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Saturday, November 30, 2019

DAY 29 FINISHING STRONG; NOT FINISHING FIRST ...the best competitor is the Ideal Self...

Of the very many predicaments we go through, and of the numerous things that face us, only very few actually matter; only a handful would ever count. For instance, in this world so much in want and in need of a great many kindness, it wouldn’t matter how much wealth one has; what matters is how often and how cheerfully one gives. We don’t heal the world, as Michael Jackson would sing, by having but by giving. Again it would indeed matter little and mean nothing if one has fallen a thousand times in life; what does matter, and what means a lot is how often we rise from those falls and stand; For one doesn’t really stand until they have learnt from their mistakes and what pulled them down in the first place. One doesn’t win until they are standing on their feet. In the fight of life, it would never matter how many enemies you vanquish or overcome or conquer; what matters is the victory over the self. No one is truly a hero until they have the self under control. I could go on and on to count and recount the list of the things that do not matter. However, for the purpose of this article, one stands out among others: Finishing First vs Finishing well. The phrase cur curre bene, sed praeter viam – well have thou run, but off the track – have been true for a great many races in which man is involved. Sometimes the phrase, “slow and steady wins the race” is true, not because the slow one covers more grounds than the faster one, but because consistency makes great winners, and separates them from perpetual losers. The act of running well is not solely dependent on how fast one runs, but also how steady, and how by the rules one glides through the hurdles before them – one such rule is maintaining one’s track or lane.
Competition has come to be a motivating factor for many people to do well, and put in their best. But this is bad news, because many reasons abound why competition has, instead of helping build us up as a whole, is actually shredding us into pieces. People are created differently and with different capabilities. It is true that anyone could do anything, but the orientation one receives from their immediate surroundings while they grow up counts so much, and goes on to help determine what they become later in life. We definitely do not receive the same orientation, and so will never be equipped in equal strengths –  Some will definitely have the upper hand. So then, when we come up against those with the upper hand in a competition, and those who have put virtually the same or even greater amount of work as/than us, no magic will sway the victory towards us. We are oriented differently, and we should learn to appreciate and encourage others who are better at what they do. We too can be better in what  we do; in what we are well suited for.
Competition creates unwanted foes, even for a moment. Enemies are not good for us; and when we always play or fight to defeat the opponent, there comes a time when the opponent turns into an enemy – because they too want what we want. There also is a tendency for those who lose out in competitions to lose hope and give up. Despair is never a trait one should associate with. When you put the fish in a race with the antelope, it would spend the rest of its life there after believing that it is useless. The negative energy one puts into trying to come out on top of every other person could be utilised into something similar, but far more rewarding and praiseworthy.

“When we compare ourselves with others, we may look pretty good to us; but when we compare us with the person we are meant to be, we could as well exclaim like the Tax-collector” – Stan Chukwube C.S.Sp
Those words could tell us what we need to know about the battles that matter. Never in the Bible has there been a mention about getting to heaven first, or being the first person to pass through the narrow gate. In other words, the first person to hit the target ideally gets no extra reward. The reward for a good and ideal race is always at the finish line – there the wreath awaits as many who make it. The race we run in run life is not a race against any other opponent; neither is it a race to prove a faster runner. Forget the system of the world, and concentrate on the opponent that matters. That opponent is the self. The self, the ideal self is our real motivator towards success. The person one is meant to be is the only yardstick to measuring success; and so, the closer they are to their ideal selves, the closer they are to success. I saw a video of a man in a race who defied pains, and shame, and despair to get to the finish line.
 Derek Reymond, one of the contestants for the gold medal in a 400m race in the 1992 Olympics tore his hamstring on the course of that race. He went down in pain, and then got up amidst the pains in his leg, and continued; even though he knew he was never gonna get the gold, or silver or bronze. He hobbled along while seeing off discouragements from people, even his father, to continue. Well, in pains, and in tears, he managed to make it to the finish line – though with the aid of his father – when every other runner was done. He got a standing ovation from all, but he gave the world a bigger lesson: it is not against others that we run life’s race. It’s against the self. We can only run with others, but never against them. When we run with them, they could help us when we fall; but if we run against them, we run the risk of being left alone on the sands of time. Life’s race is a personal one, and it does not matter how fast or how slow one reaches their target. It is the self we should conquer, not rivals. That way the good things that come to others may well extend and get to us.


Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Mystical City

Glorious things are told of You...

