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I SURRENDER ALL
The entire meaning of the life of a Catholic priest is summarized by the hymn number two hundred and seventy-six (276) of the Catholic Hymn Book: All to Jesus I Surrender All to him I freely give I will ever love and trust Him in his presence daily live.
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All to Jesus I Surrender humbly at His feet I bow worldly pleasure all forsaken Take me, Jesus take me now.
All to Jesus I Surrender Lord, I give myself to thee fill me with Thy Love and power Let Thy blessing fall on me.
That is exactly what it means to be a Catholic priest. This, the Catholic Priest is constituted, as it were, to give his life most unreservedly to God as he serves his creator in humanity. The Catholic priest is called, chosen and commissioned to give the totality of his life to God in the services, which he renders to God in both friends and foes without distinction. Now, it is human to embark in any business venture with great expectation to receiving some reward or gain. Yet, the Catholic priest who is human is said to have surrendered all, including the expected gain. The questions now are: what will his gain be? And will the gain come? And where will the gain be? In surrendering all to Jesus, the priest receives in return a complete perfect life in Jesus where he will lack nothing again. For, Jesus himself has said: “I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he, it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Simply put therefore the gain of the priest who surrenders all is the BEARING OF FRUIT IN ABUNDANCE on which he, the priest and others are to be fed unto everlasting life. This is to happen in Jesus Christ when the surrendering all to Jesus is total and the abiding in Jesus is also total. For this reason we can confidently say that he who gives all gets all. What is more it is also for the same reason that made the Lord Jesus state categorically, and I quote: “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25).
From all we have discussed hitherto, it should be clear that the Catholic priest is a man who makes himself completely available to be sacrificially offered to God in the services he renders to his fellow men and women in complete charity. To prove that the priests' self giving is rooted in, and emanates from perfect charity, his love and services for all and sundry must be seen to be unconditional. In truth, without perfect charity no priest can really claim that he can surrender all or that he has surrendered all. That will be impossible.
The offering which the priest makes of himself to God which in turn makes him completely available, ready and willing to love and give his life for the salvation of all and sundry daily can only be seen and adjudged as the product of perfect charity if and only if it is not determine by people's applause. Applause or aversion the charity with which the Catholic priest is to live, work and die for others should always be “VIRGO INTACTA, that is completely unviolated virgin, as it well.
We do not have to wander too far to find the reason why the priest must be synonymous with perfect charity. Few examples from the scripture and the teachings of the Saints suffice to convince us: ubi caritas est amor. Ubi caritas Deus sibi est = where there is charity there is love. Where there is charity God is there. This is what the scripture has taught us unequivocally, that, “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:17). According to Robert Bellarmine, perfect charity is that with which no man is lost, and without which no man is saved. The priest's mission is to save himself and help others to be saved.
Heaven is the goal to which every Christian should aim at, and the only final and indispensable player which can make us reach and score the goal is charity. For this reason, St. Francis de Sales states: “Faith points out the way to the land of promise as a pillar of fire, hope feeds us with its manna of sweetness but charity actually introduces us into the promised land”. Alms according to St. Francis of Assisi, “are an inheritance and justice which is due to the poor which Jesus Christ has levied upon us”. Therefore, to enable a priest give alms of himself, he cannot but be an embodiment of charity, which hungers and thirsts for every worthy sacrifice to be offered by him even for the good of the most deadly foe or foes.
Now, if the priest has surrendered all and is now dead to all, why is it that the Church appeals to the faithful (clergy and laity alike) to contribute to assist the priest? The answer is this, the priest being dead as a sacrificial lamb, owns nothing but possesses all for all others. What the Church requests the faithful to contribute are prayers, moral and material contributions for the propagation and perpetuation of the priesthood and its dignity, to uphold the integrity of the Church and the glorification of God in His Majesty.
IN DEFENCE OF TRUTH: RESPONSE TO PASTOR CHRIS OKOTIE PT. 2
» By REV. FR. OGRAH, John Eseveta
WHY DO CATHOLICS WORSHIP MARY OR IDOLS?
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This is a question often misconstrued in construction 1 I think it should read: Do Catholics worship Mary? Unless it is answered this way, the other mode simply suggests that yes, Catholics worship Mary. Of course, not! Catholics don't worship Mary or idol. One fact we must maintain here is this: the Catholic Church has never presented Mary as the vehicle to heaven rather, we teach that cult of Mary can serve as help to support the Christian journey to heaven. This is because Mary is presented as type of the Church.
Don't be confused here! The script1re always make use of similar analogy in driving home its point. E.g., the Kingdom of heaven is like a drag net! But is heaven a net? Of course not! I prefer to use the word 'Help to heaven' and not criteria for heaven. It is on this that Mary is not worshipped in the Church. To worship something is to recognize in that thing the finality of all of our quest. But in the Catholic Church, the finality of our aspirations rest sole on Jesus the son of God. If Jesus is our object of worship how come it is that we also worship Mary side-by-side? Will that not amount to contraction? How can there be two gods existing side-by-side? Simply put, we give to Mary in the Church the honour due to her and as rightly conferred on her by her son, Jesus Christ! It is a divine mandate and we must keep it- Son Behold your mother!
What do we understand by being a mother? Each time I read posts on internet or social network like facebook, I always come across sentiments like 'my mum is the best mum in the world' 'there is nothing like you mum' and many others. Can we say that these praises given to our earthly mother who probably never visited facebook are mere sentiments? Of course not! And this is even irrespective of the state of our earthly mother! 1 think where the problem lies is on false understanding of the cult of Mary in the Church on the one hand and a misrepresentation of devotion of Mary by individual Catholic faithful. But even if this is the case, it must and should not be used as criteria for negating Mary's place in our Church! Individual spirituality is individual spirituality! And we must always demarcate it from what the Church teaches! In fact, everyone is guilty at one point or the other of the extremity of personal religious sentiments! We have sometimes exaggerated our claims, our person and our aspirations!
