Tag Archives: inspiration

The God of Impossibilities: Part 2

The story of Sarah is a perfect example of how God is a God of impossibilities. In our finite minds we despair, when what we seek seems to take forever to be granted. Nonetheless, what we need to do from the aforementioned example is to pray with steadfast faith, because God listens. He may tell us ‘NO’, but that is only because in His infinite wisdom He knows whatever we’re asking for would bring us more harm than good.

In Luke 11: 1-13, Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray. In a nutshell, He teaches them how to say the “Our Father” prayer, which is a simple, but all inclusive prayer. Furthermore, He encourages the disciples to ‘Seek, Knock and Ask’, saying, “For everyone who asks will receive, and He who seeks will find, and the door will be opened to anyone who knocks”.

Sometimes praying becomes monotonous, and we end up reciting prayers, instead of praying. Speaking from the perspective of a Catholic, most of our prayers are structured, such that there are specific prayers for varying issues. This, I have noticed over time, puts someone in a position where they are saying prayer, but not necessarily praying. There’s a clear distinction between those two.

From experience, I find the best way of praying is to meditate on those structured prayers, and where one finds difficulty in praying, they should just imagine they’re having a one-on-one conversation with God. Talk to Him like He’s seated right in front of you. That usually helps one find the motivation to pray.

CeCe Winans’ song, ‘Believe for it’, pumps me up with the need to wait on the Lord, because though we’re discouraged, feeling like our situation is just impossible to deal with, her words are a reminder that nothing is impossible to God; because ‘From the impossible, we’ll see a miracle’.

Here’s an excerpt of the song’s lyrics:

They say this mountain can’t be moved

They say these chains will never break

But they don’t know You like we do

There is power in Your name

We’ve heard that there is no way through

We’ve heard that the tide will never change

They haven’t seen what You can do

There is power in Your name

So much power in Your name

Move the immovable

Break the unbreakable

God, we believe for it

From the impossible

We’ll see a miracle

God, we believe

God we believe for it

In my understanding, God is infinitely wise, and kind. He grants us our requests, out of His infinite goodness. Sometimes we may get a ‘NO’ from Him, because our desires are not aligned with His good intentions for us; and sometimes, He tells us ‘WAIT’, because though He intends to grant us that which we desire, the timing might be off.

In light of this, we need to keep praying, because praying opens our eyes of faith. The more we pray, the more we realize what God’s intentions for us are. Furthermore, seeing as Jesus told us to seek, knock and ask, praying opens the doors of God’s mercy. That is why Jesus said, “For everyone who asks will receive, and He who seeks will find, and the door will be opened to anyone who knocks”.

9th Blogaversary!

9th Blog Anniversary

On this day, nine years ago, this blog was created. Time really flies… It’s unbelievable! I’m just feeling super ecstatic! When I made the decision to start this blog, I had so much going on in my head. I’d been slipping in and out of depression with ease, that I feared that was the only life I’d ever know. It was a scary place to be in.

At the time I felt alone, and writing offered me an escape. It helped unclog my mind. Then it occurred to me, that I wasn’t the only one feeling lost in my own troubled mind; and I thought, if I shared my thoughts with people going through similar experiences, they would realize they were not alone, and that would help them fight the depressive thoughts. That still remains my desire.

I see/hear very many stories of people who are taking their own lives everyday, and I feel awfully sad. No one should be in a position where they feel so alone, that suicide feels like the only option. On this blogosphere, I have read numerous stories that have uplifted me; stories that have made me realize that my problems are not unique. Most of us are sailing in the same boat, and it’s only by sharing our experiences that we realize, we’re not alone.

Like I’ve said previously, I find writing very therapeutic; whether I’m writing about some experience I had, or just my thoughts on a certain issue… and the thought that there are actual people reading my posts makes this blogging so much fun.

WordPress Achievement

I’m so grateful for all the likes, the comments, and the views. I never take any of that for granted. Thank you so much for your continued support, because without readers, I’d be too unmotivated to write. So as I celebrate this beautiful milestone, my profound gratitude goes to you all; my wonderful readers. Thank you!

