April 12, 22020

                                              ​Easter Victory in Closed Churches.

         Governments at national and state levels have imposed restrictions and lockdowns to check the spread of the coronavirus.  In our villages local authorities have forced all religious groups to suspend prayer gatherings. And Catholics are no exception. For the first time, our Catholic bishops have asked their people not to go to churches to take part in the annual liturgies that mark the core of their faith — the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. As far as I know it has never happened in the history of the Catholic Church, which has challenged persecutions, calamities, wars and plagues to preserve and celebrate her faith. What is happening?  Is the fear of death above faith in God many ask? Death remains a major talking point these days. It cannot be otherwise when a virus continues to kill people across the world, unconcerned about race, status, riches, nobility, faith or political clout.
            With this quarantine heavy mortifications have been imposed by circumstances beyond human control. The faithful cannot participate in the liturgies of our faith. Nevertheless, the Easter victory will be more powerful than ever, because with the churches closed God comes much close to our quarantine – homes and families. In this Easter season, death stares at humanity. In the Archdiocese parish priests are instructed to have Passion Week liturgies privately, offering them for their people. The vital liturgies include Maundy Thursday that celebrates the institution of the Eucharist, the source and summit of Catholic faith life, and the Good Friday service that remembers the passion and death of Christ. Celebrated without people, they cannot be anything more than rituals. But that is how things have been this year.
               All hope is not gone the holy apostles thought themselves bereft of the One they hoped might be the Messiah. On the Mount of Olives, three of them slept a depressed sleep, haunted by anxious confusion. At this time we should not entertain the impression of being abandoned by God who had promised to be with us always. How could the Lord forget his solemn words ‘I shall not leave you orphans’. It make sense, the Satan is try to steal your Easter joy and victory. No, he cannot, no matter how much he may try. He is “a murderer from the beginning … a liar and the father of lies” (Jn 8, 44). Christ suffered the cruel passion and death, in order to redeem our human nature, to restore to us true life and to bring us surely and safely to our true destiny: eternal life with Him. This is the true Easter victory. Our joy does not take away the sharp sting of loss and death but with confidence and courage, faces them as part of the lifelong combat of love which we are called to wage during this life – after all we are, by God’s grace, true soldiers of Christ (2 Tm 2, 3) – in the sure knowledge of the victory of eternal life.
            We love Christ and his Redemptive Incarnation by which He is alive for us in Church, and for this we are joyful in fighting the good fight with Him, in staying the course, no matter what trials we face, and in keeping the faith, when the Father of Lies tempts us to doubt Christ and even to deny Him. “Do not fear, only believe” (Mk 5, 36). As some today seem to live without hope because of the coronavirus let them remember that the victory over the epidemic does not depend totally on us. God alone can bless our efforts and give us the victory over loss and death.  Prayer is our strength, prayer is our resource. Here then is the favourable moment to rediscover the fatherhood of God and our being children.
          Easter victory and blessings are rooted in eternal truth, the victory of Christ over what clearly looked like his annihilation, the victory won in His human nature for the sake of the same victory in our human nature, no matter what hardships we may be suffering. If we believe in Christ, if we trust in His promises, then we must celebrate with joy His great work of the Redemption.
 

                                                                     April 5, 22020
                                                 Quarantine Holy Week - a Moral Test.

             It is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy week. Most of our churches are either empty or closed. Major streets in our big cities void and silent, the population is locked into their apartments – what is wrong? Families, relations and friends are keeping their social distance in order to stem the spread of the coronavirus.  Before our eyes the traditions of our faith are being turned upside down at the moment, noting that Holy week and Easter celebrations are most likely going to be in the closed four walls of our apartments. Never has this happened in my life as a Christian and as a priest. Is this a moral test or what?
           There is a storm of uncertainty, fear, and anxiety everywhere in the country. If the storm is unabated it will expose more our vulnerability and uncover those false and superfluous certainties and falsehood around which we have constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits, and priorities. It will show us how we have ignored and allowed to become dull and feeble the very things that nourish, sustain and strengthen our lives and our communities – our love of God and neighbour. Prices of essential commodities have suddenly high rocked with the slightest mention of this storm on the shores of our country. If we don’t show concern for our suffering neighbour how do we expect to get mercy from God? The way we treat others the same way God will treat us.
             This storm is very capable of exposing the reality of our nothingness and helplessness which we often have covered with our egos. This global storm - coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than half a million people worldwide and resulted in more than 30,000 deaths has left every one rich and poor panicking. More importantly for weeks now it has been evening in our big cities especially Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Onitsha. Thick darkness has gathered over our markets, squares, and streets; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void. Here in Onitsha we feel it in the air, we notice it in people’s gestures. Some are afraid and lost having been caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm. Rich and poor, sick and healthy, pastors and faithful have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented.  All of us concerned called together for action. Could this be a moral lesson to help and show us a way forward for a future better Nigeria?  Do we really need a storm to learn this lesson? All of us in this boat-Nigeria need comforting each other. We need common hands on deck for our common good and survival. On this boat are all of us. Let us all speak anxiously with one voice saying we are perishing so that we cannot go on thinking of ourselves, but only together can we win in this country.
              Let us all admit that wrongly in this country we have all gone ahead at breakneck speed, feeling powerful and able to do anything. Greedy for material gains and profit, we let ourselves get caught up in things, and lured away by haste. I see this storm as a reproach to us, we have not been shaken by the evils of injustice in this country, nor have the blood of so many innocent killings disturbed us, nor have we listened to the cry of the poor. We have carried on arrogantly regardless, thinking we would stay healthy in a country that is so sick. Now that we are in a storm, let us learn the moral lesson.The quarantine Holy week and Easter  will remind us that by his cross we have been saved in order to embrace hope and strengthen to sustain all measures and all possible avenues for helping us protect ourselves and others. In his cross we find the courage to embrace all the hardships of the present time, abandoning for a moment our past eagerness for power and possessions in order to be capable of inspiring others after the storm. It means finding the courage to create a country where everyone can recognize that they are called to new forms of love, hospitality, fraternity, and solidarity irrespective of tribe and religion.
 

                                                           March 29,2020
                                           2020 Lenten Journey we need.

            On February 26 we celebrate Ash Wednesday and mark the beginning for the season of Lent for 2020. Since then many of us have given up something as a sign of penance: a favorite food, desert, drinks, smoking and what have you. The whole point of giving up something is to replace it with a spiritual practice.  What spiritual practice have you taken to replace what you have given up. Some give more time to prayer and meditation, some go to mass daily some visit the sick more regularly while others devote their time in works of charity.  What to do is up to you but you must do something to fortify yourself for the looming spiritual struggle ahead. If Jesus was tempted, we are certainly not exempt. The evil one will come after you. That is a guarantee. Unfortunately for all of us our plans for this lent and whatever they might have been, planned or not, the pandemic has changed everything. Far beyond our control, God’s permissive will has allowed the pestilence of the coronavirus to cover the earth including Nigeria. To fight this pestilence our civil and religious leaders are putting unexpected and compulsory measures upon us: quarantines, restrictions on movement and gatherings, social distancing, cancellation of work, entertainment, and time with family. In some dioceses the sacraments have been publicly suspended. As it is now I am not sure of possibility of public Holy week ceremonies. For people like me it seems the world is turning upside down.
            In fact in these restrictions God has designed a new and perhaps a more spiritual journey for 2020 lent for us. This is where we are. This is our world, at least for now. No amount of anger, shaking our fists, annoying our neighbours, and burdening every one with complaints and negativity can win this war against corona virus. We can choose a higher path and accept these measures as our new lenten ascetical practices, adjust patiently to them, allow their annoyance to become opportunities for selfless service to our loved ones, and seek to grow internally in the lessons of humility and self-abandonment. In addition, the restrictions can be a source of light-heartedness and humor. Our Blessed Tansi did just that in his own case. We can learn what to do from his example. In 1944 there was a serious and terrifying epidemic of small pox at Nando, an outstation of his parish Dunukofia. Many were affected by the epidemic and many died. Small-pox was another dreadful sickness in Igbo land. Like the lepers the consequence was banishment to the evil forest. As the plague assumed its large proportions the harsh laws of banishment became impracticable because of the vast numbers of those affected. The healthy and the rich who could care for themselves, fled to the neighbouring villages. It was believed that whoever visited the patient would himself contact the disease. On hearing of the Nando epidemic Fr. Tansi rushed to the place, administering the Sacraments, giving some medicine and burying the dead. The Catechist who accompanied him was afraid, stayed at a distance, while Fr. Tansi went from hut to hut looking for the weak, the dying and the dead. He was to the sick the doctor and the nurse and to the dead a funereal undertaker. Those who experienced what he was doing thought he would contact the dreadful sickness but he did not. During the period though his days were fully engaged and despite the hardship and personal discomforts he imposed on himself, the Father was always encouraging and stressing the importance of the confessional act as a means to bring spiritual comfort to the sick and dying.  Greater seriousness was given to providing the Eucharist to the sick and dying.  In the spiritual life our equipment is our mind and hearts. There is hope even now. The hope is Jesus Christ and his sacraments. Receive the sacraments and help your sick and dying neighbour to the best of your ability. Who knows how many will survive the looming epidemic, but remember in life you can choose to be either angry or entertained. In these weeks in which a surprising Lent has been given to us, accompanied by an array of unexpected ascetical practices, we can choose to be entertained. Rather than focusing on what used to be let us choose to be here now.  We can accept reality, and truly make this Lent and its blessings our own.


 

                                                   March 15, 2020

                                                Discover yourself this lent.

               If we put before us the ceremony we had on Ash Wednesday when we received and wore as a public declaration that we are sinners who ask for the mercy and grace of God, we will quickly become more honest to ourselves. These acts announce the simple humbling admissions of our souls to us and to the rest of the world. They tell us of a sobering message of our human weakness before God and our neighbour.  There couldn’t be a better or more transparent way to start a change in our life. This change MUST continue for the rest of our lives. Our participation in lent is about accepting who we are. It is acknowledging the bad news of human weakness that is oftentimes in our hearts and in our world. It is about confessing our waywardness. Lent opens a forum where we can admit to ourselves, and to those around us, that we are sinners and in need of divine help. By acknowledging the sinfulness in our souls, such sinfulness loses its power over us. By confessing them, we realize their interior weakness and futility. Lent is the season of confessions and of freedom in Jesus Christ.

                Encouraging his parishioners to go to confession and his staying for very long hours at the confessional are some fundamental characteristic of Blessed Tansi extraordinary priestly figure. One of his spiritual sons now a prince of the church told me, that even though “He was courageous in preaching the whole Gospel and all the commandments without discount or equivocation. He heard Confessions with zeal”. He was diligent in the practice of the sacrament of penance. Thus he distinguished himself as an excellent, tireless confessor and spiritual director. We are all saints and sinners, Tansi made this clear to us and that was the reason why he sat at the confessional for very long hours. For him the sacrament of penance was synonymous with going on treks. His treks were regular and consistent through his large and scattered towns and villages of his parish. Wherever the priest was visiting there were also confessions which always began with instructions, self examination and prayers for contrition. With preaching and persuasive advice he helped his parishioners to rediscover the meaning and beauty of the sacrament of Penance, as he presented it as an inherent demand of the Eucharistic presence and participation. The pastoral concern he gave to personal repentance and confession made his parishioners believe that the sacrament is essential for our life as Catholic disciples as this sacrament fills us with an increase in the gifts of faith, hope, charity and fortitude providing us with a deeper knowledge of ourselves and a deeper intimacy with God.

            All devotees of Blessed Tansi must know that the consequences of sin are always disastrous. We can never be ourselves when we sin. God's love is far greater than man's capacity to love. God can forgive what man refuses to forgive. The love, mercy and compassion of God can overcome the rebellion of the human heart. God patiently seeks the conversion of every person especially at the period of lent. We must therefore struggle for our own salvation by grace. Lent calls us to holiness, to love, to practise of patience, kindness and peace to those closest to us. This is the living out of our confession. It is the reason for the ashes. It is the work of Lent.

                                                                March 1, 2020

                                                    Blessed Tansi for a holy Lent

               The Christian time for conversion, for fasting and prayer and almsgiving began last Wednesday Feb.26, 2020. It is not just a memory, an event done and forgotten. Now to what end do we take up these practices. Why do we fast, pray, give a bit of alms and give up social media etc? We do all that because they are practices that will lead the Christian to a bit of holiness. They focus us on God, moving us away from the excesses that may hinder us from virtue.

              But looking at the lifestyle of Blessed Iwene Tansi we may have something more in store for us. His mortified penitential lifestyle is proposing a construction project for all his devotees, a building of a temple of holiness through the restoration of each Christian. His ascetic charity and endless pursuit of virtues remind us that we are temples of God. This image puts clearly before us our true Christian identity. The Church is a temple, the dwelling place of the Spirit as each baptized Christian is a stone in this temple, the presence of God made available to men and women. His lent was not just a period of forty days but his whole life commitment. Every day was lent for him – an opportunity to eschew selfishness, to love, to do good and to help a neighbour in need.

             If we are going to make a meaning out of what we did last Wednesday, if we want to be the temple of God, the presence of the Spirit, we must give up practices of self-deception, greed rampant in our society, chasing the wisdom of the world rather than the foolishness of God. We must look at the lifestyle of Blessed Tansi through who we can give ourselves over entirely to Christ, who comes daily to smooth our rough edges, clean up our morally objectionable life, placing us in communion with every member of Christ’s needy – the poor, the suffering and the abandoned.

            The practice of fasting, almsgiving and prayer that we take up each lent is like making a building project that will be completed at the end of our life. Each step at that building restores our splendour as the living stones in the temple of God. Before we took up ashes and the practices Lent, we needed to recognize whom we are - tell ourselves the truth about our life, our love of self, our love of the wisdom of this world.  Unless we know ourselves and tell ourselves the truth about us we may be living a fractured communion with ourselves, with God and with our neighbour. The life of Blessed Tansi is an opportunity for us to come to self-knowledge, knowledge of our own fragility and sinfulness.  Do we give food and drink to the thirsty neighbour or do we take from them the little they have. Do we see in those under us the suffering Christ? Are our concern only for self and family? Do we use our positions in life only for bastions of wealth and prestige instead of opportunity for self-emptying love and of friendship with the poor and lonely? The period of lent, in this sense, is a time of honest discernment. Remember it is only the wise person before God who is honest, who sees his defects and does something about it. Discernment is about seeing in advance, looking into the invisible realm of our life, thinking the way God thinks, declaring the impossible to be possible and touching God so that He touches us. Don’t make a mistake about - we are all broken and crumbling in need of serious repairs. Not just me, not just you, but the whole Church.
                                                                                              

                                                                   February 23, 2020

                                                      Blessed Tansi impact on our lives

           ‘If you meet Blessed Iwene Tansi, you will change’ someone told me. Some say he is like fire. You can’t sit near the fire and remain indifferent. And if you become changed then you will have the ability to make change yourself. Blessed Tansi taught us to pay attention and to feel the sufferings of others. You can’t be indifferent to his concern for the poor lepers of his day, to the sufferings of the widows in his time, to the traditional segregation of the slaves and outcasts.  He gave the Nigerians of his time a great hope.  Today he gives us courage to do what we need to do in our times if we want to be called disciples of Christ and his devotees.

           Good devotees of Blessed Tansi should spend their time up close and personal with him sharing with the world what they have learnt from him. Articles of faith learnt, memorized and intellectualized will not be enough for his devotee.  With the poor, needy and the great injustice of our time before us we got to know what Blessed Tansi is all about. His priestly ministry of compassion taught us to believe in love and God. In spite of numerous disappointment and setbacks he just kept going, kept going, kept going, kept going. Through his lifestyle peace is possible in our turbulent nation. We can change our attitude if we want to.

             He did not look back in his pursuit for the good of others.  He just kept going. He insisted on the necessity doing more than he demonstrate and speak. He believed also in the necessity to act, and to act without fear since fear is often used to control us. What do we need to overcome the present day challenges of Nigerians?  He gives us a lasting solution - to have an eye on your neighbour’s welfare. He shunned all kinds of greed and was going out to the peripheries of his parish to touch the wounds of Christ. Today that lifestyle and attitude challenge us to do the same. He was a man of the beatitudes. He lived the beatitudes and today is calling us to love God with all our heart and all our soul and love our neighbour as ourselves. But we have a complicity, in our greed and selfish-laden society how can we let ourselves off so easily. But by very important token, we have suffered greatly for our mistakes and sins of greed in private and public life. Life is beautiful. Nigeria is blessed. Nigerians can live a privileged life. It is time for us to step up and do what we could and have to do. There is a lot of joy in standing up to the most powerful force on earth and giving ourselves over. We are in the hands of loving God. We are all called to be saints.
 


