Friday, May 23, 2014

I AM BACK: a reflection- on the importance of integral humanity

1.0 INTRODUCTION The concept of “going back” signifies retreating oneself. Allusions could be made to the scripture where Jesus withdrew to a lonely place to communicate with God. (cf. Mt 14:23) Certain questions become very pertinent in the course of this reflection. To say “I am back”, connotes a place- place of happiness, place of love, place of spiritual life, place of sadness, place of holiness, place of sin, a place of pleasure, place of learning pastoral and missionary spirit and zeal, a place of wisdom and intellectual activities. It is to be noted that ‘a place’ has a relative influence on specific individuals. This signifies that certain individuals would even be corrupt and unholy at the spiritual and calm environment, inversely, people could be even holier in the most corrupt places-take Ajegunle as a case study. 2.0 THE CONCEPT OF ‘PLACE’ The concept of place denotes space which correlates with time. At this juncture, we are dealing with three ambiguous concepts which include place, space and time. In the world of philosophy, certain difficulties are noted in the discourse of time, space and place. Space-time relationship is concerned with the issues surrounding ontology (the study of being as being) and epistemology (theory of knowledge). It forms a central idea for the early analytic philosophy. The philosophy of space and time has an ancient probably Greek thought. Plato, in the Timaeus, conceived time with the period of motion of heavenly bodies and space as that in which things come to be. Aristotle in Book IV of his Physics defined time as the number of change with respect to before and after and the PLACE of an object as the innermost motionless boundary of that which surrounds it. St. Augustine in his book XI of Confessions, would ask, ‘what then is time? If no one asks me, I know not’. Unlike the ancient Greek Philosophers who view the universe as possessing an infinite past with no beginning, the medieval developed the concept of the universe having a finite past with a beginning. I would at this point let me be slow in recounting the opinions of philosophers on time, space and place but Immanuel Kant is mostly influential on this issue in his book “critique of pure reason”. He describes time as an a priori notion, together with space, and as such they allow us to comprehend the sense experience. They are not substance according to Kant but they structure our experience. God as well cannot be defined in space and time. They are only categories to understand our being. From the foregoing, a place could be easily said to be a point in a space which exist in time. Otherwise stated, a place is reduced to a mere spatial concept. It would mean ‘a location in space’. Anaximander would conceive “Place” as prior to all things. This follows from the assertion that ‘to be is to be in place’. Such thought seems to be flawed, because “place” would not exist if it is not in place. For Descartes, Space is occupied by extensional entity (Res extensia) and as such place is viewed as an extensional entity. For Philo, the term “place” has 3 meanings, one physical and two theological, but we are interested on the third definition which denotes place as God himself. God Himself is called a place, by reason of His containing things, and being contained by nothing whatever…for He is that which He Himself has occupied, and naught encloses Him but Himself. Certain places are sacred. Places are sometimes referred as a “dwelling” (Deut 33:27). With this, we replace ‘place’ with ‘dwelling’ because dwelling connotes “home” and sacred places. Certain question would simply arise to clarify our notion of ‘dwelling’. For Heidegger, we build because we dwell, we do not dwell because we have built. Certain questions become an imperative and significant, “what is the relationship between ourselves and our places, particularly our built places? How do our places show us for what we are? And how do we show them for what they are? 3.0 MY MISSION AT THIS PLACE Another complement to the assertion “I am back” is simply “for what?” Put simply, what am I here for? Just I have said, the concept of dwelling signifies rationality. Therefore, for a rational man, he reasons out his activities. As a matter of speculation, I believe that our focus of coming here is generally to become a Catholic Priest. Priesthood is all our secondary reasons at least. What really inspired you to come back here on 8th day of October, 2012. The answer which is very objective-considering other vocations, is all about integral humanity. Hans- Georg Gadamer is with an opinion that “no one speaks from nowhere”. This implies that one’s actions and probably thoughts are always contextual. We are simply influenced by the place we live. The environment modes human integrity. We are in God-Place because he created the earth and as such we are godly and should be influenced by godly qualities. Specifically, we arrive here to dwell or live at a certain location called St. Gabriel Spiritual Year seminary. Do you think your existence here is by chance or spontaneous? What do you think? Do you think we are here only to fold our hands probably ‘praying’ even when we are sometimes not deeply communicating with God? Or do you think we are here to learn sociable qualities, maybe to meet people and chat away our time? Maybe we are all here to learn how to learn leadership skills and probably how to arrange our parishes as Parish Priests even at the expense of our personal encounter. These are all one-sided and unbalanced aspect of living and would mean nothing to our existence. Integrity in human actions is as a result of the components of human being. Man is a component of body, soul and spirit. Certain scholars and anthropologists would limit it to body and spirit, while certain theologians and seminary Formators would include ‘pastoral zeal’ as integrated aspect of man (seminarian and priests). 4.0 INTEGRAL HUMANITY It should noted here that at the inception of the modern epoch in history, there is a paradigm shift from theocentric notion of man to anthropocentric notion of man. Therefore, man is studied from the point of view of man. He is the terminus ad quem and terminus ad quo. For modernity and some part of contemporary scholars, they insist that humanity characterised man’s existence on earth. Man’s actions are distinguished psychologically into three aspects of life, id, ego and super-ego. This is otherwise noted as three level of existence. Aristotle also pointed 3 levels of human existence, they are appetitive (nutritional), sensitive and rational modes of living. Aristotle who informed Aquinas defined an organism as a unity and not as a divided being. For Aristotle, there existed three levels. Nutritional level was mainly possessed by plants. It was the driving force for growth, namely, what led a seed, a potential matter, to reach its actualised form as a full-grown tree. Without the dynamic, directing and guiding force of the nutritive soul, the existence of a being may not be possible. The second stage is the “sensitive level”. This force is inherent in animals which are conscious of their surroundings, an ability that plants lack. Animals have sensation and even feelings due to their more developed form of the soul. The third and final stage is the “rational soul”. This is unique to humans as they have the ability to think and reason and to gain abstract knowledge. All of this is denied to animals and plants and gives humans the power for logical reasoning, creative thinking and imagination. In epistemology, there remains a tension between rationalism and empiricism, thus creating a distinction between rational man-soul and the empirical man-the body. In the study of man, Aquinas established the fact of unity in human nature. Thus, it is a call for human integration. Accordingly, there is no matterless form or formless matter. Human integrity consists of intentionality (concept in phenomenology). It is therefore a situation where one consciously exhibits the characters of his composition in a balanced and consistent way. Here, the emphasis is on intentionality. As such, it is prerogative to human beings. The full awareness of our personality acting is very important and crucial in building an integral life. 5.0 FOUR ASPECTS OF HUMAN FORMATION The four aspects of formation as emphasised in the seminary are acronymised with SHAP. They are as follows: Spiritual formation, human