The Price You Pay in Exchange for God’s Favour

God’s will, will not take you where His grace won’t sustain you!” This is the great message I got from New Year’s Mass.

On New Year’s Day, we were celebrating the Blessed Virgin Mary, as the Mother of God. Such a great title that one! As a Catholic, one of the biggest misconceptions I find people have about Mary, is that we worship her. Truth is, we revere her for the great role she played, in her immaculate conception of our Lord Jesus, and the untold suffering she went through as a mother, during the Passion of Christ.

This moment is accurately captured in the Pieta, a great chef-d’oeuvre by Michelangelo, which is a depiction of the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of her son Jesus. According to the Catholic Catechism, she was born without sin because God had already picked her to be the mother of His Son Jesus.

The Pieta by Michelangelo

Even when we recite the proverbial ‘Hail Mary’, we say, “Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you amongst all women…” If you think about it, it is such an honour to be the Mother of God. However, the truth is, this title came with unmitigated hardship.

She wasn’t just relaxing at home, oblivious to everything, when her son was being crucified on the cross. On the contrary, she walked the entire journey with Him, and watched as He carried the heavy cross, and as He was mercilessly whipped and jeered by the crowds of people.

She watched as He was stripped naked and nailed to the cross; watched when He was stabbed with a spear on His side and disdainfully bedecked with a crown of thorns… she watched as He called out in pain, asking God why He had forsaken Him (Matthew 27: 46).

It must have been a harrowing experience for a mother to see her beloved son go through so much pain, and not be in a position to do anything about it, because that was His destiny. In light of this, it’s only right that she is venerated as the Mother of God, and the Queen of Heaven. She intercedes for us, given her close relationship with our Lord Jesus.

Mother Mary’s pain, is what the Priest focused on as he gave his homily on New Year’s Day. Other than the dazzling display of fireworks as the cross strikes midnight on December 31st, the other thing synonymous with New Year celebrations are the messages of hope shared. We all hope for better days, for God’s favour to be upon us.

However, there is the age old question… While we are so ready to receive the blessings, are we ready to accept God’s will in our lives? Mary acquired the title ‘Mother of God’, the instant she accepted God’s will in her life, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done to me according to Thy word”.

The priest was saying, sometimes God will make you a refugee in another country, before His favour is made manifest. Case in point was how Mary and Joseph had to flee with their son Jesus to Egypt, when they found out King Herod wanted to kill the child. For someone like Joseph, the son of Jacob, he was thrown in a pit by his brothers and sold off as a slave in Egypt (Genesis 37:2), before being promoted to administrator. That was the equivalent of a prime minister.

The priest was saying, “You pray for a job, and when you don’t get it you stop praying, and you stop going to church because you feel God has failed you. Little do you know, God saw your future and realised that job was going to kill you. You meet a person you like and you decide that’s the person you want to marry. But when you don’t get that person you stop praying and stop going to church. Again, God protected you from that person because He knew that person would kill you”.

Praying for God’s favour means trusting in Him, and accepting His will. He only has good intentions for us, but as it is in life, those blessings are usually preceded by difficulties and misery. Jesus, His own Son suffered. While He was praying at the garden of Gethsemane, He asked God the Father to take away the cup of suffering from Him… yet, He still asked for God’s will to be done (Luke 22: 42).

What this shows us is that sometimes, God’s blessings are preceded by hardship. Nonetheless, what we should focus on are the benefits; the triumph. What we need to remind ourselves is that God’s will, will not take us, where His grace is not sufficient; where His grace won’t sustain us (Psalms 91).

Therefore, as we pray and hope for a Happy and Prosperous New Year, we need to remember that if we want God’s favour we must be ready to submit ourselves to His will. It may not always be pleasant, but once we trust in Him, we will eventually rip the beautiful benefits like Mary, Jesus and Joseph above. Thus, accepting God’s will in our lives is the price we have to pay in exchange for His abundant favour.

Year 2021 is Almost Gone: Part 2

Seeing as dad has this deplorable habit of throwing us under the bus whenever he messes up and he’s subsequently called to account for his actions, mom just decided to be honest about it. “I’m sorry you have to hear this from me, but lately your brother has become a pathological liar,” she told him point blank.

