Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Syriac Orthodox, Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Quad Centum (Issue 400) Souvenir Edition

Volume 7 No. 400 March 1, 2017
 

Chapter 20: Featured Articles

People-Pleasers: Seeking Approval of Others

People should seek approval of only one person, their Heavenly Father and Creator. This simplifies life enormously! A person could then say: "Wow, that's a relief (big sigh and breath of relief)!" ...

Arch-Corepiscopa Most Rev. Curien Kaniamparambil - A Great Father

There is no priest like our Arch Cor Episcopa – A UNIQUE MAN - respected as a Scholar and Malpan, by everyone in Malankara. ...

Cultural Mutation

It doesn't matter if no one has done what you have done before. Dream big because God gave you talents that are meant to make an impact in His world. It doesn't always matter what others want because YOU are the main character of your story and you have to act like it…otherwise, who will? ...

I Saw a Future Judge in My Drywall Repair Boy!

I took notice of this unusually charming and pleasant young man who came to discuss with me a drywall repair opportunity at my home. Rafa, as he introduced himself, found to be smart with his words and was equally sharp and intelligent. ...

Ancient Christian Monuments in Kerala : Some Points of Concern

Robinet Jacob, Head of Tourism Studies at Mahatma Gandhi University, says that the Kerala Christians have shown no interest in conserving heritage sites, despite having several churches that are centuries old. For example, he says, "Kottayam District alone has 15 churches more than 500 years old. Several such churches have been razed and new ones built in their places." Mr. Robinet adds that the church should immediately set up a heritage department and take steps to protect historically important sites. ...

Mannetho of St.Severius in the Syriac Text of the Holy Qurbono

The Prayer of the Celebrant, Response of the Congregation and the Maneetho of St.Severius at the Commencement of the of the Open Celebration of the Holy Qurbono of the Syriac Orthodox Church...

More Featured (Invited) Articles Found Elsewhere in This Issue

Messianic Approaches to Absolve Sin

Messiah, the word of God, incarnated to redeem the sinners from their sin. Sin is an inexorable hazard and an ingrained epidemic deep rooted in our everyday life. .. Confessing sin and communion of His Body and Blood are essential for the redemption of sins and to inherit an eternal life.  ...

God Given JOY

We are called to always love God, love others, and then ourselves. And by doing this, we will not only gain joy for ourselves and help spread it to others, but God will feel joy for the joy that we found in him. ...

The Empowered Servant

God has empowered us in order to serve the world as He sees fit and to be the good in the world. He has empowered us to serve humanity as He serves whereby we can serve Him. ...

Prayer: A Fluid and Dynamic Process

My mother taught me the hymn, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" when I was in primary school. This hymn epitomizes prayer and I very often find myself going back to the words of this hymn. Above all, my mother's faith in God's presence in every situation, especially in her last few years of life, has given me the lifeline to hang on to prayer no matter what my circumstance is. ...

 Chapter 20: Featured Articles

People-Pleasers: Seeking Approval of Others

George Aramath
by George Aramath, Dallas, TX

Does the opinion of others about a person matter? Scripture tells us: "A good name is to be more desired than great wealth."1 St. Paul specifies one qualification to be elder in the church is: "He must have a good reputation with those outside the church"2. So it appears that the opinion of others should be valued.

It's like the incident of a priest who at the conclusion of his service, an older member who usually didn't say much shook the priest's hand and said, "Thanks for the message, Reverend. You know, you must be smarter than Einstein." Beaming with pride after hearing this approval, the minister said, "Why, thank you!" As the week went by, the priest began to think about the man's compliment. The more he thought, the happier he became. On the other hand, he was also curious about what quality made him so smart. The next Sunday he asked that older man: "So exactly what did you mean that I must be smarter than Einstein?" The man replied, "Well, Reverend, they say that Einstein was so smart that only ten people in the entire world could understand him. But father, no one can understand you."3

We like to be complemented and approved by others. And when we get these accolade, we also like to remember them often. One may seek approval from parents, or maybe their boss, a family member or friend. In fact, when one examines the subject of approval seeking, it comes in many forms:

  • The show-off in school usually seeks approval of others
  • The parent who consistently fails to discipline their children
  • The person in a relationship who is passive and submissive
  • The person who predominately spends their money on status symbols (new car, expensive clothing or newest electronic gadgets)
  • Or the person who is on an extreme exercise or diet

All these people are typically looking for approval from others. So returning back to the original question, is there anything wrong with seeking approval. The answer lies in how much of this praise and approval we seek.

A father living in the modern century, commented the following: "You know, I really notice that Instagram and Facebook is really tough on girls because no one really has a bad day and then take a picture of it. What you do on Instagram is you take 18 pictures, and the best one with the perfect lighting, you put it online."4 Indeed, hardly anyone ever shows a big pimple and say that's the one they'll put online. They appear skinny, look cute, and have the perfect smile.