formation, academic formation and pastoral formation. Across the seminaries in the world, some limited it to three while others four. In St. Paul’s seminary Ukpor, they have them as Learning, Holiness and skills (LHS). They omitted the pastoral aspect of formation probably because it is still a junior seminary. Virtually all the senior seminaries imbibe the four aspects of formation as the key to human integrity. For secular life, two basic aspect of life is an imperative. They are spiritual and human formation. Therefore, we combine transcendental life with immanent life. 5.1 SPIRITUAL INTEGRITY Our spiritual integrity is seen from the perspective of our life in Christ. Jesus Christ is our role model and we ought to be like him. St. Paul in his epistles clearly elucidated on this spiritual integrity (cf. Rom 8:1-13, Rom. 12:1-2, Eph 4:17-32). Simply put, it is our personal relationship with Jesus. This particular encounter is real and deep otherwise, it is pseudo-encounter. All our life should be modelled towards Christ who loves us. Dallas Willard writes that “spiritual formation for the Christian basically refers to the Spirit-driven process of forming the inner world of human self in such a way that it becomes like the inner being of Christ himself.” He went forward to distinguished three different meanings or moments of spiritual formation. First, identifying certain activities as ‘spiritual’ work or exercise, one can think of spiritual formation as training in these special spiritual activities. This is a large part of what is found in many cases to mean “priestly formation” or the spiritual formation of the priest, as spoken in Catholic literature. Secondly, spiritual formation may be thought of as the shaping of the inner life, the spirit, or the spiritual side of the human being. The formation of the heart or will of individual, along with the emotions and intellect, is therefore the primary focus, regardless of what practices may or may not be involved. What is formed is explicitly the spiritual dimension of the self. Thirdly, spiritual formation may be thought of as a shaping by the spirit or by the spiritual realm, and by the Holy Spirit and other spiritual agencies involved in the kingdom of God especially the word of God. Spiritual life consists of life of holiness. It really counts on our efforts to be holy. Holiness is realised in our humanism. Therefore, they are two faces of a coin. This informed the book of C. P. Varkey which he entitled Be human, be holy. 5.2 HUMAN FORMATION Fr. Brian has as the topic of one of his article to be “it’s better to be human than ‘holy’”. As noted by the diocese of superior, the basic principle of human formation constitutes a bridge and not an obstacle for others in their meeting with Jesus Christ the Redeemer of the human race. The human formation of candidates for the priesthood aims to prepare them to be apt instruments of Christ’s grace. It does so by fostering the growth of a man who can be described in these ways: • A free person • A person of solid moral character with a finely developed moral conscience • A prudent and discerning man • A man of communion, truthfulness, humility, integrity, affability, generosity, kindness, and prudence. • A good communicator • A person of affective maturity, good self-knowledge, self discipline and self mastery including emotional self-control • A man who respects, cares for, and has vigilance over his body • A man who relates well with others in a positive manner and the ability to get along with others and work with them in the community. • A good steward of material possessions, and capacity to receive and integrate constructive criticism • A man who can take on the role of public person 5.3 ACADEMIC FORMATION Wisdom and understanding are gifts of the Holy Spirit. Before now, the academic life is not taken so serious in the formation of priests because it is misconceived to be worldly and mundane. But now it is taken as a strongest tool to combat the present complicated conditions of the world. Academic formation initiates a lifelong search for a deeper understanding of divine mysteries, an understanding that enriches the faith not only of the priest, but of the community he serves. A priest must be able to relate the intellectual heritage of Catholic teaching and tradition to the concrete situations of the people they are serving. This signifies that intellectual life is one the basic formation in the seminary. Since, priests represent the universal church, they are called to be effective preachers and teachers, understand the laws and regulations that bind the community together, be skilled in various techniques and theories of pastoral care and counselling, possess an understanding of leadership theory and practice and be sensitive to the catechetical concerns present in their communities. It is worthy to note that the intellectual life go a long way to inform or influence the pastoral zeal or care of a priest. 5.4 PASTORAL FORMATION The concept of ‘pastoral’ is derived from Latin word ‘pastores’ which simply mean ‘shepherd’. This is an extra formation which subjective to the life of priest. It is aimed towards developing within each seminarian the ability and heart of “true shepherd of souls”. This development calls for the priest’s personal commitment to develop the knowledge and skills to teach and preach well, to celebrate the sacraments both properly and prayerfully, and to respond to people’s needs as well as to take initiatives in the community that holy leadership requires. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has written: Ministry is the task and responsibility of all baptised members, and not the sole possession of one part of the church. The reality, the tensions, and the opportunities of the “one and many”, operate also in the mystery of the church and her life and mission. The Church expresses its one ministry in a multiplicity of ministries. In that context, a primary responsibility of the priest is to call forth leadership from that community. The priest encourages, enables, and supports the laity in offering their gifts or charisms in service to others. In the wide sense, pastoral formation coincides with spiritual formation; it is formation for an ever greater identification with person of Christ. In the strict sense, pastoral formation develops by means of specific theological discipline and a practical internship. (Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Diaconorum Permanentium). Practical internship should be provided for each candidate to permit him to meet in the field what he has learned in his study. It must be gradual, tailored to the individual and under continual supervision. Such formation gives aspirants to become familiar with pastoral needs of their parish community and to assist the pastor in his endeavour to service his people through the ministries of charity, word and sacrament. 6.0 EVALUATION AND CONCLUSION The wholeness of a person aspiring to priesthood requires integration of the afore-mentioned virtues. It is an imperative to note that all these goods do create an exhaustive list of all the values of human wholeness especially in seminarian and priests, but the above formations are basic goods because they are irreducible to any other value. For one to disregard one at the altar of the other is to ascertain an incomplete personality. Integral humanity consists in having as whole these four qualities at the same level. In the qualification of human beings, certain aspect of their lives in one way or the other portrays dominance in one attitude, thereby recessing the others. As a human being, we do not need those who are highly spiritual but do not relate well with other people and vice versa. Finally, the formation in the seminary is entire and as such needs a calm attitude and happy minds to receive and internalize such formation. As we have commenced the year of our spiritual formation, which includes other formation, we call for the zeal and spirit of fraternal solidarity to envelop us and help us to succeed in St. Gabriel spiritual year on this 2012/2013 academic year. God bless us all. Amen. Obi, Stanley Kenechi

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Life Experience