Weirdly, he did not sound surprised, because he could relate with what mom was telling him. In any case, he told mom he and their sister had forbidden dad from calling them when drunk because he was just saying hurtful things. Before calling mom, he’d called dad to ask him why he never went to visit their mom as had been agreed, and that’s when dad had decided to flagrantly pin the blame on us.

By the time dad was showing up on Christmas day, we were all feeling betrayed by him, and given how he’d been avoiding us, we had not thought he would come. I can almost bet he gets riled up when he sees us happy because from the moment he set foot in the house, he was just saying offensive things, being all morbid and stuff.

He was literally doing the count down to the end of Christmas. Every time he’d be like, “It’s three hours to midnight, Christmas is almost over… let’s celebrate, because calamities are coming!” Up until now I’m trying to figure what he meant by that and it gives me the chills.

This year the Christmas Spirit was markedly elusive in my family. We didn’t put up the Christmas decorations until Christmas Eve… and even when we did, it felt like we were doing it out of obligation, as opposed to it being a cherished family tradition, where we do it with Christmas carols playing in the background.

Growing up, I’ve always loved the Christmas season, because even though our Christmases have always been marred by violence, there’s that joyful atmosphere that makes even sad moments feel less daunting… they scud away easily like dark clouds on a sunny day, so they don’t linger.

Nonetheless, it was different this year. The joyful feeling did not make an appearance, even pro tem. We enjoyed the scrumptious food that was eaten with dad’s sarcastic barbs reverberating across the room… He did all the talking while the rest of us listened painfully. We were trying to spend time together but he just couldn’t help sabotaging it.

At around 10.00pm in the evening mom had gotten tired of listening to his snide monologues, and when she asked him to give it a rest, he erupted… and so did she. Like it’s always been every Christmas, they ended up arguing. My sisters and I retired to our rooms, leaving them to shout their hearts out.

Unlike the younger version of me, who was scared of Christmas ending because that signified the end of the much awaited festivities, I was actually happy the day was over. That way I wouldn’t put myself under the pressure of pretending to be happy and purporting to celebrate, when I was awash with dejection.

Boxing Day was just another boring day in our house. There was nothing festive about it, other than the food, which wasn’t enough to conjure up the Christmas Spirit all on its own. We’re definitely thankful for the food, and for good health, which is a treasure… All I’m saying is, like last year, I’m still thinking Pentatonix must have been singing about my family when they sang, “Where are you Christmas?”

On 27th dad went back and even though Christmas is over, we’ve been trying to salvage the situation, listening to carols and enjoying the peace and quiet afforded to us by his absence. Now we’re staring at the last two days before we bid adieu to Year 2021, and usher in the New Year.

A couple of months ago, or so it feels, this year started. Most of us entered into it with so much trepidation, especially after being assaulted by the novel Corona virus in 2020. Very many activities had almost ground to a halt, and it was because of that intense fear of the unknown that this year was laced with so many uncertainties, for most of us at least.

As we do the countdown to the New Year, it’s good to look back and see what we’re grateful for so far. From experience, it’s hard to be happy when there’s so much sadness around you. Nonetheless, I usually encourage people to look at their circumstances, not through the eyes of happy and content people, but through the eyes of those in need.

It’s easy to disregard a plate of food, if you’ve never gone hungry… It’s easy to disregard a roof over your head, if you’ve never been homeless… Some people rarely get sick, so they don’t realise monetary wealth is nothing without good health. These are the simple things we need to be thankful for.

You may be feeling discouraged for unachieved resolutions… but counting the small blessings helps us realise how lucky we are… for tomorrow, and those unachieved dreams, I like to believe God’s got it all under control… Just put your trust beyond the sky…

As we wrap up the year, I wish you all a blessed end of year, and a very Happy & Prosperous New Year 2022!

After the Long Wait!

After seven long years of studying law, I finally got admitted to the bar last week Tuesday. I must admit, it still feels so surreal; that reality is yet to sink in. Funny thing is, the week before my admission was nerve-racking. I knew I was supposed to be feeling all kinds of excited, but somehow, the feeling I could clearly identify was anxiety.