The father then went on to say, "I always tell my daughters: ‘Don't crave acceptance.' Instagram, Facebook, social media, it all says: ‘Look at me, I'm happy.' What's really happening is that we're craving acceptance. ‘Don't crave it', he tells them."5

Experts write that more millennials than ever before are craving external validation, regardless of how secure and confident they actually are. Blame it on the so-called "Generation Validation" effect, which is rooted in social media. "Twenty- and thirty-somethings have gotten so accustomed to receiving praise online - think Instagram likes and Facebook comments - that they've started to expect that same amount of validation offline, too," explains Robert Leahy, PhD, a clinical psychologist in New York City and author of Beat the Blues Before They Beat You.6

It's not just the young ones who face this trend. Most people like to snaps that perfect photo with a funny comment on it. And right after they puts it up on Facebook or Instagram, they wait for the love. They check the post again to see how many people liked it. Once the likes come and others start sharing the post, they get a sense of self-satisfaction.

Some may be thinking, what's wrong with this practice? What's the big deal? A University of Michigan study published in the Journal of Social Issues found that those who base their own self-worth on external sources, like approval from others, reported more stress, less self-esteem, and other negative symptoms.7 Why so? When people are driven by a craving for acceptance and it's given, they only want more. The anxious pursuit of more only increases the sense of not enough.

Let's now examine Scripture to bring some light into this subject:

Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. (Yes, he's getting approval and likes!) "Where did this man get these things?" they asked. "What's this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son?" 8

In other words, they took offense at his humble birth. Instead of thinking that this person from humble background must be sent from God, they disapproved of him. You see, even God Himself, couldn't please everyone! He got so many dislikes. And how does Christ respond to this disapproval? Jesus said to them: "'A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.' He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith."9

Christ did not take offence or start worrying about His disapproval. How could Christ have such a reaction? He had six powerful words to live by. These words from John 8:29b are simple, but they'll change one's life as well, if they also makes it the core of their life: "I always do what pleases Him." Christ lived only for His Father's approval. At baptism, Christ heard voice from heaven: "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well-pleased."10

St. Paul also possessed this core after his conversion. He said, "Am I now trying to win the approval of men or of God? If I were trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ"11. In other words, one's focus needs to change from the horizontal level to vertical. Psychologist mention that one of ways to overcome approval seeking is to have a core foundation to one's life. Billy Graham's daughter puts it another way: "I'm living my life for an audience of one. I live my life to please God. And I believe if He's pleased, that people like my mother and my daddy, my grandparents, you know, my husband, my children, they'll be pleased."12

There was a young man who made his first appearance as a concert piano player. His masterful playing brought the audience to their feet at the end of the concert. Backstage, his manager said, "They love you, man! Cheer up! Look at them! They're standing and clapping!" But the young man's attention was not on the audience; he was looking around the hall. He finally found the person he was looking for and he started to smile. "Look in the balcony," he said with joy. The manager peeked around the curtain and he saw one white-haired man in the balcony who was standing and applauding. "That one man! What about him?" He looked at his manager said, "That's not just one man. That's my father." It didn't matter to that piano player what the crowd thought. Only one opinion mattered. Only one man's approval did he seek: his father.

God has wired humans accordingly: to seek approval of one person, their heavenly Father, the Creator. Sadly, one oftentimes loses sight of Him in their desire to seek the applause of the crowd. There are many people, more than one thinks, that fell into the trap of approval seeking. Scripture is filled with examples, starting with Adam eating the fruit given by Eve. Though Scripture doesn't tell us why, some have written that Adam took the fruit partially to obtain Eve's approval.13 Other examples include:

  • Aaron, the priest, made a golden calf to get approval of the people.
  • Saul's, the first king of Israel, heart turned dark and ugly when he saw that David was getting more approval from the people than him.
  • Solomon, the wise one, went after the approval of his wives by worshipping foreign gods.
  • Pilate, the ruler, allowed Christ to be crucified mainly because he sought the approval of the people.

People should seek approval of only one person, their Heavenly Father and Creator. This simplifies life enormously! A person could then say: "Wow, that's a relief (big sigh and breath of relief)!" As Christ tells us: "'Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.'"14 This message certainly is an emotional relief that can provide emotional rest.

One may not realize that seeking approval also connects with the 10 Commandments. People-pleasing is a form of idolatry. The first commandment is simply: "Don't have any gods before me."15 Anything one put before God becomes a god. So a career approval could be a god. Approval from a girl or boy, man or woman could be a god. Anything that becomes number one in their life that isn't God becomes their god.

There's a classic book on this subject of seeking approval: When People are Big and God is Small. A key point in the book is as follows: "When we spend more time with God, opinions of ourselves and what others think of us, matter less."16 It starts and ends with Him. "I'm living my life for an audience of one. I live my life to please God."17 If He's pleased, the others things will take care of itself. As Christ tells us: "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all [the other] things will be given to you as well"18.

