Tuesday, September 27, 2022
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MORAL DECADENCE AND THE NEED FOR SEXUAL DISCIPLINE

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Sexual discipline is a unique type of topic in sex education mostly ignored in many discussions about relationships. It is significant to make notes on them and instruct young growing children who are advancing their impression for their opposite sex. This teaching is resourceful and can be used to correct sexual practices that are indulged in the establishment of friendship. There could be available information, especially stories that can fittingly used to elaborate each module and at every given time, the thrust should be on the need to regulate the rate through which a good number of young people make sex a focus. If this information is provided to them, there could be little or slim cases of rape, sexual molestation and even biological dysfunction.

The building of every child from the nascent stage through the process of adulthood with the knowledge of sex and its regulation would make a difference in the way most of us see friendship. In this process, there should be no point in exclusion. Sometimes, it is the exclusivity of genders in sex discipline that result in many dangers we read and see about sexual crime. No gender should be allowed to be preyed on, as every human being is not immune to sexual discipline. With the fast accessibility to the internet, young people are exposed to pornography and other sites that film sex scenes. Internet however becomes a bane to abiding to sexual discipline, because at every turn of the screen, anyone can have multiple and pictures of sexual escapades.

A friend once shared with me that he grew up in a decent home. But things began to change when he started coming closer to one of his uncles who lived with them in their apartment. At the age of eight, he was serving as a steward who welcomes his uncle’s girlfriends and show them the way to his room. And no matter how unready some of these girls were, they are often attracted to the beauty of his uncle’s room. There was no time his uncle wasn’t having sex at anytime he is being visited by his girlfriends. Before they begin, the uncle was always playing a blue film, a raw sexual performance that will arouse the sexual organs of the uncle and his girlfriend. He became converted to this practice of seeing the blue films whenever his uncle was absent. This continued until he reached the age of puberty and began fondling his male organ to get sexual gratification, which finally landed him into being a chronic masturbator.

Quite often, we downplay the essence of sexual discipline. Sometimes, it may be the inability of our parents to look at the type of books we read. To select a book a child reads is very vital to his or her training. It is not enough to sieve those books but to make sure he doesn’t mingle with those who have access to such books. I know it may be such a herculean work, but it is more suitable to take your time and address the issue at the cradle than to give a free hand, which will make matters worse in future. Outside the books a child reads, there should restrictions to internet access. You do not know what your children do in the guise of using your phone to play video games. There are ways these children navigate to the internet to watch these nudes and make you not have a trace of it. The youngsters are massively expanding in the knowledge of technology and no matter how versed you think you are, they are breaking boundaries to know formulations and data analysis. Do not be surprised when they hack your phones and unlock those hidden columns where you may have stored those sex videos. Be alert and know what they are doing while making use of your phone.

I grew up without knowing about phones that can film, snap and store delicate information. I know most of you did also. I got my first phone after secondary school and that was on the need to have a mobile number for registration of JAMB. In this epoch, things have changed. Barely do you see a student in JSS class not having a phone. These phones were bought to make them happy, as most parents would say. It is amusing how parents get phones for their children just for such a flimsy reason. There are other things that can make your child happy outside the purchase of phone. No matter how important they think those phones could be, it is easier for a child to lose his or her sexual discipline by mere having phones that are internet-connected. Instead of buying them phones, buy more informing books that will charge them to be researchers and critical thinkers. The death of academic research witnessed in many institutions today is because mobile phone has started making everything easier and the rate of plagiarism becomes incredible. 

There are interesting tips made available by Juliana Stewart on how to practice sexual discipline. I will like to share the five ways and make a few comments on them. They include:

1. Think about why you have decided to wait.
It is needful you evaluate the major reason that sterilized your having sex. Sometimes, it could be your religious beliefs, at times, cultural values may make you withdraw. When you remember those reasons, it will strengthen your conviction to keep yourself free.

2. Think about the rewards.
Engaging in premarital sex can make you be exposed to avoidable hiccups. This is because, the moment you realize how troubling the rewards of pregnancy, contracting sexually transmitted diseases and having to be reduced to social shame, you’ll review your sexual discipline notebooks.

3. Don’t Tell People.
There could be a tremendous risk in announcing to people, colleagues, friends about your avoidance of sex. The rate of collegial influence can equally make one lose the practical guide to sexual discipline. Your sex life is personal and shouldn’t be shared with anyone, no matter the relationship tier.

4. Avoid Dating Temptation.
Location to your dates matters and because of how you can be whisked away in a lonely environment, that is why it is formal to have a date in a busy place or vicinities that house the relatives of the person you’ve gone a date with. Avoid “meet me” dates. If you can choose your location, do that without informing the person before your meet.

5. Don’t shave your legs.
The mind prepares how our activities can be carried out, but there are minutes you need to talk to your mind about certain pre-meditated acts you finally carry. The attempt to shave your private parts might as well compel you to have something to do with the person you want to meet. To shave means, to make ready yourself for any eventuality.

