Saturday, September 29, 2012

Happy Feast of St Michael

Today is an important feast day in the church because it is the solemnity of St Michael and the Archangels.   

Was reading a bit about St Michael and stumbled upon some interesting things:

At this time of year, the Aster (Aster nova-belgii) blooms, and it has become known as the Michaelmas Daisy (see picture at right). The Michaelmas Daisy comes in many colors, from white to pink to purple. An old verse goes:
Michaelmas DaisiesThe Michaelmas Daisies, among dede weeds,
Bloom for St Michael's valorous deeds.
And seems the last of flowers that stood,
Till the feast of St. Simon and St. Jude.
(The Feast of SS. Simon and Jude is 28 October) An old custom surrounds Michaelmas Daisies; one plucks off the petals one by one thus: pull a petal while saying ""S/he loves me," then pull of the next while saying "S/he loves me not," and repeat until all petals are gone. The words one intones while pulling off the last petal lets one know if one's love is requited.

 ...When you cut up your apples, cross-section.....seeds inside the 5-pointed star represent the Five Wounds of Christ.  (

detailed info on this could be found here.

Happy Feast day!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

God is Real!

As devastating as the recent Dana airline crash was in Nigeria on Sunday(May their Souls rest in Peace), there are still a few people who would have died but by God's special grace are alive today.

There was a certain man who was going to go on the plane but his wife kept telling him not to since he would still be going back to work on monday, which was the previous day, but the man said that even if he would just fly in and spend an hour with his family it would be worth it as he hadn't seen them for two weeks.

The wife tried to persuade him but he still insisted, when she realised her persuading was futile she gathered her children and prayed to Saint Joseph for her husband.
The man was in the airport waiting to go on the DANA aircraft with his colleagues when a stranger just came to him and handed his a ticket to travel with an entirely different airline. He hesitated at first but when he realized that airline was flying earlier he accepted the ticket and went on the airline.

The flight was from Abuja to Lagos, he arrived in Lagos safely.
On his way home with his family-who picked him up from the airport,he heard on news that the Dana airplane crashed!in Lagos

That's not all

The name on the ticket of the airline he eventually boarded was JOSEPH.

Please tell this story to as many people as possible God is real, Saints intercede for us!

Saint Joseph pray for us. Amen

Sunday, March 25, 2012

How Amazing the Faith is!