References:

1 Proverbs 22:1
2 1 Timothy 3:7
3 http://www.sheeplaughs.com/jokes.htm
4 http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/16/living/teens-on-social-media-like-and-fomo-anxiety-digital-life/
5 Ibid.
6 https://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/11/fashion/for-some-social-media-users-an-anxiety-from-approval-seeking.html
7 http://www.apa.org/monitor/dec02/selfesteem.aspx
8 Mark 6:1-3
9 Mark 6:4
10 Matthew 3:17
11 Galatians 1:10
12 http://www.npr.org/2011/10/10/141215977/billy-grahams-daughter-takes-the-reins-of-his-legacy
13 Mattox, M. L. (2003) Defender of the Most Holy Matriarchs. Boston, MA: Brill Publishers.
14 Matthew 11:28
15 Exodus 20:3
16 Welch, E. T. (1997) When People Are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing Company.
17 http://www.npr.org/2011/10/10/141215977/billy-grahams-daughter-takes-the-reins-of-his-legacy
18 Matthew 6:33

A Great Father

Arch-Corepiscopa Most Rev. Curien Kaniamparambil

by Chev. Daniel B Daniel
Land of Midian
Saint Mary's Jacobite Movement (SAMAJAM)
Kadeesa Church, Paitel, Kayamkulam

My sincere appreciation to Malankara World editorial board for publishing a special Souvenir edition in connection with the 400th issue and thanks for being part of that. Since the information received about the special issue, there was no second thought other than writing few words about our great father, Kaniamparambil Achen. There is no priest like our Arch Cor Episcopa – A UNIQUE MAN - respected as a Scholar and Malpan, by everyone in Malankara. Regardless of the split or differences in faith and administration, he has helped all the churches in arranging or compiling their liturgy. This was a service done from his Love of Jesus Christ.

Achan is a writer from his childhood and the very surprising point is that he knows me as a writer. By grace of God. I used to write small articles in Viswasa Samrakshakan which was being published from Kothamangalam during 1975 / 78, and Achan encouraged me few times. Further, writing a few words about Kaniamparambil Achen is my privilege because I am blessed to restart and run a congregation that was started by this Great Father during his visit to Saudi Arabia in 1970.

Kaniamparambil Achen impressed everyone who met him with his smile, which had never changed until his departure. His smile reflected the presence of Holy spirit. It reflected our Jesus Christ, as His words says, " I am the Light of the world" (St. John 8:12). This great father has spread his light of faith and knowledge to the world. This Great Father is a role model, and anyone who follows his life style never passes through darkness.

In my childhood, I was confused as well as proud to see this Great Father, smile at me like a friend. But later I learned that this Great Father treated everyone the same way. His smiles came from his pure and young heart. How he might have gained this? What I feel is that, the daily meditation he might have done through the Psalms 19 verses 13-14 "Keep your servant also from willful sins, may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer". Not only he has mediated through words but also he tried his best to practice it; so there is no way to fall in failure or darkness, which keeps his heart pleasing in God's sight which reflects through his face.

I read repeatedly one of his books "The Miracles of our Lord" which he wrote especially for youngsters, Here is my prayerful effort to recollect my experience about this great father and his writings. I believe this will be helpful to many.

The title of Kaniamparambil Achan as "A Great Father" is not from me but it was from my mother. During 1971 / 72 while malankara jacobite church was administered under the Holy see, and Achen was the Sunday school director, Kadeesa Jacobite church, Kayamkulam, was celebrating Sunday School anniversary. While we were getting ready to attend the meeting, my mother asked me to be quiet at church because A Great Father is attending the meeting. That was my first chance to have a look at an aged priest; (Great Father) who talked like a man of 100 years. It took few more years for me to recognize that the Great Father my mother told me was, Kaniamparampil Achan, That day when I saw Achan, he was an aged man for me, but he was young till his departure. The fact is that, anyone who is getting closer to God will remain young like a child, little buds. This is what God likes from everyone. All of us dropped to this world quite matured, but take time to start reacting and our recognition or problems starts; from the day we do start reacting. Of course we solve our problems as well as upgraded our recognition through learning the words of God, a strong antibiotic to kill the virus from the beautiful fruit. There are many who have gained this and This Great Father Kaniamparambil Achan was a living example, and Jacobite Church should be proud of that as we are blessed to enjoy the services of this incredible personality.

Was my mother correct in her words "Great Father"? I do not know, what she meant while she said "Great Father". May be she just took him as, a scholar, an aged priest or as the Sunday school director. Unfortunately I cannot ask her now, She is already on her eternal rest. But while I came to know more about achen, there is no doubt in my mind that he is a Great man. How a man can be great? This was a question in my mind for some time, and achen himself cleared it through his book, "The Miracles of our Lord."