In reading about the lives of great men, Truman Harry S. says I found that the first victory they won was over themselves. Self-discipline with all of them came first. Even though it has been trivialized as sex has become so common, there is an enduring reason why anyone should engage in sexual discipline. It may not necessarily be for anyone, but at a given time, you find contentment in having opportunities to think about your life, than to make pictures on how to impress someone.

THE BECOMING – THE PROCESS

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For the first time in my life, I was able to download Candy Crush on my phone, after I got drilled by loneliness and lack of engagements a few weeks ago. Most of my friends had encouraged me to download it and I never understood why they have been in my ear reminding me to get the game into my phone. I had previously disconnected with a number of darling kids, who’d have used my phone as a whole comfort for recreation and to entertain themselves. And when I let them know that I don’t have any game on my phone, they cringe and left angrily to someone else who is always ready to accommodate them. I felt so sorry about that, but it at times doesn’t change my decision of not having any game stuck in my phone.

On a long journey from Nnewi to Abakaliki sometime ago, I decided to make my fingers around the game and as usual, I began with the first level. I can tell that the level is endless and the more you win each level, you are likely to be welcomed to the next and the next. This was so impressionable and at the same time wheeled me to make a random thought about the winning, the rising, the trying over and over again. In my second and third try, which was a lot easier, I got inundated with the methods and its functionality. The system works in such a way that you would need to win some points and unblock certainly locked cages and have some welcome to the different logs. It seemed nice and it appeared so interesting at each opening of a new game.  

As I make progress, I find it difficult to navigate to the next level and it is a fight anyone would wish to win. I would want to go to another stage, but I have known that before that could happen, I will first finish the boxes and win the points. This was timed with another similar set of numbers, where I was supposed to get before I am out of moves. If finally I got muffled out of the way, I was given an option to give up and try again the process, until I got the level smashed. It is so surprising and with sturdy improvements that I was able to keep moving. There are other competitors who appeared on the screen and they are at some point, the major reasons why I needed not to stop pressing on.

When I had got to the twentieth level, which was not so easy as it was thrilling, I was at every given time made to have bonuses and they helped me to conquer. The same way I tried until I got to this level, probably level twenty-six and I hadn’t been fortunate to navigate. I tried and tried, I will still fail. I used all my intellectual gymnastics and it was at this time, that I would be condemned to make numerous repeats of the process. At any moment of my improvements, I was saddled with a failure, which was so devastating, as I was impatient to quit. If I hadn’t to think about new ways to come through, I would have called off the game and even deleted it. There is however nothing as frustrating as making efforts that yields poor result. It makes the picture of hardwork to be burdened with shallow responsibility.

The Process Philosophers used the concept of ‘Becoming’ a recurring metaphor in early nineteenth-century philosophical writings to describe the notion of Janet Schmalfeldt when she said that it is a belief that explores the idea of form coming into being. This is relatable to every dream we have for this year, as we had promised ourselves that it will be fruitful and prosperous. On November, 13th 2018, six days after my twenty-sixth birthday, Michelle Obama, the wife of former President of America, Barack Obama, announced her book which she titled “Becoming”. In the account of being interviewed, she said that the chronicling of the memoir was a deeply personal experience, which talks about her roots and how she found her voice, as well as her time in the White House, her public health campaign, and her role as a mother. This however is an indication that her process of becoming all these wasn’t just a day work. It was filled with struggles and personal challenges, which was elaborately shared in the book later written by her husband, A Promised Land, which got published on November 17th, 2020.

I will like to link as well the process of becoming with the many inventors such as Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Martin Cooper, Philip Diehl, Chuck Hill and many others, who had increased their efforts in trying to arrive at the point they are and in taking advantage of what they have invented. For want of more elucidation, I will single out Thomas Alva Edison, who invented the light bulb. He was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.” As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, How did it feel to fail 1,000 times? Edison said, “I have not failed 1,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 1,000 ways will not work”.

If your efforts have not yielded fruits, it is likely to be that you are yet to discover the best way for it to work. And for you to arrive at that destination, you need to switch on your thinking antenna to make sure it gets the right network resources to get a beautiful result. Every process of becoming takes time, energy, and suck the mental juice exhaustively. If you have sent multiple cold mails and they all come with negative feedback, it may be necessary for you to review the process and understand the paths you are not taking. At times, the reason for your repeated failures may be because you would always want to use the shortcut and the way to success is not familiar with cutting corners. The business plans which have failed, maybe a result of your inability to meet the right expert who will genuinely open your eyes to factors that you have never thought to consider. To turn an abstract concept into a reality is always filled with quality processes and without giving those steps consideration, you may still be in the journey, yet not reaching your terminal.