Very quickly, to the other part of the question, I say Catholics do not worship idols! We must always try to demarcate between the authentic meanings of ritual and false presentation of Idol! Idol as a term stands in sharp contradiction to the Christian religion everywhere. Anyone who worships idols stands in need of conversion! Probably maybe what the Pastor had in mind is images in the Church.
Let us call a spade a spade! There is no religion in the world over that does not have the presence of rituals; for ritual in its pure meaning does not mean evil. At home don't we wash hand before we eat? Don't we pray? Don't we wave hands at friends? All these are rituals. So you see, humanity is founded on rituals! Hence, when the scripture gives condemnation to images, let us read very closely, it is always given with a particular context and always in reference to a particular cultural milieu with the view of solving certain identified abnormally! Again, was Adam not a man taken out of dust? Is he not image? How come Adam remains quiet until another image was brought out from him-Eve? And immediately mankind for the first time spoke! How come the law vas written on a tablet? How come Israel always looks towards the mountain? Are these not images? How come the same image that killed the Israelites was also the source of their salvation? Why were they expected to look upon the image? Why not downward? Why will Jesus, despite being God prefers to die on the cross, leaving with us and for us the appropriate image for contemplation? Whether we like it or not, we all carry within ourselves images of the object of intense love to us. The problem comes in with the values appropriated with them.
And so, FROM WHERE I STAND, I think, we must try to free ourselves from all superficiality of purpose and reason as well as reflect on what it means to be a true Christian rather than keep fuelling the gun of our religious sentiments- in whichever case, the riddle of existence is always a preamble to Religion.
GOD BLESS YOU ALL!
HOW TO COPE WITH A NAGGING SPOUSE (I)
» By Rev. Fr. Francis IKHIANOSIME
“It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome (nagging) spouse.” - (Prov. 21:19; 27:15; 21:9; 25:24) -
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The Scriptures, especially the book of Proverbs, which is at the heart of the Wisdom literatures, is replete with passages that caution against nagging. Nevertheless, the passages speak more directly to women, than men. These passages give us a guide to understanding nagging. In the first place, it indicates that nagging is a discomforting vice that is not easily tolerable and that it is common with women. But, to think that nagging is a female vice would be out-rightly too misleading. One fact nonetheless, is that, it is a serious relationship and marital issue that needs close attention. It is a more common problem in relationship and it has a more boomeranging effect often times than even adultery.
In family life, nagging is a vice that runs from women to husbands and even children. It is defined in interpersonal communication as “a repetitious behaviour in the form of pestering, hectoring or otherwise continuous urging an individual to complete previously discussed requests or act on advice” According to the Wall Street Journal, nagging is “the interaction in which one person repeatedly makes a request, the other person repeatedly ignores it and both become increasingly annoyed”. It is therefore a trouble which both parties contribute to. The word “nag” has a Scandinavian origin, from nagga, which means “to gnaw”- meaning, to cause worry: to cause somebody constant anxiety or distress. Here are some related terms for nagging: fault-finding, continually complaining, criticism, catty, carping, coaxing, cynical, demanding, dunning, hair-splitting, insistent, nit-picking, overcritical, peevish, persistent, pestering, pettish, pressing, quibble, recurring, relentless, shrewish, slam, swipe, unrelenting, urging, and wheedling.
In interpersonal relationship, when all these brands of anxiety-causes arise, they are enough to cause a crack on the relationship if proper care or patience is not applied. Different people nag in marriage: Husbands sometimes nag their wife, especially over food, wives repeatedly nag their husbands and Parents nag their children. Studies have revealed that parental nagging of children is “symptom of the rejection of the child” because of individual needs and aspirations. There are different ways people nag, from subtle to obvious and from inoffensive to impolite. A post in Slowtwitch website in 2009 by Jeff Henderson tried a seven-categorization of nags and I here wish to employ some of these categories for better understanding of the topic.
There is the (1) “Pleading nag” and this is followed by repetitions of words like “please” and “Mom, mom, mom”. A pleading nag, appeals to a particular model continuously in begging to the boredom of the other person and presses on reasons, why preference should be given to him/her at that instance over above every other condition. There is also the (2) “Persistent nag” involves constant requests for the coveted product and may include the phrase, “I am going to ask just one more time” and the asking would continue in more similar rounds. Another category is (3) “forceful nags”. These are utterly pushy kind of people. They are sometimes hasty and aggressive at the expense of reason. It involves a very impatient kind of asking and sometimes too, subtle threats. It may include phrase like: “then, I am going to forget it”, “Well, then, I will go and ask Dad”. In most experience, this was extremely effective in completely shutting down negotiations and being shown the door. There is yet another group (4) which is the “Demonstrative nags”. These are the most high-risk, often characterized by full-blown tantrums in public places, tears, breath-holding, tears, a refusal to leave, etc. It often is coveted with the bringing of shame to the other partner and causing a scene. It is a negative way of negotiation that would resent one's spouse for a long time. The (5) “Sugar-coated” nag promises affection in return for a purchase and may rely on seemingly heartfelt declarations like “You are the best Dad in the world”. It is often marred with superfluous compliments to the glare of such hypocrisy. There is also the (6) “Threatening nag” which is a juvenile form of blackmail, vows of eternal hatred and of running away if a demand is not met. Most of the threats are not intended but come out as a result of the frustration from unmet demands. Another form of nag is the (7) “Pity nag” which is often from a parent to children. It claims the child will be heartbroken, teased, or socially stunted if the parent refuses to buy a certain item. There is yet another class of nag I have noted and it is the (8) “Suggestive nag”. This kind of nagging suggests an alternative behaviour to the one expressed or shown to either show superiority or make a demand. It comes with words like: “I thought you would have said or done it this way”. It can be dangerous, when you see your partner as failing and so all routes adopted are often faulted. The kind of nagging that becomes so piercing is that of (9) the Chatterbox nag. This kind of nag, talks so much to the point of involving many unrelated and irrelevant matters. Nagging from one spouse to the other can take the tune of cynicism (doubting the sincerity of others, mocking remarks, etc) and pessimism. For instance, a husband says, “My Darling wife” and the wife cuts in to say, “Which of your darlings?” This kind of attitude is a simple trigger for emotional breakdown especially when consistent. It is a negative outlet of stored emotional feelings. Nags rarely square with a conversation. Every opportunity is used to express their pent anger. A nagging spouse could be at the middle of a conversation or event and all of a sudden, switches to a reactionary or irritating mood because of a trigger from the conversation. They are often emotionally foot-dragging, never addressing an issue but attacking the person. In some case, nagging comes with denial or rejection of a negative feeling or emotion, making difficult possibilities of resolving the perceived conflict.
