Igbo Catholic Community

Category: Reflections

“How to Pray (Ask): Ask, Seek, Knock”

“How to Pray (Ask): Ask, Seek, Knock”

Today’s 1st and Gospel Readings encourage persistence in prayer. The 2nd reading, reminds me of what God has done for me in Jesus. God’s track record in history and in my own life shows that he will answer my persistent prayers in the way that’s best for me. “Great is the mystery of faith”. This mystery, then, requires that the faithful believe in it, that they celebrate it, and that they live from it in a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God. This relationship is prayer (1Thes.5:17-18). The drama of prayer is fully revealed to us in the Word who became flesh and dwells among us. To seek to understand his prayer through what his witnesses proclaim to us in the Gospel is to approach the holy Lord Jesus: first to contemplate him in prayer, then to hear how he teaches us to pray, in order to hear our prayer. Prayer is the pillow of religion. Only the self-sufficient do not pray, and the self- righteous cannot pray. Our persistent prayer to God is to be made in a climate of love and trust, for he is a loving Father who cares for us and will give us the best thing at the right time.
Prayer is “a surge of the heart, a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy” (St. Therese of Lisieux). St John Damascene, described prayer as “the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or requesting of good things from God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2590).Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening. It enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of himself. The degree of our faith is the degree of our prayer. The strength of our hope is the strength of our prayer and the warmth of our charity is the warmth of our prayer.

Understanding the 5 basic disciplines taught by Jesus in the “OUR FATHER” will most certainly help:

1. RELATE – Our Father who art in heaven –Relate to the Father with family intimacy, affection, reverence and love. We are not merely praying the “the deity” or the “Godhead.” We are praying to our Father who loves us, who provides for us and, who sent his only Son to die for us and save us.

2. REJOICE – hallowed by thy name! He is the giver of every good and perfect gift and to Him our praise is due. Praise and thanksgiving make us people of hope and joy. It is for this that we were made. God created us, so that we…might live for his praise and glory (Eph. 1:12).

3. RECEIVE – thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven – At the heart of this petition is an openness to God’s will, to his word of instruction, to his plan for us and for this world. When Jesus lives in us we hunger for God’s word and strive to know his will and have it operative in our life.

4. REQUEST – Give us today our daily bread – Intercessory prayer is at the heart of the Christian life. Allow “bread,” in this case, to be a symbol of all our needs. Our greatest need of course is to be fed by God, and thus bread also points to the faithful reception of the Eucharist.
5. REPENT – and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. – Sin is understood at two levels here:

1:Sin -(lowercase) our personal sins and trespasses, also referred to as our “trespasses.”
2. SIN (upper case) – referring to the whole climate of sin, the structures of sin that reinforce and underlie our own sins. Referred to here as “evil.”
LESSONS: Pray where you are, God is present everywhere and ready to listen. Pray when possible in a quiet spot where you can be alone. Pray to God simply and naturally, as to a friend. Pray remembering the good things God had done for you. Pray for God’s forgiveness for the unworthy things that you may have done. Pray for the things that you need, things that make your life finer and more Christlike. Pray for others, remembering the situations they confront and the help they need. Pray that God’s will may be done in you and in the world. Pray, and then start answering your prayer.

The Assurance of Rest a Promise of God Even in the Mist of Doubts

The Assurance of Rest a Promise of God Even in the Mist of Doubts

The origin of our being as human beings is without our contributions thus our being is only a gift from our maker. In his omniscience and omnipotence he created us and more importantly in his own image, thus as the book of Genesis stated “in his own image he created us male and female and God looked and saw that all he created is good.” Therefore we are “from God” as we share his being through creation, but “becoming of God” is our responsibility as we make free choices between good and negation of good. Therefore our becoming of God consummates our emanation from God.

This God is the source of all good, and he also thinks good of his creation and assures us of enriching us if we walk in his path (becoming of God). Therefore this God must be of justice if he holds us accountable for all that we do. In a simple term that if we do our path of becoming of his, and then his assurances will equal our choice/responsibility. Every day we are challenged to question the omniscience and justice of God as we confront our difficulties. Why would a barren woman for 14 years who later became pregnant but only to die while delivery the baby. Where is this justice that operates on the guidance of omniscience? Why would a woman who has married for many years, had problem with conceiving a child, decides to adopt three children with the husband, only for the husband to be sick which puts him on permanent disability, and more so the wife just found out that she herself has stage 4 cancer thus has few months to live. Where is the assurance of good for becoming of his and what is the justice for the children whose aye moment is suddenly cut off? (Yes indeed but his justice is built in his mercy as his wisdom goes beyond the empirical. we are called not only to do good but to be of good).

The conflicts of why, how, what and when are not parallel to human nature, but the wisdom of understanding these conflicts is only a gift of faith, hope and consistence of character since in the words of

“the devil knows that when he weakens our faith, replaces our hope with despair we will seize to praise God, we live to die hopelessly and we question the truth of God’s assurance of his ever abiding love.”

monsignor Nworgu A

The faithfulness of God lies on the appointed time of His operation, since his ways are not ours, he takes care of the cause and effects and not just the symptoms, he heals and restores permanently since his being is whole. Everything will pass away but none of his words passes away without fulfilment but only in the minds of the faithful and life of the hopeful with consistency of character.