I didn’t know how the day’s events would unfold, and that sort of put me on edge. It didn’t even help that when I told my dad I was getting admitted, he had just mumbled a nonchalant, “Ok!” There was no “Congratulations” or anything positive. His reaction was akin to that of someone who’d just heard something so ordinary like, “Hey dad, I’m stepping out to get some fresh air”.

Honestly, that was not the reaction I had expected. For two seconds I almost felt like crying. Then I took in a deep calming breath, and reminded myself he had been an absentee father all through. Since I got into law school, he had never asked to see my transcripts. To most students that would have been a delight, but to me it gave me the impression he did not give a rat’s arse.

What he was so concerned about was the money he was paying. The beginning of each semester was a nightmare. He would behave like he didn’t know there was tuition money to be paid, so my sisters, mom and I would sit him down to convince him to pay my school fees. Interestingly, he was always hoping someone would screw up, say getting knocked up, so he’d have the perfect excuse to bail.

I remember when I was in campus, I was just avoiding relationships like a plague, because I knew if I hooked up with some guy I was seeing and by sod’s law I ended up pregnant, my dad would have the perfect excuse to cut me off. I could almost see the triumph on his face.

Unfortunately for him, that never happened. In any case, I just got almost perfect grades, which he never got to see until I had graduated. Again, not because he asked to see them, but because I volunteered to show them to him so he could see his money’s worth.

The entire time I was studying, I never, even for a single second, felt like my dad was proud of me… and if I ever had any doubts in my mind, his reaction when I told him I was finally getting admitted to the bar was all the confirmation I needed. He couldn’t care less…

Then I thought to myself, why would he care? He wasn’t there when I came home tormented because some lecturer was sexually harassing me. I was my class’ president for four years and that had me interacting with lecturers a lot.

Sadly, some of them seemed to be under the misguided notion that a student in such a leadership position would have no qualms trading in sexual favours for good grades. Therefore it came as a surprise to them when I turned their advances down… and the bitter ones did not have the grace to accept rejection, so they just gave me bad grades to prove they had the power.

Nonetheless, I did not go begging for remarks… and the institution’s administration was so complacent about it, so there was no reprieve for aggrieved students like me. I went home, told my mom and sisters about it, and I’d still go on with my studies like everything was hunky dory.

Dad wasn’t aware of the hell I went through to get here; and for that, I won’t hold his nonchalance against him. As my admission day drew closer I was afraid he would deliberately screw my special day up, seeing as he’d been in a foul mood since he’d come home on leave about a week before then. Worst part was, I did not even know why he was all sulky.

His attitude notwithstanding, I reminded myself I had every reason to celebrate that day. All that matters is I got where I needed to be. I’m now certified to practice law. I can comfortably walk into a courtroom and seek the court’s audience. That’s all that matters to me really.

Best part is, I’m a human rights lawyer, and that makes me particularly happy because that equips me to fight for the issues close to people’s hearts. As I took my solemn oath to uphold the rule of law and administration of justice, all robed up and with my barrister’s wig on my head, I thanked God for granting me such a massive blessing.

In case you’re wondering, dad sort of came around on my admission day and gave me a congratulations hug right after the admission; and for a few hours he actually seemed happy about it. Then he got himself into a drunken stupor for the next two days, purporting to celebrate… made everyone miserable with his drunken rumblings… and after he sobered up he went back to his sulky state.

It’s taken me seven years to get here… Were it not for the Covid disruptions, this would have happened last year, but it’s better late than never. This milestone is a reminder that God answers prayers. If you’re going through something and that break through isn’t coming, don’t give up…

Recently I came through this motivational quote: “God’s plan is always the best. Sometimes the process is painful and hard, but don’t forget that when God is silent, He’s doing something for you”.

8th Blog Anniversary

It’s eight years since this blog was registered on WordPress, and we are still going strong. ‘We’, because like I have previously said, a writer without readers has no difference with someone who scribbles things on a personal journal, then stashes it away. That’s the person I was before starting this blog. I would write a lot, but everything I wrote was only meant for my eyes … Until I realized, I wanted to share what I wrote with anyone who cared to read.