There are just several ways nagging come out, but the above are a general classification. People nag or complain because their dissatisfaction reaches a critical threshold. Several reasons account why people would chose to nag and this range from individual's level of social anxiety to, one's degree of understanding, perception, introversion versus extroversion, and perception of control. This last point of “perception of control” accounts for the most of cases in interpersonal relationships. There is also a critical factor of power play as pivotal to the cause of nagging. Nagging is typically viewed as a low power strategy or an inferiority complex. Nagging often functions as attempts at persuading or cajoling others to change and sometimes, wrongly. Nagging is often the first indication that a conflict exists in an interdependent communication. It is a soft way of saying, “I do not agree with you on something”. Complains are common features of interpersonal communication. But once complaining evolves into a full-scale conflict, the slow build-up and repetitive pattern of daily complaints can have a corrosive effect on a relationship. Nagging can become a vicious circle. The more you nag, the more one's partner avoids or pulls away from his mate both emotionally and physically. This has been a root cause why partners become unfaithful. Nagging does all negative things in a relationship. It makes your spouse resentful even though your gripes may be valid, it makes your spouse defensive, it stirs disrespect and comparison with other people, the spouse who nags puts himself in the parent role and his/her mate on the child role, it causes a feeling of inadequacy or feeling of being attacked personally, it creates a feeling of criticism and sometimes and the partner becomes adamant to the demand. Nagging just does a lot of terrible things and it begins from simple to serious.
WHY DO SPOUSES NAG? When parents nag their children, it is often for different reasons they nag their spouse. Commonly, people nag because they need attention. It is because the men don't listen that women nag, and when they nag, they stop listening altogether. The vicious cycle just continues. There seem to be some deep-seated need in all women and it appears the men are sometimes insensitive to the need of their spouse. ? "We have a perception that we won't get what we want from the other person, so we feel we need to keep asking in order to get it," While men and women nag, experts say, that women are more likely to nag largely because “they are conditioned to feel more responsible for managing home and family life. And they tend to be more sensitive to early signs of problems in a relationship. When women ask for something and don't get a response, they are quicker to realize something is wrong. The problem is that by asking repeatedly, they make things worse”.
Elizabeth Bernstein writing in the Wall Street Journal, “Meet the Marriage Killer” opines that “Personality contributes to the dynamic; an extremely organized, obsessive or anxious person may not be able to refrain from giving reminders, especially if the partner is laid back and often does things at the last minute. Other people are naturally resistant some might say lazy and could bring out the nagger in anyone”. While the woman may be guilty of the problem more, its trigger comes often from the man. It is a tendency to bring it up to a desired position. It must be established that nagging, sometimes, seeks to change a person, rather than understand one's spouse. Nagging becomes a negative relationship device when both partners have started living closely together. During courtship, a person may not notice that the partner nags, but once commitment has been made and the love goggles come off, they start noticing all the little things that irritate them. Unless, the one nagged understands this dynamics, he would get even frustrated that his spouse is friendly and more at home with other people, whereas, he/she loses his tantrum at him/her. That is so because, there is no emotional commitment to the stranger, whereas, the nagging spouse feels an ideal in his/her mind that s/he wishes to realize. This can sometimes lead to comparison; another strong marriage and relationship killer.
Nagging is aroused too as a result of an inferiority complex in the relationship or marriage. The nagger feels undermined or his/her voice does not count, hence, s/he hoots out nagging. Nagging is a communication defect and it is an outlet to poor crises management. The one nagged in a relationship often feels small like a child, especially the husband and for him to boost his manliness, completely shuts out from listening to the woman's misdirected need, either to avoid the problem or because he does not want to disappoint with the answer he has to offer and the problem would only escalate. “While all couples deal with nagging at some point, those who learn to reduce this type of negative communication will substantially increase their odds of staying together and keeping love alive. Couples who don't learn often fall out of love and split up” (cf. Elizabeth Bernstein, http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052970203806504577180811554468728).
Often times, nagging does not bring the solution, rather it spirals the problem. So why nag? Once a spouse gets used to nagging, he becomes deaf to genuine need. Once the spouse is complaining, it becomes as though, she is talking to a brick wall. What most spouses don't understand is that, even when nagging works, it is only a temporary fix. It usually ends up leaving both sides with negative feelings about the whole matter. Nagging can also chip away the integrity of a relationship, the way it is capable of waning the self-worth in a child. It often too makes the nagger lose hope in his partner and overtly presumptuous of a negative motive from his partner. It also gives a false sense of power to the nagger. It makes her feels, her persistent complaint could make the other tremble and cajoled into forceful action. Nagging is an enemy to love if it is allowed to persist. There are lot more effects and damages that nagging can wreck and they can be more devastating than imagined. Unfortunately, the Stereotype, “nagging wife” is difficult to change, especially as this has been canonized my social media as handed down to us from ages past. Nonetheless, there are a few things that can be done to break away from this stereotype and effect healing and change both to one's interpersonal communication and relationship.