We have all come to the understanding that we play a very big role in whatever happens to us. But while you may seem so exemplary in your actions, there are some random traits you might exhibit sometimes or rather unknowingly that can put anybody off instantly. This leads to questions like: • I did all I could, can’t figure out why it did not work. • They never said anything, they just cut me off. • I was better than the others, but I can’t tell why I was not selected. • I know what I am doing, but I am not a success. The list is endless, but those are for illustration so you will know where I am headed. So now I have taken my time, after careful observations of a population of individuals, and below are some handpicked trait some of us possess and exhibit and they are definitely stumbling blocks towards our respective aspirations. you can find others for yourself. THE ISLAND MAN Chances are you might have come across this trait in others, but I bet that you are also guilty. Do you think that you know it all and nobody’s opinion count, or you feel you can do it on your own? Well here is a simple analogy, that earpiece and phone you use in blocking the world out by listening to music was not even built by a person. So, while I really respect people who stand out from others, it is cool sometimes if you can come out and know what others think, feel and see about a particular idea that you have, I bet that you will be so amazed to see brilliance in diversity coming to play. When people notice this in you, they naturally gravitate away, some might even call you proud or a snub (obviously, that’s how they really act) and most times, they would never say this to your face but they would spread this around, and end up breaking down the wall of people around you, and since you want to stand alone, you definitely, will be alone now, MR. LONER! Learn to say hi, how you doing, good morning … even to complete strangers, you might end up meeting up with them up ahead and always ask questions or you might make a bomb in ignorance and obliterate yourself! THE UNGRATEFUL OGRE You are so guilty of this that you are yet to say thank you to MR. PRECIOUS for this article (okay! Just kidding). You are still guilty because you are yet to show appreciation to that caller, for food, for clothe… even to GOD. I want you to understand that anything a person does for or to you, they have actually gone out of their own way and comfort zone just to put smile on your face, and since you cannot pay back, I do not know why a simple THANK YOU from you is like beating a dead horse to gallop. If you show appreciation, you sure will get another, for crying out loud, if you know how your parents, friends, relatives… hustle from day to day, then the next time you get your allowance, gifts, school fees… you will shout a very big THANK YOU! See this illustration, and say if it is fair. You give a fellow a gift of cash or anything and they just receive it from you as if it is their God-given birthright and to add salt to injury, the fellow did not even act or say anything appreciative. I believe really, that on that spot you will make a mental note never to help or show favour to such a person {do not say I am wrong now}. Well, that is how others feel when you act as if it is your RIGHT to receive without you been appreciative. Now wonder how many doors might have been closed to you just because you overlooked this minor act of been appreciative before. Learn to show appreciation for simple things, that way you build your reputation and the esteem of the giver. So are you in a relationship? Be appreciative, to your parents always say thank you, even to your friend and strangers for any good they do to you. Even to kids too, show appreciation and let them learn that golden virtue! THE TALKING ROBOT Talking is very necessary, especially here where we promote communication and togetherness, but been a talkative is a very big NO! And I will personally give you a thousand yards! {I am serious!}. Once you are tagged a talkative, Every dick and harry automatically sees you as a whistleblower, a plague, an attention seeker, an impolite fellow... and a non-secretive person, that alone is a bad attribute. SELF-DESTRUCTIVE! No one will ever want you to catch a glimpse of their business, be a witness to any action they carry out… just because you cannot keep your lips together. The picture they will create of you is that of the exhaust pipe of a heavy duty truck emitting lead into the environment, polluting the atmosphere and killing people gradually. Why not learn to be observant, think deep even before making a sentence and stop taking justice into your mouth. As at now, you are the Judas of the lot, and no one will ever want you in their business, because they do not trust you enough not to blow out to the world, their innermost plan! RISKOPHOBIC {forgive me, just playing with words!} You are so scared of taking risks that you take the very option of folding your hands and thinking all will fall into place. Now that is RISKY! Why are you scared of taking risk when life itself is compounded with risk; every day you breath in dead cells, you board a vehicle and you do not know if the driver is sober or drunk, you put all your fortune in bank even when you cannot tell when they will fold up… every day you live with the risk of living or dying, a massive gamble, now tell me, what is more risky? You just have to be daring and do not be scared of the outcome of any POSITIVE actions you take. How can you know what is behind the door without having it opened? So do not bother about failing because there is no better experience than failing and rising again to succeed. Christopher Columbus must have been tagged a fool for daring to take the RISKY venture of circumnavigating the earth, but today he is known for discovering AMERICA, a name to reckon with when you mention world power. “Google” out Thomas Edison, Michael Faraday and others and see that risky ventures brings the best results, because it is for the strong-willed. Forget what anyone will say and focus on accomplishing and setting milestones in ventures that ordinary people will tag risky. But be wise, the outcome must be positive in the long run before you engage in it, not like jumping into a volcano just to show how daring you are! PUTTING GOD LAST I intentionally put this last, because it’s what most of us do, including me! But frankly it is the truth; some of us have even forgotten his existence. To show how predictable we all are: We woke up this morning, did a couple of push-ups, off to the bathroom and out, make and dress-up and after eating set out into the world. And if something good comes out that day, some will remember to say THANK GOD, and if otherwise {all actions coming in the negative}, we all say GOD WHY? Do you know that sleeping and waking in its own sense is a MIRACLE, and the coolest part is that you are a beneficiary every day. If you think it is your doing, then please tell me how, because when I sleep, I can equate it with dying: because it is a state when I cannot tell what happens around, you can pinch or slap me and I will not budge… and what if the inevitable happens, like my heart stopping, am been attacked, can i even defend myself? I am open to all freethinkers, naturalists and spiritualists. But we all know the truth even if we try to conceal it that there is an OMNIPRESENCE AND OMNISCIENCE GOD. But at least, let us learn to walk in his principles, as he supersedes all, watches, cares… and protect us all. Always show him respect and always seek his guidance. Nothing is by chance; air, ocean… even life. There is a loving father behind it all and learning to acknowledge him will go a long way to rid you of many dramas in any facet of life you find yourself. "LEARN TO VALUE THE LITTLE YOU HAVE, FOR DILIGENCE IN YOUR LITTLE SERVICE, MAKE YOU A BETTER PERSON!" for more articles click the link to our page, and discover why you can rise from the dungeon of life; also do not forget to like our facebook page. IRIAEVHO PRECIOUS YOU INITIATIVE!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The nature of Ecclesiastical Law