PUT YOUR CAMERA BEHIND

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The street yesterday was agog with innumerable kinds of people who stepped out of their way to give to the poor what they had. It was a creative gesture and at the same time a show of love for those who out of their condition can’t boast of healthy food and what to wear. I continued my walk to the next lane, and behold, a line of scrimmage with such anger and frustration to have something. Knowing how the chaos was as it is imposed by the receivers, the givers, began to seek a more mature way to handle the trepidation which was already cooking up among the crowd. It is not easy to offer help to the poor, a young lady who had alighted from her husband’s vehicle said surprisingly. They are either fighting or they are defiant to instructions, and when you want to conduct them very well, they seem to conceive you as someone who is very inconsiderate of their plight, she finally concluded.

There were a few places I went to conduct my research and I was startled to see the number of people who were reduced to being beggars on the street. Not too long after I had crossed the other side of the road, had I found a big bus filled with uncooked food, footwear of every colour, and many wonderful gifts that were up for grabs. As they took positions to share the gifts, they also had alerted the cameraman, who also came with a small motorcycle, and his equipment. I heard the other man telling the photographer to make sure every scene is well captured and without mistake, there should be a quality to the pictures, in order to give the value of what they wanted, he told him. I will be at my best and I am going to be painstakingly accurate with everything I would do – say it professional, the man delightfully said.

I am yet to feel the glamour people crave at the use of a camera in a show of support and love to others who are financially unstable. Of what inspiration do you get when you video and record tapes of how you offered a cup of rice to someone. There is something very unsettling about you that always go with your camera to capture at each end the effort you make to assist others. Is it to show reference to your neighbours or to have a receipt you’ll provide to your friends as to how you celebrated your Christmas with the destitute. Or you are trying to inform people that you were about to put out some of your valuables for those who are in want. Of what circumstance would permit you to have some screenshots of your charity and does it simply tell you that you are creating memories in the minds of people. If the latter is part of why you do the snapping, it is highly not commendable, because the act of giving should be a thing of the mind and everyone should as a matter of fact, not replicate the pictures in cards, but in the mind, where it stays forever.

Over time, I have argued with some friends on the need not to install cameras at the various positions where the beneficiaries of charity are reduced to insignificant humans, simply because they are faced with challenges of life. The other time, my friend argued that it gives motivation to some, who are not willing to give but are touched to do so when the screenshots meet the social media. I asked if someone needed motivation to carry out the works of charity, of what use is the act so to say? It is just a mimic and it lacks the fruits and for a second, you get no fulfilment doing that. If someone needs to remind you by mere media publicity the essence of giving to people or realizing that there are poor out there who are dependent on your charity to survive, it is of course true to assume that you don’t know as well that people get sick too. So, when are we going to stay in this false identity and continue to feel it is alright. It is not right to think of other humans as an opportunity to polish your popularity or to restore hope to that political ambition that you are nursing.

Human exploitation is one scourge that has witnessed a lot of negligence in our darling Nation. The way we think of others who are not in our class as valueless is something to be worried about. This is one thing that engineers the intention of exploitation. No human being is valueless, even though the society has placed so much emphasis on class definition, it doesn’t suggest in whatever form that poor people are of no value. One striking value of the poor is that it gives us the picture of the upper class. Without the poor, there could be little or no knowledge of who is rich or of what level is the person’s wealth. So, even when we think of the poor in such an inhuman manner, we should not forget that the indispensability of everyone still stays.

Put down your camera. Just put it behind the scenes of your act of kindness. If you are able to practice this type of withdrawal mentality, it will revamp the idea you have of people. It will as well, not create that impression you often have that charity is a roadmap to social importance and to keep such a position is to amplify the quality of your camera and the little things you give. Giving to the poor is not an affiliation to political canvassing. Learn to exclude your act of charity from the many intentions that spur you to do so. There could be more other necessary need for a camera in your daily routine as a person, but try to avoid the temptation once you wish to squeeze that naira notes in the shivering palms of that man. Forfeit that zeal that makes you think that every attempt to alleviate people from their state is an opportunity to publish yourself. Charity is not an excursion where you have the sceneries of the places you went saved tightly to your phone. Charity is a beautiful act done in a closed-door, specifically and without the invitation of the third party which is your camera and your audience.

THERE IS A ROOM IN MY INN

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A family who lost their way to their home were stranded and was almost hopeless. It is already fifteen years since they visited home, and because of the many renovations carried out in their state, they were unable to find their way until they ran into the night. When they ransacked the vicinity to see how they can get at least a guest house, it was dawn on them that there was no such thing. Upon the realisation of their comfort for that night, they were left with the option to comb the little village to see who would make welcome to them. In different houses they entered, they were met with disappointment and they grew pensive and acrid. Things turned rough when it was too dark to see help. At the same time, they got apprehensive of the armed robbers and how they would be risking their valuables as well.