Life without hope is life without faith, life without faith is life without God and the consequence of this is lifelessness, whereas the reverse of these weapons of destruction is the assurance that through him, with him, and in him we are conquerors. If only we can solve the indefinite problems of why, what, where, and when, we would have made our custom choices but again our human limitations would have caged our choices to less than a perfect one. Unlike us, God is omnipotent and omniscience thus his choice is summa perfectissimus. The substance of our being is divine not even the theory of the big band would contradict this therefore the knowledge of who we are and what we are made of stands as the unlocking master key to life of faith that stimulates life of hope which brings us to the believe in the supremacy of God’s will and his eternal love to us. The problem of “ I” is that you are alone and your strength comes from you alone but to let go allows you to submit your inability to God who takes over while you rest. The unacceptance of the limitation of our knowledge inhibits our experience of the omniscience and omnipotence of God. When we give total submission he takes whole control thus providence and assurance become his responsibilities not ours. . It takes cause and effect for this to be a reality, if we submit totally, then he makes all things new and the burden light for he is faithfully indefinite. Thus “come to me all you labor and are overburdened and I will give you rest.”

Catholicism Defined.

Catholicism Defined.

Catholicism is defined as the attainment of Christianism through the order of the Roman Catholic doctrine and practices which differs from Protestants and orthodox. The basic underlining belief of Christianity is in the general practice of Catholics like the believe in Christ the Son of God, Trinity, Word of God and more but differs in many ways as Catholics uses Apocrypha (Unknown authored Biblical Scriptures that are neither in the Old or New Testament )
These are the underlining characteristics of Catholicism

1. Doctrine

The two major scripts of Catholicism are the Holy Bible and Apocrypha and also various creeds but more especially the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed. Catholics believe that spiritual authority eminent from both Scripture and Tradition. The Catholic Doctoring is guided by the Holy Bible, the Church, the Pope, Bishops and Priests.

2. Sacraments

Catholic Church believe in seven different sacraments of the holy spirit Baptism, Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion), Confirmation, Penance and Reconciliation (Confession), Anointing of the sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. Catholics also believe through their priest transubstantiation occurs during the liturgy of the Holy Eucharist (where bread becomes the body of Christ)

3. Intercession

Intercession in the Catholic is strongly based on Mary’s (Mother of Jesus) intercession at the wedding feast in Kennan. Her role made Jesus to perform his first miracle even when it wasn’t his tome to do so. Saints, Angels and sometimes beings are used for prayer intercession. Icons and status are also used in Catholic Church

4. Salvation

Salvation is obtained through baptism which is why the sacrament of baptism is done on infants. This salvation can also be lost through sin but through perseverance salvation can be maintained.

5. Heaven and Hell

The perpetual existence in happiness or pain in afterlife defines the virtue of a good or bad Christian. Between Heaven and Hell Catholics believe in purgatory a temporary holding area for those that are not pure to enter heaven but not bad enough to be in hell. Catholics believe that with prayers and devotions from people on earth souls in purgatory can be released into heaven.

6. Satan and Demons

Satan was a powerful angel that disobeyed God in heaven and was casted down to earth with all his power and evil. Daemons are fallen angels, they are Satan’s agents.

7. The Rosary

The rosary is a prayer counting beads that is used to say certain prayers in the order of the beads arrangement. These prayers are Apostles Creed, Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father. Prayer counting beads can also be found in other forms of religion Hinduism, Buddhism and more.

The father is the “priest” of the home (Dr. Erasmus Okere)

The father is the “priest” of the home (Dr. Erasmus Okere)

The Igbo Catholic Community heartily congratulates all our fathers and wish you a happy fathers’ day! We are proud for your inestimable commitment, support and love on your families and our church. We pray God to grant you the blessings and wisdom you need to remain the awesome dads you have been.
What Jesus says in (Mtt.9:36), is true of many men today: we are “troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd”. When a man would rather spend time on things that never add up to the wellbeing of the family or “hanging out with the fellas” than have any meaningful relationship with his wife and children, he is lost. When a man loses the sense of fairness, compassion, responsibility and respect for his wife and children, he is lost. When a man under the influence of jealousy, selfishness, indolence, drugs or alcohol humiliates and beats his wife, passing on a legacy of violence and abuse to his children, he is lost.

Just as Jesus called laborers into the field to reap an abundant harvest of souls, He calls husbands and fathers who are lost to use the navigational tools of prayer, forgiveness, and mercy to find our way back to our Father in heaven. Just as Jesus called men to the priesthood to serve His Bride the Church, the same Jesus calls men through baptism to be priests of the domestic church, the church of the home. A husband and father should exercise his priestly ministry through “the offering he makes of himself and his daily activities. “You husbands must live with your wives with the proper understanding that they are more delicate than you. Treat them with respect, because they also will receive, together with you, God’s gift of life. Do this so that nothing will interfere with your prayers (1Peter3:7).

This offering should be united to Christ’s offering in the Eucharist “for their work, prayers, and apostolic endeavors, their ordinary married and family life, their daily labor, their mental and physical relaxation, if carried on in the spirit–and even the hardships of life, if patiently borne–all of these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”. The main job of the priest is to offer sacrifice, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass should lead fathers to intimate and personal relationship with God, uniting him so closely to Christ that the Eucharist becomes the very soul and center of his spiritual and family life.

The priest of the home must accept the responsibility of living “the Gospel in faith and proclaiming it in word and deed, without hesitating to identify and denounce evil.” Catholic parents are the primary and indispensable catechists of their own children. Fathers are not only called to preach the Gospel but also, and above all, to live the Gospel by setting a good example for their children. If our children see us living the Catholic faith with fidelity and joy, then we can be sure that our example will be worth more than a thousand words and have confidence that our love for Christ will be written into the hearts of our sons and daughters. When we do this, the Catholic faith will become more than a fond memory that fades with time. A father’s living witness to covenant intimacy will become his enduring legacy, a precious gift for his children, and a sure sign of hope in God’s endless mercy and love. Wishing you a renewed vigor in service to God and family, as you enjoy the dignity of fatherhood.