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Stewardship and Trusteesh
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  DEVOTIONAL  
 
   
Letter to Metropolitan
  By Rev A.P. Jacob and five other priests  
  Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar  
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  COUNSELING
 
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  JOBS AND CAREERS  
     
 
   
  Charity begins at home  
  By Anand Muttungal

THE social teachings of Jesus Christ have influenced millions around the world. Members of the Catholic Church have responded well to this clarion call to develop the world from a socio-economic point of view based on justice and peace.

The words of Christ teach us: "He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none, and he who has food let him do likewise." (Luke 3:11). In the Gospel of Mathew, Lord Jesus makes it clearer by saying, "I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me." His command to extend help to everyone is being observed strictly.

The Indian Catholic Church officially began to take up social development projects in 1962 through Carithas India, its social apostolate organisation. The Catholic Church extends assistance regardless of caste, class and creed. It is involved in humanitarian assistance in calamities, rehabilitation programmes, empowerment of women and children, restoration of human rights, economic empowerment programmes, gender equality programmes, natural and human resource management, education of technologies to farmers, and other social activities. The Church also has a large network of health services in rural areas.

Carithas India invests around Rs 70 crore every year, through various partners, of which 10 per cent is collected from Catholic lay members in India. However, economically poor Catholics are not given preference in these projects.

The dioceses and religious congregations through their own sources invest another Rs 30 crore. Each diocese and religious congregation sets apart around 500 personnel for this work. The whole idea of spending so much money and engaging so many hands is no doubt for the development of the country. A good gesture indeed!

I have travelled through many parts of the country and have conversed with as many people as possible. The plight of economically marginalised Christians, to my surprise, has not become any better, despite the fact that they constitute a large chunk of the Christian population. However, the social apostolate of the Church in India appears to be immune to this stark reality and has not come out with any concrete programme to uplift socially deprived Christians and bring them into the mainstream.

Can the Church wash off its responsibility towards the deprived section of our (Christian) community with the argument that we receive funds for non-religious works? Can it continue to ignore their plea for help to stand up and join the mainstream of life? How long will the Church shut its doors to them?

I recently refused to be a member of a church-run social work core group as the social development projects had no programme to cover my economically backward (Christian) brothers and sisters. My argument is simple: If the Church pumps in huge amounts of money and engages its trained manpower, especially those who have taken a vow to safeguard the interests of the Catholic Church, then a major share must be for the economically poor belonging to Lord Jesus. It should not be seen as charity, but their right as disciples of Christ Jesus.

I fight with tooth and nail against the Madhya Pradesh Government's proposal to bring about the Christian Property Regulation Act. I have conversed with hundreds of Catholic, non-Catholic and non-Christians on this matter. A majority of them support the bill because of insignificant care given by the Church to the economically poor Catholics and Christians. It is high time the Catholic Church in India brings out a clear policy on its social apostolate, preferential option to poor Catholics, Christians and lower middle class Catholics.

It's time we reflected on this great saying: Charity begins at home.
 
   
   
  Success sutra  
 
By I.M. Soni

IF your constant refrain is, "I can't. It can't be done. I do not have the luck except of the bad kind. Things always go the way opposite I want", then you are inflicting a psychological injury on your own self. You are crippling your chances of a bright career and life.

This negative trend gets so deeply sunk into your personality that failure, gloom and self-disapproval become an integral part of your whole being.

However, this need not be so. Negative can give way to positive. It is easy because both are required thought patterns. You are not born a negative. You can now become a positive. Learn from the photographer. He develops negatives into positives. Be your own photographer!

In simple words, the negative and destructive or disintegrating forces can be forced out, and replaced with new and constructive ones, which re-build your personality.

Negative thinking generates a circle that goes on re-cycling emotional toxins. Regrets, self-distrust, anticipation of failures, creeping tears build an invisible horror edifice of inside you.

Each time you become a little more like what you dread like being, you forge one more link to the vicious chain.

If it is true of negative thoughts, it is also true of positive ones. Positives begin to reverse the negatives, just as glimmers of light dispel thickness of darkness. One solid positive thought lays the foundation of a cheerful edifice.