Stanza 636

Who is honored, as person, 'Great'.
He who worked, while others slept;
One who is blessed with self – control
Who loves; helps and honors all.

(100% match with his life, he practiced what he preached.)

The next question, can we adopt the above in our lives? Answer is very simple, Achen is a great man, and he has already given the answer to this question in his book.

Stanza 626

'World' is similar to a 'bridge'
You may 'pass on' it – not 'lodge' on it.
Need not fear the wide ocean
if there is no 'hole' in your vessel's bottom.

Yes, once we knew that we are passing through a bridge, then there is no worry. But our problem is that all of our efforts goes to lodge on this bridge, where we lost our smile and the chances to be honored as Great.

This Great Father did many things while other capable people slept and he is honored by God and His vicar of the church. This Great Father was honored as The Arch Cor Episcopa - an honor that was not given to anyone else. He has earned the love and respect of everyone in the church.

A Miraculous life:

I would like to say Kaniamparambil Achan is similar to St. Ignatious Noorono, who was lucky and blessed to be in the hands of our Lord and God "Jesus Christ"; as an example to many. Kaniamparambil Achen is in the hands of our Lord, Achen is an instrument for many divine works, Achen is an example for the scholars in different walk. Achen did present his opinions, worries, demands, and warnings through his writings with confidence that he is a person called for that. These things are very clear through his simple book "Miracles of our Lord" At the beginning itself he is submitting him to God. Preface 1st stanza "I am not the author of this work; Only a pen, for my Lord's outlook …" . It is not less than St. Mary said " I am the Lord's Servant".

Achan totally submitted his life for God's work to make all of us his Children. Our Lord and God, "Jesus Christ" kept Achan for over a century, for us to benefit from him, but how deep we had benefit him, which is doubtful. I don't think we had benefit him at the maximum, other than what he did from his will; which off course the direction of Holy Spirit. The miraculous life and work from this Great Father, is a fulfilling of the words from Paulose Apostle to Philippine, "what for I have been called" Achen searching for God's work and finding at the proper time. (Philippians 3:12 – 14) Not that I have already obtained all this, or already been made perfect but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do, forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. 14: I press on toward the goal to win the prize of which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. I would like to repeat the verse one more time, "But one thing I do, forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize of which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Yes he won it, the first and the only one in Holy Church Arch Cor Episcopa. He has earned his life and time by doing good things and forgetting or non-responding to devil things as well as respecting to his superiors even though they are juniors. Once I was at his residence, he has seen a car entering from the street, this humble man get up from his chair saying "I think that is Coorilose Thirumeni". Now a days it's very difficult to see such persons.

Everyone knows Achan's deficiency in his life, but he never takes it as a deficiency but as a blessing to find time for Godly work for which he has been called. Achen knows very well that there is too much works to be taken care of, and he can not do it alone The Gospel says, The harvest is plentiful but workers are few. (St. Luke 10:1) Hence he calls all the Scholars of this world through his above book, Stanza 35 – 37; it is a call to all of us from God.

A Praise

To the reputed scholars, let me beg
And to their notice – may I bring:
We are proud of your great wisdom
And specialization in many subjects

Humble Demand

What we poor ordinary folk
Gain from your scholarship?
Give us something to quench our thirst
With knowledge and wisdom, from your store

Warning against Ignorance

Some day, you would pass away!
And with honor be buried!
The greatest grief in my mind is:
Your body and your talents rest in grave!!

Achan wrote this poem in a nice way but it is a warning to us from Holy Spirit. We are all scholars in sort of things and we are committed to pass our knowledge which we are holding but not owned. The most interesting thing in this book I found is the indication of the use of this book, "specially meant for youngsters" (youngsters, I think he meant not matured), I doubt, he did it purposely? However it is sure that it is a word from Holy Spirit. "Youngsters" in our duty in all ways not by age. There are many aged scholars but still they are in the grade of youngsters due to their selfishness or laziness. The above words are much sharpened arrow for them.

The Great Work for Church:

Out of all the great things Achen did, the most graceful thing was Achen's submission at Church Court trial which dragged on for months. I never missed to read Kerala Bhushanam Daily during the trial. Even I attended the court, few times during Achen's cross submissions. The court did treat Achen very respectfully. The memory power and the perfectness in Achen's statement were praised by everyone. There is no word to praise; Mor Coorilose Kuriakose Thirumeni for selecting Achen and I believe Achen did that difficult task due to Mor Coorilose Thirumeni's request. In another way Mor Coorilose Kuriakose Thirumeni succeed in leading the case due to the full support of this Great Father. I heard from some one, Mor Coorilose Thirumeni was "Ente Thirumeni" (My Thirumeni) for this Great Father. Also if I am not mistaken the selection of Kurian Achen (Mor Coorilose Thirumeni) to the Metropolitan, was on advice / recommendation of this Great Father.