HANDLING NAGGING IN MARRIAGE: The first step in curbing the nagging cycle, experts say, is to admit that you are stuck in a bad pattern. You are fighting about fighting. You need to work to understand what makes the other person tick. Rather than lazy and unloving, is your husband overworked and tired? Is your wife really suggesting she doesn't trust you? Or is she just trying to keep track of too many chores?
WHAT MY FATHER TOLD ME ABOUT INTEGRITY
» By Rev. Fr. (Prof.) Cornelius Afebu Omonokhua
The rays had just left the sun and the earth had just turned to receive the radiant beam some time ago. Fear and horror had followed the abyss of the dreadful dusk of the night. This was really one of the best mornings when the mind was so fresh, relaxed and the heart was aglow with joy. It was the best time to go and say na'egbia (good morning) to Baba, my dear father. The feeling of becoming a man was already deep in me having just graduated from College and looking forward to the next stage of life. Many of my colleagues were rushing already to Ajaokuta to seek employment in the Iron and steel factory. My father Okhifo thought I was having a similar intention and perhaps waiting for me to introduce the topic. The old man welcomed me to his room even though my knocking at the door must have caused his early rising from bed. He received my greetings so warmly but expected me to say more to him. I stood still and gazed at his yearning eyes but I had nothing else to tell him except to ask which of the farms we would be going that day. Very unusual of my father, he was not full of the enthusiasm of going to farm that day. He needed to spend some time with me. That morning was really graciously different from the past ones. He requested me to sit on the chair. I was apprehensive of what was going on. It was going to be a conversation that would serve like a compass for me to traverse the ocean of life towards the shore of success. He meant to turn me around from a youthful level into an adult with integrity. Yes that day was marked with the voice of an elder with the extraordinary words of the sages akin to the biblical wisdom literature.
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My father cleared his voice and began his narrative wise counsel or should I call it a rendition of the unwritten ancient poems of the African ancestors. My son, I have been waiting to hear from you what you intend to do with your life now that you are out of college. I was actually expecting you this early morning as you normally do to receive your salutation. Today, I really have many things to tell you because it is now obvious that you are now becoming an adult. You see, my son, life is really beautiful but human rivalry and unhealthy competition often clouds the joy of life. But one thing is sure and certain, if you allow your brothers and sisters to share in your joy, you save your heart from numerous troubles. If you allow the light of others to shine, your light will forever shine and no one will be able to switch it off because “good” is an eternal fruit that good people harvest for themselves and their progeny. Receive visitors and strangers warmly before asking them where they come from and the religion they practice. In those days, the ancestors do visit the earth in the form of human beings. Take your neigbour as your angel (Esi) for you never can tell who God's own messager is.
There are values you must never contend with your detractors. May no one take from you what belongs to you but ensure that you do not rob a person of a legitimate right and gift from God! Save your energy for the future but work and walk in the right path that our good ancestors are revered for. Do not be in a hurry to be rich except to be rich in the knowledge of truth and what gives happiness to the community. Respect the power of a woman and never take any woman for granted. If you sleep with one woman, you have slept with all the women in the world so the lust after women drains the energy of a noble man. Never fight over a woman with any man. A wife is created from heaven so if a man elopes with the woman you claim to be the love of your life, the woman was never yours. If she is your God given love (uyemhe), she will come back to you. We came into the world through a woman; make sure you do not return to the ancestors through the same process. Lust has been recorded as one of the reasons for the fall of some kings, heroes and great people of substance.
Never fight over a title or position with anybody. Kingship and positions are made from heaven. Many who desire kingship by all means or leadership positions by all means very often betray themselves if they do not have the interest of the people in their hearts. Greedy people often end up in shame, misery and unpredictable death. Honorable life gives a good name that is better than silver and gold. Live in such a way that when you die, your children will find favour with those who had contact with you. A smile is therapeutic. The best way to heal a broken heart is to put a smile on his face. Do not deny any body anything that you can afford. Let the hungry have life by sharing your food with them because a hungry person is an angry person. Show that there is meaning in life by alleviating the pains and suffering of the downtrodden. Do not fight over ownership of land with anybody. Remember that our final share of the earth is the grave. I am yet to see a person who can sleep in two rooms at the same time. Many of the things that kill some people prematurely are things we can do without. Some of the properties we acquire on earth can become sources of war and discord for our children.
Some people will be jealous of your gifts and talents so do not worry when some people question the good things that you merit and deserve. Every body cannot be happy with your progress. A time will come when your success will make some people sad. While you celebrate some people will be angry and even desire to kill you. When these happen know that you are arriving at the zenith of success. It is only men and women of honour that people talk about. This reminds me of Williams Shakespeare that when beggars die there is no comment but the heavens blaze forth the death of princes. The deeds and actions of inconsequential people do not make news. According to my father, the more people despise and insult you, the more you should rate your relevance in the world but do not be over ambitious.
What my father told me has become my road map and action plan in life. I have come to realize that everything some people achieve in life must be attended by challenges and questions. My father and my mother succeeded in debriefing me of the terrible memories that could have affected my mental and intellectual growth. This has helped me to accommodate the reality that whatever happens in life has a message from God. Almost all the deprivations of some people have turned out to be their school to learn the value of integrity and character building. My present awareness has infused in me the true meaning of wisdom that is beyond what is acquired in school. That the content of integrity is honesty, truthfulness, consistency and accuracy of action is what every parent must teach a child in words and actions. The opposite of integrity is hypocrisy and a father who is not honest and true in his dealings with others sow in his children the weapon of destruction. It is sad and unfortunate that today, some parents do not have time for their children. Some children today receive their first lessons from the house helps, drivers and gardeners. Some children hardly see their father who leaves the house for work before they get out of bed and return from work when the children are already in bed enjoying the honey dew of slumber. Some children who are thrown into the streets to beg for alms for self sustenance could be potential terrorists. Fathers be close to your children to build a better future.