1.0 INTRODUCTION The term “ecclesiastical law” can be used interchangeably with canon law or Church law. It is simply the body of codified laws governing the affairs of the Church. The nature of “law” in itself is presupposed in canon law. Otherwise stated, canon law can be understood in respect to law itself especially on the side of being a guiding principle. This work is simply a critical approach to Thomistic definition of ecclesiastical law from the perspectives of seeing law as “ordinance of reason” which is aimed at “common good”. 2.0 THOMISTIC DEFINITION OF LAW Thomas Aquinas in his treatise on law defined law as something pertaining to reason. For Aquinas, reason is the first principle of human acts. He went further in saying that law is ordained to the common good, which is made either by the whole people or to a public personage who has the care of the whole people, since in all other matters the directing of anything to the end concerns him to whom the end belongs. Finally, law is promulgated for law to obtain its force. In a simple sentence, law as Aquinas puts it, is an ordinance if reason for the common good, made by him who has care of the community, and promulgated. 3.0 IS ECCLESIASTICAL LAW AN ORDINANCE OF REASON ALONE? The ecclesiastical nature of law cannot admit reason alone whether practical or theoretical. Reason is a logical interpretation of phenomenon to ascertain its correctness, veracity and application. Reasoning is the faculty of human mind and it is prerogative to man. Man’s reasoning is limited since he is a finite being. Reason alone cannot lead one to things beyond his immediate nature, thus, the best may not be achieved. Since reason has no objective of realities, therefore, we recourse to faith to illuminate “reason”. In matters of ecclesiastical law, “reason” alone is not sufficient; it must be illuminated by faith so that it will take account of revealed truth. Ecclesiastical law is therefore an ordinance of reason illuminated by faith (faith seeking understanding). Faith is an imperative in ecclesiastical matters because it involves our relationship with God who cannot deceive us. It was after Peter’s confession of faith, that he was made the chief shepherd of the Church. (Unitatis redintegratio 2) 4.0 IS ECCLESIASTICAL LAW MADE STRICTLY FOR THE COMMON GOOD The norms which are dictated by reason are for common good. As Thomas explained in his book summa theologica that every law is ordained to the common good. He arrived at the conclusion following the fact that the purpose of law is to order things to their proper ends because he saw the state as a “perfect society”. This thought was expressed in Aristotle work on politics. In such a state, if law establishes the order of the community, then the task of justice is to preserve that ‘order’. These thoughts might not be plausible if it is defined in respect to ecclesiastical settings. When talking about ecclesiastical law, then we refer immediately to law which has its authority in the Church. Therefore, since law is not an ordinance of reason alone, thus it is not strictly for common good. The Church is not ordered as “purely human society”, and is not from the common good. The Church and its authority (together with their product-law) comes from will of Christ and does not arise from the need of the common good. The ends of the Church transcend the ends of justice. Law for Aquinas does not take account of individuals and their positions in life. The ecclesiastical law also advocate for individual or single persons. The ecclesiastical law is not out for the salvation of community in abstract but salvation of each and every persons (can 1752). For the reason of the salvation of the individual souls, dispensation becomes a complementary aspect of law, which is not the case in secular law. In a nutshell, the ultimate end of ecclesiastical law is necessarily for religious values and not just order which is preserved by justice for the common good. Religious values are sought best by individual persons. 5.0 EVALUATION AND CONCLUSION From the gatherings so far, Aquinas’ pitfall is noticed because of the period which he was writing. In his work on law, ecclesiastical law is only foreshadowed and not actually visualised. His writing deals particularly on civil arrangement of the state as was influenced by Aristotle. Ecclesiastical law, being the matter at hand, is conceived as coming from God through the Church’s authority, thus its ends is not mere obedience for order but for salvation of soul. Pauline writings threats law as something which cannot justify our existence as children of God but it is through faith that we are justified. (cf Roms 3:28, Gal 2:16)

Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation: A summary

1.0 INTRODUCTION The Vatican II Council in general tried to achieve freedom in the act of faith. Thus, faith is the free gift of God and we respond freely to that gift. It is also geared towards rebuilding the Christian unity and for world peace thus the technical term ‘aggiornamento’ is used to refer to the character of the council. The Vatican Council, in its Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation reaffirms the various elements of doctrine of revelation as proposed by earlier councils and in earlier official papal documents. There are mainly three points in the discussion, which includes the nature of tradition-the relation of Scripture and tradition as against protestant’s sola scriptura, the nature of inerrancy and the historicity of the Gospels. There is a stress on Christ as the full revelation of the Father. 2.0 AN OVERVIEW SUMMMARY OF DEI VERBUM The whole Dogmatic Constitution is summed up in the following decrees of the council that ‘the divinely revealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture, have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit…. They have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church itself. To compose the sacred books, God chose certain men who, all the while he employed them in this task, made full use of their powers and faculties.” At the same time, the Council Fathers stressed that “she has always regarded and continues to regard the Scripture taken together with Sacred Tradition, as the supreme rule of her faith. For since they are inspired by God and committed to writing once and for all time, they present God’s own word in an unalterable form and they make the voice of the Holy Spirit sound again and again in the words of the prophets and apostles.” This Constitution on revelation because of its nature needs a detailed summary according to chapters drawn from the document. This will inevitably help in explicating the theological implication found therein so that it will be appreciated more especially in the modern use of the word ‘revelation’, and thus creating an atmosphere of understanding the concept of ‘prima scriptura’ as transcending beyond ‘sola scriptura’ generally held by protestants. It is worthy o note here that the council intends to follow in the footsteps of Trent and Vatican I in presenting the true doctrine about revelation and its transmission. 3.0 DIVINE REVELATION ITSELF This is the chapter one of the constitution and it is aimed at defining divine revelation. It views divine revelation as God’s self-communication, a loving and totally gratuitous invitation to enter a dialogue of friendship. This revelation takes place by words and by action, both of which are connected. While the actions or deeds reinforce the doctrine, the words proclaim or lighten on the mystery contained in deeds. In Christ, such mediation and connections are fully realised for he is the word made flesh. He is the fullness of revelation. The mystery of revelation is seen in the context of history of salvation. For his love of humanity, he manifested himself to Adam and Eve, our first parents. After their fall, he continues to lift humanity up into the hope of salvation made from Abraham through Moses and the prophets. Thus at the fullness of time, God sent his son born of woman to redeem man. God spoke to us by his son in these last days. God sent Jesus to teach men the way of the father. Thus he said ‘to see me is to see the father’. Christ revealed everything about the father, thus the salvation economy will never be superseded and no new public revelation is to be expected before the return of Christ. Our response to this revelation is total, an act of faith which requires God’s grace to assist and move him through the interior help of the Holy Spirit. Vatican I gave a related definition of faith. If unfolded it means, if God speaks a truth, faith requires intellectual belief. If He makes a promise faith requires confidence. If He gives a command, faith requires obedience . All is to be done in love. God can be known from created world by the natural light of human reason. 