An Achen (Priest) - A Tribute from my father (of Blessed Memory).

During 1979/80 Mor Coorilose Thirumeni met with an accident and was at Pushpagiri hospital for a few weeks. During the regular visit to Pushpagiri hospital, my father used to pass through Simhasana Church and came to know more about Kaniamparambil Achen and he was impressed. My father was excited to hear about the priestly job and always talked about Kaniamparambil achen, by following the words of God from Gospel Luke 9:62: "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God". This Great Father, never looked back since he 'laid his hands on the plow'.

A Man of Confidence:

Hebews 10:35; do not throw away your confidence, it will be richly rewarded. The translation of Peshitha Syriac Bible to Malayalam at his age of 75, is good enough to prove Achen's confidence in God's care. Off course, as the word says he never throw away his confidence and he is rewarded for that.

The Art of Chasing the Difficulties / Demands

Age 19 was a turning point for this Great Father. What I believe there is an art to chase any difficulties which varies in each case. With God, the art is nothing else other than; we are credited with fulfilling God's will. This is the technique or art King Hezekiah did (Issiah 38:2- / 2 Kings 20:2-3), there was something with him to call O God, remember! This was the same case with this Great Father. He realized the call of God and reacted for His children at his age of 15 by translating Sunday prayer. When he face a difficulty there was something with him to introduce him to God, O God, this is your son, who translated Sunday Prayer, I believe, God immediately change his decision. God not only cured his ill but also poured more blessing to write more books for His Children also rewarded the blessing to translate the Holy Bible. If we have something with us to identify ourselves to God, we can also do many things in our life, but should realize and act at the right time. Humbly requesting readers not to confuse, God don't forget our works, but He likes our confidence.

During this Lenten period, the KOLAKAL of the night watch, second kauma is a good meditation for us, to follow this Great Father and let me conclude with placing the same here.

From the Lenter prayer night watch second kauma, kolakal is very much fit with this Great Father (Malayalam Transliteration)

Nalla peru sampadikkunnavar bhagyavanakunnu. Athu swarnathekkalum velliyekkalum valuthakunnu. Lokamo, neengipokunnu; nalla peru neengipokunnilla. Uthsahathote athine nedunnavan bhaghyavanakunnu; enthannaal e lokathil avan bhahumanikkappetukayum, varuvanirikkunna lokathile swargarajyam avakashikukayum cheyyunnu. Barekmor.

Thante Athmavine e lokathodu bandhikkunnavanu kashtam; athu orikkalum chedikkappetaatha valiya bandhanamakunnu; athu valare aagrahikkathakkathenkilum athine snehikkunnavan mahanakuvaan kazhiyunnathalla. Enthannaal athine kanunnavare athu vazhithettikkunnu. Uthsahiyaya vyapariyeppole, vagdhatham cheyyappettirikkunna nithya jeevan sampadikkunnavne bhaaghyam. "

O God, please keep our Great Father in heavenly peace. He had taught us a lot about holy words in different angles and walks in simple ways. He had dedicated his life for us, never shows any difference to anyone. He was happy for his listening deficiency, and that was his efficiency to keep smiling to everyone. That was his power to do all his writing for his spiritual children. His deficiency has made him efficient to translate Holy Bible for us. His deficiency kept him away from all types murmuring of this world makes him close to God. I am sure our Great Father is praising Our God with angels.

With prayers for his angelic life and humbly request his intercession.

Barekmor

Cultural Mutation

Ann Jacob, OSU
By: Ann Jacob, Journalism Student, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio.

"If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." I was terrified. Everyone knows that Indians prefers their kids to be doctors or engineers, but I guess I am a cultural mutation. I wanted to be a Journalist!

Ever since the ripe age of four, my parents drilled into my head that I was destined to become a doctor. I thought otherwise. I wanted my future to be based off my interests, my desires - not theirs. As I grew, my dream jobs evolved - from a librarian to an elementary teacher, until finally, in seventh grade, I settled on one of the least secure occupations: journalism.

I was determined to make my future my own even though I knew it would garner the disapproval of my parents and the Indian community. At every turn, uncles and aunties would criticize me for not using my smarts for the obvious road they thought I was meant for. My parents struggled with the decision as well.

Four years later….

My persistence has led me to unbelievable heights that I could have never imagined.

During my 3 years at my local TV station on campus of Ohio University in Athens, OH, I applied for many internships. In the beginning, I didn't even get rejection letters. This disheartening non-engagement was so disappointing that I was actually excited when I got my first rejection. It meant that people at huge media companies were finally taking a real look at my work.

Finally after what seemed like hundreds of applications, at the end of my fall semester junior year, I was accepted to be a politics intern for CBS News in New York City.