» By By Pharm. Ngozi Nzewi
It is important to have adequate knowledge of what pain is, because it is the most common and outstanding ailment affecting everybody irrespective of age. It is an area of health where drug abuse is highly floated. It is a health condition where everybody is a prescriber. Pain sufferer does not go to the hospital at the onset of pain. The first step he or she takes is self medication ignorant of the cause of the pain. If self medication fails, then one resorts to prescription from friends and neighbors who claim to have had similar pains. Close to this trend of managing pain is what is known as “selection”. In selection, the medicine seller puts together different types of analgesics (about five or more types). The individual is given this collection of drugs to manage his/her pain. The selection handles pain so effectively similar to the function of anesthesia. As the pain returns after the effect of such medication is over, the individual goes on repeating this trend of unhealthy medication. Finally, at an inappropriate time, the patient goes to the professional healthcare provider for the treatment of the same pain that must have deteriorated. Greater percentage of our population is prescribers of pain killers. All they know is that there is pain. Pain is about the commonest health problem today. Consequently, the abuse of pain killers (analgesics) is also very high. Suffice it to know that the choice of pain killer depends on the cause (aetiology) of the pain. The proper choice of pain killer to tackle pain is in the hands of the experts.
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CAUSE OF PAIN; Different factors can cause pains. Usually pain springs up from injury or an illness. Sometimes it is very difficult to find the exact cause of a person's pain. Also the patient most often battles with proper description of the type of pain he/she is passing through. Only the person in pain can say how painful a pain is.
TRANSMISSION OF PAIN: The brain is the center of the nervous system. From the brain nerves go to the different parts of the body. These nerves are transmitters of sensations such as pain. The majority of tissues and organs are innervated by special sensory nerve fibers believed to be responsible for the transmission of painful stimuli. Modulation or inhibition occurs at the level of the spinal cord. Thus the central nervous system (the brain), the spinal cord and specialized nerve fibers are involved in the pathway of transmission. These fibers work to process the pain stimuli. It can be likened to a network of wires. This network can sometimes go wrong such that the brain cannot handle the signal properly. This will lead to sustained persistent pain w3hich could be difficult to resolve. In the face of persistent pain, the individual tends to go sad, angry, depressed, and anxious and all these in turn affect the existing pain adversely. The pain goes worse. Looking at pain, it can be said that pain is not something of the mind or something that is just in the body but it involves a complex network system of nervous transmission and the interpretation of signals by the brain. This mix is not steady but is subject to unpredictable changes that will also correspondingly alter the degree of pain.
The way the pain signals move along the system is through the release of chemicals called neurotransmitters which are over one hundred types. The amount of neurotransmitters released in a transmission is extremely very small. Good and bad transmitters have been identified. The bad ones tend to worsen pain while the good transmitters tend to ameliorate pain. We have seen that the disposition of the pain bearer affects the pain. A good emotional disposition such as having good laugh, exercising, lighter mood and the likes strengthens the good transmitters thus ease pain. Pain killers and other drugs can also strengthen these good neurotransmitters. The bad neurotransmitters are on the other hand strengthened when the person is moody, sad and lack motivation.
TYPES OF PAIN
Pain can be acute, chronic or intermittent. Acute pain is a short time pain such as found in sprained ankle. Many acute pains are like alarm telling of something being wrong. Minor acute pains are readily treated effectively. Acute pain can be rightly regarded as a sign of a disease process and has a biological function by allowing the patient to avoid or minimize injury thereby paving way to healing. Chronic pain is a disease and not just a symptom. It stands for an established ongoing disease condition. Example is the pain found in nerve injury, neck pain, musculoskeletal pain etc.
Intermittent pain is that pain that comes and goes. It is reoccurring and intermittent. Example of an intermittent pain is that from toothache.
CHRISTIAN FAITH IN THE FACE OF TECHNOLOGICAL REVOLUTION
» By Rev. Fr. Ferdinand Okafor
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It is very alarming, indeed shameful to note the geometrical drifting of Christians into the realm of secularism. Today, many Christians have abandoned their Bible and thrown away their faith clinging to secularism. Many are ashamed of carrying their Bible but are not ashamed of carrying I-pads, palm-tops and phones. Some consider it more convenient to carry their I-pads and phone than carrying the Bible. This is because Christians no longer witness to the Gospel hence they have dumped their Bible lest they be accused of not practicing what they preach. If you are ashamed of me in this present age, I will be ashamed of you before my Father in heaven (Mk 8:38). Many Christians can navigate the internet but do not even know where to find a particular book of the Bible; they are looking for the easiest way out. It is most worrisome that those who should be light and show the way to the world have become engrossed in the world. Christians now learn from the secular world instead of the world learning from them. As the saying goes, all that glitters is not gold. Although we are in the world, we are not of the world (Jn 17:14, 16).
With the evolution of internet, many people spend hours browsing the internet, making friends through face-book without daring to spend even a minute with Jesus Christ or make friend with him. Worse still, many preachers download other people's reflections and messages instead of listening to God and hear what he has to say. This is lamentable. What a shame! The Psalmist declared: I will hear what the Lord God has to say, a voice that speaks of peace (Ps 85:8).