Though nowadays I rarely get time to write as much as I would want, or visit other blogs for hours on end, I appreciate the few posts I share, and even more, everyone who spares valuable minutes of their precious time to read them. I am cognisant of the fact that, my readers make my posts fun writing, and worth sharing… I immensely appreciate each one of you. Thank you!

Lately I’ve been thinking, if my blog was a child, and if it could talk, it would fault me for being an absentee mother. Reason being that, nowadays I struggle to share even one post a month. Honestly, given how busy/crazy my schedule usually is, making time to write just one post feels like a herculean task. Thank God I love writing because I might have given up on writing entirely.

Furthermore, what keeps me going is the thought that one post could save someone somewhere. You know that feeling someone has when they’re somewhere thinking they are all alone in the world, and no one else understands what they are going through? I have been in that situation severally…and I know how lonely it feels. That’s one of the reasons which encourage me to keep writing.

Someone could be somewhere, literally seconds away from taking drastic measures to end their suffering, but then they meet someone who assures them their problem is not unique, and there is actually a solution. That is the amazing feeling I got when I started reading other blogs, and subsequently realized my anxiety disorder was not unique.

It was that feeling where you think you’re alone, then you take a walk interact with some people… and realize there are so many people in that same situation, only that no one had shared their problem. That is one of the relief I desire to grant my readers. To remind them they are not alone, and a problem shared is a problem halved.

Through my blog, I desire to encourage you, my readers… to help people see the world through my eyes; and since none of us is perfect, to see the world through your eyes as well; for instance, in relationships, there could be many misunderstandings…and anger/hurt makes us relatively short-sighted. Sometimes I write complaining about something hurtful which happened, then I receive very uplifting comments. That is the joy of blogging.

As I celebrate this milestone, I celebrate you my readers as well. I know this far I’ve come, it is because of your support. I am profoundly grateful. Therefore, as this blog turns eight, I raise my glass… to many more years ahead. HAPPY BLOGGING!

Heal the World

“I love you!” Pretty much each one of us has uttered these words at some point in our lives. Question is, how many of us actually understand what these words mean?

The world is ailing… and the way I see it, love can at the very least, assuage the pangs of the maladies afflicting us. In 1 Corinthians 13: 1-8 Paul says, “I may be able to speak the languages of men and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell.

I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains, but if I have no love, I am nothing. I may give away everything I have, and even give up my body to be burned, but if I have no love, this does me no good”.

So question is, what is love? Paul tells us, “Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud. Love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail. Love is eternal”.

Hypothetically, if this is the general standard of love, how many of us have loved for real? For the most part, majority of us do the complete opposite of what love entails. We are impatient and unkind; always envious of others who seem to be better than us in one way of the other; those who are in positions of power/authority act all high and mighty, oppressing their juniors and all…

Furthermore, majority of those in power are living by the mantra, “It’s my turn to eat!” Sadly, this egotistical attitude has turned those who have been entrusted with the responsibility of taking care of the hoi polloi into self-centred maniacs. Instead of looking out for those in need, they are embezzling funds meant for vital functions like acquisition of live-saving medication; and, locking out qualified people from employment positions in favour of their kin; nepotism at its best.

More often than not, we hold grudges against those who wrong us. We keep a record of their wrongs. The way I see it, most of the wars going on around the world would cease if the warring parties could just forgive each other and call a truce. Again it all boils down to love.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but this Covid-19 pandemic has exposed some of our worst weaknesses. The frustrations attributed to Covid have made us relatively myopic. We only think about how we can solve our own problems, without taking a moment to consider how our actions/omissions affect others.

When the different Covid-19 vaccines were declared safe for use and effective against the corona virus, one of the emerging issues of concern was the corruption that could possibly arise from the vaccine distribution. Furthermore, some unscrupulous people have been accused of embezzling funds set aside for tackling the pandemic. Ergo, my concern is, why would anyone want to hoard money and medication meant to save people’s lives? Does such a person grasp what love is?