4.0 THE TRANSMISSION OF DIVINE REVELATION Christ commanded the Apostles to preach the Gospel to all, which was done faithfully by the apostles in oral preaching and by examples and the institutions they established. For the sake of continuity of the Gospel, the Apostles left Bishop as their successors giving them their teaching office. A caveat is always noted here that they should hold on to the tradition which they received either by mouth or by letter and pass it on as they received it. By the assistance of the Holy Spirit, the church continues to advance with apostolic tradition both with the word, the contemplation of the word and study of those who believe pondering them in our heart. The sayings of the holy Fathers attest to the presence of this tradition. It is through tradition that the canon of the Scripture is made known to the Church. The Sacred Scripture and the Sacred Tradition are connected because they come from the same source and have the same goal. While sacred scripture is the word of God written in two testaments which has God as its author. Sacred Tradition is the word of God passed on to us in various forms: liturgy, prayers and the teachings of the Apostles and their successors. Although the Church authentically interprets the word of God, the teaching office is not above the word of God but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listens to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and the help of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Sacred Scripture, the Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium are related such that one cannot stand without the other especially in the salvation of soul. 5.0 SACRD SCRIPTURE: ITS DIVINE INSPIRATION AND ITS INTERPRETATION It is in this article that the core message of the document is found noting disparages by certain scholars about inspiration. The books of the Scripture have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Scripture writers retain their human intelligence and knowledge, but in a special way their human characteristics their limitation not excluded, were used to deliver God’s message faithfully without error. The fact of no error in the Scripture does not apply to scientific or historical accuracy but in the sense of man’s salvation as it relates to faith and morals. In interpretation of the Scripture, one must take note that there is one chief Author, the Holy Spirit, so for all the Scripture one part cannot contradict another. Also, there is also a consideration of the tradition of the whole church and the analogy of faith, such that any interpretation is false if it is to clash with the implication of the Church. Furthermore, interpretation requires depth knowledge of the historical analysis, literary analysis, human science and understanding the purpose the text served to the initial or first audience. 6.0 THE OLD TESTAMENT This chapter of the document tried to review the character of the Old Testament in economy of salvation. The plan of salvation of man began in the Old Testament. It is in fact the preparatory ground for the coming of Christ, the redeemer of all. The Testament provides an understanding of God and man and make clear to all men how a just and merciful God deals with mankind. God is both the author of the Old and New Testament. He arranged everything so that the New Testament would lie hidden in the Old and the Old would open up the New. The New Testaments show in full the completion of the Old Testament in the activity of Christ. 7.0 THE NEW TESTAMENT The New Testament is considered as the fullness of time because Christ who is the word became flesh and dwelt among us. Christ established on Earth the Kingdom of God, revealed his Father and himself by words and actions, by his death, resurrection and ascension and sending forth the Holy Spirit. The four Gospels are the foremost teachings in Scripture. They contain the foundation of our faith. It provides the framework for the Church. They show in depth the Christian moral standard. It contains the story of salvation and the revealed truths about God and Jesus. 8.0 SACRED SCRIPTURE IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH The document once more emphasised the importance of the Sacred Scripture in the life of the church. It is in fact seen in relation to the Eucharist. It holds that the Scriptures along with sacred tradition is the supreme rule of faith. All preaching, just as the Church itself, should be nourished and guided by the Scripture. The Christian faithful must have a true and profound knowledge of the Scripture. Thus Septuagint has been the Church’s own biblical translation, also the Latin vulgate is held in high regard in the Church. This call for the knowledge of the Scripture by the council fathers made it possible for translations to be made in various languages translated from vulgate. This document gives affirmation to ecumenical bible that is bible which the whole denomination translated together and used by all. Adequate care should be taken so that it contains the essential character of the original text. The Church promotes the study of the Holy Fathers of the East and West so that there would be more profound understanding of the scriptures. The exegetics should help to make the Scripture fruitful by providing correct interpretation from the scripture and the magisterium. The Scripture is the soul of theology, so the Clerics should emerge themselves in studying the Scripture in order to have adequate ground on catechesis, pastoral preaching and Christian instruction. They should be constant in reading the Scripture because ignorance of the Scripture is ignorance of Christ. It is the function of the Bishop to see that the study of the Sacred Book should more and more fill the hearts of men just as by frequent Holy communion grows the life of souls. 9.0 THE RECEPTION OF THE DOCUMENT TO DIFFERENT SCHOOLS OF THEOLOGICAL LEARNING In the contemporary theology, four basic approaches are identifiable: objective and cognitive aspect of revelation, subjective and personalist aspect, synthesis views and feminist views. The objective and cognitive view of revelation tries to underline the objective character of revelation and assent aspect of faith. For them, God reveals himself through those mighty acts by which divine sovereignty over history is expressed (Protestant’s theologians). Also in this view, the catholic theologians are with the view that God is revealed in history but the word of God in both Old and New Testaments is necessary to illuminate the revelatory character of those historical events. Liberation theology is with the view that God is revealed in historical praxis of liberation of the poor and the oppressed. On the contrary, the subjective view of revelation has it that revelation happens when we are opened to authentic human existence and when we begin to respond closely to the word of God. Certain view championed by Avery Dulles tried to mediate the two afore-mentioned opposing views that revelation is a disciplined response that unfolds under the aegis of faith within a community and a tradition. The feminist view of revelation tried to consider the androcentric and patriarchal character of the biblical texts, of the cultures that produced them and the kind of interpretation that have been given them in subsequent centuries. While some emphasised the ignorance of women’s contribution on the bible, others had the view that women occupied a symbolic place in the Scripture. 10. EVALUATION AND CONCLUSION Our experience of God is always mediated. This means that all revelation is mysterious, sacramental or symbolic in character. God, the invisible One, is known always and only through what is visible. Insofar as any visible reality contains and communicates the presence of God, it can be called a mystery. Christ, therefore, is the great mystery. The Church, too, is a mystery. God remains hidden and disclosed. A balance theology of revelation has to avoid extremes of Modernism and extrinsicism. Revelation has its origin and foundation outside the human subject, but if it happens at all, it happens within the consciousness of human subject. Revelation is available in principle to everyone because all are called to salvation but salvation is impossible without faith. Faith, in turn, is impossible without revelation. Finally, revelation is closed only in the sense that the Christ-event has already happened. Revelation continues in that God is a living God and remains available to us. But God will not fundamentally alter nor revoke the self-communication that has already occurred in Christ. Claims of private revelation are not binding on anyone other than the person or persons to whom the revelation is given, even if the revelation or apparition has been approved by the Church.