A city too big for the earth, yes you got me right. The earth is made up of cities and kingdoms. The city of Rome, upon all its prowess in besieging nations, was never glorious, maybe because it couldn't conquer itself. Jerusalem didn't listen to God, and hence, the turmoil it's been in even till this day. The list goes on...but there's got to be a difference.
A glorious city is a great city, and of it alone are glorious things told. How prophetic, yet not totally novel was the psalmist when he proclaimed: "glorious things are told of You...". If Caesar dwelt in the city of Rome, and David in the city of Jerusalem; if Elizabeth III dwelt in the city of London, and the Pope in the Vatican city, then where dwells the maker of all these, the maker of the world; not just the maker, but where dwells the ruler of the universe? There has to be a city of God, most minds will defo go to heaven, but wait! Catechism teaches that God is everywhere, so He wouldn't just sit in heaven yet He's got a kingdom, a city. But is there a city that can ever contain the maker of the limitless universe? It's like a man entering into the small television he built, but multitude of men and mansions and cities are found in the T.v. anyway.
It's got to be a mystery, that is, inexplainable, no matter how hard one tries. In God is the heavens, in Him is the universe such that He cannot be contained even in the most infinite of these, since He's more infinite. Yet, and I say, yet, He lived in a much smaller space. Smaller? How have we measured it? With what unit? Where are the boundaries, and how small is this space? We can't answer because we can never know. The Virgin's womb is being referred to here, and how could it have contained He whom the heavens cannot contain? Two things come to mind: either it is big enough to contain God or that it could never have contained Him. The Blessed Virgin carried God for nine months, and that's why glorious things are told of Her because She is the city of God. There is or rather are certain characteristics of the city of God. First, it must be big enough to habour God, and second, it must be pure enough to house God. From elemetary logic, if Mary carried God, if Mary is the mother of God, then She satisfied the whole requirements, though made possible by God. She is the city of God, and no earth can withstand the walls of God's city, the body of the Theotokos. Hence, the Assumption.. .

Happy Feast day mother mine

To be continued...

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Easter deLight

For every season there is a reason
And while we may dwell in the Euphoria
Of one or another, we oft the meaning forget;
And fail to get the Kpim of the message

One thing with life is that it tends to move in cycles. One thing about cycles is that they seem to have no starting and end points; They just keep moving. The earth keeps rotating and revolving, making us go through the same processes over and over: the mornings, the several evenings, the winters, the long summers, the harsh Harmmattans - with these times and Seasons we move. However, one thing stands out - we never get to RELIVE any passing time - every moment comes but once, and then forever is gone. We may have seen  many seasons of Christmas, or Lent, or Easter, but each each one comes with a different package. We only get to savour fully the contents of the parcels if we get to open the gifts before us.
That time is here again, when we have surest temerity to shout Alleluia. Why we shout thus though, is food for another meal; but how convinced we are as Christians singing the Great Alleluias and chanting the Psalms of victory, and crying the words of the Cantatas, certainly plays a huge role in giving meaning to our individual Easter seasons.

True joy is what comes after the sorrows of the trying times. Listen to the psalmist who says: "At night dwells tears, but with dawn comes joy". Darkness covers so many things - especially the evils that thrive there in. The darkest times in the life of Christ, and indeed in the life of the Church unborn was that Holy Thursday Night - made holy only by Christ's pure act. That was the night evil rejoiced over the good. That night, the hope of salvation started to fade like the moon at its wan, or like a lamp without oil. That night, the Good was caught in the shackles of evil; evil took flesh and became a judge over the Good. And that same night, the friends fled and left Him to suffer alone; and so, the darkest shadow was cast over the works of light. Christ would speak, but prehistorically through the pen of the Psalmist; "Even a friend in whom I have trust; who ate my bread...has turned against me". And that night, this was fulfilled with just a kiss.
Sometimes in life, we toil with no apparent hope of success, the the clouds are darkest. At those times, life seems like an endless chain of many nights. Then we could consider giving up on the good; and walking the paths below. We have come at cross-roads at times in life, and many people here know that feeling - sometimes strong enough to make one doubt everything they'd believed in. When faced with such situations, we remember Christ who was silent without, but who prayed fervently within.

The soldiers of the Night, victory they cried,
When the battle still was on.
The armies of Light had run and hid in shame
While the Lord of Hosts hung unclad on the tree,
An object as of mockery and failure.

The drama of the night ended on the Cross with death; or rather in the tomb with decay. However, a bigger drama was unveiling all through the trial times. The death of Christ came as a blow to all who followed Him, especially to His closest friends. Those Apostles, with fear and trepidation were locked behind the doors of the Upper Room, the Scene of the Last Supper. What they did there, we weren't told; but one could imagine a feeling of loss in the air, or some horrible thoughts that made it through the narrow gates of their minds. But because "the love of Christ pushes us", they still visited the tomb - especially the women folk-, at least to go and cry. And so it came to be that through those women, the greatest News in History was relayed.

From dwelling in the darkest prison
Our souls with Christ have risen,
From the grasp of sin to Glory.
And the rock of decay is split asunder.

