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The Chaldean Chai Parable
By Frank Dado :: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 :: 28093 Views :: Religion & Spirituality

A group of Chaldeans, well established in their careers, were talking at a wedding and debating to visit their old priest, who they heard had recently retired.  The cold weather and three hour drive to the rectory caused a debate.  “Not enough time,”  “Too busy with work,”  “He may not remember us or may be too tired or sick to see us,” were some of the excuses.  Until one of them, wisely appealing to his friends vanity and selfishness said, “Are you happy in life?”  Perhaps this visit will do more for us than him.  Plus, we can drive together, catch-up during the ride, and save on gas.  Fortunately we are all successful enough to take the time off.”

The others startled over the comment about concerns with gas cost and able to take time off, quickly objected.  “It is not about the gas or money,” one stammered. 

“Great than I will make the arrangements and pick up everyone next week at eight,” said the bolder Chaldean.  The next few days he called the rectory and made an appointment to meet with the priest and shared some of the discussions he and the others had at the wedding.     

The first hour of the drive each man in the car bragged of his success and accomplishments.  The second hour of the drive, each man lowered their defenses a bit and shared their hopes and dreams unfulfilled.  The third hour, each feeling they no longer needed to impress the others or hide their insecurities shared their frustrations, dissatisfaction, and meaninglessness with work and life in general. 

By the time they arrived at the rectory their faces could not hide their sadness.  Walking to the front door they were greeted by the old priest who shared a large smile for the obviously troubled group.  The priest happily greeted his former parishioners.  Inside his humble abode the priest scurried about serving his guests and offering them the customary hot cup of tea. 

The priest went into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot tea and an assortment of cups - porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite -telling them to help themselves to the tea as he disappeared for some traditional Chaldean cookies and biscuits.  

Returning from his small kitchen he sat with the successful men and reminisced.  They sat enjoying the company and the cozy home.  The conversation soon turned to complaints about stress in their work and lives; their children being disobedient and lacked discipline, work was no longer meaningful and their wives seemed to show little if any appreciation for their ability to earn the more expensive things in life.  Quietly the successful men sat, sulking in their unhappiness. 

When they all had a cup of hot tea in hand, the priest said: "Notice that all the nice looking; expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones.  While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.

The cup that you're drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot tea.  In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was hot tea, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups and then you began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this:  Life is the hot tea; your job, money and position in society are the cups.  They are just tools to hold and contain life.  The cup you have does not define, nor change the quality of life you have. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot tea God has provided us.

The priest continued, God makes the hot tea - man chooses the cups.

The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything that they have.  They live simply, Love generously, care deeply, and speak kindly.

The men sat astounded at the wise and prophetic words.  Slowly they came to understand the application in their own personal lives.  They turned to one another embarrassed but relived. 

The priest turned to them and asked, “Do me this one favor.”  The men happily agreed.  “When you drink tea remember this. Remember that God makes the tea and man chooses the cups.”

Together the men slowly rose knowing the words were enough to help them course a new path in their lives.  The priest warmly smiled and bid them farewell as the men returned back to their car and began the trip back. 

Inside the car they sat quietly as each reflected on the uselessness of their cups and how that had spoiled their tea.  Now they all hoped to return home and brew a fresh pot of chai. 

Do you care about the chai or the cup? Don't answer, the way you live has already answered that for you.

St. George, MI USA
St. George Chaldean Catholic Church
45700 Dequinder Rd.,
Shelby Twp., MI 48317
Tel: (586) 254-7221
Fax: (586) 254-2874
Pastor: Rev.
Emanuel Shaleta
Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Basel Yaldo

Rev. Emanuel Shaleta 
Rev. Emanuel Hana Isho Shaleta was born in the village of Peshabur in northern Iraq. After completing his primary education he applied and was admitted in September 1971, to the illustrious St. John Seminary in Mosul, Iraq. In 1977 Rev. Shaleta was awarded a scholarship to study philosophy and theology in the renowned Urbaniana Pontifical University in Rome. There he obtained a Ph.D. in Biblical Theology. 
The reverends impressive work earned him the honor to be ordained to the priesthood by the hands of Pope John Paul II, in St. Peter Basilica in Rome on May 31, 1984. 
On June 3, 1987, Fr. Shaleta was assigned to serve as pastor for St. Paul Assyrian Chaldean Catholic Church in North Hollywood, California, where he served for just about a decade and a half. 
In December 2000, Fr. Shaleta was called to assist St. Jospeh Catholic Chaldean Church in Troy, Michigan and shortly thereafter was appointed pastor in 2002. Fr. Shaleta’s impressive leadership merited a unanimous appointment as the first pastor of St. George Chaldean Catholic Church, in Shelby Twp. Michigan, billed as the largest Chaldean church in the world. Fr. Shaleta continues to this day to impressively lead the faithful and offer wonderful opportunities and service to the community. 
Rev. Basel Yaldo
Rev. Basel Yaldo was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1970. Rev. Yaldo graduated from the National Teachers College in Iraq in 1989 and was drafted in the army in 1990. In 1993, he was honorably discharged for his service. A year later Rev. Yaldo was admitted to Babel College in Baghdad to study philosophy and theology. There Fr. Yaldo, received a scholarship to study in Rome at Urban College, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in theology in 2001. 
On November 23, 2002, Fr. Yaldo was ordained a priest by His Excellency Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim, Bishop of the Diocese of St. Thomas the Apostle for the Chaldeans. Fr. Yaldo continued his studies whereby he completed a masters degree in Dogmatic Theology with a focus on Marian studies from Urban College in 2003. 
The following year he was appointed assistant director of the seminary in the Dora district of Baghdad, and taught Dogmatic Theology at Babel College. His commanding leadership and steadfast skills earned him the secretarial appointment to Patriarch Emanuel III Delly. Upon completion of his duties as patriarchal secretary, Fr. Yaldo was nominated and selected as assistant pastor to St. George Chaldean Catholic Church Shelby Township, Michigan.