Ann at CBS News

I couldn't have asked for a better internship to start with than CBS. As the sole intern for a team working on the 2016 presidential election, I was handed huge responsibilities. I wasn't getting coffee and I wasn't stapling papers. Instead, I live logged candidate events and debates, exacting important quotes that would be used just hours later in the broadcast and providing summaries for hundreds of employees at CBS on political events that had happened that day. I also archived and organized hundreds of tapes of events. While I didn't realize the importance at first, I quickly became the point person to find old events to use as video and sound for the broadcast that day.

Ann with family at CBS News
Ann with her proud family at CBS

Following CBS, I was accepted to be an intern for Yahoo! Finance. While I had always been interested in personal finance, I had nearly no knowledge about corporate finance, insurance, and derivatives, etc. Working at Yahoo! has been by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life but it was also my life and academics took a turn toward finance.

While at Yahoo!, I worked on a daily finance show called Midday Movers. My supervisor was so impressed with my ability to write broadcast style that after the first few weeks, I was being allowed to write the entire second half of the show. Before long, I even got to line produce a show.

My supervisors also gave me the opportunity to do live analysis and calculations during the 4 pm show that aired right after the stock market closed every day. I had to read and breakdown quarterly earnings reports in record time without mistakes and then relay those numbers to the anchor who went live with the information I provided.

Ann at NYSE
Ann at New York Stock Exchange

In just a few months, I am going to graduate with a journalism degree with specializations in political science and finance. Without the internships God blessed with, there is no way I would be following my dreams right now.

Ultimately, do what YOU want and be the best you can at it.

We all need doctors and engineers but those are not the only jobs Indians can do. Pave your own path and do what makes you happy, even if there is disapproval. Despite so many people in the Indian community initially being against my dreams, I am beyond lucky to have proved myself because now, they are all some of my biggest supporters and for that I am eternally grateful.

It doesn't matter if no one has done what you have done before. Dream big because God gave you talents that are meant to make an impact in His world. It doesn't always matter what others want because YOU are the main character of your story and you have to act like it…otherwise, who will?

I Saw a Future Judge in My Drywall Repair Boy!

Saju Skaria

by Saju Skaria
Vice President, St Peters JSO Church, Phoenix

I took notice of this unusually charming and pleasant young man who came to discuss with me a drywall repair opportunity at my home. Rafa, as he introduced himself, found to be smart with his words and was equally sharp and intelligent. He was very clear on the scope of the work at hand and the timeline and price involved in the effort. I had verified the prices in the market, and his numbers looked quite reasonable. While the quotes were more or less the same, what attracted me most was his clarity and sense of assurance.

Mike Blumberg, three times New York Mayor and 6th richest with a net worth of US$45.9 billion per the last count by Forbes Magazine shared his views on ‘who gets the job.' Blumberg said, "the kind of kid I want — with an ethic of taking care of his family — because then he will take care of others". I have no doubt in my mind, I found the same kind of kid, and he won my job.

Rafa turned up for work on the scheduled day along with his dad and another member. They were dot on time, and the quality of work was excellent. I was very curious to know more about this young man and his work ethics. Rafa opened out and shared his dreams. Rafa's father moved to the USA as an immigrant. During regular hours he works with his dad to support the family. Night time he is attending an undergrad degree with Grand Canyon University. His next goal is to join for JD (Juris Doctor) program at Arizona State University to become an attorney and then eventually become a judge! I offered a prayer for this hardworking young man. I also shared him my own "lived experiences" as a boy who was born and raised in India and how I converted my challenges as opportunities as a business executive in the US. I also told him how I get repeat business and net new business from my clients; my mantra of keeping every word I promise and try to exceed the expectations at every opportunity. I further shared my philosophy of giving back a piece of my earning to the society.

I took Rafa to my home office library and offered this wonderful book "The Law of Success" by Napoleon Hill, who examined the power of personal beliefs, and the role they play in personal success. According to Hill, success is very largely a matter of adjusting one's self to the ever-varying and changing environments of life, in a spirit of harmony and poise. So, I reassured young Rafa, that 'what his mind can conceive and believe, he can achieve.' I also promised to track his progress and offered to support him along the way.

Note: This is a real life story, not a fiction.
LinkedIn reference: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/i-saw-future-judge-my-drywall-repair-boy-saju-skaria

Ancient Christian Monuments in Kerala : Some Points of Concern

by Prof. Jacob Kurian Onattu

I regularly read the weekly electronic bulletins of 'UCAN India', the Indian bureau of 'the Union of Catholic Asian News' based in Bangkok. In the Newsletter dated 16 February 2017, the major heading is "Christians unimpressed as Kerala plans to bank on their History". There are some factual errors in the article. One is that out of the six million Christians in Kerala, five million are Catholics ! However, the argument in the article that the state's divided Christian community has shown little interest in conserving heritage sites compels our immediate attention.