                                                         February 16, 2020
                                                       Who are these Saints 
               Most of us grew up seeing statues or images of saints at church and in our homes. From childhood we become accustomed to the use the word ‘saint’. As I was growing up a catholic I have never asked why saints in the Catholic Church or why some are saints and others are not. All are accepted as part of the catholic faith. The word ‘saint’ refers to something or someone that has been ‘set apart’, that is ‘holy’. The Apostle Paul refers to Christians as ‘saints’ (Col 1:1-2). The reason St. Paul calls Christians ‘saints’ is that Christians have been ‘set apart’ and made holy by the grace of baptism. They are not like the rest of the world. Today the Church is only giving certain Christians the title ‘saint’ and not all Christians. The doctrine of the .communion of saint’ can help to understand the basis for the restricted use of the word saint. The Church teaches that “the communion of saints is the Church” (CCC 946-962). But the doctrine of the communion of saints, which is mentioned in the Apostle’s Creed, is more than that. All the baptized faithful in heaven, earth and purgatory form one body in Christ (Rom 12:15).
              Since they form part of one holy Body, the good of each is communicated to the others, which makes the communion of goods throughout the body possible.  Some of these goods include the faith received from the apostles, the diversity of charisms, the charity that is carried out, and the sacraments especially the Eucharist. Holiness extends to the three different states of the same Holy Body, which is the Church: the Church Militant (on earth), the Church Penitent (in purgatory) and the Church Triumphant (in heaven). Hence the Church bestows on some of its members who have passed from this life the title “saint.”
              Paul recognises the ‘saints’ who are still on earth and the ones who are in heaven. “May you be strengthened … giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light”. (1 Cor.13:12) These ‘saints in light’ are those who have passed before us and that enjoy the light of God. They are the ones who possess the fullness of inheritance (sainthood) and the Christians on earth only share in that inheritance. What we see on earth in a mirror dimly, they see face to face in heaven the beatific vision. They are in God’s presence and are partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet 1:4). They have run the race and have been crowned (2 Tim 4: 7). The church venerates them and calls them saints. We on earth form part of the Church Militant, who continues to run the race as pilgrims. 
                  The Church does not pretend to have a list of all the saints in heaven. As far as we know, one of our deceased family members may be enjoying the beatific vision. Even then, we should pray for them, that they may be made perfect and enter heaven, for we won’t know for certain if they have, unless the Church confirms it through a rigorous process. This rigorous process is what we have been doing in the case of Blessed Iwene Tansi. We know that when he lived here with us he was very exemplary in the love of Christ, the church and his fellow men and women. We know and can testify that he has run the race and have been victorious. He can’t be indifferent to the challenges we currently face on earth. Rather, he is always attentive to our prayers and, through his powerful intercession, he is eager to help us join him in heaven.

                                                                                                         February 9, 2020

                                                   St. Valentine inspires those in love
           Valentine popularly known and celebrated among many Nigerians as the ‘day of love’ or  ‘the day of friendship’ actually dates back to the third century, indeed many years ago. It is celebrated in honour of a young Italian priest who later became a bishop around 175 AD. He was famous for his evangelization efforts, miracles and healings like Blessed Iwene Tansi of our day. During his time the Emperor Claudius III made a law which prohibited the celebration of matrimony among young people because he the Emperor believed that single men without families were better soldiers, since they are not attached to anyone. St. Valentine did not comply with the decree of the emperor and challenged him by marrying young couples in secret. When the emperor found out, he sent for Valentine to be incarcerated. The bishop was tortured and then decapitated in 270 AD. In our days the Blessed Tansi was not happy with the state young people, women and marriage. He challenged the traditional laws that offend the sanctity of women and marriage. He set out to train girls for marriage and sanctified the marriage and family in general. 
             
St. Valentine’s Day is a beautiful feast for all of us since it presents the opportunity to celebrate the truth about love, friendship and marriage.  St. Valentine is the patron of those in love, as a saint of the Catholic Church he inspires us to live out today in our lives in true love. Jesus left us a new commandment: “That you love one another; even as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34). This means that the point of reference that teaches us how to love is not how I love but how Jesus loves me. The mirror for all in love is as Jesus loves. Anything short of that yardstick is some other thing else but not love.
           Today this beautiful feast has been manipulated by many giving it some other unfortunate and too material meaning. It has become custom that the couple in love, whether they are boyfriend and girlfriend, husband and wife or simply friends, should express their love with a date or a present and the bigger and more expensive, the better. This is not the Christian meaning of Valentine Day. We all desire to love and to be loved. From the baby who sleeps in his mother’s arms to the elderly man who impatiently awaits a visit from his children and family, we all have an innate necessity to know that we are important, valuable and loved by someone else. Our hearts long for love, whether we know it or not. God created us with a thirst and urge to be loved so that we could search for him, who is the only fount of love.
            Valentine celebration should be God and heaven orientated for love is man’s activity for all eternity the only reason that justifies the existence of each and every one of us. The human act by which a person chooses and does the good for another is the supreme act of liberty. And the greatest proof of love was given to us by Jesus Christ. He gave himself up entirely and poured out his blood for us. Bishop Valentine went to his grave defending love and marriage and more recently our Blessed Iwene Tansi challenged customs and all who perpetuate unchaste act against women and marriage.

                                                             January 26, 2020

                                             Blessed Tansi for Becoming Saints
             I believe that we have all followed the novena prayers which led us to the feast of Blessed Tansi on Monday 20th January 2020. I wish to thank all who joined in the novena and the feast. At the shrine of Blessed Tansi Aguleri the Archdiocese had a big celebration and many from all works of life participated. The homilist Bishop Godfrey Onah at the Eucharistic celebration in his charismatic way convinced the congregation that the reason why all gathered for the celebration was because they believed holiness was important in their lives and that they are sincerely seeking for holiness through the invocation of Blessed Tansi. Holiness of life is another way of becoming a saint. Becoming a saint as holiness is a choice of a friendship with Christ. Every path of holiness implies a choice that is renewed at every step of life. The choice that Jesus sets before us is to follow him as friends follow one another, seeking each other’s company and spending time together out of pure friendship.  But is it really true that we choose to be holy?  Yes and no! If we place holiness as a radical option and a choice it is difficult to say ‘no’ to holiness in a direct, definitive and exclusive way. Normal practical reason prevents us from choosing evil as evil. The ‘no’ to holiness is more likely a “yes” to holiness delayed indefinitely.  No sane person would choose something that exceeds his potential. We are naturally called to be holy. The contrary is a negation.
            We are all inspired by the heroic holiness of Blessed Iwene Tansi. It might be profitable to ask what is the key to his holiness and in what does that key reside. For him and for all of us it is ‘if you love me keep my commandments’. Bl. Tansi showed his fellow Nigerians how to accept the will of God at all times and in all circumstances. He was touched by the beauty of God’s love and could not but respond with his whole life in the midst of difficulties and trials. He met the love of God in Jesus Christ, the Eucharist and in his fellow men and women in the church community. We too equally have the same opportunity but often are too distracted by many superficial things or are afraid that following the Lord’s calling may rub us of our ‘freedom’.
             From the day of his ordination to the priesthood it was clear to him what he was called to become and to do. He showed all of us what everyday doing the will of God really means.  In his life as in many saints, we see over and again trials and sufferings which often come from the hands of those who are suppose to be at their side.  The very people, who should have held them up, were pushing them down.  These become for them opportunities for redemptive suffering.  Today we have Christians in government, in business, in married life, and other positions suffering in ways that we cannot imagine, often by the hand of governments, superiors, relations, friends or the people next door. Here we can easily see the connection between this suffering and the Christian life. Christ and his Saints are part of our history. God gave us the Blessed Tansi who some fifty years past spent his life entirely for him and his fellow Nigerians. Through his efforts the Christian faith is firmly planted in this soil, and in this way it continues to grow and to produce much fruit which we now enjoy in this country.
           Finally, may our veneration and devotion to Blessed Tansi on his feast day remind us that we all need each other and depend on each other. We are all members of the same Body, and may our sharing in the Eucharist make us more aware in a very concrete way of the catholicity, the universality of the Church, and of our real oneness in Christ. Fr. Tansi virtuous life can contribute even a little to that awareness that by itself will be no small achievement, for it is something that the world of today most needs.

                                                                          
January 19, 2020.
                                                     
 Celebrate Bl. Tansi Feast Day [January, 20]
Experience of yesterday saint is relevant today
           One of the many lasting heritage and attribute of the Catholic Church is its ability to attract to the state of evangelical perfection men and women from every place and culture, into its vast aura of holiness. Such men and women are honoured, remembered and prayed to, not because of where they come from nor for what they accomplished, but for that ever attractive and inspiring state of holiness which they were able to achieve during their life time. What inspires us most about them is their shared singular pursuit of holiness and their love and compassion for their fellow men and women. Blessed Iwene Tansi whose feast we will be celebrating on Monday 20 January 2020 is one of such men who left a print of holiness on the sand of our time. To appreciate his passion for Christ and souls and idea of his holiness and virtuous life let me borrow from people who are better qualified than me to speak about holiness of life and virtues.


      1. St. Pope John Paul 11
            “The life and witness of Father Tansi is an inspiration to everyone in the Nigeria […] is a prime                  example of the fruits of holiness which have grown and matured in the Church in Nigeria since the              Gospel was first preached in this land. He received the gift of faith through the efforts of the                           missionaries, and taking the Christian way of life as his own he made it truly African and                             Nigerian[…] Father Tansi's witness to the Gospel and to Christian charity is a spiritual gift which              this local Church[Nigeria] now offers to the Universal Church.” (Sermon @ Oba-Nigeria March                22, 1998)

      2. His Lordship, Bishop Anthony Nwedo
             “[...] it may be high claim to make, but it is hard to think of any other indigenous priest who has                   left a deeper imprint upon the Nigerian church in the last fifty years than Fr. Cyprian Michael                     Tansi. He was cast in a heroic mould and his life was short with suffering. He had a very high                       degree of energy, enthusiasm and candour and the sensitiveness which is their concomitant. He                   had a generosity of temperament which was entirely self forgetful”. (Sermon at the re-interment                   Mass Onitsha 1986)

      3. His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze.
            “O! Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi! He was a Nigerian, one hundred percent! […]. […] He              was the first Catholic priest that I knew. Father Tansi opened our parish which was called                            Dunukofia in 1939. […] He was a person ready to serve others. For example, when there were                    smallpox patients, and also lepers, they were segregated. Everybody run away from them but not                  Father Tansi! He gave them food and he himself gave them the sacraments. He was always                          available. So in many ways, he is a model for us especially for the Nigerian of today. He lived out                the Gospel in a way that was convincing, a way that [gave] credible witness, with a very high                      degree of credibility. The type of witness that is contagious. […] You would not be indifferent to                    Blessed Tansi if you knew him. You are either for him or you will want to run away from him. It is                 like fire. You can’t be near fire and be indifferent. You will [surely] be affected. And Fr. Tansi had                 fire, so he was inspiring. […] He also appreciated the human person, from the little child to the                  youth; he helped them to become somebody through schooling to realize what human dignity is.                    Blessed Tansi showed a Christian sensitivity to the work of every human person, man, woman or                  child”. (Speaking in an oral interview on the person of Blessed Tansi)

      4. Rev. Fr. Gregory Wareing OCSO [ Novice Master of Fr. Tansi at Mt St. Bernard Abbey]
            “In Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi we meet one who came from being a devout pagan                        village boy to a Catholic Christian,  to a Catholic  priest, to a Cistercian monk, to the honours of                  the alter and perhaps God willing soon to the fullness of the honours of the alter.  His early search              for the truth and God drew him increasingly towards the missionaries, but there were many hurdles             on his way. He passed through several stages on his journey, each rooted in his humble acceptance             of the will of God and truth. His journey of faith was characterized fundamentally by openness to                 truth, conversion and missionary approach.  He will ever be remembered as one of the faithful                     servants of the church in our days who lived out the call and mind of the church in his life”.

     5. His Lordship, Abbot Moakler OCSO
           “Fr. Cyprian began as a missionary. He was among the first Nigerians to be ordained, and he led                 his people by word and example. There is no saying what his future would have been had he                         remained in his native country. But he felt the call to follow Christ in another way. He too was                     urged by the love of God and of his fellow men and women. He too was a man of prayer, intent on               personal union with the Lord. He wanted to bring the monastic and contemplative life to Nigeria ―            and since no one seemed ready to go to him; he himself asked to go to a monastery so that in due                  time he could bring that way of life back to his homeland. As we know, things did not turn out like                that. God’s ways are strange. Fr. Cyprian was not to do this personally, for he died before his                        longing could be carried out. When he left Nigeria, he disappeared as far as his own people were                concerned. He had gone from light into darkness, from a life in the sight of all to a life hidden from              the world. Yet he did not see it as a running away, as an avoiding of responsibilities. For him it was              God’s call, an invitation to go into the unknown, to leave his country and his family like Abraham                and so many others, and to undertake what he believed to be a deeper and more enduring                            apostolate. It was, like all true calls from God, a venture of faith.” (Sermon Mount St. Bernard,                    Farewell Mass September 18 1986)

These testimonies, what do they tell us today as we come to celebrate the Feast of Blessed Tansi. They bring us to one thing: we are all called to holiness. We should never look at the saints of yesterday as not relevant for today. There are many more saints who have entered heaven, than are recorded.  It does not change their status, but it puts a spotlight on them for us to reference. The circumstances may change, but the principles do not because they are rooted in Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

                                                                         Dec. 22, 2019
                                         
Emmanuel: God with Us - A Christmas Message

              During these past three weeks of advent season we have waited ‘in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ’. With Christmas approaching quickly we cannot but begin to rejoice in our ‘blessed hope’ for the promises to us is coming-Jesus our King coming to his poor territory [the world] to pay a visit to everyone of his empire. He is here; he has not withdrawn from his empire and has not deserted the hopes of his people. He is God’s answer to the longings for liberation of countless hearts who do not yet know Him. For those who already knew him an invitation to pause in silence to understand his presence in the individual events of their daily life. His presence is a signs of the attention he has for each
one of us as he mercifully whispers into our ears, not to trust in what we see, not to share in that general lack of faith, not to be carried away by the world and its material pleasures, but to take heed, watch and pray and avoid filling the longing in our hearts for God with material things.
            As we will soon begin to celebrate this joy of his presence I will like to encourage you to make room in your heart to receive this greatest gift the world has known: the birth of Christ. Open wide your heart and say, ‘Yes, Jesus, I have room for you.’ This will help you to experience all the blessings of Christmas, the indescribable gift that Jesus gave in coming to dwell among us – Emmanuel, the one word found in Matthew 1:23. It is a Hebrew word meaning: "With us God." God with us! It is an amazing word! It is a very precious word. I hope that the Lord will speak to our hearts today showing us the grace and mercy of God revealed in the Incarnation. Emmanuel is God’s presence among us as he first came over 1900 years ago. He came as a little babe in Bethlehem placing himself at the mercy of mortal men. In the same way he comes daily, hourly, unto us who believe in Him, revealing Himself
to us now as he shall come again in His glorified body to take us back to the kingdom of our Father.
         Thank God we have Emmanuel, God’s gift to humanity. He is not only the One we wanted, but He is also the One we most needed. How we enjoy thinking and talking and thanking God for the Christmas celebration. But let us face it, along with the Christmas celebration comes the Christmas challenges. Christmas celebration brings with it many challenges. Christmas continually calls us back to living faith, repentance, and a renewed relationship with the Lord - to the things that really matter. Christmas presents an opportunity for shaping family life, developing customs and practicing family piety, all of which can help us to assimilate the beauty and truth revealed in the comings of the Lord. Christmas unfolds for us a road, a way, a path for the Christian life and a deepening of the Christian vocation. In it, Jesus comes,
sanctifies and transforms our ordinary into the extraordinary, by grace.