I was reading this book ‘How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization’ by Thomas E. Woods and I was so overwhelmed by the beauty and the influence of the Catholic faith.
Unlike other Religions, Catholicism is not just a routine but a way of life that when well lived makes life more bearable for one’s fellow human beings, a true Catholic is always outstanding as he is always looking out for the best for his fellow brothers and sisters.
The word ‘civilization’ is even built on Catholicism, loving your brother as yourself, you call someone civilized when he is able to treat people with respect and consider them even when he wants to carry out actions, unlike what Aristotle refers to as the ‘state of nature’ where man does what he wants to do because he feels like.
The Catholic faith makes you understand that you are not just a body but a soul, and both need nourishment, this explains why a Catholic understands the value of mortification. It is interesting how we are even more human when we mortify ourselves than when we give in to our excesses. Someone who says to himself ‘I have eaten enough, eating anymore is gluttony’ is acting human, acting as an intelligent being, and acting like he can reason, unlike someone who says ‘let me eat and eat there is more than enough’ who on the other hand feels he is just being human but in reality he is acting worse than an animal because even animals know when they have had enough. The Catholic faith makes you the best human being you can be!
I hear a lot of people say Catholics are too religious and that we should be spiritual. To me such people lack understanding of what it means to be spiritual in the first place. In every Practice, one reaches spirituality after taking part in a religious ritual, even Chinese philosophers believe in mortifying the flesh to master the body and the environment. It is not possible to rise to spirituality when the flesh isn’t subdued, even in everyday life you find that you think straight when you are calm and relaxed and you can barely think when you are jumping around or engaged in a lot of activity.
It is interesting to go into history and all through you find Catholics making a change, influencing lives and taking the brave step. Catholics built western civilization for sure, bringing about advancement in Agriculture, Art, Architecture and Science.
Henry Goodell, president of what was Massachusetts Agricultural College in the 20th Century, talking about the Monks and their influence over 1500 years said, ‘they saved agriculture when no one could save it; they practiced it under a new life and new conditions when no one dared to undertake it’. It is not surprising to know monks made an impact in Agriculture since the monks saw work as a channel of grace and an avenue to mortify themselves.
Another historian records, ‘by them, Germany was rendered a fruitful country’. A vivid influence can be seen in their work on the Fen district of Southampton, England. Monks where very active all over, in Parma-Cheese-making, Ireland-Salmon fisheries, in Lombardy, monks taught the inhabitants irrigation and they had the finest vineyards in many places as they needed the wine for Mass.
The discovery of Champagne can be traced to Don Perignon of Saint Peter’s Abbey, Hautvillers. He was appointed cellarer of the Abbey in 1682 and developed the champagne through experimentation with blending wines.
The Cistercian monks of twelfth century France used water-power for crushing wheat, sieving flour, fulling cloth and tanning. There were many Cistercian monasteries and technological advancement could be observed in all of them.
In the mid-thirteenth century till the seventeenth century the Cistercians were the leading iron producers in France. In order to increase their efficiency, they used slag from their furnaces as fertilizer and its concentration of phosphates made it very useful.
The Church had great influence on education. The monks had to transcribe volumes of books for people to read from various disciplines. Great bulks of Latin literature we find today were in monastic libraries and scriptoria (rooms set aside for copying texts).
Certain monasteries were known for their particular branches of knowledge. For example, lectures in medicine were given by monks of Saint Benignis at Dijon, Saint Gall’s monastery had a school of painting and engraving, and lectures in Greek, Hebrew and Arabic could be heard in certain German monasteries.
Monks were teachers; Saint Chrysostom tells us that in his day it was customary for people to send their children to monks. Saint Benedict even instructed the sons of nobles. Saint Boniface established a school in every monastery he founded in Germany. In England Saint Augustine and his monks established schools everywhere they went.
The Jesuits contributed to the development of the reflecting telescopes, barometer, pantographs, microscopes, and to scientific fields such as magnetism, optics and electricity. They had great influence in mathematics and astronomy. They opened observatories that studied astronomy, geomagnetism, meteorology, seismology, and solar physics.
The Catholic influence on art can be seen even in our day-the stained glasses, sculpture, the paintings, mosaic, all of these and much more can be seen. The desire for geometric precision and numerical meaning in their works contributes significantly to the beauty.
The buildings were designed to make meaning, for example the windows of the Gothic cathedral and its emphasis on light. The light could be seen pouring into the cathedral and it signified how God enlightened the mind with knowledge.
People like Father Vitoria were best known for his commentaries on the Spanish colonialism and Las Casas who was involved in the origins of the Natural laws.
The Church has also produced great Economists that have contributed to the field such as Jean Buridan (1300-1358) who served as a rector in the University of Paris. He made a great contribution to the modern theory of money. Also Nicolas Oresme (1325-1382), a student of Buridan who made his own contributions to the theory of money; he was a mathematician, an astronomer and a physician. He wrote A Treatise on the origin, Nature, Law and Alterations of Money, which has been described as ‘a milestone in the science of money’.
The Church also contributed largely to western laws so much that a scholar Harold Berman had to say that modern legal systems ‘are a secular residue of religious attitudes and assumptions which historically found expression first in liturgy and rituals and doctrine of the church and thereafter in the institutions and concepts and values of the law. When these historical roots are not understood, many parts of the law appear to lack any underlying source of validity’. This explains why when a person is convicted of murder and sentenced to death but goes insane between the moment of his sentencing and execution, he is kept alive to regain his sanity and only the is he executed. This makes sense as only a sane person can make a good confession, receive forgiveness for sins and hope to save his soul. There are many laws that have Catholic explanations. Professor Berman’s scholarly work, particularly his magisterial Law and Revolution: The Formation of Western Legal Tradition has documented the influence of the Church on the development of western laws, he argues that ‘western concepts are in their origins and in their nature, intimately bound up with distinctively western theological and liturgical concepts of atonement and of the sacraments.’
 The teachings of the Catholic faith have influenced morality; Catholic scholars have explained and defined catholic concepts that have become moral laws. For example In ‘The City of God’ Saint Augustine dismissed the pagan belief in suicide as a noble act he said ‘greatness of spirit is not the right term to apply to one who has killed himself because he has lacked strength to endure hardships, or another’s wrong doing.’

