People often ask us “what does faith-based mean?” “Does it mean that you will be preaching at me?” “Will I be welcome if I don’t participate in organized religion?” “Can you help me re-connect with my faith?”
These are important questions. In a world where all-to-often we see people seeking to impose their beliefs on others, it is easy to become apprehensive. When we hear of people claiming to have all of the answers, we become suspect. When people are condemned or ridiculed because they do not know what to believe, we fear rejection.
Hopefully, none of these attitudes or actions will be evident at St. Joseph Institute for Addiction. We want to help people grow spiritually – discover a sense of purpose and meaning for their lives – but we believe this is a journey that each person must travel on their own. We encourage, we provide information and we share what works for us, but we believe each person must have the freedom to find his or her own answers.
St. Joseph Institute for Addiction is built on a Christian faith tradition. We believe there is a God and he cares deeply for each of us. We believe that Jesus has shown us the path by which to live, love, and find meaning & purpose for life. We believe that if Christianity is to be real, it must guide the way we live and treat one another day-by-day.
St. Joseph Institute for Addiction is non-denominational. We do not advocate the teachings of a specific church or theology. There are many Christian traditions and we seek to draw wisdom from many places. When we discuss forgiveness, we may recount the teachings of the early church fathers, who lived centuries ago. If we talk about the need for humility in achieving lasting recovery, we may share the words of Andrew Murray, a protestant minister in South Africa. At Christmas time we adopt a carol for each day, drawing upon Catholic, Episcopal, Baptist, Lutheran and many other traditions. We encourage our residents to discover the place of worship that feels right for them.
In welcoming people of different backgrounds and beliefs, we do not judge or condemn. We encourage people to find the answers that will guide their life and give them peace. It is not for us to judge lifestyles, or condemn the choices people have made. We educate, share the solutions that have helped others, and help people find a better way when their past actions have led to dead-ends. Very importantly, we challenge people to allow their spiritual self to heal and grow – for all too often addiction shatters that aspect of who they are.
A story is told of St. Francis who lived in the thirteenth century. Hundreds of friars had joined his community of believers, and he gathered them together and provided instruction before they spread out across Italy. The commission he gave them was “go forth and spread the gospel, and when necessary use words.”
The message is that faith is most powerful when it is lived. I hope that our residents see in the staff of St. Joseph Institute for Addiction a spirit of compassion & concern, a sincere commitment to their healing, and a desire to help them grow to experience more of life’s joy and happiness. If we do our best in this regard, then we are truly Christian.