A few minutes drive from where they were searching, they came upon a little light brimming with soft voices. There could be ways to bridge the contact with the occupants of the environment, but they are dead in fear and they are not sure of the faces they’d meet. In confidence, they strolled there and knocked. It was a family house, but with tottering walls and unhealthy corners. Due to their desperation and quest for safety, they asked if they can put their head down for some hours before they would continue with their journey. With some hesitancy, they threw questions at them, to find out first if they know where they are going and from which town they are heading. When they provided this information, they were filled with compassion to give them a welcome. We have a little inn for you people, but I will be assisting you with other necessary things, the old woman who was already on a tattered wrapper around her chest mentioned. Make yourself comfortable and please, don’t fail to manage us, the way we are. With a grateful heart, the family were so touched by their act of kindness.

Giving people your inn in a very little good manner is a sign of love and there is nothing that quickens the healing of the heart than being nice no matter how it comes. In most cases, we have been strangers to places we have not known. The way we were welcomed shouldn’t always determine the way we should welcome others. There are different types of hospitality, but I will like to keep clear the most popular one we often receive. This is the welcome we give to people based on class. It applies to how we value people by first stripping them of their humanity to replace it with status and offices the person occupies. At each point you give class hospitality, you are indirectly asking for a reward because it is a sign that you have an ulterior motive for that act of charity. It is the recognition of class that gives room to what I as well see as drought hospitality. It is an act of giving someone a half service. A failed formulation of love in its great sense and conduct.

In 2014, I met a single mother who pleaded with me for accommodation in my family house in the village. Because of how dedicated she was and how she carried her poor child around to hawk doughnuts, I asked for my parent’s permission to give her a room in our house. She had requested to stay in our house to run her admission stuff in my state. When my parents finally agreed, I asked for her details and other necessary information, in case of future issues. I fed my parents with those details and allowed her to gain access to the phone numbers of my parents and the home address. When she came to our house, my Mum, was so dedicated to providing her with everything she needed as a mother. At some point, my Mum was going to school late because she had to prepare breakfast, boil water for them and her baby and even invite her for prayers, to which she often don’t respond. After a few weeks of her arrival, our guest changed completely. She turned into a talking woman I used to know to a dumb person. My Mum did the best she can to bring her out of such a mood, but it was becoming worse and at some point, she began withdrawing herself from my parents. She almost made my parents go insane, and she was forced to leave our house. After many attempts, my parents had to involve the village vigilantes to bounce her out.

It is a failure on your part to always be ungrateful to those that gave you their inn. Most times, while people begrudge on rendering these beautiful services is because they are very specific to those who would not appreciate such a sacred gesture. It befuddled me at times to experience thankless people. It diminishes the emphasis mounted on sacrifice and it can make anyone become uneasy about welcoming people. The problem with ungrateful people is that they shut down the way for other genuine and honourable souls who need help. The place of letting people in our inn, shouldn’t be defied with ingratitude. It is an abuse of human charity for anyone to bite a finger that has comforted him or her. It is worrying and at the same time very degrading of your personality to ignore a little sign of warmth you are given.

As a human, however, your definition of giving to others shouldn’t be tied on the benefits you get, rather on the ability to see yourself as a provider of hope to the downtrodden, an immigrant, a restless soul, a forgotten family and many others. Keep in mind that your availability to relinquish your inn for people is a fascinating work of art that comes from the heart. It is a just feeling for others who are faced with the incompleteness of life struggles. And when you are rightly agreeing to this law of nature, which is giving home to the homeless, you are obviously creating rooms in different places of your journey. I have once been stranded in a country very near to Nigeria, if not for the assistance of a family I met selling in the shop, I may have not this day to tell about it. There is how nature works, it is a give-and-take thing and it works without any influence or bribe. And there could be multiple blessings that come with giving up your inn for others and it is quite vivid in the experience of Abraham and the angels (cf. Gen. 18).

THE SMELLS OF THE THORNY ROSE

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Marriage is a bed of roses, but if you say it has thorns, you may not be wrong. Roses are shrouded with thorns, but it has the best smells and is very pleasing in the eyes. When you want to link marriage to bed of roses, you are as well not differentiating it from the thorns, because it is the availability of the thorns that make the beauty of rose become more astonishing. Everyone who wants marriage and is not aware of the thorny part of it has decided to limit the peculiarity of rose. And it is fruitless to continue a discussion with someone who abates the presence of thorns in the bed of rose.

In the next five years or so, my parents would mark their fifty years of their marital vows. It is a journey of continuous knowing and in strong but authentic life, which they have lived. I have spent a part of my life watching my parents and I am very proud to tell you that they never undermined the presence of thorns in their marriage. My Mum got married to my Dad after she had graduated from secondary school and a year later, they become helpmates to each other in trying to build a vision which both of them earlier conceived when my Dad was merely my Mum’s classroom teacher.