The article begins with the remark that the Kerala State Tourism Department has initiated a plan to attract visitors to ancient Christian sites, but the (Catholic) church officials are not happy about this because they have not been consulted in this regard. Quoting Kerala Tourism Director V. Jose, the article points out that Christianity in the Southern Coastal state is as old as Christianity itself. "The tradition that St. Thomas, the Apostle established India's first Christian Community here is not much known among international travellers. This knowledge alone can play a major role in bringing religious scholars, historians and pilgrims to the state."

Mr. Jose goes on to add that "to popularise the ancient history of Christians, the Tourism Department has planned five short movies depicting centuries of Christian life in Kerala using church architecture, pilgrim centres, festivals, Christian art and cuisines. We plan to broadcast the movies via the internet and social media by March and we hope that the campaign will bring travellers to the state by the 2018 season."

The efforts of the Kerala Tourism Department in this line are commendable. But the sorry part is that everything is done under the impression that the three Catholic rites are the only Christian churches of Kerala ! For example, the Tourism Director Says "Global Christians are increasingly interested in Kerala after the canonization of Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara, Sister Euphrasia and Sister Alphonsa." Does he know that the first canonized Indian Saint Parumala Mar Gregorios was officially proclaimed a saint as early as 1947 ? Does he know that millions of devotees transcending the boundaries of religion and caste throng at his tomb every year to beseech his intercessory prayers ? Has he heard of Vattasseril Mar Dionysius who too was canonized earlier than the local catholic saints mentioned above ?

This is the bane of all projects and studies involving Christians in India. Though we have orthodox historians, theologians and scholars galore, very little is done to make our presence felt. So, everywhere, only the Catholic point of view is projected. This is also true of the Muziris Heritage Project which is hailed as the largest heritage conservation project in India. Though there are some controversies about Muziris being the ancient port town of Kerala near Kodungalloor where St. Thomas first set his foot to usher in Christianity, we cannot but appreciate the commendable endeavours towards conservation and restoration of the numerous monuments of a bygone era. But here too, among Christian institutions, only Catholic ones are promoted. Apostle St. Thomas is believed to have visited Kunnamkulam (where there was a jewish settlement) and converted jews to Christianity. The present Arthatt St. Mary's Cathedral (Mahayidavaka) is said to be the continuation of the Paloor Church which St. Thomas originally founded. The churchyard of the Cathedral is known to be the biggest private cemetery in Asia. Many churches in Kunnamkulam closely resemble Hindu temples in architectural style and bespeak the history of religious conversions after the advent of St. Thomas. But there is no effort to conserve and restore these heritage sites. I am not blaming the Kerala Council for Historical Research or the Kerala Tourism Department. Nor am I finding fault with the Catholics who get the monopoly advantage in all these realms. I am only pointing out our lack of enthusiasm and commitment in these matters.

In the UCAN newsletter under reference, Fr. Ignesh Payyappally who heads the archives division of the Syro – Malabar Church is quoted as deploring the condition of heritage sites. (May I ask who heads our archives division ?) Fr. Payyappally points out that old churches are being demolished without considering their historical value. The article also cites Robinet Jacob, Head of Tourism Studies at Mahatma Gandhi University. He says that the Kerala Christians have shown no interest in conserving heritage sites, despite having several churches that are centuries old. For example, he says, "Kottayam District alone has 15 churches more than 500 years old. Several such churches have been razed and new ones built in their places." Mr. Robinet adds that the church should immediately set up a heritage department and take steps to protect historically important sites. "Whoever has ears, let them hear" is my humble observation in this regard.

Before I conclude, let me note with happiness that there are some orthodox churches in Kottayam district which have shown rare discretion in preserving their heritage. Kottayam Cheriyapally, the mother of all churches in the city, is one example. When the church building was too old, without mindlessly tearing it down, they brought specialized workmen from Chennai and painstakingly preserved and restored the church architecture. Likewise, the Puthuppally St. George's Valiyapally too was maintained and conserved without demolishing the century old structures. Now they are engaged in carefully restoring the mural paintings inside the church which were done several decades ago. In between, several coats of paint were thoughtlessly applied over these priceless works of art. But now, experts from Guruvayoor and Kozhikkode are assiduously working on removing the paint and restoring the murals. When 'Malayala Manorama' carried a picture of the Vicar (Fr. Kurian Thomas Karippal) supervising the restoration activities, I heaved a sigh of relief. God, such things can happen in my church too !

About The Author:

Prof. Jacob Kurian Onattu
Retd. Principal, Baselius College, Kottayam

Mannetho of St. Severius in the Syriac Text of the Holy Qurbono

by Yuhaanon Baar Thoma alias V T John
Nalunnakal St Adday Syriac Jacobite Church


 

Mannetho of St.Severius in the Syriac Text of the Holy Qurbono

====================================================================================
 
The Prayer of the Celebrant, Response of the Congregation and the Maneetho of St.Severius at the Commencement of the of the Open Celebration of the Holy Qurbono of the Syriac Orthodox Church

 
We have at the commencement of the open celebration of the Holy Qurbono a short prayer of the celebrant and the response thereto of the congregation and the Maneetho of Our Patriarch St.Severius.