MY PERSONAL TIME TABLE RISING ________ 4.30am Morning devotion/ Rosary______ 4.30-4.45am Bathe ______________ 4.50-5.05am Dressing up ______________ 5.12am Morning prayer (others) ___________ 5.20am Breakfast and function_________7.30-8.15am Preparation of lectures ____ 8.15-8.20am Lectures ________________ 8.30-1.10pm Mid-day prayer_______________ 1.20pm Lunch ______________________1.35-1.55pm Afternoon devotion/ Rosary______1.55-2.15pm Siesta______________________2.15-3.45pm Studies/ cramin ________________3.45-5.15pm Labour _____________ 4.00-5.15pm Games ________________ 5.15-6.00pm Bathe _______________________6.00-6.17pm Private Rosary in the Chapel_____6.30-6.45pm Common Prayer________________6.45-7.30pm Supper________________________7.30-7.45pm Charistmatic prayer ________ 7.45-8.00pm Night prayer_________________8.00-8.30pm Night studies________________8.30-11.15pm Missal reading/ Rosary_______11.15-11.35pm Lights out___________________11.40pm Writing and reading my journal___3.45-4.00pm Singing_____________________4.00-5.00pm Studies_____________________5.00-6.10pm Bathe_____________________6.10-6.25pm Other programmes follow as usual NOTABLES (SUNDAY AND SOLEMNITY) All programmes of Saturday except Breakfast ________________9.15-9.30am Charismatic prayer________9.30-10.30am Clean-up in my room/works of mercy: 10.30-12.15am Bathe_____________________12.15-12.30pm Evening bathe_____________6.00-6.15pm Common prayer at chapel______6.30pm NB: ON WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY, THERE WILL BE CONFERENCES AT 6.00PM. ON FRIDAY AFTER NIGHT PRAYER, I HAVE LEGION OF MARY PRAYER SESSION STUDY TIME TABLE Sunday afternoon: Pre-Study Fundamental moral theology: 5.00-6.00pm Night studies: Pre study of missiology: 8.30-9.30pm Pre study of Canon Law: 9.30-10.30pm Pre study of church history: 10.30-11.30pm General revision on patrology: 11.30-12.00am Monday break: General revision on liturgy: 11.00-11.30am Afternoon: pre study of Greek: 3.45-4.45pm Post study of fundamental moral theology: 4.45-5.15pm General revision on cathecatics: 10.15-10.45pm General revision on ATR: 10.45-11.15pm General revision on scripture: 11.15-11.45pm General revision on psychology: 11.45pm-12.15am REMAINING TANSIOLOGY AND PATROLOGY. NOTABLES (TUESDAY) Every programmes remain the same except: Rising_________________________5.00am Morning devotion/Rosary________5.00-5.20am Bathe and wash up_____________5.20-5.45am Meditation at chapel___________5.45-6.00am House community morning prayer_6.00-7.30am Bathe___________________5.15-5.35pm Meditation at the chapel_________5.35-6.00pm Private Compline________________8.15pm Other programmes follows as usual NOTABLES (SATURDAY) Rising ________________________5.30am Morning devotion /Rosary_______5.30-5.50am Bathe ______________________5.50-6.10am Meditation at the chapel_____6.15-6.30am Common prayer____________6.30-8.30am Breakfast/function__________8.30-9.30am Labour ___________________9.30-11.30am Bathe_____________________11.30-11.45am Free time/rest/computer______11.45-12.30am Meditation at chapel_______12.30-12.45pm sext _____________________12.45-1.05pm lunch ___________________1.05-1.30pm afternoon devotion/rosary____1.30-1.50pm siesta ___________________1.50-3.45pm

Saturday, March 15, 2014

THE POWER OF THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION

INTRODUCTION The dead man came out, his feet and hands bound with strips of material, and a cloth over his face. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and Let him go free.” (John 11:44). This is an injunction or a command given by the one who is superior and the effect is seen immediately as the victim receives his freedom. The work of redemption accomplished by God is the work of setting the captivated man free. Man is bound with sinful material and the rotten linen of iniquity blurs his sight. Thus, his mission as a prophet is captured in the Bible, “the spirit of God is upon me, He has sent me to bring the good news to the afflicted... to proclaim liberty to captives....” (Isaiah 61:1-2, Luke 4: 18-19). This is the mission of the Messiah- to set people free and reconcile man to God. (Matthew 11:4-5). The redemptive work of God is the work of reconciliation. (Ephesian 1:4). The lost of the beatific vision of God in Genesis 3:24 by man is the essence of the reconciliatory figure. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David. (Revelation 5:5). He was crushed for our sins. He was sacrificed, and with his blood, he bought people for God of every race, language, people and nation. (Revelation 5:9). This article is aimed at exposing the power of the reconciliatory activities which was done by the Son, initiated by the Father, and continued by Holy Spirit. This reconciliation is what man sought for. It is to behold the beatific vision of God once again. Freedom from sin which necessitates our salvation is the immediate character of spiritual emancipation or liberation THE REDEMPTIVE WORK OF GOD (REDEMPTORIS MISSIO DEI) The salvation history of man accounts for several historical strategies undergone for the work of redemption to be accomplished. The human economy began at the episode after the fall of man. The Lord God said to the snake, “because you have done this, accursed be you of all animals wild and tame... I shall put enmity between you and the woman, between her offspring and your offspring; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:14-15). It is only man who can restore what he has damaged but such level of damage could not be restored by man alone. God knows that even when multitude of human beings are sacrificed it cannot bring about this reconciliation. Man, being at the centre of God’s creation, is very dear to God. (Genesis 1:27). The scripture affirms to this that God made man little less than a god, .... (psalm 8:4-6). Therefore, God’s redemptive mission is seen clearly as he inserts himself in human history to redeem man from shackles of the Satan. He sought once more to recreate man by aiding man to regain reconciliation. St. Augustine had a similar view that God who created you without you cannot save you without you. God became man in the person of Jesus Christ in order to reconcile man to God. Jesus is the first born of the new creation (Colosian 1:15-20). Just as all die in Adam, so in Christ all will brought to life (1 Corinthian 15:22). The prophesy about a Messiah was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus. The summit of this redemptive prophesies is seen in his passion, death and resurrection. He teaches man that in the cross we are saved. If you suffer for bearing Christ’s name, blessed are you, for on you rests the spirit of God (1 Peter 4:14). Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me (Matthew 10:33). The ‘cross’ becomes the sign of reconciliation and pardon. The thief on the right-side of Jesus on crucifixion amidst the pain of the cross, acknowledged his sin and he was admitted to heaven. Jesus said to him, “today, you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43). After the resurrection, Jesus promised them the Holy Spirit. The Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit. He ordered them not to leave Jerusalem but wait for what the Father had promised (Acts 1:4). The activities of the Holy Spirit were seen even before the advent of Jesus in preparing the coming of the concrete redemptive or reconciliatory figure. After the ascension of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was sent so that man might continue the mission of Father and the Son. At this juncture, the mission of God-reconciliatory work, returned to the concrete physical man but through the inspirational character of the Holy Spirit. Selected Men were given authority to reconcile men to God and this authority was handed over to our present period. (John 20:22-23). We understand this redemption more through the Holy Spirit. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF RECONCILIATION To restore peace of mind in the behaviour and emotion, an order is to be restored and therefore man is well again. St. Paul illustrated in the scripture about how peace is observed in one body if the members (part) of the body are in an established order. The eye cannot do without the hand and so with the feet. There is no schism in the body. If one part suffers, the whole body is in total disorder. (1Corinthian 12:12-26). There is harmony existing in a body that has united members. The psychology in reconciliation lies on the fact that man is made whole once again. There is a distilled characteristic joy experienced by man at the moment of peace and reconciliation. He understands that he is free. Freedom of heart, body and soul encourages an adequate atmosphere for growth. He applies and understands the basic human freedom and right from where he moves about without fear. There is a considerable disbalance in human system owing to the fact of conflict. Shaver and O’Connnor identified 3 categories of successful managing of problem of disorder. They are attacking the problem, rethinking the problem and accepting the problem thereby lessening the physical effects of the problem. Those are ways of reconciling the self with the disordered self. Reconciliation is important to restore the inner unity in man. FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION It is to be noted essentially that there is no