We could on forever on the list of Catholics who contributed to civilization, whatever field you can think of Catholics were involved in developing it,  therefore,  it is clear that indeed the Catholic Church built Western Civilization!
How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization-Thomas E. Woods
By Jacqueline Oke

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Relationship between Leprosy and Sin

Leprosy is a severe ailment like Cancer. Lepers are usually quarantined and isolated from people, the same way we are separated from God when we continue to live in Sin.

Leprosy disfigures the image of the leper. Just as the skin begins to peel off or smoulder so does Sin disfigure the image of our souls and can even disfigure us physically for example, a lot of smokers and drug addicts deteriorate physically. There was a story told by Leonardo Da Vinci which was written that when he wanted to paint The Last Supper, he looked for good looking people to paint the faces of the apostles and to paint Christ he search for a very handsome man with hazel eyes and a pointed nose, then when it was time to paint Judas he looked and looked and could not find anyone ugly enough so he went to a prison and he found a man. As he was painting the man said ‘wait! I know you, you are the one who used me to paint Jesus' here it is clear that his life of Sin disfigured his face.

Leprosy starts from just a part of the body then continues to spread like wild fire and so does Sin, it starts from something small and continues. Just the way Leprosy is contagious so is Sin, a friend with vices can affect another friend trying to do the right thing, be careful!
Leprosy makes you lose the sense of pain, it is said that some lepers even try to bathe with piping hot water to feel pain so that they can feel alive and so is Sin. When one lives continuously in it he loses the sense of sin and enjoys it.

Sin takes you further than you want to go, keeps you longer than you want to stay and costs you more than you want to pay! So let's all reconcile with God today, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and try to stay away from Sin.

God bless.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Why I Love The Traditional Latin Mass

Introibo ad altare  Dei, ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam”

I will go into the altar of God, to God who giveth joy to my youth.

Such great joy it is indeed when I attend the traditional latin mass!
For a young and hyper person like me, coupled with the fact that I’m African ( as it is perceived we are very extroverted in nature), it is almost impossible to believe that I should like such a quiet “inactive” event.

I started attending the extraordinary form a couple of years ago (2004 I think), then I didn’t quite understand why everyone had to be so quiet, why only the priest spoke most of the time and why I couldn’t give the sign of peace. It looked and sounded bizarre and I wondered what the congregation could actually benefit from  such passive attendance, but now I see it from a whole new perspective.

My first reason for my love for the mass is that it is Quiet:

Wow! Quiet! Yes! I believe God can only speak to a person when he/she is calm and composed; when the mouth is closed and the mind open. . It gives good relaxation and a comfortable position to undertake a spiritual dialogue with our Lord. When you want to listen to someone, especially an elder or one with higher authority, you most likely won’t go rattling while he/she is speaking because you want to hear what he/she has to say, you want to think about it and give a sensible response. That’s how I see the mass, a place where you can let God speak to you away from all the noisy distractions of everyday life.

The Prayers are Edifying:

“Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy : deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man.
 For thou art God my strength : why hast thou cast me off? and why do I go sorrowful whilst the enemy afflicteth me?

Send forth thy light and thy truth : they have conducted me, and brought me unto thy holy hill, and into thy tabernacles.

And I will go in to the altar of God : to God who giveth joy to my youth.

 To thee, O God my God, I will give praise upon the harp : why art thou sad, O my soul? and why dost thou disquiet me? Hope in God, for I will still give praise to him : the salvation of my countenance, and my God”. (Psalm 43, Douay Rheims Version)

Beginning  with such a wonderful psalm sets a perfect mood for perfect  worship, the prayers said in between the liturgy show so much love, respect and humility towards God, one could actually feel lifted up by these prayers, one could feel like ones heart is bursting with praise and adoration, one could feel the very words rush into the soul filling it with Love and yearning.

