Posts Tagged With: modern

The Modern Prodigal Son

I’ve just arrived home from holidays in Corfu, Greece. On our last day there I took the kids for a drive to Agios Ioannis to visit Aqua land, the second largest water park in Europe.

Going down the slide was so enjoyable and I really loved the thrill of it.

Climbing up the stairs to experience the thrill again was not hard at all and, like a gazelle I had a spring in my step to climb the 100 foot stair case to have another go.

After a while though, I became tired both mentally and physically. Eventually I became discontent with it altogether and as I was climbing the stairs I thought much about how the sins and vices of this life are much the same.

In my youth, (at 32 I’m still young by the way ok?) I loved the thrill of going out and finding a woman to have sex with. The whole act of seduction and the accomplishment of getting her into bed was so great I’d look to do it every weekend.

The same occurred whenever I met with alcohol. Even the sins of anger, when they arose I enjoyed this too. I loved to argue and fight with others over trivial things.

However, after some time, like the prodigal son who had plenty to eat, pretty soon I began to run out of steam like he did his money.

I became hungry for a different kind of food but not even the scraps of the worldly philosophy, Buddhism or Hinduism could satisfy me yet I ate them anyway. I was so tired of the transient vice I found myself stuck in that these fed me for some time.

After time had passed and I became even more tired, the Lord came to me and brought me back to Christianity. I heard his call and of my own free will I came home to him.

Sin is enjoyable but it is not long lasting. We may repeat it time after time but there will come a moment in a mans life when he hungers for something much greater than himself and his sins.

He may look deep inside himself and hear the call and heed it, or ignore it. Although the Lord will often bring home those who never sought him, such a thing is rare. It is more likely that the person who seeks the Lord will find the Lord as long as he resolved to endure in his search.

The Lord is always watching for those who seek him, not through worldly arguments or even religious ones (I.e my doctrines are greater than yours) but those who seek out a relationship with him.

Those who are just looking for proof or to take a peek behind the curtain will never find him because God does not approach the wise.

Those who seek him through some sort of theological argument (I’m not speaking of those who ask questions) will likewise not find him because again, the Lord does not approach the proud and wise.

Those however seeking the Lord for the sake of the Lord himself and to develop a relationship with him because they have become tired of the transient things of this world have more of a chance of finding the Lord or that the Lord will approach and open the door to them.

To be brought back to Christianity is a grace of God and His grace is reserved for those whom he pleases but especially those who seek him with an honest, open and contrite heart because like a clean woman will not tolerate a dirty house, the Holy Spirit will not tolerate a dirty soul and be unlikely to make it his home.

We sin, we enjoy it, we sin again, we enjoy it again. There comes a time however when through the prayers of the Church and the saints, a man in this state will be given the grace necessary to begin a journey on the way….the way home. Like a man whose legs cramp after a days walking in the hot sun, the soul and it’s intellect will likewise begin to experience it’s own cramps and long for the cure to these.

When this longing will happen is up to both the soul and God himself through the prayers of those of us in the Church.

Many however are quite content with the sinful life they lead. For these people only the Grace of God can touch them through both his own will and our prayers. How do I know? Because I too was once indulged in such a frame of mind. It takes one to know one so they say right? Well I was one, my guardian angel is confident I’m still one and have a lot of work to do.

Up next….I talk about my encounter with the relics of St.Spyridon in Corfu town, Greece last week.

 

 

 

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The Modern Salesman

EXPANDING HORIZONS

In recent weeks I was offered a new job going from residential door to door sales into business to business sales with more pay and perks.

It isn’t easy switching but I have to do it simply because the residential door to door sales, whilst enjoyable in its own right, nevertheless began to take its toll on me.

I wanted to expand my horizons and deal with clients on a professional level whilst maintaining my own bit of dignity so when I got the call with an offer to do business to business sales, I took it.

Speaking of dignity I suppose everyone has to start somewhere and whilst people view a sales job ( specifically door to door ) as the last resort for some because there are no jobs out there, it can be the beginning of a big career.