I have observed that many homes that are spreading the news of divorce, may have married out of the concept of a bed of roses, without realizing there are thorns beneath it. And when at long last, they discovered that thorns are hidden in the bed of roses, they begin to scream, this is not what I bargained. Marriage is not cheaply a bargain, it is a coming together of a man and a woman to agree to become one. One thing is as well very needful, a man is incomplete, same as a woman. When you intend to marry a complete man or woman, you are on a narrow path to fail. There is room for completion and that could be possible by uniquely bonding together with the interest of completing each other.

My aunt had three divorces and all happened within five years. After a more critical look at the relationship, it was discovered that most of the men came for her money. In my teenage period, I learnt how the wealth of my aunt assisted most people recover from their business collapses. She lived in Lagos and at a time when the value of money was just in thousands. I still have a mental count of those she helped while she was still single. It was because of her awesome magnanimity that she endeared many false relationships that bestowed their ample time in siphoning her income. This systematically ruined her finances and left her a pauper. 

The definition of marriage in our age has started taking a new dimension and that is the reason why we record an outrageous number of divorces. Get your mind back to when our parents and grandparents were married, you will find out that even though there were issues that punished their era, it was with a low rate of divorce and none had mentioned that they were staying in a managed marriage. The perception that Christianity brought the problem of divorce is quite an unfair conclusion. If it did, there are still men who married more than three wives that have experienced triple divorces as well. Promiscuity and infidelity are not central to the Christian life, but rather a way of life most of us have chosen in order to disparage the concept of fidelity in marriage. Our age is confronted with a loose mentality. And this loose mentality is classed by gender. When you teach girls to be mindful of virginity and let the boys explore these girls you are protecting their virginity, are you not in a way sponsoring a loose mentality?

My maternal grandmother lived with a blind husband for five years before he died in 1995. And for once, there was no time she complained about his poverty of sight. This is to mark her definition of marriage as something that is not just for the best. The emotional switch in marriage may come as a result of accident and it may be that your husband becomes aggressive because he had seen how his business had started disappearing. Instead of making him feel better by being the best motivator, your recourse becomes to compare him with Mr. Ikenga, Chief Odogwu and the rest. Comparison comes with effortless nagging and the moment you nag, you bring discomfort in the structure of the family.

Find your truth and in that truth, make sure you are being truthful to your partner. Don’t consider building your relationship with someone in deceit. Neither expectation is encouraged. Bring out yourself in trying to build a relationship. Don’t deign to any pressure by marrying the wrong person. Be intentional about what you want and state it as soon as you want to begin that courtship. If it is compatible with the person, then it is the game, but don’t say, I can always manage. The filtration of management in marriage has disfigured the face of many marriages we thought would be bright and beautiful.  The greater disservice you can give to yourself and your partner is to keep away from him or her, that which may complicate the settings of the union ordained by God.

I am using my family to write about marriage and this is one thing I do when I want to delve into topics as crucial as this. I have witnessed a lot of issues about marriage in my extended family and I have noticed numerously that marriage becomes sour, when the people involved have been imposed to see it as a means to an end.  Philosopher Immanuel Kant said that human beings should be treated as an end in themselves and not as a means to something else. Kantian ethics refers to a deontological ethical theory that says, “it is impossible to think of anything at all in the world, or indeed even beyond it, that could be considered good without limitation except a good will.” I knew I made a case about Kantian ethical implications and I agreed with him at long last, that the moral definition of marriage should negate the factors of seeing anyone you call a partner as a means to an end. In writing about marriage and its complexities, I make bold to say that what personally inspires your relationship with that person should front not your expectations, but the contribution that will make the meeting of the expectations come pretty soon.

FROM A PRIEST TO A HOMELESS BEGGAR

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A young man had a vocation to the priesthood, so his bishop sent him to study in Rome. After being duly ordained priest and serving in the diocese, his bishop sent him to Rome again for further study. While there he used to visit a small church to say his office and to pray. At the door sat a group of beggars seeking alms, and one of them made him feel uneasy for some inexplicable reason. So he went back to him and asked, “Do I know you?” “Yes,” said the beggar, “I studied for the priesthood with you here in Rome and was ordained.”
The priest asked aghast, “Whatever happened to you?” He was told: “I encountered crisis after crisis in my life and eventually renounced the priesthood. I had my priestly faculties taken from me. I lost everything and I am reduced to begging.”

The priest could not forget the beggar and prayed constantly for him. The study course he was attending was drawing to an end and the students were invited to receive individual blessings from Pope John Paul II. They were forbidden to speak to him personally, but as the priest knelt to receive the blessing, his mind was so full of the beggar that he blurted out, “Holy Father, please pray for X who sits begging outside a church in Rome. He was ordained priest but has resigned and his priestly faculties were removed.” He hardly had time to finish as he was hustled away by indignant attendants.