                                                                         Dec. 15, 2019
                                                                 Great lessons of Advent.
          Our Christian religion is essentially different from the traditional religion of our grandparents. The Christian does not merely follow a series of rules and regulations, nor does he submit himself to a guru's indications of how to live certain austere principles. Christianity is not about a what, but about a who.  It is about relationship with the best of all friendships - Jesus. Relationship with Jesus is personal.  He is real and alive.  He sees us, hears us, speaks with us and walks with us.  He is always there to bless us and to strengthen us. Advent prepares us to meet this great personal friend.
           John the Baptist figures prominently in our Advent gospel readings as the “burning and shining lamp” (Jn. 5:35). He helps us to understand the message of advent which is an invitation to repentance/reconciliation-returning to the ways of the Lord. The simple people of his time, the poor and lowly ones who longed for goodness, lined up to receive the waters of the Jordan River from John’s hands as they humbly confessed their sins. Isaiah is another prophet with the Lord’s command to prophesy to the people. Isaiah did not only preach but lived what he preached. He feared God, not man. He never thought twice about going up to kings and declaring to their faces what God wants from them. He rebuked and encouraged people regardless of their standing. His message is clear-do not fear! Fear leads all of us to a
lot of foolish decisions. It is through fear that the devil holds us in bondage. The solution to fear is trust in God. Even if we were to be killed, we would still win.
          Fr. Tansi is another prophet of our time. He does not just call us to virtue, he shows us the way. Getting direction from someone when we are lost can be a frustrating experience. Sometimes you come across a kind person who says to you, ‘come, I will take you there’.  In this case, the person is the way and you cannot go wrong. Fr. Tansi sought to take his parishioners by hand to show them the way to heaven. He does not give advice and directions only; he leads with his own example.  Through his honest compassion and apostolic zeal within the circumstances of his daily life he leads many to true repentance.  He shows Jesus to others by saying and doing gospel demands-love your neighbour, forgive all, help those in need, do not molest the weak especially the widows and women. He denounces openly obnoxious laws and customs as well as those who perpetrate them.  His parishioners followed him as the people of Israel followed John the Baptist since authentic relationship automatically brings one to imitation.
           Today, because of political or social alliances, friendship, or fear individual Catholics allow political views, programs and influence to overrule their faith. Catholics need to be Catholics first everywhere and every time, and be willing to denounce sin and evil no matter who perpetrates it or promotes it. Advent invites us to reconciliation in our life. It may be in our personal life, conflicts in families, villages and towns and more importantly in political parties. In this way we can spread the joy of restored communion with God, inspire others to welcome the peace of Christ, and encourage them to nourish the life of grace with the word of God and with Holy Communion. What a wonderful way to prepare the way for the Lord’s
coming.

                                                                    Dec. 8, 2019 
                                                        Practice to Wait Expectantly

           The Catholic Church in Nigeria and more especially among those directly involved in the promotion of the Cause of Blessed Tansi have waited since after the beatification on 22nd  March 1998 to see Fr. Tansi come to the fullness of the altar. After the beatification I personally thought it was coming in a few years-two or three. I did not think it will take more than twenty years. Even though twenty years have passed my hope and expectation are as lively as they were twenty years ago. This expectation is alive because of the new and increasing personal relationship with the Blessed. He is here and there alive in my daily life. He is never far. The expectation naturally grows daily.

            The Church’s season of Advent is all about waiting-waiting for Jesus’ appearance.  It is a time of joy because the coming of Christ is not only a gift of grace and salvation but it is also a time of commitment. Such waiting is not passive. The joy of his appearance motivates us to live the present as a time of responsibility and vigilance. We need to get our houses in order. What can we do this week, this month, this coming year to prepare for his arrival?  But it is very difficult to wait in a society like ours where everyone is looking for instant gratification, quick money, fast healing and growth. Every one struggles to arrive first and quickest. In the midst of these challenging circumstances some look at life as a cup half empty and others look at life as a cup half full. The idea of patience with which the farmer awaits for his crops to mature is lost. The lifestyle of waiting as the prophets of old waited patiently and attentively for the Messiah to come is irrelevant.

            How can we cultivate such a lifestyle of responsible and vigilant waiting for Jesus to come?  "Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man" (Lk 21:36) we have so many ways to become distracted and loose our focus.  God is ready to heal those who sincerely wish to amend their lives, but cannot take pity on the obstinate sinner. The Lord pardons sins, but He cannot pardon those who are determined to offend Him. 
Wake up; begin by resting yourself into a season of anticipation when everything cries now. Let us think about how saints of old by good and honest living waited hundreds and thousands of years for the prophecies about the Messiah to be fulfilled. Let us begin first by cleaning up ourselves and our thoughts especially our hidden thoughts about God, others and ourselves stowed away in cluttered hearts with the awareness that Jesus sees all. It is all about becoming a new person, a conversion of heart, putting all sinful habits far from our lives. Advent helps us examine the condition of our soul. How am I living as a disciple of Jesus Christ? "…take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare; for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth.  But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man" (Luke 21: 34-36).  When in the darkness of our daily struggle, we honestly seek to become heralds of hope for those around us advent becomes a responsible waiting for us. Let’s get ready. He is coming.


Dec. 1, 2019

National inequality shames national integrity.

         The agony and cry of the most vulnerable in our broken and divided Nigeria need an urgent national concern if we really want to make progress. The beautiful faces of the poor, hungry and marginalised give a true picture of our national image and help us recognize ourselves as we are. A nation where the majority can’t afford three meals, where a married worker with six children who is being considered for thirty thousand naira monthly wage buys from the same market as his boss who receives ten times his salary. There is no way to describe this than as gross national injustice, a shame to national integrity. Fr. Tansi life message tells us clearly that the service of faith and the promotion of justice cannot be separated, because they are radically united to achieve meaningful progress and development. In his service to the poor and needy Fr. Tansi lived out what all followers of Christ must do-to serve the poor and the needy. In the
poor, followers of Christ find a privileged place of encounter with Christ. It is a precious opportunity followers of Christ should not miss-to meet Christ himself among those who are victims and impoverished. We must remember that these suffer because of the sins of the rich –namely sins of greed and corruption. In Blessed Tansi days as it should be in our days too, he saw following Christ as serving the crucified of his day. The crucified of his day were those who suffered because of others greed, corruption, deprivation, bullying, injustice and marginalization of the weak. What did he do in his time? He used all the opportunities he had to condemn and to unmask those evils. He showed creative commitment in the service of the poor, defending human rights and providing social services. In a practical way he went out with a human face to meliorate the sufferings of those concerned – accompanying the victims and paying attention to their human needs - the hungry he gave food, the naked he clothed, the homeless he
gave shelter, the abandoned he provided for, the ignorant he instructed, the hopeless he gave hope and comfort and the youth without any future he gave hope, confidence and trust.
           Today we are saddled at all levels of our society with gross selfish pursuit of interest, inequalities and complete neglect and denial of human dignity. Families and “umu nna” not excluded. In such a situation how can such a group make progress except in evil. Never has our nation been so hurt and mistreated as in our days. The deterioration of our national values affects the most vulnerable of our society. Today Nigeria needs a true cultural revolution, a transformation of our collective gaze, our attitudes, our ways of seeing ourselves and fellow citizens. Those who take part in decision making at all
levels of our societies should undertake the slow work of changing the existing structures that will better the lives of the most vulnerable. Whoever you are and where ever you are share your hope where you are, encourage, console, comfort, invigorate, raise possibilities, generate alternatives, help to think and act differently.

​                                                                      Nov. 17, 2019
                                                  Clarity and Charity: Hallmark of his Life.
             For many years I have had the opportunity working in the Cause of Blessed Tansi and
studying his lifestyle. The two things that continue to impress me most about his lifestyle are
his ascetic charity and the clarity in his person, behaviour and dealing with people. Those who know him continue to testify that nobody meets him and goes away the same. Some say that he is like fire and no one comes near fire remains the same. In every small thing we do or omit, we set the tone of our future. Charity and clarity belong to the same person. Charity necessarily demands clarity. Loving someone means being merciful but also being truthful. Love accepts the truth about the loved. For Blessed Tansi love is an essential ingredient of his priestly ministry. No one can truly evangelize without charity. From the time of his conversion and baptism he seems to have understood the demands of the Christian vocation. From the time he personally destroyed his personal ‘chi’ (idol) he gave everyone the impression that he was wholly given to God and intent on eternal life. He was preparing for it, waiting for it, living for it, through living his normal life and ministry. He did not neglect his duties at any stage of his life. He saw clearly his goal and in his quiet way he prepared for it.
          Charity is the corner stone of his preparation for eternal life. As a school boy he led others to religious functions: mass, prayers and catechism. His domestic responsibilities in the house of his cousin/master did not stop his religious duties. As a professional teacher, seminarian and priest the story was the same. Even today sixty years after his death Fr. Tansi is still exercising a great influence over the lives of many people especially those who know him. All along his life he seems to have a special charisma, to lead and to inspire others.
           Growth in virtue is not passive but proactive. Christians work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12) Our daily Christian living is our daily Christian dying. Growing in holiness is a gruelling process. It is a process of understanding with utmost clarity who we are and what we are here for. It is moving deeper and deeper into the reality of our being within the circumstances of our state of life. Blessed Tansi had a consistent and conscious pursuit of goodness all his life. At the same time he was widely known to have suffered an intense trial of faith in the pursuit of goodness. It is here that we find his universal message: where there is love for the neighbour specially the weak, there is God. This message provides hope and guidance to people from all walks of life. This message also reveals how this humble monk impacts the lives of millions, both those who know him personally and those who indirectly come to know him or read about him as we promote the cause of his canonisation.
          Many saints have talked about the importance of living with internal and external order in our lives. Whether or not we are aware of it disorganization absorbs a great part of our energy. Our lives on earth have a purpose and this purpose must be taken seriously. His words and advice also have such wide appeal because they touch on a fundamental thirst that is in every human heart, and that is the thirst and search for love, for goodness, and for truth. He knew that this thirst could find its fulfilment only in God lived among and identified with the poor, the sick and the dejected of society.

                                                                      Nov. 10, 2019
                                                      Intercession of the Bl. Tansi works.
          I know of one prayer ministry called ‘dey work pray ministry’ . I gaze what that means is that the ministry is profitable. Catholics believe that saints and angels in heaven can pray for us on earth and can hear our intercessory requests, just as people on earth can do; in fact, being so near to God’s presence in heaven, their prayers are more powerful than ours on earth. 

          The Blessed Tansi during the whole course of his earthly life breathed nothing but piety, compassion and mercy. He cared deeply for everyone he met. He was a man who through his intimate friendships with God lived not for himself, but for everyone. He was for everyone a man of divine word and of the sacred, a man of hope and joy. Blessed Tansi loved his people, worked and prayed for their sanctification. He radiated hope in an age with so little of it. He was a true disciple of Christ in his love and service. He was always serious about the message which he delivered, a message of hope in Christ who gives full meaning to life because he loves human beings. Through his ministry he was a living witness of the power of God at work in human weakness. There was nothing about people and their needs that did not get Bl. Tansi pastoral attention. Girls were not only taught to read and write, to sew, to cook a tasty meal, to conduct a household, to raise the children marriage would someday bring to their homes, they were also helped to find husbands and to prepare for their weddings. Indigent young men were helped financially to pay the “bride price” for their prospective wives.
          He was significant in his time but more significant today in our time. He was a prophet of his time who used his charisms to wave into the problems of his days. His charity even now is felt more strongly among the communion of Christ’s body. The world grows old but Blessed Tansi and his mission is ever young. He saw this mission as indispensable for the Church, for his suffering people and for the world, a mission which called him for complete fidelity to Christ and constant union with him.  He knew that there was no other way than to abide in his love which entails constantly striving for holiness and growing ever closer to Jesus, who counted on him, his minister, to spread and to build up his body.
           Today Blessed Tansi devotees and spiritual children remain dotted all over the globe with something of his life and spirit. While some received through knowing him the vocation to the priesthood, and the religious life, others the grace of a deeper prayer life, of greater love for God and neighbor, of serious devotion to duty, and again others the grace and willingness to unite a little more to the sufferings of the Lord, or to be more penitent, detached and mortified in our world engrossed in materialism and selfishness, where daily one notices the erosion and debasement of true human values and where immorality and vice become an accepted way of life for so many. Many others receive material help ranging from healing of some bodily sickness to financial help. While we know that Christ alone is the Mediator through whom, and to whom, prayer is to be offered. Asking Blessed Tansi to pray for us is a very sure way of getting our petition through. We always pray in Christ, through His power and to Him, whether it is directly to Him, or through Blessed Tansi or any Saint in heaven. Come with us to Blessed Tansi. It will be an experience you will never forget - ‘ dey work’.

                                                                  Nov. 3, 2019
                                                     God is Blessed Tansi gift to us.
         The Blessed Tansi was an ordinary and simple Christian. He had the holiness of a Christian and a priest, the reason for giving God to his people. The majority of his parishioners did not ask from him money, supplies or earthly goods but they asked for the Lord ¾ a treasure they presumed that their priest had. Silver and gold this simple priest had not but he had Jesus- the greatest treasure of all. That is why people are still looking for him fifty-five years after his death.
        In spite of the poverty of his life, his detachment from material things, the Blessed Tansi lived a tireless worker of the Lord. His only motive was the love of God and salvation for his people. He knew what it was to be a priest and he tried to live it out in practice. From the high lands of his Nnewi mission to the far ends of Orumba country and to the midlands of Dunukofia to the great river fertile lands of Aguleri his notoriety as a holy priest grew and spread through the entire Archdiocese of Onitsha. Apart from feeding the hungry and the poor, caring for the orphans and widows, God was the only true and lasting treasure he desired for his people. The people knew that, all his earthly concern was entirely for God. The magic/charm was the witness of his lifestyle. From his lifestyle people learnt to pay, for they saw him halting frequently before the tabernacle, they learnt to love and to be compassionate for they saw him ministering to the poor, widows and the sick. They learnt to be honest and industrious because they saw him hard working and transparent in his dealings with all. The humility and respect with which he approached the tabernacle struck the parishioners leading them to believe in the presence of the one in the Tabernacle. He himself sought in every way, by preaching, his power of persuasion, and untiring labours to help his parishioners to rediscover the meaning of life. In all his parishes Christ faithful expected to find God in their parish priest. In him the people did not look for a politician, a business manager, a money magnet or a social worker but a man of God who brought them into contact with God, with holiness, the greatest divine edifice. “The priest must be a man of God, the one who belongs exclusively to God and inspires people to think of God. So the priest must have a deep intimacy with Jesus” (Pastores Dabo Vobis.)
       In modern day Nigeria professionals will remain within the lay state serving the nation as teachers, merchants, doctors, bankers, accountants and civil servants. And this is good and very necessary for the nation. They are doing God’s work and helping God’s people as priests and religious do. The professional, pre-clerical life of Blessed Tansi challenges all of us whether we are teachers, merchants, doctors, accountants, bankers, and civil servants with questions such as: For whom do you work and what is the purpose of your work? Is it only to make money? What is the place of your Catholic faith and morals in your place of work? Are you a devout follower of Jesus seven days a week? Or are you only a Sunday Catholic? Are you punctual, prayerful, and attentive to the poor and needy clients or pupils? Are you honest in your business dealings? Is righteousness before God your supreme good or do your comfort, your family and your material prosperity come first? The life and choices of Blessed Tansi as a professional
teacher/educator, priest and religious point to motivations far more sublime and universally appealing than mere development of talents, the exaggerated enjoyment of life, the pursuit of honor, financial security and prestige. He had these potentially and yet he willingly and freely gave them all up to serve God and his people.

October 20, 2019

​                                                    Great benefits of knowing Blessed Tansi.
           Our novena prayers to the Blessed Tansi in preparation for the celebration of his reinterment anniversary ended last Thursday 16 th . October and the celebration took place on Friday 17th October at Ala-Tansi Aguleri with the Eucharistic celebration led by His Grace, Most Valerian M. Okeke, with His Lordship, Bishop Denis Isizoh assisting. We have the great crowd of devotees, friends of Bl. Tansi and lay faithful lay in the congregation. With the feast over we would like to recount our gains. We have all prayed perhaps for different intentions. Many have prayed for healing of either of body or soul. One thing I know is that for all who truly participated physically or in spirit will continue to enjoy the guidance of Bl. Tansi. I want you to remember that staying alert is an important part of our adventure on our spiritual journey and that we are all born weak and wounded by original sin. God has loved us each and every moment of our lives no matter what we may be going through.
         It is natural to desire healing when you are suffering from any illness or injury. The pain and
frustration of not having a healthy body can be intense. So you pray for relief through the intercession of Blessed Tansi. You believe that God can heal you if He chooses to, as he does for others sometimes. But what if no healing comes your way? Does it mean you do not have enough faith to be healed or that God does not want a healing for you? It is certainly neither of them. Many people with great faith have prayed for one thing or the other but never receive the answer they hoped from God. Instead, God chooses to keep them physically afflicted to accomplish a greater purpose for them and those who care for them. If you have prayed for physical healing but have not got better, you can always keep asking God to heal you, if it is His will, at the right time. But you can do much more - even if you never experience healing. Here is what you can do when God chooses not to heal you.

