realize they are suffering and my heart is touched with the importance of sharing. All good things come to pass to those who believe. I am now sorting out my thoughts about the history of the church and the need for administrators (Bishops) to govern. I realize there was many mistakes made by individual priests and other faithful, but I have concluded that does not change the true source of creation. The truth is not based on a democritizaion of humanities ideas but of the perfect creation that is.

New Day

One of my first Internet publications in the mid 90’s was about the challenge of my eye injury and how I viewed religion and spirituality. I re-published these original stories on this blog. I think my feelings about religion and spirituality being a personal private affair is changing. How will anyone know how wonderful my faith has supported me over the years unless I tell them. I have begun my studies for the Subdiaconate formation process and have learned much about the early church around Antioch and Edesa. The arguments between faithful about the nature of Christ demonstrate that if the early believers kept their thoughts to them selves they would have never sorted out what they believed to be the truth about the Divine. Now, as I begin this journey to learn the teachings of the one first church and how the divisions were created over time I pray that I will see a possible unity among all the faithfull.