A few days later the priest received an invitation and he hurried to the church and found the beggar. “Come quickly,” he said, “We are to dine with the Pope.” “Impossible,” replied the beggar, “How could I visit him in this state?”
The priest helped him to tidy up and they entered by the great gates of St. Peter’s, where they were met by Monsignor Dziwisz, the Polish secretary to the Pope. He conducted them to the dining room where His Holiness awaited them. After introductions, they sat down to a lovely meal. During dessert, the Pope signalled to his secretary who rose, and beckoning to the priest to follow him, left the room. After about 15 minutes the Pope called them in again. Nothing was said about what happened in their absence.

As they crossed St. Peter’s Square, the priest, overcome with curiosity, asked the beggar eagerly what transpired while he was out of the room.
The beggar related that when they were alone, the Holy Father turned to him and said, “Father, please hear my confession.” In great confusion and distress, he replied, “I cannot do that. I am no longer a priest.” The Pope looked at him with loving compassion. Then he raised his right hand and wagging his finger he said, “ONCE A PRIEST, ALWAYS A PRIEST.” After a long pause, he continued, “As Bishop of Rome and Head of the Catholic Church, I could restore your priestly faculties to you…but you would have to ask.” The beggar, overwhelmed and close to tears, said simply, “Please, Holy Father…” Then the Pope heard his confession and restored his priesthood to him. Afterwards (John Paul) repeated his original request and he heard the Pope’s confession.

After a pause for prayers and meditation, John Paul said: “When you leave here, I want you to go to the church where you have been begging and seek out the parish priest. I am appointing you to curate in that parish, with special responsibility for the beggars who seek alms at the church door.”

By: Fr. Peter Uche

WORLD MISSION SUNDAY

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It was on this day fifteen years ago, that I first had my public performance as a young growing seminarian. We were sent by our Rector to different parishes in Orlu to talk about Mission Sunday. I was posted to St. Patrick’s Parish Eziachi, under the instruction to tell the Catholic community about the need to support the missionaries all over the world to have effective missionary work. There were funds raised in this regard and that was to generally assist priests, brothers, bishops and Catholic nuns, to buy food for themselves and the people they minister to.

The Catholic Church has over the years been known for their act of charity and they make sure this is properly handled, knowing that those who worship God can’t do that on an empty stomach. Just like we witnessed during the Biafran war, the white Holy Ghost Fathers became elementary to the feeding of the children and others who were ravaged by hunger. And they continued doing that, until the government of Gowon expelled them from the Southeast, leaving scores of Biafrans to die of kwashiorkor.

This same human charity has been placed on repeat every year and it is accompanied by the beautiful letter from Pope. The pontifical letter was to serve as a guide that will encourage the missionaries on the need to continue their work of evangelization. However, the content of this letter as well, help some of us to have one or two words we can share with the people of God and at each point, I am always thinking that these missionaries need these alms to amplify the growth of converts.

There are many priests and nuns who are working on difficult mission lands and they require that they need some cash to buy food and water to sustain their ministerial work. Some mission areas have no good water and the food they eat, are not too great for them to survive on. Sometimes, food is being supplied to them, to give them that feeling of comfort and convenience. There are majority of them who die of ulcers, maybe because they have been starving and they have become so attached to hunger. This day gives them hope and a sense of belonging that people think and care about them.

On arrival after our Mission Sunday outing, we were mandated to submit the money realized to the office of the secretary, where they take accurate account of it and write letters to the different parishes in appreciation for the gift of food and cash. The seminary has a percentage they take, in building and feeding, while the rest, goes to the purse of the Diocese, to be sent to the designated areas where the missionaries face challenges.

The Catholics from the Southeast, have been very helpful and they take care of their priests in such a way that they almost lack nothing. They buy them cars, build rectories for them and most times provide them with incentives that urges the growth of the parish. While the reason for evangelization has been met, the need to extend more hands become very necessary to our brothers who work in places like Mali, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Congo, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Senegal, Brazil, and even some parts of Nigeria. Outside the monetary support, today is marked out to pray for the missionaries. Most importantly, those who face persecution, rejection, and many countries that need pastors and missionaries.

World Mission Sunday has been a good day to motivate youths to think of serving God through being a priest. And thankfully, many persons have been so responsive in that regard. There are a good number of priests today, who got motivated by the words of young seminarians who came to their parish for this spiritual function and I am aware many of them will testify to the fact that they have been very instrumental to the spiritual nourishment enjoyed by their parishioners. Meanwhile, I don’t know if my words convinced anyone in that big Parish of St. Patrick on the desire to become a priest. One thing I was very sure, that I conducted myself very well and I did say touching words that left some of the faithful in deep remorse and contemplation. 