  •  Do not fight against God’s decision. Accept the pains that God has allowed into your life. And ask God to give you the strength to go through it, the grace to benefit from it, and the devotion to thank Him for His love for you in all circumstances. Keep in mind that when you reach out for God, He will meet you wherever you are and embrace you.
  •  Do not let people make you feel bad about yourself because they think your illness or​ injury is a result of a lack of faith on your part. Rest assured that only God really knows how much faith you have, so other people’s judgments should not matter to you. Acknowledge the reality that God reserves the right to heal you or not, as He sees fit – no matter how much faith you have.
  •  Suffering can turn you away from a dangerous path of sin that you would have headed down otherwise, remind you that your strength lies in the fact that God meets you in your weakness and empowers you, restore beautiful purity your soul that you have lost while living in this fallen world, increase the amount of good that you can contribute to God’s kingdom.
  •  Even when your suffering does not end, you can go on because God is with you every step of the way. Trust in His promises that He knows what you are going through, and that He cares.
  •  While your illness or injury limits you, there is no limit to the amount of glory you can bring to God by choosing to trust Him in the middle of your pain. Live with gratitude for what each moment brings, acknowledging that every breath you breathe​ is a gift from God.

                                                                 October 13, 2019

                                    Time with Bl. Tansi helps us confront our daily problems,
           [Tansi brings us hope and consolation. Join us as we celebrate his 2019 re-interment anniversary. Aguleri, October 17, 2019, Holy Mass 10am].
            In the year 1950, Fr. Tansi was at his best in his priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of Onitsha, he was making great converts, strengthening marriages and homes, leading the youth to Christ and his church. His popularity was at its best. It was then that he decided to seek the Lord in solitude and prayer. Detached from all material things and the pleasures he entered Mount Saint Bernard Abbey England where he died far away from his own people on January 20 1964. Twenty two years after his death his fame for holiness was still growing in Nigeria. The Archdiocese of Onitsha on behalf of the Catholic Church in Nigeria exhumed his body from where he was buried in England and brought him back to Nigeria for reburial. He was re-interred in the priests’ cemetery near the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity Onitsha on the 17th October 1986. Since then every year on the 17th October his devotes and faithful all over Nigeria celebrate his return and re-interment as a mark of their love for him and an appreciation for the sacrifices he made for his country. He is a special benefactor to all Nigerians. Come and see for yourself what spiritual and material benefits others derive from being his devotees and spending some time with him. 

          Unfortunately, noise and distraction are too often our steadfast companions as we trek through our day-to-day activities. Youths, in particular, are frequently bombarded by social media even as they juggle hectic class/work schedules. Some take a time off their busy and noisy hours to visit the Blessed Iwene Tansi. An encounter with him makes for a perfect meditation for anyone who is seeking to make critical decisions about his future. The goal of this searching is not a thing, but a Person, Jesus Christ, through Bl. Tansi. Blessed Tansi is the surest way to achieving this goal. As we come he tells us to trust the Lord and not be afraid to go against the tide if it is necessary in our life since our life’s goal is not death but heaven. He himself did not claim to be a superman, but an ordinary person who lived following Jesus; a person who loved others in the spirit of the beatitudes. In the faces of his suffering parishioners and more despised; he saw Christ face which now he contemplates in its glorious beauty.
         In this year’s celebration he will be telling all of us to be holy because every one of us is called to be holy; it is a vocation for everyone. It is a path whose name and face is Jesus Christ whose kingdom is for those who put their safety in God's love, not in things of this world. It is for those who have a simple, humble heart; those who do not assume to be fair; those who do not judge others; those who know how to suffer with those who suffer and rejoice with those who rejoice; those who are merciful, not violent, those who try to be artisans of reconciliation and peace. He is telling us that the normal earthly life with its ups
and downs is what led him to the glory of heaven; that every normal earthly life is a mixture of joys and sorrows, struggles and hopes.
            In his legacy he speaks of his radical choice of Christ in terms of his love for Christ, the church and his people, following him wholeheartedly, without preconditions or hypocrisy in serving others, enduring suffering and adversity without hate and responding to evil with good deeds, spreading joy and peace. He made his own choice when he embraced the lepers, the poor and the suffering face of Christ. It was a choice between what brings fame, popularity, power, authority, the idol of money, and the love of God that his heart desires. Come with us to Bl. Tansi his story is an invitation to reflect on the meaning of life and to
seek the secret of true joy in God. It is a concrete proof that those who do the Lord’s will and trust in him alone lose nothing; on the contrary they find the true treasure that can give meaning to all things. As saints beget saints Bl. Tansi, a true Nigerian saint who has a great impact and involvement in the life of every Nigerian will beget other Nigerian saints.

                                                                     October 6,2019
                                                         Power of Mass in Christian life.
The Blessed Tansi understood and lived the power of the Mass and prayers from the time he became a Christian. It is said that as a school boy of thirteen as he was playing with his mates he was hurt in one of the eyes, a hurt which left a permanent mark on him, he did not go home to tell his master instead he went into the church before the Blessed Lord and prayed into the night asking God to heal him and to prevent his master from punishing him at home. As a priest the Sacrifice of the Mass, a living source from which our actions derive their efficacy and inspiration, was the first and highest function of his day. The gift of the
Eucharist was for him worth more than all the rest of life. The Eucharist was Jesus and Jesus was the centre of his life. He relied much on the formidable power of prayer and through his prayers God worked many wonders through his apostolate. He demonstrated to the people the power of prayers, which demonstration often left the people with a great amazement and admiration. It was at Umudioka in 1943, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, his parishioners had gathered from every corner of the parish for mass and sacred procession. Because the school church was too small for the congregation the mass was said in the open air and the Corpus Christi procession was to follow after Mass. At the gospel reading during
the mass the rain threatened seriously. It was likely that it was coming, it had already started in the neighbourhoods, everybody lost hope. The congregation had already started to scramble for shelter. Fr. Tansi advised everybody strongly that there would be no rainfall until evening. He asked all to pray to God their Father to hold the rain since God, knowing that they had no church would hold back the rain until after their liturgical function. To everybody’s greatest surprise there was no rain until after the Corpus Christi procession and until everybody had reached their far-flung homes. Similar incident was repeated at Nando where Fr. Tansi was on trek and at night there was a great storm and the wind removed the roof of the school church where the Sunday Mass would be celebrated the next morning. Before the Congregation arrived for Mass Tansi had already swept and scrubbed the school without a roof and prepared everything for mass. Shortly after the Mass had started than another storm actually came back. There was no other place to take shelter. The congregation heard him crying aloud to God to stop the rain for his homeless children to worship Him. The rain stopped instantaneously. Later on Fr. Tansi heard that the same people rumoured that he stopped the rain by magical powers. He then explained to them that the action was God’s
response to their prayers. They were in a great need and God knew their plight, hence he answered immediately to rescue them. He spoke convincingly to God who was willing to answer the prayers of His Children. 

There is a text from the Acts of the Apostles that sets forth quite well some of the powers of the Sacred Liturgy and community prayers. From it we can learn the power of mass to deliver, instruct, and transform us and the world. 

“About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened, there was suddenly such a severe earthquake that the foundations of the jail shook; all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose…” (Acts 15:25- 33).

Note the determination of Paul and Silas here they were in an awful place, a deep dungeon with rats and filth all about, and yet they were singing praising God. Such praises will bring blessings, for when praises go up, blessings come down. The last thing we should ever consider stopping in our life is the Mass. We must always be determined to pray, and whenever possible, to attend mass, even at great risk. Our worship should rock this world to its foundations. The world ought to know and experience that we are at prayer. Good prayer, preaching, and the simple presence of the Church ought to shake things up a bit. It is said that
a good preacher will comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Each of us has a little of both within us. The early Christians were often arrested for being disturbers of the peace. Religiously, they upset the order by announcing that many of the old rites were now fulfilled that temple worship was over, that Jesus was the true temple and Lord, and the Eucharist now supplanted the lucrative temple rites. Morally, the Church shook things up by demanding love of one’s enemies and that people no longer live as did the pagans, in the futility of their minds. These things and more tended to disturb the political, social, and religious order. The prayer of the Church in her liturgy should set people free: prison doors swing open, chains fall loose, and increasing freedom granted to faithful. We gather to celebrate mass every day,
say the prayers of the church and learn many earthshaking truths that liberate us from the hold of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

                                                             September 29, 2019
                                                  Our problem: Cross or human injustice
          In the recent years Christians are facing a lot of problems in this country that some ask: why all these problems? Are they from God or are they man made? Get it straight that God does not send anyone a cross to bear. To think otherwise is not just insipid; it actively harms our faith in God. The cross is all about injustice. Not God’s Divine justice, but man’s injustice. The most extreme case of injustice in human history is the death of Jesus on the cross. He was innocent yet the powerful religious leaders of his time decided he must die. The message of his death is that the powerful legal authorities of this world are most of the time wrong as they prepare crosses for the innocent. The only way to demonstrate how wrong they are is in the way of non violent resistance. Might does not make right. This is the way of ‘taking up
the cross’, a conscious and courageous choice to bear the brunt of injustice.
         The Blessed Tansi is a true Nigerian who used a non violent attitude to expose the powerful and unjust traditional leaders of his time. Through his statements of contradiction and denouncing their attitude and unjust laws he exposed them. His behaviour provoked strong reaction in the minds of the people against injustice and greed. He never compromised with them. It was not easy for him when he was fighting for the rights of widows and women in general. He had a tremendous and unwavering faith, tenacity of purpose and rugged physical strength to fight the evils of his day. It was tugging for him to bend the arc of injustice towards justice specially knowing that it will hurt and that probably that he might not live to see justice’s ultimate triumph. The reforms introduced by him was accomplished with ease,
and having been introduced not one would have survived a month without his aggressive pursuit. Now the case of traditional masquerade comes to my mind. The whole community suffered for the injustice inbuilt in the masquerade cult. His struggle against it was consistent and gradual until he had won many on his side who became aggressive with him against the injustice inbuilt in the cult. A greater part of our national ills is embedded in injustice and greed. We all know it and almost all talk about it but few have the courage to make consistent conscious and courageous efforts to expose the real devil. How I wish if a few of us will be Blessed Iwene Tansi-like.
           God never works injustice, but humans certainly do. Our cross here in Nigeria is the consequence of nonviolent resistance to injustice of our fellow Nigerians especially our leaders. It is a cry to those in power who are not in chains like the majority to take up the cross to win freedom for the enslaved fellow Nigerians. So please enough to our fatalistic comments and empty cries about our problems. No more blaming God for human cruelty. Resist and expose injustice. Seek to relieve pain. Consider the cost of taking up the cross to win the crown of glory. If you cannot bear it, make peace with doing basic justice. Whatever you do never collaborate with injustice.

                                                                   Sept. 22, 2019
                                                              Life Is Worth a Fight 
            Today in Nigeria our culture can be harsh in all kinds of cruel ways. There is much suffering and trials for those who call themselves Christians.  Some Catholics understandably are demoralized, scandalized, angry beyond words, and ready to quit. It is hard to travel around and not feel intense awe and sorrow. Awe at these men and women desperate for their lives being tortured by the very people paid to protect them. Sorrow at the lack of faith in our day so often in our lives and certainly in our culture. Surely, even in the face of evil in our society Christians can stay, fight, and become who they are created to be and leave a beautiful legacy for others. 

         "God shows to men, in a vivid way, his presence and his face in the lives of those companions of ours in the human condition who are more perfectly transformed into the image of Christ (cf. II Cor 3: 18). He speaks to us in them, and offers us a sign of his kingdom, to which we are powerfully attracted…” (Vat.11. LG.39) 
By imitating these saints we strive for the perfection of charity in our life and thereby help others to grow as well. One of such saints we know is a Nigerian born and brought up in this land who indicated with clarity to all Nigerians that the Christian life is worth a fight. He himself fought all his life to put on a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. He used to say that the whole of holiness, perfection and profit of a person was in doing the will of God perfectly. As a young man he had a tremendous and unwavering faith, tenacity of purpose and rugged physical strength to fight these evils of his day. In his pastoral ministry in the Archdiocese not one of the reforms introduced by him was accomplished with ease, and having been introduced not one would have survived a month without his aggressive pursuit. Off course, it was his life, God’s call for him, an invitation to do a service for God, which later on matured into leaving his country and his family like Abraham and so many others. It was a call from God, a venture of faith and love. The cost to him was certainly great but later he gained more than he seemed to have lost. His life helps us to see and to appreciate what is important at the core of our being and faith and also helps us to renew our awareness of the things that really matter in our lives. His life is important to us because it is an exemplary life of faith, of humility and perseverance in following out of what he saw to be God’s will for him, even when it cost everything, even when all was cold and dark. His faith and his ideal held fast to the end even to realizing that he fulfilled his vow of stability perfectly by dying in the Abby far away from his own people and land and be buried happily in the monastery of his profession.  

There is need to make every effort and put on the fight in the Christian life. This process involves putting on the full armour of God and standing fast against the devil (Eph. 6.). What is earthly in the Christian must be put to death ( Col. 3,5) in order to fight the good fight ( 1 Timothy 6,12). The Master himself exhorts the Christian to strive to enter the narrow gate (Lk. 13.24). Growth in virtue is not passive but proactive.  Christians work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12) for the sanctification process could sometimes be both bloody and sweaty.  Daily Christian living is daily Christian dying. Jesus likened the pain of Christian growth to "gouging out an eye" and "cutting off a hand" indicating that growth in godliness requires parting with things the Christian initially thinks he cannot do without. His message is so universal because it is basically the message of the Gospel applied to concrete situations in the world of today. Our lives on earth have a purpose and this purpose must be taken seriously. His words and advice also have such wide appeal because they touch on a fundamental thirst that is in every human heart, and that is the thirst and search for love, for goodness, and for truth. He knew that this thirst could find its fulfilment only in God lived among and identified with the poor, the sick and the dejected of society.

                                                                          Sept. 15 2019
                                                    Cost of being a Christian in today’s Nigeria.
        How are Christians to follow Jesus in today’s Nigeria? For sure Jesus is calling all of us to follow him-his Christians. Even though he is all powerful, he will not force you to do it. We see examples of several people who were invited to follow the Lord. Some said yes and others said no. But why is he calling us?
         •    To give us the fullness of joy and life
         •    to set us free
Those of us who say yes to follow do so by a conscious decision to leave their old life of sin and immorality behind and set out on the new path chosen for them by the Lord, a life of truth and holiness. Jesus is looking for a serious commitment on the path of anyone who would say yes to him. Jesus’ call will certainly be difficult because it will involve loving our enemies and putting others first, sacrificing some of ‘ourselves’ to him. Being a true Christian is not supposed to be easy. It has always been a tough job, but you will be working for a great boss who will give you all the help you need. That is only one answer that brings peace and joy. It may involve some inconvenience and discomfort, but it is worth it. “If you must eat a frog, you might as well eat a fat one” (Blessed Tansi) “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt 22:14). It is wise to choose the “narrow gate” which leads to life (Matt. 7:13)
       “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27). The cross comes to a Nigerian Christian in many different forms. Today in Nigeria carrying the cross is the same as accepting Christ’s demands on honesty, sexuality, forgiveness, love of one’s enemies, heroic charity, generosity and living a truthful life at all cost. No one is to have priority over Jesus Christ and what He teaches. Being a Christian does not mean that we are in any way exempt from the troubles and trials of our country. Jesus indicates that we will be hated, persecuted, and sorely tempted by the world. Remember the simple rule: No cross, no crown. 
         In the Blessed Tansi we meet a Nigerian who remained faithful to his decision in spite of the national problems of his time. It was an age when racism was inherent in the colonial political system, the hitherto quiet and static Igbo traditional society was invaded by the ferocious western influence, the traditional belief and customs remained unquestionable; Christianity was threading its way into the unique static life system. There were certainly some obvious difficulties to be encountered. He lived of course with the utmost simplicity trusting God and doing his very best to change the situation. Apart from the white man’s savage appetites of greed made manifest in slavery; there was the inherent injustices inbuilt in the traditional customs the ‘Osu’ and Oru’ system practiced against fellow Nigerians and of course the suffering, hunger and disease which were prevalent in his society. He did his best to find solutions to these problems the gospel way and so he lived it out in practical terms. Sometimes his one man efforts must have seemed pitifully futile in the gigantic morass of trouble. He never despaired because of the moral and social condition of the time. We too must not despair and throw in the towel at the face of Nigerian moral, social and economic problems. At all times the Christian is call to make effort, to put to death the deeds of the flesh (Rom.8.13) to put off the old self and put on the new (Eph.4.22) to put on the full armour of God, to stand fast against the devil (Eph. 6.) and to put to death what is earthly (Col. 3, 5) in order to fight the good fight (1 Timothy 6, 12).