The antidotes for poisons of failure and false ambition exist in one's own mind. Replace them.

Experiments made by Elmer C Gates have shown that depressing emotions generate injurious compounds. Agreeable emotions generate chemical compounds that stimulate cells to generate energy.

"For each bad emotion", says Gates, "there is a corresponding chemical change in the tissues of the body. Every good emotion makes a life-promoting change. Every thought, which enters the mind, is registered in the brain by a change in structure of its cells. The change is a physical change more or less permanent".

You can build your own mind by calling up pleasant memories and ideas. Summon feelings of benevolence and unselfishness. Heaven and hell exist in your own mind!

Devote time to these emotional gymnastics. At the end of a month you will find the change in yourself that will be apparent in your actions and thoughts.

Anger, for example, changes the chemical properties of the saliva to a poison dangerous to life. Sudden and violent emotions can weaken the heart in a few hours, and can cause imbecility, even death.

"Suppose half a dozen men are there in a room", says Professor Gates; "one of them feels depressed, another remorseful, another ill-tempered, another jealous, another cheerful, another benevolent. Samples of their perspiration are placed in the hands of the psychophysicist. Under his examination, they reveal all those emotional conditions distinctly and unmistakably.

Strong emotion causes vomiting. Extreme anger or fright may produce jaundice. A violent fit of rage has caused apoplexy and death. Indeed. A single night of mental agony has wrecked a life.

Use emotional chemistry to neutralise a thought with the opposite thought, just as an acid is neutralised by an alkaline antidote.

Harmony neutralises discord. The health thought will antidote the ailing, sick thought. You cannot smile and scowl at the same time.

Replace "I am ailing. I am dying" with "I am well and kicking. I am growing in vitality. Why should I nurse death thoughts?" Nothing exhausts life as hatred, jealousy and revenge.

Those who nurse these passions are worn out; look haggard, even before they have reached middle age. They are premature fossils of life.

If you have a fever, you go to a physician for an antidote, but when jealousy or hatred is raging within, you suffer until the fever gradually wears itself out, not knowing that by an application of love, which would quickly antidote it, you could easily have avoided suffering and the wear and tear of the system.

You cannot drive darkness out of a room. Let in the light and the darkness flees. The way to get rid of failure is to flood the mind with success.

Vijaya, a struggling journalist has acquired the habit of refreshing her mind even in the most trying and exacting conditions. Knowing the power of mental images to renew the mind, she has learned to eliminate all those that suggest dark, unfortunate images, by dwelling on their opposites -- those that bring beautiful, cheerful, uplifting, encouraging pictures to her mind.

Through the magic of chemistry, she has been able to maintain serenity and balance that endear her to all who know her.

In the past, you have been pilling one gloomy thought on another and have built a solid wall. Now, reverse the process.

As a starter, use Emil Coue's famous: "every day in every way, I am getting better and better". Such a positive affirmation repeated loudly echoes in your mind, driving out the doubts, your traitors.

You can adopt a multi-dimensional approach -- personal, significance, work, people, life.

If you look upon yourself as worthless, a waif afloat on the water of life, you will reflect it in your words and actions. If you exhibit a bright image, confident words and self-assured behaviour, it will manifest in your life.

Negative thinking hinges on a feeling of inferiority and worthlessness just as positive thinking on personal worth. It is important to have a feeling of personal significance. You are unique as individual.

Positive thinking is a way of looking at life. Sometimes, a negative approach springs from wanting to do things you are not fit enough to do. You misfire.

There must be self-acceptance in ample measure. Your real potential may be unexplored but you go about exploring what really does not belong to you. This happens when you try to be someone other than your own self.

A classmate of mine desperately tried to become like me. But his efforts were wasted because he was not trying to explore and realise his own potential. He was trying to imitate me. This happens to many because they nurse delusions about themselves either by overestimating or underestimating themselves.

How do you look at your work? Do you look upon it as a necessary evil? If so, then a current of gloom flows in your thinking. You go about life as a lost soul. But positive thinking and belief in self will keep the frustrations of failure out of your life and career. (Courtesy: The Tribune)
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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