Today is a reminder that we are missionaries in our basic Christian community. We are called to bring peace, spread love and create a synergy between the state and the Church. The family, however, is a small unit that makes the Church a big umbrella of hope, grace and faith. It is then the responsibility of the parents to nurture a home that will give birth to a committed missionary, who will be interested in the things that concern God and work assiduously in the proclamation of the gospel. I hope you know why everyone is a missionary, because, at each moment of your life, you are filled with a mission to accomplish.

YOU ARE STILL WORTHY

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Going into the chapel early in the morning, I searched for candles to light for my morning devotion. I could see only one. I searched for another to make it two, proper for the devotion. I managed to find an old one, which looked dirty due to long period of storage. It was very dusty. I found it difficult to use the combination: one new candle and one old and dirty candle. But having no choice, I had to make use of what was available. I lighted the two and what I observed was amazing.

There was no difference between the light produced by the old and new candles. The illumination was not different from what it used to be if two new candles were used. I discovered that the light produced by the old and dirty candle was not interfered with by age or dirt. The fire of the candle burned off the dirt, allowing the wax to be available to burn for illumination.

When I observed the behaviour of the candles, I discovered something about our existence as children of God. All of us are like candlesticks before the Lord. No matter how dirty and old we think we are and no matter how dirty and old people think we are, God is seeing us differently. God knows that beneath the dirt that covers us, under the age that disfigures us, we still contain pure wax that will produce the illumination he wants to use us to produce, we still contain something new. If we make ourselves available to the flame of the Holy Spirit with which God wants to light us, the dirt will be burnt away and the wax of which we are made will produce its effect and the youth under us will be exposed as the sign of age disappears.

As I picked the candle, it felt dirty and old and I also felt it was dirty and old. Both of us were wondering whether it would do its job of illumination. However, the flame was seen differently. We as human beings are doubting ourselves and people equally doubt us as regards our worthiness. However, the Holy Spirit, like the flame that lighted the candles, is seen differently.

We don’t know our worth but God knows. We and other people may disqualify ourselves but God has not disqualified us. God is still picking and selecting us. The only thing he wants from us is availability and trust in the divine providence. Whether we think and see ourselves as too old or dirty, we are still a worthy and useful instrument in God’s hand through the action of the Holy Spirit. God’s grace is still too active in, on and through us. We only need to believe, trust, love, hope and believe.

Being dirty is a great way to know our limitations. Everyone of us has been created with that special sin that converts us from paying attention to the Lord. This is why Watchman Nee in his work, The Spiritual Man, recorded that “there is only one thing that makes the grace of God to be active in our lives, and it goes to show the supremacy of God”. Our dirtiness is not a condemnation. Which is why Jesus keep reassuring us to come to him we who are burdened and over laboured, that he may give us rest. That rest is a consolation. That rest is a reminder that he is still Our Father.

We can not produce worthiness if we keep aloof the spiritual man in us. The thought about our dirtiness is a realization that though we are filling the gap between our physical world, we can’t negate the fact that our world is corrupted by many vices, that can likely make us dirty. When we think of ourselves as dirty, something of no use, something totally needless, it is at that moment that we lose sight of God and what importance we are to the creation account. Nothing can stop us from bearing fruit, no matter how dirty we are. It is God that makes everything new and he is always ready to make an unclean person, become a chassis. 

WHEN HUSTLING MEETS MURDER

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A young beautiful Nigerian girl Onoh Israel Joy from Enugu State who lives and studies in Benue State was at the early hours of yesterday declared missing. The information that followed it after a few hours that her corpse was found at Federal Low Court Makurdi, where she went to deliver clothes to a customer who ordered a few wears online. It was later discovered that she was raped and after which she was killed on 20th October, 2021.

I am yet to find a better word to describe such news. From the look of it, the guy who ordered these items from Miss Joy may have been looking for a way to trap her, unfortunately, he got a more subtle way to lure her. Going with the narration, Joy sustained many bruises before she died, and this may be as a result of an attempt to wriggle her way out from the arms of the perpetrator. Her energy failed, when she found out that there could be no one to assist her.

Asking her friend yesterday while on chat, she was inconsolable of the scenario and her vent was, why will it be a struggling Joy, who barely have time for frivolous engagements. I was unable to answer the multiple questions she posed to me and I became numb at a point because I feel vulnerable in the face of such a heinous offence to humanity. On what ground, however, will a man take a life that he did not create, only because the person refused to gratify his sexual desires? What will the family of young Joy do considering the weight of the crime?

I dislike the fact that some men rape girls. It is not possible for you to have your way to every woman you see. I find it hard to accept that even as I write this, some men use this space to lure girls they will rape and murder. And I want to believe that those who carry these acts have no sisters in their homes because if they do, they’ll not have the mind to inflict pain on someone they can as well see as their sister. I don’t want to access the reason for the girl’s death. Many will say, she may have been raped because she refused to reciprocate the advances and gifts showered on her. Others will as well say, she may have scammed a lot of boys and they want to get back at her. Let me repeat it once again, there is no justification for rape.