The two great virtues that are seriously eroding from Christian life are: silence and sitting at the feet of Jesus. Many dread silence and prefer noise and gallivanting to sitting quietly. All these are the negative influences of the present age. The revolution in human communication has given rise to new possibilities for the mission of the Church and new pastoral problems (Aetatis Novae, n. 2). In reality, it is not sinful for Christians to use technology. No doubt, technology has some positive elements to contribute to the growth of the Gospel. The Church is neither against the growth of science and technological evolution nor does she regard them to be out-rightly bad; rather she recognizes that technological evolution can be employed negatively to the loss of the human person and against divine plan. Sin lies in misuse or abuse of a thing. So, the Church recognizes technology as a gift or blessing from God to bring about the development and salvation of the human person; and so she advocates the proper utilization of technology. According Pope Francis, modern means of communication, especially the Internet, offer “immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity.” For this reason he sees the Internet as “a gift from God.” For him, Technology should serve humanity, helping it to “grow in humanity and mutual understanding.”
The Church has the mandate to preach the Gospel. Her obligation is the proclamation of the Gospel and the spread of God's Kingdom to every place. Christian ideals or teachings can be presented via media and technology. Human beings are influenced by what they hear and see. The younger generation is growing up in a world that is conditioned by Mass media (Redemptoris Mission, n. 37). Audio-visual aspect of media communication should be employed in the formation of the human person. Communication of truth can have a redemptive power. Technology or media is essential in evangelization, catechesis and formation in truth of the human person and the society as a whole. Proper utilization of scientific and technological innovations by Christians can help spread the Gospel fast and advance God's kingdom. Christians therefore, should make a creative use of technological discoveries to advance the Christian faith (Aetatis Novae, n. 3).
Many are applying technological innovations negatively; spreading false reports and immoral actions with it. This is what most people know about technology. The two extremes one can easily fall into are: first, the total neglect of technological innovations regarding them as sinful; and the second is the absolute dependence on technological innovations as if one cannot live without them. While the former brings about the inhibition of the Gospel message, the latter brings about consumerism, materialism, lack of concern for the poor and neglected, rationalization and loss of faith in God.
Technological advancement is a blessing from God. It is an expression of human ingenuity. However, its use has been a mixed blessing. To be able to apply it for good purposes, individuals, groups, private sectors, government and the society as a whole need to acquire sound values and be wise in choices. This means interpreting and utilizing technological innovations in the light of Christian faith. Christians should therefore employ the full potential of the Technological innovations and not be afraid to use technological innovations.
MARY AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (PT. 3) WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF MARY?
» By Rev. Fr. Agibefo Mario
The Analogy of the Temple in Mark 11:15-19
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In the book of 1 Corinthians 3: 16-17 and 6:19, the Holy Bible tells us that our body is the temple of God and the Holy Spirit. My question is, what did Jesus do to the defiled temple in Mark 11:15-19? When Jesus got to the temple of God, he discovered that it was defiled just as our body was defiled by sin as a result of the fall of Adam and Eve. However, in order that the temple in Mark 11:15-19 be fit to be the dwelling place of God, Jesus had to cleanse it by purging it of all defilement.
Furthermore, Malachi 3:1 says: See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. Here, the Lord said that he is sending a messenger to prepare the way for his coming. Who is this messenger? In the Gospel of John 1:23, when the people came to John the Baptist insisting that he disclose his identity to them he replied in response: I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord,' as the prophet Isaiah said (see Isaiah 40:3). John eventually became the messenger.
And Malachi says that by the time that the way for the Lord is prepared, the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. Who is the Lord? He is Jesus! And where is the temple that he would enter by the time he came? The first temple that indeed Jesus entered when he came into this world was the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Remember, our body is the temple of God and the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19-20) and Mary's body was not an exemption. Now, if Jesus cleansed the temple in Mark 11:15-19 so that it could be a befitting place for God to dwell, then he who is God the Son must have specially prepared beforehand the temple which was the body of the Blessed Virgin Mary spotless and pure; fit enough for his (Jesus) dwelling and the dwelling of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:26-35).
Major Arguments Put in Objection to the Immaculate Conception
Two Bible passages are usually cited by the Fundamentalists against the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception: Romans 3:23 and Luke 1:47. The book of Romans 3:23 states that: all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And Mary is part of this all, so she could not have been without sin. A confirmation of this for them is Luke 1:47 where the Blessed Virgin Mary said: and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. The argument here is; how would Mary be talking about being saved if she were sinless? However, I found a very beautiful explanatory answer to this question:
Let's take the second citation first. Mary, too, required a Saviour. Like all other descendants of Adam, she was subject to the necessity of contracting original sin. But by a special intervention of God, undertaken at the point she was conceived, she was preserved from the stain of original sin and its consequences. She was therefore redeemed by the grace of Christ, but in a special way-by anticipation.
Consider an analogy: Suppose a man falls into a deep pit and someone reaches down to pull him Out. The man has been “saved” from the pit. Now imagine a woman walking along, and she too is about to topple into the pit, but at the very moment that she is to fall in, someone holds her back and prevents her. She too has been saved from the pit, but in an even better way: She was not simply taken out of the pit, she was prevented from getting stained by the mud in the first place. This is the illustration Christians have used for a thousand years to explain how Mary was saved by Christ. By receiving Christ's grace at her conception, she had this grace applied to her before she was able to become mired in original sin and its stain.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that she was “redeemed in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son” (CCC 492). She has more reason to call God her Saviour than we do, because he saved her in an even more glorious manner!
The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a divine gift to mankind. Through it, God the Son our Redeemer and Saviour came to free us from the bondage of Satan and sin. Having such a rear privilege from God, I think we should rejoice in God's mercy all the days of our lives and create a special time to celebrate the gift of the Immaculate Conception in our lives.
A GLIMPSE AT AN ILLUSORY LIGHT
» By Rev. Fr. Gregory Onimhawo
There is a thought that continues to ring a solemn bell in mind. It calls for a deep reflection. It is an illusory light as presented by Pope Francis. This is a personal reflection as the title righty suggests. It is based on the preamble introducing Pope Francis first Encyclical-Lumen Fidei ie the light of faith, published in the year 2013 to the Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Consecrated persons and of course the lay faithful as it concerns faith. Reflecting on the Pope's concept of an illusory light as pointed out in the Encyclical will be quite appropriate if one makes out of it some salient points, and that is what this write up tends to address.