"You will not leave my soul among the dead, nor let Your Beloved know decay"
After the crucifixion, death and burial, hope dwindled more with each passing moment, hour and day. It was almost three days, and Peter, in encouraging all, may have run short of words. What need was there going to the tomb, only to see the corpse of Him who promised you life. The men were reluctant to make that sojourn again. But the women persisted; and it paid off. From worrying about who would move the stone for them, to panicking about who had removed the body of the Master; then to the ineffable joy that sprung from within when she saw the risen Christ. And that joy catapulted her back to the Upper Room. That joy too, which comes with dawn, brought Peter and John to their heels. That joy replenished the hopeless hearts, and exiled  fear. That is the joy we celebrate today, two millennia later, but with a little less passion, as mere pump and pageantry. We seem to have become used to seasons, and so each that comes around seems to us a mere repeat. And so we miss the message, and lose the meaning; and let slip from our fingers, the blessings potent in each Easter, or Lent, or Christmas.
We are not just Christians by name; we should be Catholics and Christians in heart and by deeds. This too, is a time for sober reflections, on what this season means to our individual lives; how it affects our daily dealings; and how it makes us change the faces of, not just the earth, but the faces of other hearts. The world which gropes in darkness depends on us for light, and through us, that light should shine. Until we realize this, we shall grope with the world in an endless tunnel, and depthless ocean of darkness.
Spread the Light of Easter beyond frontiers! Let's bear witness to the risen Christ; and tell the world that salvation comes from cross, that same cross they hold in Disdain.

And We have escaped to yonder...

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The Spirit of X-Mas!

In mathematics, the end of every equation, trivial and non-trivial, is to find a certain unknown. This unknown could be represented by/with any variable one wishes to use.
In physics, certain kinds of radiations were discovered, and not knowing a suitable name to give them, scientists used the English-cum-Greek alphabetic characters such as α-, β-, and even X-to represent these unknown, or rather, unnamed radiations.
When St. Paul went to preach in Athens, he came across the alter dedicated to an unknown god. He made to cease the opportunity to educate the philosophical Greeks about their own unknown god. Well, we know the result of such bravery on the parts of St. Paul and the Athenians alike. Little Wonder why there is no Paul's letter to the Athenians!
The effect is the same in both instances: the concept of the Unknown. Before the fall of the Roman Empire, there was always a pagan feast on every 25th day of the 10th month, which happened to be December. This feast was the feast of a Roman god - the sun-god. During such feasts, people engaged in all sorts of immoral displays compounded by eating and drinking orgies. People always lived to suffer the consequences of these practices - yet those were religious practices done in the name of prayer and piety.
And these would go on until the Empire was overcome by the nascent Christianity. It was an option to abolish such ungodly practices. However, there was always a better option of turning what was bad, though based on some pious intentions to what would become plausible based on even holier intentions. The feast of the sun-god became the feast of the Son of God (don't mind those rhymes). And so the reason for the season became all the more worthwhile.
You would think everyone was happy with this transformation: you may be wrong eventually. The spirit of the world, which prompted and motivated such mundane activities in the feast of the initial feast of the sun-god has always fought to overturn this. And it seems it is gradually succeeding. Apart from bringing back those frivolities which would rather be known as side attractions to the celebration of Christmas, the world has slowly but steadily tried to get back the unknown god to the centre stages. It does this by distracting the minds of Christians (so called) from the real message of the Season, and by getting them to replace the Christ in Christmas with X. It presents it as shorter way, or rather time-saving way of saying the same thing. More insanely, it makes it look Childish to say Christmas; and a sign of maturity to say Xmas. However, the simple truth, you now can tell, is none of these but the removal of Christ from the hearts of those who claim to follow Him.
It is Christians, the so called who celebrate Christmas. And they are the ones who turn it to a mere celebration without the Christ. Just like in mathematics, we can always solve this riddle or equation in order to find the X - the unknown. When we do this, we shall also find that the place where X now occupies is the same place where Christ used to be.
Then and only then, will we see the need to do away with the world's X, and re-instate our own Christ. Until we do this, the Spirit of the season will always elude us.
Happy Christmas, (and not Xmas) to your
Have a tremendous and a blessed 12 days...

Monday, April 2, 2018

The Empty Tomb

No longer a mystery, the empty tomb,
Any more than the Cross' Saving grace,
For some it spelt a never looming DOOM,
But to us a certain hope to face,
The death which all would dread,
But which must be the cup we drain.
AT last the House of rot must empty be.
The Crux of IT, the Sound from its within.
The paid guards would cringe when they see,
And still opt to keep mute to their ruin.
But yes, a mystery to the world, that will remain,
The Tomb they would wish will never be

Simple Souls

Enjoying the fullness of life is definitely independent of the conditions one finds themselves in. A Happy life comes from within; and then it manifests itself anywhere possible. What happens to us; or rather what we allow to happen to us has no role whatsoever to play in living our life to the full. Chinwe, a lady with the Dawn's syndrome enjoyed the fullness of life here. In those 23 years, her simple soul and way of life affected others so much so that her presence will be greatly missed. Only simple souls can live here happily; that happiness which is only a rehearsal of the one to come...
Make yours a simple soul; its effect will surprise you.

CATHOLICITYBLOG: The Protestant Boy and the Virgin Mary

CATHOLICITYBLOG: The Protestant Boy and the Virgin Mary

 Have a Good read!