Rape is tantamount to infringement of someone’s privacy. Any sexual act carried out without the agreement of both parties is a violation. I don’t know how you’ll think that rape is the only way to get back what a girl has taken from you. How do you enjoy something that requires your struggles? Are you a terrorist? Why will some men see women as objects, that warrant them to make the mistake of forcing them to have sex? If a girl says no to your sexual advances, stop seeing it as a defeat to your power as a man. Women are not a group of people where you learn to become powerful. There are many ways you can exercise your strength as a man and it is not a sign of heroism to target women. Think of other heroic acts.

I hope the perpetrator(s), will be brought to book and justice for the deceased family.

NIGERIA: NKỊTA TARA ỌKPỤKPỤ ANYAWARA YA N’OLU

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I feel always pained to talk about Nigeria. Over the phone a few days ago, a friend who recently reallocated to a new country, accessed the benefits of staying in Nigeria, while he was endlessly interviewing me and I knew I always answered him that I only have the passport which I got a few weeks ago, after about despicable experiences. My friend spent considerable years in Nigeria before he did decide to take a final bow. As the discussion went on, the room went blank and he was not shocked about the development, because Nigeria does not value light and have an offensive view about giving her citizens the chance to enjoy what they deserve.

When my friend narrated to me his brokenness, his tepid accounts about being Nigerian, I hurried to dry the tears that ran through my cheek. Nigeria took my beloved friend during the #EndSARS protest, he said and I have not forgiven myself, neither Nigeria for taking a citizen she is bound to secure. Sadly, I can’t be able to see her corpse and I doubt too if my friend’s family saw their daughter’s corpse, because the Nigerian police who carried the act, took away the body to where they can only give details of. I am a medical practitioner and I do not know how Nigeria will as well deny me my monthly salary and expect me to be effective and efficient. These accumulated to my fears, my unwillingness to remain a Nigerian.

I regret to say that, while I say less of my place of nationality with pride, I am saddened about the sorrowful ordeals of my friend. There were many committed Nigerians who took the pains to always defend Nigeria at all costs, but at each stage of this defence, they are stabbed by the same country that they are running after to defend. Many persons have withdrawn from being a Nigerian outside Nigeria because they are criminalised at the mention of the name. And outside that the feelings are true, Nigeria keeps reassuring her citizens that they are not ready to change. Each day, I am exposed to death, to experiences that sink my heart and to make my mental foundation quiver and become unstable.

Nigeria and her cohorts have continued to instil fear on her children and they keep aborting the dreams of her children with knives and guns. For over twenty years plus since I have been linked to Nigeria, I have been shocked by her poor infrastructural development, the meltdown of the economy, the social culture that keep apprehending me in surprise, the education system that deteriorates every waking second. And when I think there would be change, it stiffens in the abysmal record. It shows that while I think of her transformation for the better, it promises more awful things and the shock of 20 – 10 – 2020, makes me feel more uncomfortable about believing in Nigeria.

I watched today, Nigerian policemen drag a citizen of her country into a van and when the guy refused to arrest, he was rough handled and was conditioned to accent after they have sprayed a harmful compound on him. This is a Nigerian, a promising one, reduced to think about Nigeria more annoyingly. How will you value a country that specialises in brutalising its people and extorting money with intimidation? How will you honour a country that consciously takes the lives of her own, when they were legitimately communicating their feelings about the torture, about vandalism, about terrorist groups sponsored to malign and maim them. These are unpleasant occasions orchestrated by the leaders of the country we belong to – the leaders we willingly voted in with expectations that they will represent us and protect us.

It is one year of remembering that the heroes that died at the toll gate have not been given justice. It is one year of remembering a country that chose silence over the lives of her people. It is one year of remembering a planned attack by the leadership of Nigeria. It is one year of a quiet night, a lonely night, a night where blood flowed on the flags of innocent protesters. It is one year of grieve, and I am sad that the Nigerian government has decided to push away the righteous anger and make us feel we are not meant to speak our mind and exercise our franchise as a democratic people.

May we never forget that Nigeria died in our hearts when they became passive to our cries. And they have been buried when they keep thinking we don’t deserve to air our worries.

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MORAL DECADENCE AND THE NEED FOR SEXUAL DISCIPLINE

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Over the last five decades, our society has been confronted with the conversation on sex, especially those done outside marital vows. However, why we decry on this unimpressed character, mostly ravaging our youngsters, there is a need we intensify equally on the ability to imbibe sexual discipline as the most interesting topic that would assist in curbing the challenges of rape, sexual harassment and biological conflicts quietly sneaking into the forearm of our society. Samuel Aun Woer strictly mentioned that; those who do not have a wife should sublimate their sexual energies with outdoor sports or long walks.

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