For example one of the biggest sales men on a global scale by the name of Brian Tracy did just that. Like myself he didn’t graduate from high school yet knocked doors in the morning and evening sometimes until 9pm at night.

From there he has now become a multi millionaire and he did it because there was no other job out there but a sales job at the time.

SALESMEN ARE NO LONGER APPRECIATED

The work of a sales man has gained the stereotype of someone who is a good liar and manipulates people to get his sale and money.

Movies like the wolf of wall street and boiler room exemplify and sometimes endorse these stereotypes to the point where the real job of a salesman is no longer appreciated.

However, the wolf of wall street and the boiler room actually exemplify how sales doesn’t work. Whilst they all enjoyed their money in the short term, in the long term it always failed and they got caught.

Every business man knows that if you lie to your prospects then eventually it will come back to bite you in the ass.

When they find out you’ve tricked them it destroys not just your image but the companies image and that one person will take to social media and destroy you. Your whole business and its image will gradually just waste away into nothing.

WE NEED SALESMEN

Without salesmen the economy would collapse. If you don’t get out and sell your product or get someone to do it for you, that means there will be no business and no business means no jobs with benefits for any of us.

In modern sales there is no cheesy smile and one liners that get us in the door. Modern salesmen are people who develop long lasting relationships with their clients and solve problems. it’s as simple as that.

Thats right, we solve problems and if there isn’t a problem to solve and we can’t provide you a service then we simply move on to the next door, office or company until we meet a problem we can solve with our product.

Without this kind of a service everything would fall apart. Therefore the next time you knock door to door in some dimly lit and dangerous neighbourhood at night thinking of yourself as worthless, think again.

YOU’RE WORTH EVERY PENNY

It takes a man with a lot of balls to walk up to some strangers driveway, knock on his door at an inconvienent time when he’s having dinner with his family only to pitch that product with confidence obtaining the sale right there and then.

Not only are you doing it once, but hundreds of times throughout the day, facing objection after objection only to come across two people out of those one hundred houses who will buy from you.

The midday sun is beating down on you, the winter chill and rain is cutting through your very soul yet you’re out there solving problems and bringing that product to peoples homes who otherwise would never have heard about it before now.

Take a bow because you’ve lasted this long and things can only get better because if you can sell a product in those conditions, you can sell anything anywhere.

My brother told me when he heard I wanted to leave and move jobs ”Stephen, I’m surprised you’ve even lasted this long, I never thought you could do that”. When he said that, it was at that point I realised how difficult this job is and how it is portrayed in modern society.

There was me thinking nothing of the job at all and thought it was easy yet it was only when he uttered those words did I begin to realise my worth.

Don’t get down about your job, look at the successful people who took that job just to have a job and are now multi millionaires and talented in every respect when it comes to developing relationships and getting that sale.

You’re not the big short so don’t sell yourself short convincing yourself to be some low life scum. You are a talented person with a God give gift to provide the world economy with a service that if they didn’t get it, would collapse like a house of cards.

CONCLUSION

NOW…STOP CRYING LIKE A LITTLE WOMAN, GET OUT OF YOUR CAR, KNOCK ON THAT DOOR AND SELL THAT PRODUCT!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m Already Missing My Wife And Kids

My Wife and two sons Joseph and Christian I have not spent a night apart from in over 5 years.

Yet Monday coming will see me go off to the city to spend a week in a hotel training for my new job.

I’m driving home from my work today and suddenly like an anaconda tightening around my neck I felt anxious for them and myself.

What will I do without them for such a long period of time? Being without them I will feel like a bycycle with the just the frame and no wheels.

I will look like a man who shows up to a job interview in his casual clothing. In other words I will both feel and look incomplete.

Modern technology however is great isn’t it? You can skype them and phone them. You can take along with you a little photograph of them or look at the many on your laptop, phone, tablet.

I shudder to think of how they did it before technology. I often think about a father going off perhaps to war and never to return.

Communication wasn’t great back then and so you’d never know what happened him and all he himself had was a memory of his children embedded in his heart.