separation or opposition between reconciliation and forgiveness. Also the two cannot be identified with each other. Instead, they have close links whereby they integrate and complement each other. The concept of reconciliation is deeper than forgiveness. In fact, Beverly Daniel Tantum had an extreme view that “forgiveness” by itself does not lead to reconciliation. Most times, those people whom we have forgiven still have a distant heart from us. There is no wholeness found. We see ourselves making decision not to associate ourselves with that person again even though we are in good terms. When we talk about reconciliation, we are by definition talking about individuals or groups who intend by choice or necessity to remain in relationship with one another. Accordingly, Dr. Martin Luther King once talked about “inescapable network of mutuality” where true reconciliation cannot occur without joint participation. It is “to forge a common destiny out of an often troubled past”-this is reconciliation. As against forgiveness which might not necessarily involve friendly atmosphere, reconciliation restores to harmony to one’s friendly relationship. The salient point here is that “there is in existence a friendly bond between the parties”. THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION-HEALING The sacrament of reconciliation is summed up in conversion from sin and moving towards God. We gain our freedom, when we are converted. The sacrament of penance together with the sacrament of the anointing of the sick are called sacrament of healing. This sacrament is called the sacrament of conversion because it presents Jesus’ call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father. (CCC. 1423). In baptism, man is received into the new life of Christ but still our presence in the world subject man to certain suffering, illness and death. (2Corinthians 5:1). This new life brought by baptism can be set back and even lost by sin. The sacrament of healing helps man to regain the friendly relationship with God. Sacrament of reconciliation imparts to the sinner the love of God who reconciles. It is two dimensional-reconciling to God (2 Cor 5:18-20) and reconciling to your brother. (Mat. 5:24). The sacrament of reconciliation raises sinners up, giving them the courage to call God, ABBA FATHER. He, who sins, creates a gap between himself and God. He sets himself against the love of God. The sacrament of reconciliation is an imperative to re-establish the friendship and love of God. The sinner accepts that he has done something evil and begs for forgiveness and makes resolutions not to go back to the sin again. THE POWER OF THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION The power of sacrament of reconciliation lies within the scope of redemption of man. The sacrament was instituted by Christ to aid man to realise this redemption through the mystery of communion with God who is love. Christ is present in the sacraments because in them Christ himself is at work. It is Christ who administers this sacrament. Christ is also above the sacraments, he can act outside his instituted sacraments such that when the component matter is destroyed, God is not destroyed. The sacrament of reconciliation has the power of making whole. The fact of sin creates an impaired or wounded character to our nature. Our person remains incomplete in sin. Like physical sickness, sin impairs the functioning of a particular spiritual part of man. The resultant effect is disorganised and chaotic situation in the spirit of man. The illustration of Paul in his letter of the Corinthian (1 Cor. 12:12-26) shows a clear fact of such inharmonious existence of the whole therefore limiting the complete existence of the body. We are healed by our belief in this sacrament. Christ during his life on Earth associated himself with sinners with the aim of healing their spiritual ailments. Jesus said that he came for sinners and not for the righteous. Jesus heals both our physical and spiritual sickness and urges us to go and avoid sinning again. (John 8:11, 5:14). Christ’s presence heals. His presence in the sacrament of reconciliation through his priest heals our souls from eternal damnation. By his blood, we are healed. We obtain freedom through the power of the sacrament of reconciliation. Sin alienates us from God. Whenever we sin, we are bound with the dirty linens of sin. Sin enslaves our souls. Thus, if we remain in sin, we become the slave of that sin. So long as one remains in sin, one is incapable of meriting even works which are good in themselves. Those goods are worthless because they cannot revive. In sin, we lost our freedom and friendship with God. We restore such friendship and freedom through the power conferred by this sacrament. The power of reconciliation cancels the effect of sin. One regains not only state of grace but also the entire store of merit which he had before his sin. The story of Joshua the high priest explicated how sin could restrain our freedom. (Zech 3: 1-7). The shackles of sin can only be delivered by the sacrament of reconciliation-the sign of repentance. Christ sets to bring about the freedom of all persons. He gave a mandate to the disciples to be a sign of reconciliation to all men. (John 20:22-23). The service of freedom is the service of turning towards good and shunning sin. It is a metanoic experience of being obedient to the pattern of life and teaching to which Christ died for. (Rom 6:15-19). We have to surrender ourselves to uprightness which is to result in freedom and sanctification. He who sin against God wrong his own soul, all they that hate God love death. The sacrament of reconciliation has the power of love. Love covers multitude of sin. (Proverb 10:12). Sacrament of reconciliation is established because of the love of God. The primordial reason reconciliating the fallen world to God is on the basis of his love for mankind. God so love the world that he sent his only begotten son to die for us. (John 3:16). The power of love manifests the activities of Christ on earth. The interior loving relationship is restored. Sin creates a hateful relationship with God. The power of love brought about by the sacrament of reconciliation is necessary to create joy and happiness in the penitent. The story of the prodigal son in gospel of Luke (Luke15:11-31) expressed the type of joy and happiness experience by the father about the conversion of his son. The son was able to find the love of the father. The love which is characterised in man with the image of God is absolutely found in our soul. The power of this sacrament is not about rehashing our sins. It is about bringing joy to God and to the heavenly beings and then by letting him bring to an end our own spiritual isolation. The salvific mission of God is shown in the divine incarnation. The salvation brought by Christ is general and as such sacrament of reconciliation sought to accomplish our personal salvation. The power of sacrament of reconciliation lies on character of salvation which it offers to the personal life of people. There is an eschatological implication drawn from the sacrament of reconciliation. The New Testament points out obviously about the gift of salvation as experienced in reconciliation with God and the forgiveness of our sins. (Luke 24:46-48). St Paul reiterates this same theme of reconciliation to the Churches of his time. (2Cor 5:14-21). The character of salvation is the saving of the soul from sin and its consequences. It leads to deliverance or redemption from sin and its effects. The sacrament of reconciliation confers salvation to a soul through the merits of the life, death and resurrection of Christ, which in the context of salvation is referred to as the atonement. This salvation is equated with the transcendent, eschatological fulfilment of human existence in a life freed from sin, finitude and mortality and united with the triune God. THE VOCATION TO RECONCILE MEN TO GOD The completion of the reconciliation of man with God is fully seen in the paschal mystery. Man has a vocation of applying this reconciliation in a most personal way. This vocation rests on the entire man who through their life makes the kingdom of God realizable. In a particular sense, the reconciliation is for man, by man and in man. Thus, man seeks his salvation with fear and trembling. On another note, Christ entrusted to his apostles the ministry of reconciliation. (John 20-23). This injunction of Christ was transferred to their successors. By the virtue of ordination, a priest is another Christ who sought to accomplish the work of God. He forgives all sins “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness of sins brings reconciliation with God, but also with the Church. (CCC. 1462). Priests must encourage the faithful to come to the sacrament of reconciliation. Priest fulfils the ministry of the Good Shepherd whenever he is celebrating this sacrament because he seek the lost sheep, binds up wounds, awaits the prodigal son and welcomes him on his return. EVALUATION AND CONCLUSION Reconciliation has physical, psychological and spiritual effect on a person. In times of separation and opposition, one tends to suffer incompleteness. He continues to suffer an uncharacteristic illness until he is made whole again. There is an overwhelming joy of unity experienced by such a person. In spiritual realm, reconciliation is related to one’s reunion with the internal resident spirit in our life. The resident spirit is the Holy Spirit. Whenever another form of spirit occupies that position, one is totally alienated from himself. The breathe of God which was given to man is essentially the governing spirit of our existence such that if replaced by another thing will definitely cause unrest in the spiritual build up of a person. St. Paul alludes to it that our body is the temple of God. God lives in our body such that when we engage in activities that are not according to our calling, it brings about inadequacies in the workings of our system which will lead to death. In reconciliation, we reject the intruding spirit by having remorse for our sins and making a firm resolution not to go back to it. The sanctity of the body is restored and thus salvation is made present to us. It is in such situation of reuniting with Christ that salvation is ensured. Nonetheless, man actualises his final salvation when he attains the ultimate goal of seeing God.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