The two biggest commandments are to love God above all things, and to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. Since not everyone is affiliated with religion I’ll refer to the legal definition of neighbour, seeing as love is just a natural inclination we have towards others by virtue of being human, whether we believe in God or not. In that regard, in law, our neighbours are those people who are so closely and directly affected by our acts and/or omissions, that we reasonably ought to have them in mind when conducting our daily affairs.

If we work with that definition, then we have numerous neighbours, because this definition doesn’t just mean our next-door neighbours. In essence, this means if I’m driving, my neighbours are all the pedestrians and drivers along the roads I use; the ones who could potentially get injured if I drove recklessly. If I own a manufacturing company, my neighbours are all the consumers of my products, whether I know them or not. See how numerous our neighbours are?

In light of this, if we are supposed to love our neighbours as we love ourselves; or as the law provides, we should avoid acts/omissions which we can reasonably foresee could harm our neighbours, then we owe that duty of care to very many people. Seeing as there are so many wrong things going on in the world, just imagine, how different the world would be if we applied the aforementioned concept of love, to all our neighbours…

That said, there are numerous things we cannot instantly change, but if we choose to actually love our neighbours, the world will gradually start to heal. If we truly love our neighbours, those in authority won’t hoard Covid-19 vaccines, medical equipment and protective gear, waiting for demand to substantially increase, so the prices can be hiked exorbitantly…

If we love our neighbours, those fuelling wars will realise very many innocent people have unnecessarily and unjustly become collateral damage… If we love our neighbours, we won’t go cutting down trees, because we know the dire impact that will have on the climate, and consequently, future generations.

In addition, employers will not dismiss their employees arbitrarily, callously feigning hardships occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic; because, while this could actually be the case, there are better empathetic ways of letting go of employees.

Therefore, like I said, love heals, and as it is, our world desperately needs healing. Million dollar question is, are we ready to love our neighbours? Are we ready to give love a chance?

Your Expectations Will Not Remain Unfulfilled: Part 2

There is a kind of faith that can become the memory of something once beautiful, now simply to be recalled.  Many people – we too – experience such a “faith of memories,” as if Jesus were someone from the past, an old friend from their youth who is now far distant, an event that took place long ago, when they attended catechism as a child. A faith made up of habits, things from the past, lovely childhood memories, but no longer a faith that moves me, or challenges me.

Going to Galilee, on the other hand, means realizing that faith, if it is to be alive, must get back on the road. It must daily renew the first steps of the journey, the amazement of the first encounter. And it must continue to trust, not thinking it already knows everything, but embracing the humility of those who let themselves be surprised by God’s ways.

We are afraid of God’s surprises; we are often afraid that God will surprise us. And today the Lord invites us to let ourselves be surprised. Let us go to Galilee, then, to discover that God cannot be filed away among our childhood memories, but is alive and filled with surprises. Risen from the dead, Jesus never ceases to amaze us. 

This, then, is the second message of Easter: faith is not an album of past memories; Jesus is not outdated. He is alive here and now. He walks beside you each day, in every situation you are experiencing, in every trial you have to endure, in your deepest hopes and dreams.

He opens new doors when you least expect it, he urges you not to indulge in nostalgia for the past or cynicism about the present. Even if you feel that all is lost, please let yourself be open to amazement at the newness Jesus brings: he will surely surprise you. 

Going to Galilee also means going to the peripheries. Galilee was an outpost: the people living in that diverse and disparate region were those farthest from the ritual purity of Jerusalem. Yet that is where Jesus began his mission.

There he brought his message to those struggling to live from day to day, proclaiming this message to the excluded, the vulnerable and the poor. There he brought the face and presence of God, who tirelessly seeks out those who are discouraged or lost, who goes to the very peripheries of existence, since in his eyes no one is least, no one is excluded.

The Risen Lord is asking his disciples to go there even today. He asks us to go to Galilee, to this “real Galilee”. It is the settings of daily life, the streets we travel every day, the corners of our cities. There the Lord goes ahead of us and makes himself present in the lives of those around us, those who share in our day, our home, our work, our difficulties and hopes.