It shows the uttermost Respect to God:

“Domine non sum dignus, ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur anima mea”

Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof, but say the word and my soul shall be healed  ( see Matt 8:8)

When we are in front of a respectable person, for example, the President or the Queen, our behaviour is totally different from when we are with our peers or people younger than us. If we can show such honour to mere mortals, how much more God? The Traditional Latin Mass does! Every gesture, posture and prayer reminds us about the nature of the person we are facing, it tells us that although God is our friend, He is also The Almighty and should be treated this way, just like how we would relate to our earthly parents, we talk to them freely but with respect.

The Priest Faces God

This gives a psychological effect on people. The priest facing the altar makes people see that we come to mass to worship God, we pray and draw all our attention TO Him! The priest who is our spiritual leader acts as the “driver” and  we sit/stand/kneel behind. I am yet to see a bus where the driver drives facing the people, or where the leader guides his people through a path by facing them, such definitely affects how the followers react.

The Music is Beautiful:

Gregorian chants make perfect background to create a blissful and heavenly environment, music moves the soul to ones heart desire and I think in this case moves it to God.

Its closest to the Definition of Mass

In catechism we are told that the mass is a sacrifice, it is Calvary continued. Therefore, we are to imagine what Jesus Christ went through to save us, the pain of betrayal by his own apostle, the denial and abandonment He faced, the ridicule He received,  we are to show compassion for the scourging at the Pillar, the crowning with thorns, the drops of blood  lost all for the love of us. This mass puts all into consideration, it makes us truly understand that Jesus is crucified again at every Mass and we participate in this event as if we are at the foot of the Cross watching Jesus draw His last breath.

 I think once we establish the definition of the Mass we would modify our behaviour accordingly and look for which form of celebration pleases God best. In a world where the environment plays a major role in ones actions, it would be wise indeed to attend Mass which brings one closer to God and that’s why I love the Traditional Latin Mass.

P.S: If you've never attended one, please give it a try, its a wonderful experience!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A New Life in Christ

A new year has come, filled with opportunities and second chances. Most of us would probably have had it all planned out: get a better job, excel in studies, find Mr or Mrs Right and we are probably working towards it.
But there’s one more thing missing in our agenda for the year: a closer relationship with God.
Without this our plans will bear no fruit and probably would not come to pass. The fact we are alive today shows God’s special love for us, we made it to 2012, many didn’t and its not because we are better than them but probably because it wasn’t our time or God shined His favour on us.
Let us appreciate this and return the favour. We do not know what this year holds, its all in Gods hands but no matter what happens if we are true to Him he would take care of us.
Being true to Him means living our faith with love, doing everything possible to get to know Him better and serve Him better.
It is often said that new year resolutions are broken after the first week they are made- not necessarily. Its all in the will. We would definitely fall a couple of times because leaving old bad habits is almost impossible but we can do it! If you and I put our minds to it, with the help of Our Blessed Mother we can do it!
Here are a few suggestions on how we can improve our relationship with God this year
  • ·         Create a prayer time table and try to stick by it: praying at certain times helps you to be consistent at prayer.
  • ·         Say the Rosary every day: it’s a beautiful prayer and it has so many wonderful promises attached to it
  • ·         Read the Bible for 15 mins at least every day: It is good for meditation and helps us understand the faith more coupled with its doctrine
  • ·         Read spiritual books: That’s the only way we can grow in the faith especially now we have the means to do this ourselves, culpable ignorance is punishable.
  • ·         Go to Mass at least every Sunday: Apart from it being a Mortal sin not to, it is a good start to cultivate the habit of spending time with God in His house and I’m pretty sure once you understand the beauty of this Eucharistic Celebration you might resolve to go every day.
  • ·         Go to confession regularly:  as people with human frailty we will definitely fall many times but Our Lord forgives as many times as possible, He will never forsake us, go to Him, ask for pardon and begin again.

Growing in Christ gives one a whole new perspective of the world and why we are here; let us not forget  His words

What doth it profit a man if he gained the whole world and suffered the loss of his soul?
Matthew 16: 26

Happy New Year.