The father would be gone years and would not receive regular updates of what was happening his family or even if they were still alive at all. Heart wrenching stuff.

When I think back like this I realise who over reactive I am being. It’s kinda like how you think your headache is really bad and then you suddenly recall the passion of Jesus and the suffering he endured and all of a sudden your actually kind of thankful for your headache.

Even so, for any of you who have spent time away from a loved one, I am sure you can resonate along side thoughts of my own of just how awful a prospect it can be sometimes.

It’s not nice being removed from the regular Rhythm of you daily life and being placed in the unkown even for a few days. However sometimes these trials are neccesary as we all know absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Stephen

 

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Commentary on Modern Churches From A Very Modern Man.

My brother is a photographer who owns his own business and his approach to photography is always very modern and I guess it has to be taking into account the movability of art and keeping up with the times. His shops ( unlike some photographers) have always been very modern in decor and appearance. Even in his own personal lifestyle he likes to wear all the latest clothes and his house is quite modern too.

With all that in mind, nothing could have prepared me for what he was about to tell me in the car on the way home from leaving my wife off at the hospital last week. We drove past a very modern church built in my neighbourhood in 1995. I made my confirmation there too. As we drove by he shivered his body with discomfort and said ” I just don’t know about those modern churches, I can’t seem to get holy in them or feel holy or any holiness in them.”

According to my very modern brother with fine tastes he really didn’t like the modern churches at all. I was shocked and I kept silent as I didn’t know what to say except to smile a little and nod my head in agreement. Its interesting because he’s not the only one I bet. These modern churches mean well in the sense that they somehow have a desire to transmit the Gospel in a modern era and to try and adapt to modern culture in order to bring people in, but are these modern churches ( most of which are as blank as an A4 page and have little or no artwork in them except one or two statues ) actually having the opposite effect on modern young adults and their desire to be Christian or at least consider Christianity?

The physical appearance of the church is very important and people desire something different than the world. They don’t want to come into the church and see the world again but to worship The Lord and experience that otherness that is the kingdom of heaven, that contrast between the heavenly and the worldly is what we desire.

It is important to be modern in our transmission of the faith but have we gone too far so as to bring the world INTO the church rather than the church INTO the world and make some waves? Isn’t that the whole Christian Gospel message that we stand out on top of the hill and let our light be seen, to be seen to be different from the world so that the world may see us and follow our example?

I think those who are building these churches perhaps need to revisit the blueprint and start all over again. I’d love to see a survey or study of some sort in which people are brought into a modern church and an old baroque style church and asked to compare their experiences of each and all participants to be young and hip and non Christian even. Perhaps only then will the modernist church architect really get the point.

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My Wife Has Cancer.

The word that everyone dreads, the modern-age plague that everyone fears has suddenly come upon my Wife who is six months pregnant. On the 15th of December 2012, the feast of St.John of the Cross ( I have most of his books and he is a favorite saint of mine ) my wife and I are given the horrible news.

We became like two empty people whose bodies were functioning but mind was out of sync ever since then. We left the restaurant that day without paying. We were greeted by the waitress who came waving the bill at us and even then we didn’t even realize we had forgotten to pay the bill until she explained. It seemed to get worse from there on. Audrey ( my wife ) had to shout at me a couple of times to get my attention because I would be found staring into space and likewise with me, sometimes getting her attention was difficult. 

That night we had left the door of the cars open all night. Thank God it didn’t rain but the whole car was frozen on the inside. Anyone could have robbed it but to be honest I don’t think we would have cared.

My wife, my best friend next to Jesus Christ has cancer. The thought of losing ones soul-mate really does flood your heart and mind from then on in. You try not to have that way of thinking and follow peoples advice of keeping it together and staying postitive, but the more I try, all the more such negative thoughts consume me; spreading like a flame my lips are too weak to blow out.