In Galilee we learn that we can find the Risen One in the faces of our brothers and sisters, in the  enthusiasm of those who dream and the resignation of those who are discouraged, in the smiles of  those who rejoice and the tears of those who suffer, and above all in the poor and those on the  fringes. We will be amazed how the greatness of God is revealed in littleness, how his beauty shines forth in the poor and simple.

And this is the third message of Easter: Jesus, the Risen Lord, loves us without limits and is there at every moment of our lives. Having made himself present in the heart of our world, He invites us to overcome barriers, banish prejudices and draw near to those around us every day in order to rediscover the grace of everyday life.

Let us recognize him here present in our Galilees, in everyday life. With him, life will change. For beyond all defeats, evil and violence, beyond all suffering and death, the Risen One lives and the Risen One guides history. 

Sister, brother, if on this night you are experiencing an hour of darkness, a day that has not yet dawned, a light dimmed or a dream shattered, go open your heart with amazement to the  message of Easter: “Do not be afraid, he has risen! He awaits you in Galilee”.

Your expectations will not remain unfulfilled… your tears will be dried… your fears will be replaced by hope. For the Lord always goes ahead of you, He always walks before you. And, with Him, life always begins anew”.

Like Pope Francis said in his homily, if we put our hope and trust in God, our expectations will not remain unfulfilled. It’s easy to forget that when we find ourselves wading through life’s inevitable sufferings. Nonetheless, the trick is to remind ourselves that there is someone greater than our tribulations; and in time, He will save us. We just need to remain hopeful.

Your Expectations Will Not Remain Unfulfilled: Part 1

Your expectations will not remain unfulfilled… your tears will be dried… your fears will be replaced by hope. For the Lord always goes ahead of you, He always walks before you. And, with Him, life always begins anew”.

These are some of the uplifting words we need to hear constantly, so we can be reminded that even though the world is ailing, and most of us are walking around feeling desolate, owing to the challenges brought about by Covid-19, and our own personal hardships, we are not alone; and, all is not lost.

On 3rd April 2021, we were celebrating Holy Saturday (The Saturday before Easter Sunday); and, owing to the restrictions put in place to combat the spread of Covid-19, I had the honour of following the Easter Vigil mass celebrated by Pope Francis at the Vatican. In his homily, the holy father shared the words below, and I thought I should share them with you, so you can draw inspiration from them, like I did,

The women thought they would find a body to anoint; instead they found an empty tomb. They went to mourn the dead; instead they heard a proclamation of life. For this reason, the Gospel tells us, the women “were seized with trembling and amazement” (Mk 16:8).

Full of fear, trembling, and full of amazement. A fear mingled with joy that took their hearts by surprise when they saw the great stone before the tomb rolled away and inside a young man in a white robe. Wonder at hearing the words: “Do not be afraid! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen.” And a message: “He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.”

May we too accept this message, the message of Easter. Let us go to Galilee, where the Risen Lord has gone ahead of us. Yet what does it mean “to go to Galilee?” To go to Galilee means, first, to begin anew. For the disciples it meant going back to the place where the Lord first sought them out and called them to follow him. The place of their first encounter and the place of their first love.

From that moment on, leaving their nets behind, they followed Jesus, listening to his preaching and witnessing the miracles he performed. Yet, though they were always with him, they did not fully understand him. Frequently they misunderstood his words and in the face of the cross they abandoned him and fled.

Even so, the Risen Lord once more appears as the one who goes ahead of them to Galilee. He precedes them. He stands before them and constantly calls them to follow him. He says to them: “Let us start over from where we began. Let us begin anew. I want you to be with me again, in spite of everything”. In this Galilee, we learn to be amazed by the Lord’s infinite love, which opens new trails along the path of our defeats. He is like this, and he invites us to Galilee to be like this.

This is the first Easter message that I would offer you: it is always possible to begin anew, because there is always a new life that God can awaken in us in spite of all our failures.

Even from the rubble of our hearts – each of us- knows, knows the rubble of his own heart. From the rubble of our hearts, God can create a work of art; from the ruined remnants of our humanity, God can prepare a new history.