The Ma’netho of St.Severius (+459-538) is a later addition to the Holy Qurbono text. Earlier, the text was somewhat like this:


Celebrant: [O Mo’raan Yesu M’seeho] Maryam deeledthok vuyoohanon d’amdok henoon nehvoon m’feesone  h’lofyne :: Ethraahaam aalaayn :: = [ O our Lord Jesus Christ] Mary who brought You forth and John who baptized You: they will be suppliants on our behalf; have mercy upon us

Congregation: Basloos eaamo deeled’thok vadkulhoon qaadeesaayk [ethraahaam aalaayn] :: By the prayers of Your mother who brought you forth and of all Your saints [have mercy upon us]

Celebrant: Qaadeesaath Aalo-ho

Congregation Qaadeesaath haylthono vusarko

[The words in bold letters placed in parenthesis are, it is submitted with apology, my humble additions for the sake of ensuring lucidity]

 
To this original text of the Holy Qurbono was added the maaneetho of illustrious Patriarch of ours St.Severius just above Qaadeesaath Aalo-ho. The said ma’neetho proper reads as follows:-
Celebrant: (Pethgomo) Eramrmok mor malko ::(Masmoor 144:1) =I will adore You my Lord and King (Ps 145:1)

Congregation: yeeheedoyo bro melthe(h) daabo smaayono [vusarko]  Hoos aalkoolaan :: =  The only Son and Logos of the Heavenly Father etc., show mercy upon all of us.

I earnestly submit, the expression “Ethraahaam  aalaayne” even though it is not there in the Syriac text, should find a place at least in the translations into English and Malayalam  To fortify my submission, I have to say as follows:- The responses in Thesmestho d’koorobo such as ‘sove vusodeq, q’domayk moraan vaalohaan, (which appears twice ), Aam Rooho deelok,(appearing several times) etc have no finite-verbs. As such in English and Malayalam translations, we have to supply the finite-verbs to make the responses full sentences. Even when Qaadeesaath Aalo’ho is translated we have it as “Holy art Thou O God” or “Holy are You O God” and “Daivame.nee parisudhan aakunnu” in Malayalam supplying finite-verbs which   

I have given in bold letters.  

Again the two words ‘sove vusodeq” we translate as “It is meet and proper to praise our Lord with awe and reverence” The words  q’domayk moraan vaalohaan we translate as “ We bow our heads before you our Lord and our God” The expression  “Eethaihoon 

l’vos Mo-riyo Aaloho” we translate as: “ Our mind, our intellect and our hearts are at the place of 

the presence of our Lord God” In the same way the expression “ Basloos eaamo deeled’thok vadkulhoon qaadeesaayk”  is to be translated suffixing  the words 

ethraahaam aalaayn::” as follows:- “By the prayers of Your mother who brought You forth and of all Your saints have mercy on us. If the words equivalent to ethraahaam aalaayne is not there, our prayer will be:  

 “By the prayers of Your mother who brought You forth and of all Your saints, I will adore You”. To put it in other words it will be like this: “My Lord and King, I will, by the prayers of Your mother and all your saints, adore you. This is an unhappy position - as for adoring our Lord do we require the help of the intercessional prayers of the saints? Again the one letter word “I’ is out of place here as it is     the congregation which is praying and the congregation can only use “we’, instead of “I”         

In some editions of Qurbono text in Syriac a full stop :: is correctly given  just before “Eramrmok” And in some other editions the full stop:: is put erroneously after Eramrmok.

In view of what is submitted above, it may kindly be seen that the sentence             

“ e’ramarmok mor malko“= I will adore You my Lord and King  is taken verbatim from the Holy Bible [Msmr 144:1 in the W Syriac Version  Ps.145:1 in the English Version] As this verse from the Holy Bible is in the first person singular and is at the commencement of the Maaneetho, this can only be a pethgomo (Prologue) to  be said by the celebrant and the maneetho proper starts with the words “Yeeheedoyo Bro Melthe(h) daabo smayono”= “The only Son and Logos of the Heavenly Father” and ends with the words “Hoos aalkoolaan”:: = “Have mercy on all of us”

         NB.

The transliterations of Syriac words into English alphabets may be erroneous for which I tender my apology. Until recently, I was having in my computer West Syriac fonts and I used to prepare some papers in English including here and there a few words in West Syriac But now somehow I lost the facility from the computer.

                                                           Yuhaanon Baar Thoma alias V T John

                                                                    vtjohn100@yahoo.co.in

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