                                                                       Sept. 8, 2019
                                                           Work you do Matters to God
           Being a priest for many years I have noticed that some Christians have an erroneous belief that a sacred-secular-world divides between our work life and our church-spiritual life. No one doubts that our prayers, sacraments, church attendance, and other church-based service are important to God.  But some often think that our time spent at work, business or school is not as important to God.  There is a very important spiritual relationship between our work and faith. The work we do in life is part of our calling from God–along with our families, our church life, and our citizenship as Nigerians where God places us to love and serve Him in our neighbours. God himself works through us in our everyday lives to recreate the world making everything new.  All vocations in life are equally valuable in the eyes of God. Even though in the eyes of the world all vocations are not equal. Some vocations that get enormous amount of money are often considered more valuable.  The lowly and low-paid jobs that involve higher and more important levels of service to the neighbour are considered less valuable. Many of those necessary jobs are hard, dirty, tedious, and unpleasant.  Those who do them are sacrificing themselves for others. All vocations are equally important before God and man and they teach us not to look down on anyone for the work they do.
           The Blessed Iwene Tansi lifestyle teaches us that our station in life is our very mission field into which God has sent us. Each person’s work has deep significance no matter who they are, or what they do for a living.  Every person’s work matters to God. Whether we are religious men and women, parents, farmers, educationists, or mechanic, bankers, military generals or nurses – all work matters to God. Our faith makes a great difference in what you do, how you treat people, the decisions you make, and how you conduct yourself. The work you do is where you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world as Jesus describes in Matthew 5:13-16.  You can contribute to the Kingdom of God no matter where your vocation
has placed you. Like most of us Blessed Tansi received the gift of faith through the efforts of the Irish missionaries and he lived out that faith in all the various stages of his life as a village school boy, as teacher and headmaster, as a seminarian, as a diocesan priest and as a Cistercian monk. At each stage he made it truly Christian and his own - Nigerian. The climax of his spiritual growth is found in doing his work which brought massive expansion of the church, building up the society and improving the life of the people. His work brought about many converts to Christianity, reconciled and sanctified marriages and brought relief and help to the sick, the needy and the abandoned. He is an example for all Nigerians workers to imitate.
          Your own workplace today like his is filled with all kinds of people facing all kinds of challenges — illness, fear of losing their job, adultery, grief, confusion, dilemmas, negligence, stealing, office and business politics and so on.  In many ways you are more in touch with the needs of those people than any pastor of souls. Use this opportunity and make the desired change humanity expects from you.
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                                                                                                          September 1,2019
                                                 Charity and Justice the heart of Holiness
        Charity and Justice is a part of the Christian vocation and mission. We all face unexpected situations on our life journey, new issues and emergencies to which we have to respond in the light of faith. Our country is facing many of such challenges at the moment. It is our responsibility to always respond to such problems in the light faith. The early Christians of Jerusalem had such serious charity/justice problems and they were obliged to solve them with sense of responsibility. It began with Greek-speaking complaining about the Hebrew-speaking because their widows were left out of the daily distribution (cf. Acts 6:1). It was a serious matter concerning charity to the weak/poor and justice. Even though they were facing the primary need to proclaim God’s word in accordance with the Lord’s mandate they considered this a priority, a duty of charity and justice, that is, the duty to help widows and poor people in response to the commandment of Jesus: love one another as I have loved you (cf. Jn 15:12, 17), to provide lovingly for their brothers and sisters in need. Today in Nigeria we hear the cry of minority groups, the weak and the poor- they must be heard. It is a matter of charity and justice. Nigerian Christians must not only proclaim the word but must also put the word which is charity and truth into practice. The great Nigerian problems today will be over if the leaders chosen to represent the masses will confront our problems with great responsibility in the light of charity and truth.

           Blessed Iwene Tansi with his dedicating diligent non-distracted attention in very busy pastoral ministry had time for his neighbor. He had true charity, true service to others, which did not need many things but certainly needed the necessary things which were above all his heartfelt affection and the light of God. Today in the many places he worked people remember his charity, his going to the village visiting the sick, comforting the bereaved and feeding the hungry. He did not only give but he begged for the needy. He used to forgo his own meals and necessities in order to provide for all who needed his charity. He had priorities in spending the money available to him. He placed the sick and the destitute first in his priority, then the widowed and poor. His ministry at Nnewi changed the traditional ugly destiny of the lepers.  It is said that the people’s welcome response to his call to assist the destitute and lepers showed that his personal love and initiative have that piercing shattering effect in penetrating the people’s apathy caused by traditional religious belief and awakening their inner spirit to the very realities of the human nature. There is no doubt that even today his life speaks the same message, his deeds form the content of this message. These deeds are his testimony, his protest to indifferent man. He authenticated his mission for he did not only dare to speak things that were different to the customs of the people, words like love one another but he went further and lived out their meaning. His frenetic life-style is a precious reminder to us today if we put charity and justice for others our country will become a better place for all of us. His ministry without doubt is a true and proper example of devotion to daily activities which should be carried out with responsibility and dedication while remembering also our need for God, for his guidance, for his light which gives us strength and hope.

​​​​                                                                  August 25, 2019
                                                     Detachment as means of holiness
         The world tells us that security and happiness can be found in the stuff of this world namely: money, success, possessions, power etc but the bible tells us just the opposite. The things of this world will not last. Unless we focus on God, we are wasting our eternity. Jesus is both the treasure we cherish and the one who provides the right to have the treasure. He is all we want in the world. Jesus alone is the ground of our acceptance with God and the goal of our heart's desire. He is our righteousness and our reward. Compared to him all else is garbage. The simple gospel message is that Jesus lived each and every moment of his earthly life doing the will of his Father and wanting his followers to leave everything to follow him. This is where Christian life style gets tough. Many are frightened by it to some degree. Few understand it. Even fewer live it.  
        The Blessed Iwene Tansi is a model of evangelical life of detachment from the material world not only for priests, but for laypeople, especially for those who work in the vast field of charity and public service. He learnt the love of the poor as a boy, the traditional society where he grew up had special place for the weak. He saw how his parents welcome and help the poor and needy. As a priest he became still more detached and his heart opened for everyone. With such a new heart he experienced the desired change. He became less desirous for himself and focused less on passing worldly things, and more on the lasting treasure of the Kingdom. He concentrated attention on the other things and began to love who and what God loved namely: love, holiness, justice, chastity, goodness, righteousness, and truth. His heart became alive with joy and zeal for the Kingdom and this evangelical spirit impelled him to speak what he believed and knew to be true. This love for other things led him, in the course of his priestly life, to give away everything he had. Founded a home for poor children, dedicated every effort to them so that they would receive a healthy Christian education. His example constituted a constant invitation to everyone to open arms to every person who had need. In many ways his message has been for our times. He did not own anything even though he could if had wanted; he gave everything away to the most needy. He did not feel the necessity of having anything for himself. His ridge fasts, incredible human labour, sleepless nights, austere penances and continual mortifications were natural consequence of his detachment and love of poverty.
             For an average Nigerian who was naturally pushy Blessed Tansi life is like going against a current. For many to imitate him is a hard tiring task which can be accomplished only by strength of will. This task is opposed all inclination of nature and sometimes a will to do what is repugnant to nature. This is however, a sweet task for a soul in love with God a soul which knows that everything it refused to self is given to God and that when it reaches the point of renouncing self in everything. The tricky part of a life of detachment is that material goods are not ends in themselves and so we should never seek our soul’s satisfaction in their possession or enjoyment. In the same way material goods are means to an end and so if ever a possession or a means to possess is inhibiting one from achieving ones end holiness, then those possessions or practices need to be curtailed or eliminated.  The material goods should be sought, welcomed, and used insofar as they helped us achieve our purpose of glorifying God and helping to save souls.

                                                                      August 18 2019
                                                                   Justice Serves Love
         Ironically what should unite us is dividing us. Religion has come under attack in recent years in Nigeria. Religion has been blamed for dividing people and inciting violence but the essence of any true religion is to unite and bring us to the one God. As much as the people of faith despise the notion, the fact is that religion has been used to divide people for political and other selfish gains as the fear-mongers fully realize that creating fears and hate based on religion actually works. Christianity and Islam worship the same God and have so many moral principles in common.


The Golden Rule is almost the same for all religions found in Nigeria.

  • For Christians: “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12). “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31). Don’t judge others, and you won’t be judged. Don’t condemn others, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Matthew 7:1 and Luke 6:37).
  • For Muslims: “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, though it may be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both…” 4:135. “As you would have peopled do to you, do to them; and what you dislike to be done to you, and don’t do to them.” Kitab al-Kafi vol. 2, p. 146
  • For traditional Religion: “One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self.” “Egbe belu ugo belu nke si ibe ya ebena nku kwa ya” (the kite and the eagle have the same right to the same branch but if any refuses to allow the other it should meet untimely death”

        I have simply quoted some passages from the teachings of the three main faith traditions in Nigeria. If this is true why do we see all these bitterness in our country of plenty? Why all these killings and destructions going on? Almost all our law enforcement agencies and securities are either Christians or Muslims. Why can’t they do the job for which they are paid with godly disposition. The main terrorist threat in Nigeria is not from violent Muslim extremists, but from right-wing extremists. The common man hopes for a better Nigeria with an eye to a day he would be able to have daily three good meals with his family and live without fear. To all of us Nigerians no matter whom you are, where you are and what you do let us be:


  1. independent from hate and fear of others who are not like us.
  2. independent from forces that divide based on religion, social status, and ethnicities.
  3. treat others like we would like to be treated.


         Love conditions justice and justice serves love. Nigerians should allow common good and respect for life to triumph over selfishness, bitterness, anger, and revenge. Let the politicians not divide us for their selfish purposes. When we choose the path of love we are choosing the path of peace for ourselves and for the world around us.

                                                                          August 11, 2019
                                                               Sometimes God Has A Better Plan.
          We have our own ideas about how our lives should play out. We decide in advance where we should work, who we should marry, where we should live and how many children we will have and so on. I do not know if you have noticed that things rarely work out exactly the way we planned. Blessed Iwene Tansi monastic adventure is typical case to note. In 1950 Blessed Tansi entered Mount Saint Bernard monastery hoping to get the monastic training and return to Nigeria to establish the monastic apostolate and remain under the jurisdiction of his bishop. For this reason he could neither enter the canonical novitiate at Mount Saint Bernard nor take the vow of stability. He spent three years in the Novitiate with a changing
group of novices under the care of a novice master Fr. Gregory who had a reputation for strictness. For these years he was being trained with other white younger men who went on to profession, while he continued in the novitiate following the life and rule of normal novices without knowing when or how this puzzle would end. His patience was great. He was not discouraged. Fr.Tansi and his Archbishop have different plan from what God plans. 

             To solve the problem the Archbishop of Onitsha invited Fr. Tansi Abbot to look at sites in Nigeria where the Nigerian monastic foundation could be made. After his inspection the abbot and his team chose Uturu then in Owerri diocese where a Cistercian house could start. On the strength of this decision Abbot Malachy gave the novices’ habit to Fr. Tansi on 8 February 1953. This marked a great beginning in his monastic journey. He was happy thinking that something was going to happen. Unfortunately soon after this ceremony, the site for the proposed new foundation at Uturu was discovered to be too small and no other suitable site was offered. His desire to return to Nigeria was no longer in sight. God has a different plan. He was given the free choice; to return to Nigeria and to return to his pastoral activity as a diocesan priest or to apply to make profession at Mount Saint Bernard and to remain monk of the Monastery forever. He applied to make his monastic profession and to remain monk of the abbey. On 8 December, 1953, Fr. Tansi made his simple vows as monk of Mount Saint Bernard Abbey. For him this was definitely a radical change, since until this  moment, he had seen his stay at Mount Saint Bernard as a preparation for bringing the contemplative life to his own country. His vow of stability had fixed him permanently in England, and furthermore it must have seemed as if a Nigerian foundation would never be made. He did not question God’s will, but he gave his best offer by trying to live the Cistercian way of life as perfectly as he could while the ghost of this abandonment continued to hunt him. He suffered, prayed, adapted, did not blame anyone and remained docile to the will of God.
            On 8, December 1956 he made his solemn perpetual vows and by this became full member of the community. God had a better plan in 1959 Abbot Malachy resigned and two year after Abbot Ambrose was elected Abbot in July 1961. With his election fortunate enough the whole question of a foundation in Nigeria was again raised. There was much discussion in Chapter on the difficulties of making a foundation. Nearly all agreed that preparations should be made for a foundation in Nigeria. Finally Abbot Ambrose decided to send Fr. Luke and two other monks out to Nigeria to look at the sites now available. At the end of February 1962 they were in Nigeria to look for sites suitable for monastic foundation. It was just two years after Nigeria Independence. Nigeria was divided into three regions: East, West and North. The difficulty with Onitsha in the East was the problem of climate, which was hot, damp and heavy: would seem to offer tremendous difficulties for European to follow a Cistercian way of life. Jos area in the North was much more favorable but a predominantly Muslim area and might present difficulties in the future. By May 1962 Fr. Luke found around Jos what seemed a suitable site and all agreed to put in for a Certificate of occupancy to enable the monastery to use the land. But unfortunately the request was turned down by the muslin local government authorities in the North. These were apparent human setbacks but it was not for God whose plans have not yet come. Humans have to wait. But Fr. Tansi intensified his prayers for a foundation in Nigeria as all hopes for a foundation in Nigeria were not gone with the refusal to grant a certificate of occupancy in Jos. Meanwhile a bishop from Western Cameroun had written and invited Mount Saint Bernard to make a Cistercian foundation in his diocese. The site at Mbengui in Cameroun was inspected and found suitable. Finally the decision was taken to make the foundation in the Cameroun and not in Nigeria. With the decision to make a foundation in the Cameroun rather than in Nigeria taken, on 30 May 1963, the names of those chosen to go to Cameroun were read out and Fr. Tansi was appointed Novice Master. With this appointment he set out to prepare for it but God has other plans. The other arrangements proceeded with great speed and on Sunday 27 October 1963 the first founders left for Bamenda. Fr. Tansi was preparing hard to follow them later but about mid January 1964 he was taken ill with what was thought to be lumbago. He was confined to bed in the Infirmary. He read little, ate less and spent the week thinking
and praying quietly. Days later the monks noticed that the left thigh was about twice the size of the right. A doctor was called. He diagnosed a deep seated thrombosis of the leg. Then he was moved to the room in the infirmary corridor. The next day a specialist came out from Leicester to see him. He confirmed that there was a growth in the stomach but thought the source of the thrombosis was the most urgent matter. The patient was moved to Leicester Royal Infirmary because before this he had had serious attack of pains. He was not unconscious and prayed continually. “My God, My God, thy will be done, into thy hands. Oh
my God” He died in the hospital on January 20, 1964. 

            Even though he died but God’s plan did not die. The Cistercian Monastic foundation was made in the Nigerian neighbouring country Cameroon. But today the monastic apostolate is flourishing in Nigeria. God’s plan has worked the way he wanted. Fr. Tansi would be saying to us like St. Paul to the Philippians: “I want you to know, brothers, that my situation has turned out rather to advance the gospel, so that my imprisonment has become well known in Christ throughout the whole praetorium and to all the rest, and so that the majority of the brothers, having taken encouragement in the Lord from my imprisonment, dare more than ever to proclaim the word fearlessly”. (1:12-14) The Blessed Tansi had a good plan, but God’s plan was even better. When things do not work out the way you expect, try giving God the benefit of the doubt and realize that he knows best. You might not understand it now or ever, for that matter, but the Lord has a pretty decent history of bringing good out of all situations. If things look bleak right now, do not give up. God is always in control.