He never ceases to go ahead of us: in\ the cross of suffering, desolation and death, and in the glory of a life that rises again, a history that changes, a hope that is reborn. In these dark months of the pandemic, let us listen to the Risen Lord as he invites us to begin anew and never lose hope.

Going to Galilee also means setting out on new paths. It means walking away from the tomb. The women were looking for Jesus in the tomb; they went to recall what they had experienced with him, which was now gone forever. They went to indulge in their grief”.

The bigger the test, the greater the reward

The test is proportional to the task, and the bigger the test, the greater the reward. Recently in church, we had a sermon based on Abraham’s test to sacrifice his only son. This was God’s way of testing Abraham’s faith. In case anyone’s wondering why that was such a huge deal, Abraham and his wife Sarah were very old when God blessed them with their son, Isaac.

The thought of getting pregnant in her old age felt so absurd to Sarah, that she laughed when the Lord told Abraham she would have a son in nine months (Genesis 18: 10-15). When Sarah gave birth as the Lord had promised, Abraham was one hundred years old (Genesis 21: 1-7).

As it turned out, Abraham passed the test and in return, God blessed him with descendants who would be as many as the stars in the vast sky, or grains of sand along the seashore (Genesis 22: 17-18). This is a perfect illustration of, ‘The bigger the test, the greater the reward’.

There is also, the biblical story of a good man named Job. He suffered a colossal disaster trying to ward off the devil’s temptation to denounce God. His faith was greatly tested. He lost all his children and property, and the culmination of it all was him suffering from a repulsive disease. After his triumph, God blessed the last part of Job’s life, more than He did his first (Job 42: 12-16).

Again, this is a depiction of the great reward God gives those who are steadfast in faith. The truth is, we’re all being tested. Living is synonymous with tests of faith. There are these Way of The Cross reflections I usually meditate on during Lent, and over the years I feel I have learnt a great deal from them.

From the reflections, I have learnt that during Jesus’ passion on the Cross, He suffered, not because He had to really, but to encourage us when we find ourselves in different tribulations:

Reflection

My Jesus, even with the help of Simon You fell a third time. Were You telling me that there may be times in my life that I will fall again and again despite the help of friends and loved ones? There are times when the crosses You permit in my life are more than I can bear. It is as if all the sufferings of a life are suddenly compressed into the present moment and it is more than I can stand.

Though it grieves my heart to see You so weak and helpless, it is a comfort to my soul to know that You understand my sufferings from Your own experience. Your love for me made You want to experience every kind of pain just so I could have someone to look to for example and courage.

Prayer

When I cry out from the depths of my soul, “This suffering is more than I can bear.”

Do You whisper, “Yes, I understand”? When I’m discouraged after many falls, do You say in my innermost being, “keep going, I know how hard it is to rise”?

Reflection

I see injustice and am frustrated; and when my plan to alleviate it seems futile, I despair. When I see those burdened with poverty suffer ever more and cross is added to cross, my heart is far from serene. I utterly fail to see the dignity of the cross as it is carried with love. I would so much rather be without it.

Prayer

My worldly concept is that suffering, like food, should be shared equally. How ridiculous I am, dear Lord. Just as we do not all need the same amount of material food, neither do we need the same amount of spiritual food and that is what the cross is in my life, isn’t it? Spiritual food proportional to my needs. Amen.

The suffering is inevitable, so the trick is to look up to the ‘Man of sorrows’ for strength and consolation.

Good Friday is in the offing. While Covid-19 has redesigned how most of us celebrate Easter, we are still called upon to reflect on the Gospel, in relation to how we live. Our human nature makes us prone to sin, and God knows that. Nonetheless, every time we err, we need to ask God to give us that grace to repent and commit ourselves do doing what is right.

Like I have said severally, that is easier said than done. However, once we make that personal commitment to abstain from wrong, we will find the strength in us to do what is right. Even when things feel like they are spiralling out of control, we just need to master the strength to do what’s right and to trust in God. He will never fail us if we put our trust in Him.