Yesterday I went to Mass alone as Audrey was unwell and it was Rejoice Sunday ( third Sunday of Advent ). Priest said ”Rejoice, rejoice and again I say rejoice”. There I was standing with the most tired eyes from having 4 hours sleep, un-showered, stinking and depressed body & soul. I was trying to find a way to rejoice. How could I rejoice? I had just no reaction in me whatsoever. I left the Church that day and in my forgetfulness I had misplaced my hat and hat to return through the crowd to get it.

Going back to thinking about being told this news on the feast of St.John of the Cross I began to think and meditate on his name. ”St.John of the Cross” I thought, ”He could have picked the name ‘St.John of Joy’ or ‘St.John of flowers’ or ‘St.John of happy smiley faces’. But he didn’t. He chose the name ‘St.John of the Cross’. I thought that this cancer for Audrey is just too hard to bear but When I think now about my wifes suffering and I am wondering where Jesus is, I now think of him on the Cross. ”Yes” I said, ”Jesus is on the Cross looking at us suffering too.” 

Our Lord suffered greatest of us all. The king of kings died a gruesome death for us on the cross, totally united to suffering and also taken aback by it too. His human nature screamed out ”My God my God why have you forsaken me?” Just like we do when we are in terrible suffering. But he stuck it out until the end for Love of His Father and Love of us.

I could spend a lot of time on that one but I am afraid I do not have the time as my wife Audrey is going into hospital tomorrow. She is feeling unwell and I am also. We both are. She is my body, and I am hers. Therefore when my wife is feeling unwell I am too. When my wife is upset, I am also. When she is happy I am happy. But when she feels like having a beer I remind her she is pregnant and I go ahead and have a beer regardless. 😉

I guess what I am trying to say is that although Audreys Cross is a heavy one, I am there to help her carry it and not unwillingly like Symon of Cyrene in the Gospel. We are told to carry our crosses with joy in life and although those words may seem like salt in the wound to some, they are liberating when truly lived. However we are weak and we do fall under this cross and fail to live out such words so I would beg of you for your prayers at this time to help us both get through this, particularly Audrey. The operation is tomorrow at 8am Irish time. I do believe that would be 1pm EST and 3pm PST. I would ask for your prayers for healing and deliverance. I would invite you also to call upon the intercession of St.Gianna Beretta Molla, a Great Saint and Mother who sacrificed her life for her unborn child. She was also a doctor and I am sure she is close by us. She is always around and I am currently doing a Novena in her Honor.

I will leave you with some thoughts. Today I bought a Bonsai Tree. I have not the slightest clue how to look after them. It is just a little tree, I thought it would look nice in my window. I take it home and realize the long list of care and hard work that goes along with taking care of this little tree. I thought to myself ”I might as well have bought a dog”. I wondered how could just a little tree like that require so much care? I have to water it, make sure it stays out of direct sunlight and I also have to feed it within certain months of the year and blah blah blah I could go on forever with the list. Allow me to stop here for a moment because, when you think about it, we are all just little Bonsai trees in the eyes of the Lord Jesus Christ aren’t we? The Blessed Mother sees us this way too. Jesus needs to water us, prune us so that we bear more fruit, ( a painful process but nonetheless a needed one ).

I thought ”This bonsai tree I have bears fruit in summer and flowers, then in winter sheds all this and bears its green leaves and awaits its spring again.” Most often that is an image of us. Like us, Jesus watches how we bear fruit and flower and blossom with happiness and he is there. Then when that period of happiness has gone and the sudden gloom envelops us for sometime, he is there watching us and caring for us also. He does not discard of us because we cease to entertain, but simply listens to our cry for a new spring and then when the almighty is ready he will bend the laws of nature, reach down and give us that spring and we blossom.

I do believe my wife who is experiencing gloom at the moment, with enough prayer, will eventually blossom. Like a Bonsai Tree, we are only small and fragile, and I guess we are only ever safe when entrusted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the care of His Mother also. Our Mother is with us in this pain I just know it. If my son ever decides on the religious life and asks me what name he should choose, I think I’ll tell him to go for ”Bonsai” haha.

Thank you all for reading and thank you for your prayers of healing and deliverance.

Domestic Monk.

 

 

 

 

 

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