                                                                    August 04, 2019   
                                                            
Our Relationship with God
      We are all familiar with the song ‘whatever you do to the least of your brothers you did it to me’. Many Nigerian Christians sing this often but do not live it. In the life of Fr. Tansi Nigerians witness a new star which emerges on the horizon of the Catholic Church. The beautiful, providentially timely figure of our time, the glorious figure of a typical school teacher, parish priest and a contemplative monk who is today the school of Christian life and holiness. This humble priest succeeded to bring this about by ascetic charity and teaching linked by a total love of Christ and a profound compassion towards the poorest. His is a living example of how to be a Nigerian Christian of our time. He educated the young people to be good and responsible, concerned with the true spiritual good of the person, animated by great balance in making the mercy of God felt and, at the same time having an acute and lively sense of sin which many of us are losing today.For him every sin is an abuse of human freedom. When we sin, we defy God who loves us unconditionally. The consequences of sin are always disastrous. We can never be ourselves when we sin. The hallmark of his relationship with God is his ascetic charity. The love he has for others shows the love he has for God. Our relationship with God can never be the same when we do not have it well with our neighbour. We very commonly stir this relationship by some of the following:

  •  Our words which can hurt others.  Harsh or judgmental words spoken to others are something Jesus takes personally because anyone who persecutes his neighbour is persecuting Jesus. (Acts.9:4)
  • The world can become a palaver between us and God. There is an unholy trinity out there that seeks to destroy us. “All that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world”(1 John 2:16). 
  • Unconfessed sins can also damage our relation with God badly. “I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me”(Psalm 51:3). Unconfessed sin is a burden that would not go away unless made right. 

There are dozens of other things that can damage our relationship with God. From experience we have many times hurt God and our neighbour by our ungodly behaviour. Ours is a God who forgives, and there is no sin that God cannot forgive. Amend your relationship with him today by reconciling with your neighbour whom you have offended. And today is the best of days to begin.

                                                                   July 28, 2019
                                                          A time for Compassion
This time is bad for many in this country. Many are undergoing different kinds of suffering. No matter what your problem is the Lord intends to sensitize us to others and their needs. Part of our problem is that in spite of our good will with our busy schedules and multitudes of distractions, we rarely stop to consider what is going on in the lives of others. When we intentionally slow down and observe the world around us, we can see more clearly the struggles and challenges many Nigerians are facing. God is challenging Nigerians to adjust their outlook and attitude. When we adopt a positive attitude, it directly impacts our outlook, personalities, and relationships. The apostle Paul seems to be talking to us at this point in time: “…therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone else. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” “Col. 3:12-13” Where ever you find yourself there is always someone that needs your care. When you take the time to ask people how they are doing and genuinely listen to and care about their response, you gain a more realistic perspective of the person’s circumstances and put yourself in a better position to feel and show compassion.
           One Nigerian born saint was known to be the glue that held many families and the youth
together. He modelled Christ-like compassion and would happily give someone in need or hungry his food or the dress off his back. In fact, that is exactly what he did. During his time there was much poverty and suffering in our land because of injustice everywhere in the land. He did everything he could to bring justice and to alleviate the sufferings of many. He courageously exercised compassion by putting the following into practice.
          Asked and listened attentively to everybody in need. It is said that he never passed anybody
without a greeting and a follow up question ‘how are you?” He listens attentively to the answer and would show his appropriate compassion in the form of advice or help. Everybody was important for him and his ministry. “Those who knew him testify to his great love of God. Everyone who met him was touched by his personal goodness. He was then a man of the people: he always put others before himself, and was especially attentive to the pastoral needs of families. He took great care to prepare couples well for Holy Matrimony and preached the importance of chastity. He tried in every way to promote the dignity of women.
In a special way, the education of young people was precious to him” (St. JP 11 Sermon
beatification Nigerian1998)
         He did not judge people easily. Judgment will come last when someone is curt, arrogant, or
downright mean. He first considered what difficulty the person may be facing and first offered him or her words of comfort, advice or prayer so as to dispose the person for his judgment. When life is difficult and brings excess lemon a person can be arrogant, curt or mean. The best he needs at that moment is compassion. As a priest, Fr. Tansi was devoted to his people. He was available. He catechized; he inspired catechists. He preached clear and incisive homilies which people recall even after 50 years. He was courageous in preaching the whole Gospel and all the commandments without discount or equivocation. Accepting peoples’ differences is for him a kind of compassion. In practical life we all come from different backgrounds, upbringing, life experiences, and levels of spiritual growth. In dealing with the people he was considerate of their differences. To some he could be harsh and to some very mild. This was very evident with his penitents and workers.
            He openly expressed compassion for others by giving them some of his time, talents, or
resources to those who need them and when they need them. God expects us to be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, patient, and forgiving toward others. In his active apostolate he sought to conform to Christ in such a complete manner that he too might share in the sufferings of his master. Realizing that the vast majority of his flock had not known and loved Christ, he set himself a task of never refusing anything for the love of Christ. His response to the apostolate was total, a constantly repeated yes to the work which God was inviting him. We too can do the same in our various vocations and places of work. All we need is the courage to start and the grace of God will assist our human deficiency.            

                                                                    July 21, 2019

                                                            Power of Christian faith.
        With an act of living and unconditional faith, it seems to me that God himself does not know how to say no. I feel he considers Himself almost obliged to grant such request. “All things are possible to him that believeth” (Mk 9:22). Before any miracle Jesus asked for faith. “Do you believe that I can do this unto you?” (Matt. 9:28); and whenever such faith was sincere, the miracle took place. To the woman who was troubled with issue of blood, “Be of good heart, daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole” (Matt. 9:22). Living faith is an indispensable condition to benefit from His omnipotence. Lack of living faith is reason he refused to perform many miracles in Nazareth. The more lively our faith, the more powerful it is with the very power of God. “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, ‘Remove from hence hither,’ and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you” (Matt. 17:19). These words are true, if they are not effectual for us, it is only because our faith is very weak. Blessed Iwene Tansi a true Nigerian who made it at his own time can be our model.
           Faith and the workings of Divine Providence have a special place in his life just as they are
supposed to have in the life of every Nigerian. Every age has its own spiritual condition. His early faith formation took place within the context of the early British Colonial era and slave trade, which led many suffering and families disintegrated and customs abused and the land desecrated. With great humility, developing confidence in the Lord and growing determination, he acted sincerely on what he believed the Lord wanted from him. Even today people still believed that the success of his mission at Dunukofia was an act of faith and trust in God just as his monastic adventure was a great manifestation of faith.
         He lived of course with the utmost simplicity in the midst of the multifarious problems of his
time. He understood the need to make every effort in the Christian life. That effort was not for him a 'four-letter word' and that growth in godliness required exertion on the part of the Christian. Growth in faith is not passive but proactive. By the Spirit the Christian must put to death the deeds of the flesh (Rom.8.13) and must also to put off the old self and put on the new (Eph.4.22). This process involves putting on the full armour of God and standing fast against the devil (Eph. 6.). What is earthly in the Christian must be put to death ( Col. 3,5) in order to fight the good fight ( 1 Timothy 6,12). It is true to say that most Nigerians, whether on the upper or lower echelon of our society or somewhere in between are instinctively drawn to goodness, to genuineness, to holiness, love and compassion. But many have not the courage to live this out or even to condemn the forces against them.
           Blessed Tansi relied much on the formidable power of prayer and through his prayers God
worked many wonders through his apostolate. Francis Cardinal Arinze who knew Blessed Tansi for many years has this to say about his faith: “Father Tansi had strong faith in the Holy Eucharist. He celebrated Mass in a way that inspired faith. His Eucharistic Benediction celebrations nourished faith. Even the way he genuflected showed his Eucharistic faith. He prayed for long hours in the Chapel by day and by night” His demonstration of the power of prayers left the people with a great amazement and admiration. It was at Umudioka in 1943, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, People had gathered from every corner of the parish. The school church was too small for the congregation. Mass was said in the open air and the Corpus Christi procession was to follow after Mass. At the gospel reading the rain threatened seriously. It was likely that it was coming, it had already started in the neighbourhood, everybody lost hope. The congregation
had already started to scramble for shelter. Blessed Tansi advised everybody strongly that there would be no rainfall until evening. He asked all to pray to God to hold the rain until after their liturgical function. To everybody greatest surprise there was no rain until after the Corpus Christi procession and until everybody had reached their far-flung homes.
        The same seeming magic effect was produced in many individuals who prayed with Fr. Tansi
faith like the case of: “… a mission carpenter and his wife who were childless. They went from hospital to hospital, seeking help, without success. Finally Michael told them to stop their useless quest. He told the wife to come to the Chapel on nine consecutive days, and at the time of the noon Angelus, hold out her arms, and receive an imaginary baby from Our Lady. She did this and did indeed conceive” We meet with various difficulties in life which are for us real mountains to move. Difficulties in the spiritual life: faults we cannot overcome, virtues we cannot seem to acquire; difficulties in our everyday family life: insufficient means of support, duties which surpass our ability or our strength and the list may continue. We stop, discouraged, at the foot of these mountains: It is impossible, I cannot do it. It would take only a little faith like a grain of mustard seed, which is very tiny indeed. But provided that faith is living, capable of sprouting like the mustard seed, provided that faith is certain, resolute, supernatural, and that it counts only on God and trusts in His Name alone, this faith will confront every difficulty whatsoever with courage.

                                                               July 14, 2019
                                 Blessed Iwene Tansi-Relevant to Nigerian Youths.
All we need is the tiniest bit of compassionate imagination to be able to see the problems posed by tribalism in Nigeria. The fact that so many in positions of authority along with those who put them there seem blind to the problem is the most devastating condemnation of our national identity. Nigeria is presently in crisis of youth welfare. Who will be brave enough to recognize that youths are our greatest treasure? Who will begin to embrace the mystery of youth development or at the very least, take the time to observe them in order to discover more human ways to respond to their needs for truth, peace, knowledge, integrity, meaning, and unity? And who will then dedicate and spend their lives in implementing the new and beautiful fruits that will grow from this embrace and observation. Do we dare to hope for the future of Nigerian youths? Think of Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi.
      The Blessed Iwene Tansi was a man of hope and vision and this is precisely one of his greatest challenges of our time. His apostolate to the family had special bearing to the youth and the future. In his pastoral ministry wherever he went he promoted the status of women, insisting that betrothed girls should attend a six month marriage training centre where they were taught Catholic doctrine, home keeping, Christian family traditions, sewing, knitting and other wifely skills. He thus laid solid foundations for Christian families. He was doing this because he knew the important role of women in the family and the nation. He opposed the Igbo practice of men calling their wives "onye bem" (the person of my house) because this suggests inequality of the spouses. He promoted education of young girls and young boys in every senses of the word. In the mission schools where he was the manager he succeeded in inspiring his teachers to see their role not just as teachers but as formators of the growing and future population. The teachers and parents of these children must teach them dignity, respect, and love for life while they are young. Purity, piety and honesty have special emphasis in his schools. From their early stage the youth must be taught not to be afraid and must learn to control their emotions.
       At Dunukofia and other places, Father Tansi had boarding-houses for pupils in Standards five
and six, young people around age of eleven and twelve. The boys live in the mission compound from Sunday evening to Friday afternoon then they would return to their parents and help in the farms at the weekend. This was also an attempt to help poor parents feed their children and to pay their school fees. Only a man with a great concern for the future could do these things. He was a man of the divine word and of the sacred, a man of joy and hope. To people who could no longer conceive that God was pure love, he would always affirm that life was worth living and that Christ gave life its full meaning because he loved human being. His priestly ministry was always a living witness of the power of God at work in human weakness.
         He is a blue print for all Nigerians of good will who have for a long time searched for a coherent view which is not at loggerheads with what we have hitherto heard of making Nigeria a great nation, a direction Nigeria shall evolve herself in the coming time in order to be finally able to get out of the current absolutely poor form. Today Nigerian youths need his teaching, encouragement, and hope for the future in order to build a sane, safe, forgiving, and truth speaking Nigeria. We need Nigerian youths who are willing to roll up their sleeves, with or without masks and gloves, and wrap their arms around the emotionally and spiritually dying Nigeria. As it is, the old generation seem to have failed and disappointed us. We need the future generation who will rally around sane principles that preserve truth, justice, and our liberties. We do not need sinless youth; we need youths who are overcoming their propensity to fall short while learning that love is not a notion. It is a verb that requires proper application, not co-dependency.
          After the example of Blessed Tansi let the Nigerian youth say no to the disappointment the
present brings, the identity it tries to heap on them as a blood-bought son or daughter and walk boldly into their destiny. There is a place for them right now, right where they are. Do not isolate yourself. Isolation is the language of death. You have no other country than Nigeria. Blessed Iwene Tansi come to our assistance.

                                                                July 07, 2019
                                                          Nigerian Superhero...
The notion that Nigerians are pawns in an eternal conflict between forces greater than us has a long pedigree. I was raised up in the Nigerian colonial worldview, in which the nationalists and early missionaries were foot soldiers of Christ at war against satan and his host. Growing up in my village I had expected that at some point in my lifetime, the forces of divine goodness would conquer evil and darkness. I seem to be disillusioned. The situation is worse deteriorating. One Nigerian who fought headlong against the monster of hate, injustice and domination in all its ramifications was the Blessed Cyprian Michael Tansi, a Christian, a Nigerian, one of the best faithful servants of the nation and the church in our land in the recent year. He lived out his professional and religious vocation to the fullest. Today he is known to thousands the world over for the extraordinary manner in which his disciplined life allows Jesus to relive in him, letting him be a messenger of the gospel, of healing people’s wounds and reconciliation. His untiring efforts to unite people of all classes, his long hours praying for his people, his charity to the poor and under privileged, his concern for marriage-family life and the youth-the Nigerians of tomorrow, his detachment from the material possession and his lifelong pursuit and ambition for an honest and truthful living are among the legacies he left future Nigerians to combat the evils of the society.
          As a professional teacher, a priest and a religious the Blessed Iwene Tansi followed the path
of integrity in his sound moral and social principles and his message today is his life-style which challenges and urges all Nigerians to redirect their lives to a totally committed love. It is a call which will save this country from a total collapse. Unless there is love by which Nigerians see one another as brothers and unless there is respect for one another irrespective of class, ethnic group and religion no amount of legislation will save this country. No amount of killing as a means of quieting a people will bring justice and peace. There is too much killing going on in this country. I am afraid this might be a prelude to another civil war-God forbid but there are hand writings on the wall. 

            Human life has always been a struggle between to be and to be free. It is in this setting in
which the conflicts between human freedom and the rational necessity of a unified personality is worked out. Let us live and let another live. Many young Nigerians are leaving this country. Take a moment and ask why. Many are dying in the process and nobody seems to be worried. Those who remain behind are extorted and brutalized every day on our roads and homes by the very police and the army who are employed and paid to protect them. Nobody seems to be worried. Sometime we mistakenly think that social, economic and moral wars are fought by might-these do not end, violence does not cease, and humanity is just as destructive as ever. The good and evil are not external forces battling over the hearts and minds of human beings, but rather are embedded in human nature itself. But we can be at our best and worst, our ugliness and our beauty, how the same thing can be both, contradictory human being-so much good, so much evil. We in addition to the violence and brutality embedded in our very nature are also certainly capable of self-sacrifice, love, compassion, and courage. Which way Nigeria-the way to peace-the life style and legacy of Blessed Iwene Tansi-the true Nigerian.

                                                                 June 30, 2019
                                                    Prophet of love to Nigerians
It was twenty-one years ago on the 22nd of March 1998 when the Holy Father, now St. John Paul 11 announced this prophetic message to all Nigerians and to the Catholic world: “Today, one of Nigerian's own sons, Father Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi, has been proclaimed Blessed in the very land where he preached the Good News of salvation and sought to reconcile his fellow countrymen with God and with one another…” The life and witness of Father Tansi according to the Holy Father “is an inspiration to everyone in the Nigeria that he loved so much”. This is to say that he is a prophet of love for Nigerians.
        All around the world saints show their own people how to live in the world and become holy.
In our own case in Nigeria the lifestyle of Blessed Iwene Tansi, a true Nigerian is a torch for our actions and steps towards love and holiness. He is very important in both our private and national life. “He was first of all a man of God” the Holy Father, St. John Paul 11 continues to tell Nigerians, “his long hours before the Blessed Sacrament filled his heart with generous and courageous love”. His was a courageous love; I often ask myself what made Bl. Tansi to have this kind of love for his parishioners, the sick, the abandoned and the voiceless. He lived and devoted himself to promote common good of the society and helped all find love and sanctity among the duties of each day in life. Each day is given by God to love and to help the neighbour. One of his pastoral preferences is the care of the left alone, the separated, the abandoned, the sick and the aged. Throughout his ministry he went out of his way to respond to the needs of the community, individuals and the society. We read how he assisted the sick, the voiceless, the widows, the poor, the youth, the family and restored not only confidence in their lives but also friendship in the community where they lived. The Holy Father said that, “those who knew him testify to his great love of God. Everyone who met him was touched by his personal goodness. He was then a man of the people: he always put others before himself, and was especially attentive to the pastoral needs of families. He took great care to prepare couples well for Holy Matrimony and preached the importance of chastity. He tried in every way to promote the dignity of women. In a special way, the education of young people was precious to him”. Blessed Iwene Tansi was not imported into Nigeria, he is a prime example of the fruits of life and holiness which have grown and matured in the Church in Nigeria since the Gospel was first preached in our land. Why can’t we be like him, each one of us? Why do we continue killing ourselves, making mess of this good and great Nigeria. Many and nations are laughing at us and making mockery of what we have become over the years. The Holy Father, a Polish born Saint has this to say:
       “God, in fact, has blessed this land [Nigeria] with human and natural wealth, and it is everyone's duty to ensure that these resources are used for the good of the whole people. All Nigerians must work to rid society of everything that offends the dignity of the human person or violates human rights. This means reconciling differences, overcoming ethnic rivalries, and injecting honesty, efficiency and competence into the art of governing… there is a need for politicians both men and women who profoundly love their own people and wish to serve rather than be served. There can be no place for intimidation and domination of the poor and the weak, for arbitrary exclusion of individuals and groups from political life, for the misuse of authority or the abuse of power. In fact, the key to resolving economic, political, cultural and ideological conflicts is justice; and justice is not complete without love of neighbour, without an attitude of humble, generous service”. So my fellow Nigerians there is still much hope for this Nigeria if we can change our private and national lifestyle. Blessed Iwene Tansi – Pray for us.