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1. The Light of Faith: On this context, it shows the Church's tradition that speaks of the great gift brought by Jesus Christ. In Jn 12:46, Christ says of himself. I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me as the eternal light will not remain in darkness. St Paul added: “God who said, let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts” (2cor 4:6). It suffices to say that, through Christ and in Christ, we receive an eternal light that leads us to eternal Salvation, bearing in mind that all must step into it with the foot of faith and continue to walk in it. This is soul- over whelming. Unlike the Pagan world which seeks for a light that is short-lived and easily fades away, we seek for that light which illumines the entire human person. It comes from the risen Christ, the morning star which never sets. Eternal light, that makes our life eternal.
2. An Illusory Light: This is against the objections coming from our modern day contemporaries that light seen in the lines of faith is of no use for new times for humanity has come of age, proud of its rationality and anxious to explore the future in novel ways (sciences), different from that of Christianity. At this point, faith appears to some as an illusory light, preventing mankind from boldly setting out in quest of knowledge. Some could mistakenly say, it brings in laziness into human endeavour. May be, this is the reason why Nietzsche (a writer known for the concept of A dead God) encouraged his sister Elizabeth to take risks, to tread new paths…with all the uncertainty of one who must find his own way” he continued that “this is where humanity's paths part, that if you want peace of soul and happiness, then believe but if you want to be a follower of truth to which he holds strongly, then seek knowledge. Although, Nietzsche stands on the side of searching for knowledge and finding truth but then brings in element of faith by using the verb/believe. One could come to see and appreciate that belief is compatible with seeking. One seeks to believe and believing by seeking the one you love and trust. The likes of Nietzsche may not agree to the said point, for they see faith as an illusion which blocks the path of novelty, adventure and of a liberated humanity to its future. With this, faith is associated with darkness. This is absolutely different from our Christian belief and far from how we treasure faith, for faith radiates light, the light that will lead us to the truth and truth that will set us free (Jn 8:32ff). In the absence of light everything becomes confused, it is impossible to tell good from evil, or the true road or the deceptive ones.
3. Recovering the light: The light of faith is unique, since it is capable of brightening up every aspect of human existence. A light this powerful cannot come from ourselves but from God himself who is a more primordial source. The light of faith is born of an encounter with the living God who calls us and reveals his love to us. This is love that precedes us and upon which we can rely for security and for building our lives.
As this point we look at Christ in his divine love, we come to see that faith which does not dwell in shadow and gloom, it is a light for our darkness. After professing his faith to St. Peter, Dante in the “Divine Comedy” described that light as a “Spark” which then becomes a burning flame and like the heavenly star within me glimmers”. The Church never takes faith for granted, she knows that this gift of God needs to be nourished and reinforced so that it can continue to guide her pilgrim way. It is on these tenets that the Encyclical of Pope Francis rests. However, he appreciated the immense efforts of his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI who had almost completed a first draft of an Encyclical on faith, such a fine work. In this presentation, God's gift of faith is a supernatural infused virtue, that makes us realize that a great love has been offered us, a good word spoken to us, and that when we welcome that word, Jesus Christ the word made flesh, the Holy Spirit transforms us, lights up our way to the future and enables us joyfully fly on the wings of hope. This makes one sing the words in Psalm 27 that “the Lord is my Light and my Salvation. The chorus could be my faith, my light.
Bishop Dunia Elevates Anegbette To A Parish
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Appoints Fr. Okhifo As First Parish Priest
By Ibharayi Wilson
The Catholic Community of St. Joseph, Anegbette was recently agog with celebration, as the Bishop of the Diocese Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia, elevated the status of the Church to a Parish.
Giving the remarks at the Eucharistic celebration, the Chief shepherd of the Diocese who noted that the event was timely, as it will further promote evangelization in the community, stressed that Catholic faith is spreading in the community, hence the faith of Parishioners in Anegbette is gradually growing.
Continuing, the Chief Shepherd of the Diocese congratulated the faithful and urged them to continue to co-operate with the Parish administrator to encourage more physical and spiritual development in the Parish, adding that a Parish that is not performing to expectation can be put under another Parish. He also tasked faithful to take their Catholic faith seriously and enjoined them to always call and hold on to God to sanitize their hearts, as when properly sanitized, it would go a long way in sustaining their faith and re-enact unwavering support for the growth of the Parish.
Reiterating the importance of the faith in the growth of a Parish, the Shepherd of Souls hinted that faith and enthusiasm should not be overshadowed by materialism, affirming that faith is a grinding tower in bringing one closer to God. He charged the Parish administrator to promote physical and spiritual growth of the Parish, while tasking all present to endeavour to always pray for Priests, Religious and Seminarians, to enable them realize their set goals.
Earlier in a homily delivered by Rev. Fr. (Prof.) John Onimhawo who congratulated the people and Parishioners on the erection, hinted that the occasion coincided with the feast of the Holy Innocents, adding that feast of Holy Innocents was to honour thousands of Innocent children who suffered in the hands of King Herod when he wanted to kill infant Jesus. He stressed that there was no justifiable reason for killing those Innocent children and advocated the need for children to be protected not only by their parents but by all and frowned at the activities of Boko Haram members who are killing children and destroying lives.
Frowning at the high the level of corruption that has enveloped the nation, the homilist charged all to shun materialism and corrupt tendencies capable of undermining growth and development of the nation and urged Nigerians to renew their Christian faith by rededicating themselves to God and eschew corruption.
More, Fr. Onimhawo who lauded the efforts of the missionaries, Priests and individuals who brought development and Christian faith to the area, observed that the community is developing economically, socially, spiritually and otherwise, stressing that the effect of Christian faith in the community is having positive ripple effects on the Church and charged faithful not to relax on their oars to bring more development to the Church.