my reflection

In Christ, we are freed. we gained our salvation and redemption. Christ is the representation of divine freedom. St. Proclus of Constantnople in his homily even noted that with Virgin Mary and most especially with Jesus, Eve's and Adam's faults are taken away and forgiven, as such the fault of humanity is forgiven which is symbolically shown through baptism. In baptism, we are dead to sin and our past faults are taken away and we become a new and freed people. We are now called to live a new life, thus old things have passed away and we are drawn into the wonderful light of Christ's salvation. Remember always that old things belong to the old and we should not combine old things with new things otherwise there would be a complication and worst personality. As a Christian, we receive the call to love even our enemy and that lies the difference between old life and new life. Also our life should be modeled on Christ since he is the high priest who takes cognizance of our human weakness. There is always an elongated struggle and conflict between our old self and our new self. The old self represents the carnality of one's living while the new self transcends to our spiritual communion with God. The old self cannot be happy to see a person transcends its jurisdiction and so it acts constantly on the real self (spiritual self) to draw it back. It is always the case that if one succumbs to the distractions from old self, then it will be dominant in one's life such that he forgets all about spiritual life. Such person will take glory always with mundane existence and his spiritual life will degenerate to religiosity-attending religious activities because of mundane pleasures( maybe for pretense, social pleasure and to fulfill a duty). In such moments, we degenerate to life of happiness through material things and from fleeting realities. New life is contrary to such mundane pleasure. it is manifested through love of God and love of our neighbor. Love according to its usage here signifies ability to sacrifice our life for God and for our neighbor without seeking reward or pay-back of any kind be it in kind or in cash. The underlying principle of christian morality is love. Reading through the scripture shows that other virtues and gifts affirm their existence in love without which our christian existence is regarded as false. (cf 1cor 13:1-13, James 2:14-26) Love is faith in action. The new life as Jesus preached began with love and culminated in love by sacrificing himself for our sake. New life consists in love because it is a driving force that aid us in acquiring other virtues. A pertinent question which is relevant in our modern time is "can humanity love?" Love is a divine and a transcendental reality and it is obvious that as long as we are in realm of finitude, the question of love becomes an illusion. This is clearly shown in the human language of love. In its analytical level, it is simply a mundane love which is an attraction to pleasurable situations. it may sound contradictory to talk about new life with an ungraspable supernatural reality which is love and as such some people may argue that new life which is characterized by love cannot be attained. We always participate in divine realities. Therefore, our human love is only a shadow of the divine love. Those who live by flesh does not participate fully in divine love because they have no grace in them. God can always bestow his grace of God which is realized through contemplation which is enough for us to have a share in the love of God. The character of grace-filled love (divine love) is the necessity to distinguish it with lust, selfishness, worldly passion and pretense. Hence new life (righteousness and perfection) has no partnership with old life(sin or imperfection). It is always of a pure and absolute calculation. It is either one or the other and not both the mixture of the two. In fact, not to identify ourself with one is dangerous, samely, to be in the realm of both righteousness and in sin is more suicidal and dangerous. The scripture explicated on this issue, thus "but because you are lukewarm, neither hot or cold, I am going to spit you out of my mouth (Rev 3.16). Thus Origen in his treatise on Prayer writes "we must understand this about the kingdom of God-as there is no partnership between righteousness and iniquity, no fellowship of light with darkness, no accord of Christ with Belial, so the kingdom of sin cannot co-exist with the kingdom of God. If we have God reign over us, then, sin must have not reign on our mortal body." What then can we say about the weakness and frailty of human nature in the sinful world? Even though we are in the world, we are not of the world. The world is characterized with certain "ages" which connotes negativity and which frequently exposes one into serious danger of sin. Just as the early Christian family seriously suffered persecution which is external in nature, the modern christian family is now suffering an internal persecution which is embedded in joining the evil society if one cannot beat them(world). The persecution is seriously embedded in the age which we find ourselves and it is a gradual process which tend to yield much result. The temptation of participating in action because it is legalized by conventional agreement by majority of people who are driven by Satan. it is always the case that Satan would send his agents to flock inside the world with the sole intention of deceiving and corrupting the world. Thus, we should always be conscious of evil-oriented and evil possessed people who tend to disrupt our virtues to follow the world's phenomenous characters. (cf mtt16:21-28, mk 8:31-9:1,lk 9:22-27, Revelation 17 TOPIC: SILENCE Silence is a tool which connects one's spiritual life with divine life. Silence is good, it makes one to do all positive things. It also makes one to be filled with knowledge and allows one to listen attentively to divine beings(God and his angels). It is noted that listening more is an imperative instead of talking more. Too much speeches makes one inferior. Also, an empty vessel makes the most noise. Lengthy words would make people bored to listen to one's speech. Speak once and do not deride yourself in only repetition. Act more than you speak. Do not speak more than necessary. At the same time, where one is ignorant, one becomes silent. Do not spend time in saying unserious things(jokes), so that your serious words will not be trampled upon. The fruit of the mouth provides a good meal, but the soul of the treacherous feeds on violence. A guard on the mouth makes life secure, whoever talks too much is lost.(pr 13:3), watch kept over mouth and tongue, keeps the watcher safe from disaster (proverb 21:23), so make a door and a bolt for your mouth, as you lock up your silver and gold, so make balances and scales for your mouth. Take care not to err with your tongue and fall victim to one lying in wait (sirach 28:25-26). Someone who does not trip up in speech has reached perfection and is able to keep the whole body on a tight rein....so the tongue is only a tiny part of the body, but its boasts are great. (James 3:2-12). A flood of words is never without fault; whoever controls the lips is wise (prover 10:19). Death and life are in the gift of the tongue, those who indulge it must eat the fruit it yields. (proverb 18:21). Be steady in your convictions, and be a person of your word. Be quick to listen, and deliberate in giving an answer. If you understand the matter, give your neighbour an answer, if not, keep your hand over your mouth. Both honour and disgrace come from talking.... (sirach 5:9-15), Blessed is anyone who has not sinned in speech (sirach 14:1). If you have been foolish enough to fly into a passion and now have second thoughts, lay your hand on your lips. (prover30:32). They well wait on my silences and pay attention when I speak; if I speak at some length, they will lay their hand on their lips(gesture indicating silence caused by astonishment, or confusion or admiration). Everyone should be quick to listen but slow to speak and slow to human anger (James 1:19). Speaking much makes one powerless. Silence is therefore a powerful tool that will make you unstoppable and full of insight. silence would even help one to keep guard on even what One wished to say.