[The quotations are from the words of the Holy Father – sermon at the beatification at Oba Nigeria 22nd March 1998]

                                                                 June 23, 2019
                                                         Sharing the image of love
        The month of June is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the greatest human expression of divine love, the ultimate symbol of God’s mercy, the unique expression of love for precisely our times. During this month many Catholics in this country practise devotion to the Sacred Heart because of its extraordinary remedy for the extraordinary needs of our times. A country passing difficult times like ours needs the most efficacious means to contribute to the spiritual and moral, economic, political and social renewal of its citizens. A broken, hungry, lost Nigeria needs the Sacred Heart now more than ever. 

           I have read of many stories of saints who through their devotion to the Sacred Heart have ended up being changed, moved, and improved by their devotion and imitation the love of the Sacred Heart. We do not need words to understand Love. Love evangelizes and speaks without words. For example the crucifix shows us God’s love for humanity better than the greatest homily on love. God in Jesus has a heart that loves. The burning wounded heart of the God man tells us that holiness only comes through suffering. God in his Son offers his heart, inviting us to offer ours for our brothers and sisters. The human heart of Jesus is the ultimate display of an unabashed Christian identity for all times. The Blessed Iwene Tansi is an example of this love-identity of our modern Nigeria. In his priestly ministry he gave himself to witness love unconditionally. He loved every one for what that person is-a child of God. He had a preferential love for those in need and suffering. This kind of love identity drove him to give out his meals and scarce means to the poor and the weak. Not only did he offer them his meals but he brought them to his house to feed them and sometimes t care for them. It was this kind of love that moved him to ride on a push-bicycle from Nnewi to the hilly country of Awgu (a distance of over 40 miles on a rough hilly foot tracks) to collect drugs for his leprosy patients. It was suffering done out of love. It was rewarding for his sick and abandoned patients. It was also a double rewarding for him witnessing this kind of love
identity. Today the story is a legend in many parts of Igbo land. He is remembered for those unique sacrifices. It is said that he was like a burning fire and whoever met him will not go away unchanged. It was that love that pushed him to work beyond the normal human capacity in his pastoral ministry. It was love and justice for the poor that pushed him to denounce the traditional rulers and the wealthy who made unjust laws that exploit the poor. His was a burning zeal to give himself completely for the good of others, this zeal landed him in a very mortified penitential life style for his parishioners. This lifestyle is today telling Nigerians that sacrifice for love for others has a reward – heaven and indifference to the plight of the poor and needy has a punishment – hell.
          In this country Nigerians can overdo displays of their external identity. We can substitute the external sign for the internal reality this time LOVE of our fellow Nigerian irrespective of tribe, language or religion. Jesus loves you unconditionally. Your love for the Sacred Heart can not be complete unless it has a human face-love your fellow Nigerians irrespective of tribe and religion, give to the poor and do not take away from them. Make sacrifice for the common good of your family, town, state or nation. Promote more justice for the poor in this country. Let us adopt the lifestyle of Blessed Tansi and we will get the social, political and economic renewal this country needs. Blessed Iwene Tansi – Pray for us.

                                                                             June 16, 2019
                                                       Being a Christian in a collapsing Nigeria.
The greatest mystery of our faith, the Trinity, which we celebrate this weekend assures all Christians and indeed all Nigerians that no matter what happens in our social, economic and political life God has been in control and will always be in control. From before the earth and the sky were set in place to the crowning glory of his handiwork the human race, to the coming of Christ and the Spirit upon the new creation our loving Creator has taken care of his creation. You are a distinct part of that creation no one can take your place in God’s infinite plan. This is the reason for the Christian joy. Though along this salvation history the human race lost that glory through sin but thanks through Christ death we have gained grace and access through the Spirit to the Father who makes us once more his adopted children. By this he guides us to all truth, shows us the things that are coming, the things that were meant to be from before all ages that we will find peace and union in God, we will share the life of the Trinity, we will dwell in God as He dwells in us. If all accept this fact Nigeria will never collapse.
       The Blessed Iwene Tansi a true Nigerian Christian lived out this truth and hope. He is an example of Christian discipleship for our times. He was born into the poor local people of Anambra River basin and grew up farming and fishing with his parents. As a young man, he was important for his discipline, industry and honesty. These qualities unfortunately are often absent in some Nigerian youths of today. In 1912, when he was baptised and entered the Church, he embraced a different way of making impact on the community. Utilizing his abilities to memorize Scripture and speak persuasively, he became a disciple of love. He served as a teacher and catechist, which in his community functioned much like a permanent
deacon does today. As a seminarian and priest in the Archdiocese of Onitsha he went on missions to neighbouring villages and farm reservations and taught and formed Catholic outstation which later grew up into churches and parishes. Like many saintly people, he suffered greatly. He experienced the deaths of his parents at a tender age. Some of his siblings at his later age endured debilitating illness and severe injury. In times of tragedy, sickness, epidemics, oppression and lack of basic human needs it can feel like one’s world is collapsing. Faith can dissipate, leaving emptiness in its wake. Yet He bore these trials with
hope and persevered in his Christian witness.
        It is here that Blessed Tansi Christian discipleship becomes especially relevant for us today. Albeit at a different point in history, we face the possibility of the world collapsing every day. Nigeria is filled with growing warnings. Corruption, tribal hatred and speech, injustice to the poor and the weak today expand unchecked in Nigeria. Youth violence continues seemingly without end. For many, possible collapse is paralyzing. Our patterns of destruction seem impervious to change. We despair that nothing can be done, that our actions do not matter. Worst of all is that some Christians live as if God has abandoned us and there is no future. That is why Blessed Tansi witness is important. He was not just a good teacher, but the key teacher showing us that his lifestyle is the answer to a collapsing Nigeria in which he lived a vibrant life of hope. With the skill of an artist, he wove seemingly different strands into one beautiful life. He preached the Gospel, worked to implant the Christian way of life and built bridges across artificial divisions that separate us into warring ethnic groups. He can help us find our way out of our tendency to despair. His witness can help us re-learn that the core of our faith is hope in a God that has power over all the destructive forces that threaten our Nigeria, that in a Nigeria under threat of collapse we are to be missionary disciples who live the message of Christ. “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21:5).

                                                              June 09, 2019
                              Blessed Tansi entire Life was guided by the Holy Spirit.
The giving of the Holy Spirit to all believers crowns the mighty work of the Father in salvation history. (Acts 1:14) God had promised his people through his covenants with them, through his prophets and lastly through his Son that He will give his Spirit to live in the hearts of all who believe in him. (Rom. 8:2) This Spirit is the life-giving breath of the Father to renew all mankind in the face of the earth. This was what the apostles got to carry the message of Christ which changed the destiny and social relation of humanity. Thanks to the out pouring is the Spirit on humanity and thanks to the fidelity of the apostles who first received this Spirit and who faithfully imparted Him on generations after them. (John 7: 37- 390) We receive that Spirit by which we are made new people and sons for the first time in Baptism and then other sacraments. (2 Cor. 5: 17)
       The Blessed Tansi also received the same Spirit as we do in his baptism at the age of 12 in
1912. He was already strong and courageous as a child due to the influence of his devout and
pious parents. His baptism marked a total change in his life. His baptismal vow became an irrevocable norm of his life style. As he grew up, he was constantly faced with a lot of helplessness in the face of this world’s needs. He knew suffering and various kinds of temptations to give up. He did not give up because the Spirit powerfully encouraged him to perseverance. That encouragement never left him. He was able to do so much for God and humanity.
“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”(Joshua 1:9)
     You too have received the same gifts as the apostles, Joshua, the Saints especially the Blessed
Tansi of our own day. You have decided to serve God, despite your apprehensions in your vocation and life. Be sure, the Spirit and power of God is sufficient for you to move mountains on your way. What God gave to Blessed Tansi also applies to you, you who sometimes tremble before the face of worldly temptation and human weakness. Be strong because I know that the help will come. This is what it means to receive the Holy Spirit. You have no other choice but to strengthen yourself in the Lord and go forth on your baptismal vows. You are not alone and you will never be alone. Blessed Iwene Tansi –Pray for us.

                                                             June 02, 2019
                                           Remember Jesus Request and Promise.
Imagine over 2,000 years of Jesus call for conversion and repentance his church is still populated with sinners, men and women who are no better than the first people that received the gospel from Christ himself. The fallen human nature is still at work in each of us. In spite of this Jesus still loves each one of us dearly and manifests clearly his love and mercy to each of us.  Before his Ascension Jesus asks us in fact begs us to do one thing for him: to be witnesses of his resurrection. Jesus makes himself further clear when he told the apostles “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Today Jesus is still asking the same thing from every one of us. He is inviting us to start with just the little things that improve the quality of our life and of those around us. ‘If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.’(Luke 16:10). Little things matter to God. They have a purpose, not only for us, but also for God. By putting our daily little things together they will produce great results. They will increase our confidence, develop our compassion for others, sharpen our character and perfect our gifts and talents especially make us honest people. Peter and the other apostles fulfilled this request by proclaiming fearlessly the Resurrection in several different places and in several different ways. Their message revolutionized governments, societies and individuals. We too can do the same with our Christian witness.
      Jesus Promise: He knew the first apostles would need further support and supernatural instruction in the Faith before being able to fulfil His request “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”(Matthew 28:19).  40 days with them after the Resurrection, followed by the promise of the Holy Spirit, demonstrate a love that forms, nurtures and strengthens them to carry out his request. We, His modern disciples, also have the potential to do great things for Jesus. He promised us we shall not be left alone. “The Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26) In our mission to be his witnesses he will be with us to sustain us. The task of the Holy Spirit constantly present in us is to make us remember, understand fully and carry out concretely Jesus’ teachings. This presence does not mean that we shall longer face our daily problems, never feel pain or meet with setbacks in our particular vocation rather it means that he is always there for us to make us a better person to do our duty, to lead us to victory and prevent us from pitfalls.

                                                                 May 26, 2019
                                           God is Making all things new in Christ.
No one is left out in God’s Kingdom. His goodness and compassion reach to all who have 
faith, Jew or Gentile, good news for everybody. In the Church of Christ, God is making all
things new. The old order where some are the chosen ones has passed and now God is
making the whole human race His people. The Church under the guidance of bishops, the
successors of the apostles is God’s kingdom for humans of all ages. We are his faithful ones we live by the new commandment of Christ’s love. We love each other as Jesus loved us in suffering and dying for us.
    Do you know that in everyday life, if we are not careful, our minds and inner beings can
revolt making distinctions of whom we are and from where we come. Sometimes in Nigeria it is either an ethnic, tribal or religious sentiment. Sometimes it is dangerous to live under such constant pressure without risking burning out. The first Church council, the Council of Jerusalem we hear about is just to prevent this burning out. Some Jewish Christians had wanted Gentile converts to be circumcised and obey all the complex ritual and purity laws of the Jews. This council called this a heresy, again showing us that the Church in the divine plan is meant to be a worldwide family of God, no longer a covenant with just one nation.
   The Church is one, the bishops and the priests in agreement with the laity. The Church is
holy, taught and guided by the Spirit that Jesus promises the Apostles .The Church is
universal, making known God’s ways of salvation to all peoples, ruling all in equity. The
Church is the Lord’s, watched over and guarded by the Holy Spirit sent by the Father in the name of the Risen Lord. This should fill us with confidence, free us to worship with
exultation, inspire us to rededicate our lives to God’s service in his church.
   Remember that in real life situation like the apostles we can misread God’s handwriting in our life as the case of those who objected to the admission of the gentile converts. Our
blessing, our solution, our healing can be right in front of us, yet we are terrified. We argue
because they are coming from a source known to us, from people of different back ground
whom we had known as our tormenters. Yet it is the moment of our salvation and healing.
We are often like this, fearing the very Saviour sent to us. We are like children who scream in fright as the doctor approaches with the shot that will cure or prevent sickness. The whole world and you will always have a place in God’s heart full of love. Let us praise God together for His love.

                                                                  May 12, 2019
                                            Christian Victory is over Sin and Death
The Christian life is different now because the Tomb is empty. Christ is risen from the dead and with him all those who died to sin with him through their baptism. His victory over sin and death is also our own victory. By that victory we are capable of God’s grace to begin a new active life bringing goodness to ourselves, families, communities and the world around us and moving them towards their recreation in Christ. We are saying good-by to sin because it is the source of all hostility to life itself. The loss of our integrity and alienation that sin causes finds its full bodily expression in death. Death subjects all that is good, noble and true about our humanity to futility. Do not make mistakes; the power of sin and the depths of its mystery are great. But greater still however, is the Divine Mercy that has suffered and overthrown death for our sake. The Risen Christ has the power to forgive our sin because He wants us to have the antidote for death. When
we come to Him with our sins, He is always ready to forgive them. He has gone deeper into our misery than our own sin can know. He has contended against the powers that would try to hold us down, and none of them could separate us from His love.
         This is the Christians’ victory, the message that the church has been celebrating since 2000 years. The message we, like the apostles and those Christians gone before us have been announcing fearlessly to the world. “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature,” the Lord makes his desire clear. The apostles could not help but convincingly tell others. Their message went far and wide and started a worldwide movement that outlasted the Roman Empire, the Sanhedrin, and the Pharisees who plotted against Jesus. We too have the divine mandate to not only live this message but to tell others in spite of all persecutions that might come. Be bold about your convictions that sin is evil and causes death. Live it boldly and say it boldly in all situations. Do not compromise with what is evil no matter the cost. The Blessed Iwene Tansi lived out his convictions about his faith against all odds. He denounced every action that is sinful no matter who was involved. The rich and powerful who exploited the weak and the poor were publicly denounced and asked to repent. The traditional customs that denied the rights of the poor and women received a deadly blow from which they never recovered. He was a Christian and lived out his Christian principles and convictions.
              Like the apostles and the Blessed Tansi let us create our own Easter messages in our families, communities and the world around you. Let us tell people that we believe in the power and victory of Christ over sin and death. Let us tell them the benefits of Mass and power of Confessions. Let us not hide our faith but be bold Christians, defending our faith always and
everywhere.