The homilist who urged faithful not to let their enthusiasm to die out after been erected as a Parish, tasked them to take the development of the Parish seriously and commended the Chief Shepherd of the Diocese, Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia on his developmental strides in the Diocese . He further solicited for more co-operation and support for the growth of the Parish, noting that development of a Parish requires collective efforts which should not be left for the individuals or Parish administrator alone.
Appreciating all present for attending the celebration, Rev. Fr. Innocent Okhifo, who was the former Rector of the Mass Center, now appointed as the first Parish Priest by the Bishop, commended the Bishop for erecting the Mass Centre as Parish and for appointing him as the first Parish administrator. He also lauded the Parishioners for their contribution to the success of the event and solicited their co-operation to enable the Parish meet the set goals.
Highpoint of the celebration was the presentation of decree of erection and appointment letter to the first Parish administrator by the Bishop, thanksgiving procession among others. Meanwhile Holy Trinity Catholic Church Ukpeko has been chosen by the Bishop as the only outstation of the Parish.
RELIGIOUS FANATICISM IS CAUSING HAVOC IN AFRICA - BISHOP KUKAH
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese Most Rev. Matthew Hasan Kukah, has reiterated that religious fanaticism is causing havoc in many parts of Africa, stressing that from traditional religious culture, Africans have imbibed a deep sense of God, the creator, affirming that when this religious fervor is misdirected by fanatics or manipulated by politicians, conflicts are provoked that tend to engulf everyone.
The Bishop dropped this hint at the plenary Assembly of the pontifical for interreligious Dialogue at the Vatican City.
The Prelate who titled his paper “Challenges to members of different religious traditions and African Civil Society in Africa”, stressed on the role and importance of the various organizations and civil societies in the continent. He noted that “the two Synods of Bishops on Africa have drawn attention to the problems of what the Church in Africa can do and should do”, pointing out that “religions have a major role to play in the healing of the continent”.
Continuing, the Bishop hoped for a “greater ecumenical collaboration with our brothers and sisters of other Christian traditions. We also look forward to more dialogue and co-operation with Muslims,, the adherents of African Traditional Religion (ATR) and people of other faith” praying that “may God give us the grace to rescue our faith and build a world worthy of the mind of the creator”.
Further, the Sokoto Local Ordinary explained that “the failures and challenges of building strong economics and political systems in Africa on the basis of Democracy and freedom, will continue to push religion to the surface as religious identities become tools of bargain” asserting that “the lack of culture of the rule of law, a strong judiciary and a qualitative improvement in the lives of people will continue to make many African nations vulnerable to violence”, noting that “in the end, whether we have eternal civil wars waged on religious claims such as, Boko Haram in Nigeria, in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rowanda, or insurgents and warlords of Somalia, these crises are tied to the weakness of the State in Africa”.
More, Bishop Kukah also identified the role of the Catholic Church in the perspective of solving the problems of the country, adding that “the leaders of the Catholic Church can lead members of other faiths on the continent to build on the extended family communal values that are peculiar to us in Africa so that beyond the purview of politics, we can help our people find peace.”
REV. SR. UGBENI IS LAID TO REST AT FUGAR
The remains of Rev. Sr. Frances Ugbeni, a Sister of Notre Dame (SND), who died 29th December, 2013 in an automobile accident has been committed to mother earth at Postulant Formation House, Fugar.
Delivering the homily at the funeral Mass at St. Theresa Catholic Church, Fugar, Rev. Fr. Daniel Ewah who likened death to a golden chariot that ushers one into the presence of God, noted that no one is willing to answer the call but is necessary for all, and advised that faithful should strive to live a God fearing life and set exemplary qualities.
Further, Fr. Ewah who pointed out that death does not interrupt anything in the life of a Christian but liberates one from sin, pointed out that it is only death that can make me to be victorious over sin, adding that death is not a punishment or suffering but an opportunity for one to go back to his /her creator.
Fr. Ewah reiterated that as Christians, they should always hope on the resurrection morning as promised by Jesus Christ the savior of the world, noting that though Sr. Ugbeni will be sorely missed, expressed hope that she has gone to rest in the bosom of the Lord and urged all to always pray for the soul of the deceased and the souls of all the faithful departed, while tasking them to endeavour to always show love to those around them and prayed God to receive her soul into His bosom.
In his remarks, the Chief Shepherd of the Diocese Most Rev. (Dr.) G. G. Dunia who commiserated with the family of the deceased over the death of their daughter, described Sr. Ugbeni as a good singer who gave herself to serve in the Lord's vineyard.
More, the Shepherd of souls who noted that death is an end of physical life which no one can run from, urged all to always be ready and turn to God who is the owner of their lives to enable them to be with the Lord and cautioned against reckless driving on the part of drivers and prayed God to receive her soul and the souls of the faithful departed into His bosom.
Giving the vote of thanks at the occasion, Rev. Sr. Jacinta Okpara (SND) who appreciated the Bishop of Auchi Diocese Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia, commended the Bishop of Issele-Uku Diocese for their care to the congregation at their trying time.
Further, Sr. Okpara who described the deceased as a gift to the congregation and to humanity, stressed that she was a good singer, humble servant of God and prayed God to receive her soul.
Rev. Sr. Frances Ono Ugbeni who was born on 8th March, 1973 hailed from Opoji in Esan Central Local Government area of Edo State. She worked as an administrative assistant in a Nongovernmental organization, Women Development Education Centre, Independence Layout, Enugu, Bursar, St. Michael International School Kontagora, a formator/Teacher in Postulate and Novitiate houses and also served as Hospital Administrator in Bishop Murray Medical Centre, Markurdi among others. She was aged Forty (40).