                                                                 May 05, 2019
                                                         The Power of God’s love.
Last Sunday we celebrated the feast of Divine Mercy. With that I have personally been exploring the multiple facets of the power of God’s love and mercy. I am thinking of God’s love manifested through Jesus. God is powerful in His love. He became flesh in the person of Jesus. His love is mighty. He offered His own Son, His only Son, as a sacrifice to reconcile us with Himself. This is real and absolute love. (cf. 1 John 3:16) There is no greater love possible than for Jesus Himself to die for unworthy sinners. “…while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person…” ( Rom. 5: 6) It was out of the abundance of his love that Jesus by his death paid the ultimate price to reconcile us with the Father.   Yet, in spite of our dogged sinfulness, our Lord continues to reach down to our fallen human state.  He continues to pursue us, in order to forgive and heal us, to restore our broken relationship, to deliver us, to comfort us and to give us eternal life. Is this not wonderful to think about? It makes tears of joy run down my eyes. God wants to intercept me with His love.
                This kind of love should not go without any responsibility on my part. The example of Christ is inviting me to give up my own life for my friends and brothers. Fortunately it is not about dying as Jesus did, because He already did that on the cross for every person. Jesus is my
model. He has always put others’ interests ahead of His own. I too must do the same. In this case giving up my life for others becomes here and now bringing hope to those around me, ministering with compassion to those in need, helping my brothers and sisters in trials, being generous, remaining faithful to God and my neighbour, forgiving and loving at all times. In this way acting like Jesus people shall through me see the power of Love and God’s Almightiness. This is a powerful witness of the power of LOVE that can change our world. God’s Saints have done this in the past and are still doing it today. The Blessed Iwene Tansi and his compassion to lepers comes immediately to my mind, Saint Mother Therese and her ministry to the poor and abandoned stood high in my mind. We are called to share this Good News of salvation in the name of our Risen Savour.
               Let me add immediately that living this way of life is not an option for anybody. It is a must because Jesus’ sinless life and death on the cross are where God’s judgment and mercy meet.
“God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess 15:9). But there is judgment for those who are practicing evil deeds which is only serving to store up more wrath against the Day of Judgment (Rom 2:5). So there will be a day when God “will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury”( Rom 2:6-8).
                                                                       

                                                                         April, 28, 2019
                                                       Christ resurrection is a lasting Victory
Christ resurrection is God’s covert strike against Satan. Jesus being both God and man was able to defeat the devil and the last enemy of man - death through His passion, death, and resurrection. “O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep”. This victory could be hard to accept in times of division, tension, and
uncertainty as being felt in our country today where many have a great temptation of slipping into fear about the future. Our Christian faith assures us that the victory of Christ is for always and without end. Houses can collapse or burn, politicians can cause unrest and death for many and nation can rage, bad government and bad leaders can ruin our economy, spiritual leaders can plummet, but the Resurrection assures us of a love that can always restore vibrant life which our confused, troubled world needs badly.
           Resurrection means Christ defeating death to gain our redemption, glory, heaven, hope, eternity with our Creator, victory, joy, freedom now and for the rest of our lives. Without the Resurrection, our life would be pointless. Christ death on the cross would just be the death of an interesting and kind man. But with the Resurrection everything makes sense, everything falls into place. Even in our own history our Lord raised up saints like our Blessed Tansi to shine the light of God’s love on the tumult. The Blessed Tansi stood among us as a beacon, guiding lost souls back to holy shelter. By his life style he teaches that the glory of the world passes but Christ’s glory is for eternity. Our very mission is to make saints in our time. While that has been our mission for years, it is becoming even more necessary in this present time.
Let the incredible joy of the resurrection consume us and reverberate through every aspect of our lives until the end of our days. We keep this victory alive in us when love everyone we come in contact with by - talking to them, caring for them, investing in them, empathize with them and above all forgiving them. And this victory is dead in us when we ignore, belittle, scold, or manipulate any one. When we live for others more than we live for ourselves this victory grows and multiplies. May the Risen Christ slowly take over our lives, until it is no longer us who live, but He who lives in us. (Gal. 2:20)

                                                                 April , 21, 2019
                                                   Resurrection and Christian Victory
The Resurrection is a victory for Christ followers. To appreciate better Christ’s resurrection
we must look back to what we lost in the Fall of Adam and the effects of redemption. When
Adam and Eve fell they were expelled from the Garden of Eden, a cherubim stood guard, a
sword of fire blocked its entrance, and paradise was lost. By this they not only forfeited
sanctifying grace, they also lost four special gifts from God, according to Church tradition:
the inability to suffer, immortality, freedom from disordered desires, and knowledge of God,
creation, and the moral law necessary for happiness. In other words, before the Fall, Adam
was more like Superman lacking absolutely nothing. The Old Testament gives us a clue of
what Eden was like – a place of Luxury, delight, and pleasure.
God’s justice requires satisfaction for the Fall of Adam. Man in his finite state alone could
not make the necessary satisfaction that could please an Infinite justice. The same God who
created man in love, condemned him in justice now redeemed him in mercy sent his Son,
Christ to become man and to make this satisfaction by his death and resurrection. This
satisfaction was made by Christ’s sufferings, death and resurrection. The gaining back of
God’s grace is the greatest victory human will ever know.
The resurrection of Christ undid the catastrophe of the crucifixion and death on the cross.
This Christ, who had died, is risen. The resurrection further validates and verifies the claims
Jesus has made about his own identity. The origin of Christianity rests solely on the fact that
Jesus Christ rose from the dead. For the Jews, Christ was viewed as a figure that would be
triumphant and rule on David’s throne, not a figure that would be crucified and die. The
resurrection changed everything and gave a new beginning to Christianity which started and
grew as a result of the resurrection – the victory for Christ and his mission. Reason we call
him the VCTORIOUS LORD.
It is one thing to call him our Victorious Lord but it is another to truly be under his authority.
“Why do you call me Lord, Lord and not do what I tell you” (Luke 6:46) Is Christ your
Lord? Imagine you are one of the thieves on the cross with him which thief are you? The
thief who asks Jesus to remember him manifests a kind of baptism of desire as well as
repentance and faith. As such he moves straight-way in the victor’s column. Jesus words,
“today you shall be with me in paradise” indicate a dramatic and sudden shift for the thief. In
other words Jesus says, “your faith has saved you”. You are now at my side, and I am your
saving Lord. For us to be on the side of Jesus is paradise. Sooner or later the heavens will be
opened as well, but the victory is now, and paradise begins now for me and for you. Our
choice must be clear and definite. There is no compromise. Jesus says, “whoever is not with
me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters”. (Matt 12:30) The choice
must be made not like the first apostles of the Lord when the going was good He was their
Lord but when the cross came the crowds that followed from Galilee disappeared, the crowds
at palm Sunday shouting Hosanna took to their heels, the first bishops all but John and Peter
who followed at a distance and then three times denied he knew the Lord, but the rest of
those bishops fled to God knows where.
As for me, I have decided to make Jesus my choice. Now I pray that he will truly be my
Victorious Lord in all things and that my choice will be more than lip service. Come
Victorious Jesus reign in my heart and my way of life. Let me begin to experience victory
and paradise even now.

                                                              April , 14, 2019
                                                     The Power of Forgiveness
Forgiveness stands very tall in the Christian portfolio. Forgiveness lets us say more and do
more for ourselves and others. It puts us on a direct express high way to freedom – one of the
greatest prerogatives of a child of God. For many, forgiveness is both a touchy and difficult
subject. It often carries with it memories of hurtful things people have done to us. Sometimes
a feeling that some people simply do not deserve to be forgiven. With a feeling of hurt the
last thing our human nature can do is to forgive. There are some that do not deserve
forgiveness for what they have done but the Lord instructs us to forgive as he himself has for
given us. God has his own way He often likes to work things in what would seem a
backwards way to us, asking us to do something incredibly difficult in order to provide an
incredible blessing in our lives. ( like demanding Abraham to sacrifice his only son)
Forgiveness has more to do with us, than the person we are to forgive. You get more blessing
than the person you have forgiven. The common saying among Igbos ‘onye ji madu n’ala ji
onwe ya’ (he who keeps on holding somebody on the ground is at the same time holding
himself). Much are we blessed when we forgive others.
As part of our Lenten resolution let us forgive all with whom we are holding something
against no matter how small or how great. This will bring us closer to God and make us not
only stronger but very much like Christ who forgave the soldiers and the criminal crucified
with him on the cross. “Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Col.
3:13).
Anybody trying to make progress in the spiritual life must know that when we hold a grudge
against someone, that person and whatever pain was inflicted on us consume a large amount
of our thoughts and feelings, thereby leaving less room in our brain for God and His Word.
Those in religious houses must be clear about this otherwise a lot of their efforts in the
spiritual life shall be wasted. The virtue of forgiveness is difficult we cannot do it on our
own. We have to rely on God’s strength to do it.  And anytime we allow God’s strength to
work in our lives, wonderful things happen. When the power that raised Christ from the dead
is working in you there is no limit to how God can use you and bless you.
As devotees of Blessed Tansi let us imitate Tansi childlike humility and trust in the power of
God’s grace. While he was a parish priest in the Archdiocese of Onitsha he suffered a lot of
humiliation and distrust from his superiors but he never held it against anyone. He was more
preoccupied with the pastoral needs of his parish than what people were saying against him.
His own people Aguleri did not want him as their pastor; they preferred a white missionary
than him. When he was told he asked the bishop to send them a white priest. When we are
tempted with the vice of unforgiving let us ask for his heavenly assistance. Blessed Iwene
Tansi – pray for us.

                                                                April , 7, 2019
                                                           Persevere in prayers.
This life is both challenging and often difficult, frightening at times, and even risky. But you
can find peace in God. “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” (John 14.1)
 Prayer allows us to see the loving presence of God in our clouded life.  It also allows us to
see Jesus in our neighbour.  Prayer allows us to hear the voice of God specially through the
Holy Bible. It is true that the adversities of life can challenge us but many times we seek
instant solutions for our problems without God.  With listening to God we will be more calm
and patient and have more trust in God. God does not have an email address.  He is not as fast
as a microwave oven.  He does not work like instant telephone call.  God is different because
he is eternal. 
The power of prayer is shown throughout the Sacred Scripture. From the words of Jesus to
the letters of Paul the centrality of prayer to the Christian life is abundantly demonstrated
over and over again. Jesus taught the disciples to pray the Our Father, the perfect prayer
which offers praise to God and meets all our needs. Jesus also told the parable “about the
necessity for [us] to pray always without becoming weary” ( Lk. 18:1) In fact, prayer is the
most effective form of action for a Christian. Jesus prayed before he chose his apostles: "Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day
came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve”. (Luke 6: 12-19)
You may ask yourself how many nights you spend in prayer before making the important
decisions of your life. 
St. Paul exhorts the disciples to do everything “with all prayer and supplication {and} pray at
every opportunity in the spirit”( Eph. 6: 18) and to persevere in faith. “Rejoice always, pray
without ceasing” ( 1 Th 5:16-17).
Prayer must be a negotiation with God where we bring our arguments to God and listen to his
own view of our argument. It is possible we can convince God and God changes his mind.
But it is not God who changed. You are the one who has changed, because you believe that
the Lord would do what you are requesting for. We know vaguely that God can do everything
but in prayer we rediscover this fact in concrete reality. Prayer changes our heart, and helps
us understand God better. In the bible Moses spoke to God face to face. This is how our
prayer must be, free, insistent and with arguments. Even rebuking the Lord a little: "You
promised me this but you did not do it, just like talking with a friend. Open your heart to this
prayer.
The Blessed Iwene Tansi was a man who understood prayer because he lived in it. He really
prayed. He prayed throughout the entire day. Prayer was the real soul of his very fruitful
apostolate. By his prayerful mortified life he sanctified his apostolate. Like his master he
spent nights in prayer. He wanted us to find the same treasure because in his powerful
sermons to his parishioners he broke open the relationship between humans and their God in
a simple but profound way in order to teach them how to pray, and expose them to the entire
myriad of ways in which prayer can be expressed.
As devotees of Blessed Tansi we are called to pray in a special way for the canonisation of
our patron saint ad mentor. We receive benefits from his powerful intercession also from the
postulation for his cause including the weekly Mass on Mondays offered for our intentions at
the shrine in the basilica of the Most Hoy Trinity Onitsha and our regular novena prayers.
Having received so much we have a commitment to fulfil. That commitment is to pray for a
happy and quick conclusion of the cause now in progress in the Vatican. It is a perfect time
for you to storm heaven for the canonisation of this humble priest and monk who the church
has recognised twenty years ago the humble way he lived out his vocation. Blessed Iwene
Tansi- pray for us.

                                                             March , 31, 2019
                                                          Cross leads to Victory

We are almost four weeks into lent and with the resurrection the victory of the cross looms ahead. There can be no victory without a fight. Though we might wish that life had no struggles,the Lord intends a climb for us, for only the cross leads to true glory. Where would we be without some of the crosses in our life.  In real life experience sometimes we are up, at other times we are down almost to the ground but we need to see what the end shall be. That is what the Lord is doing. He is showing us what the end shall be. There is a cross to get through, but there is glory at the end of the tunnel. God uses trials to direct us.Sometimes God gives real heat to move us and to get us going. Trials often point us in new directions and motivate us to change. Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways. In real life not everything that glitters is gold, yes a momentary pleasure, to be sure, can be followed by a life time regret and anguish. We humans have a craving for something good and pleasurable but this craving is literally insatiable with earthly realities. This insatiability is not a curse but a sign that our hearts are made for something infinitely greater than earthly realities. 
The more that our sin is rooted out, the more space there is in our lives for God, and in Him we will find joy. Humans cling to the old cloak because it has brought us earthly comfort; we wear out our sandals on the path to destruction because our clouded minds think it to be the road to freedom. By our cross and spiritual battle the scales of deception fall from our eyes. We can let go of the old cloak and allow God to robe us in fine linen so that we might gain admittance into the heavenly banquet. 
The Blessed Tansi detachment from material world and pleasure shows us the way to true freedom and victory. He calmly and willingly lost himself in the will of God. Detached from all material things he removed from himself all obstacle to love and victory.  The gravity of material world and self-occupation pull us into ourselves and fill us with fear every time God tries to pull us out of ourselves.   Rather the Blessed Tansi trusting God, looking to Him, relying on Him defeated the temptation to material attachment and pleasure. For this the Lord permitted him to suffer difficult losses and painful trials.  If God allows us to be tried all the way to the breaking point, being broken and humbled is not the end of the story.  It is simply a new beginning where we learn that deeper surrender that allows God to do great and wonderful things.  In such moment, it is by trusting Him that we live life to the full.  Blessed Tansi-Pray for us.



                                                       March 24, 2019
                                                    Courage not Shame:
A good journey through lent can help us discover our true self. As we come to know ourselves: who we are, what we are and what is our purpose. This knowledge is so vital for our spiritual growth.  Unless we come to know ourselves, unless we come to know and understand what we are, and what we are not, we will not find our way to true conversion necessary to live out our vocation.
         The most important signs of a man’s greatness is his capacity to be at home in himself. If we cannot be at home with ourselves alone we are not yet fully human.  The best way to get this knowledge is through pray which demands more listening than speaking. Unless the light of God shines through your soul you cannot see yourself as God sees you.  Friendship demands an intimacy that transcends words. Shame for sin can easily interrupt this intimacy. “I am ashamed of the wrong doings in my life.” Shame is unfortunately a very common feeling. Shame is a powerful emotion. It leads us to withdraw from those we love. Hide from the Lord. It is often accompanied by guilt and fear. These are the same feelings that led Adam and Eve to hide from God after they had sinned. Discovering the wrong doings in our life can produce a negative effect – shame. We can be ashamed for many different reasons: Addiction to pornography,  alcohol, drug, gambling, etc. Cheating in marriage in thoughts or actions, incest, our past sins, our failures in life, the list can continue. There are many reasons for being ashamed, and it is a feeling we all experience at some point. If you are feeling ashamed right now and are struggling to draw near to God, I encourage you not to turn away from God but rather to have the courage to stand as you are before him in humility. He is a merciful Father and no wrong doing is too great for him to forgive. Do not hide any longer. God sees you no matter what happens. He sees you as you are. He sees your situation. And He does not reject you. “… nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.”(Rom. 8:38) In reality, the only person who can take you away from God is you, when you deliberately choose to distance yourself from Him. Do not take a step back rather take two steps forward. Run into His arms, cry, confess your sins to Him, and go forward with Him. The way may not be too easy, but nobody ever said it would be. Remember the Blessed Tansi is a good heavenly helper in situations like this. He was a good listening confessor and could also read souls. He spent a lot of time in the confessional listening and reconciling souls. He understands what you may be going through. Confide in him and miracle will happen.
                                                       

                                                        March 17, 2019
                                                     God, where are you!
Most of us in this country are asking this question. You may have asked this question in your life or you may be asking it right now. There are certainly some good days and bad days  when it seems like clouds are gathering above our heads. The Christian life is not just a succession of moments of joy and victories. Since if you have victories, you also have battles. At such times, it can be easy to lose sight of the Lord. To no longer see His moving hand. To no longer hear His reassuring voice. Yet, He has not changed. He is still God with us, Emmanuel. You are never alone on this path. Jesus is always present, never far away. He is the One who understands you. In the difficult times, Jesus shows Himself to be a true Lord and friend.  Blessed Tansi is no exception he handled his clouded years with patience and trust.
In the forties Blessed Tansi in his priestly ministry was full of life, strong, active and vibrant. He was in high demand, opening new outstations, making converts and building new churches. His pastoral treks brought him much nearer to the villages and farm lands where he met with the poor, sick and hard working farmers who need the word of God. His teaching and preaching resulted in many towns and villages clamouring for His attention. They needed His help. He was moved with compassion for their plight - poor and hungry. At the pick of his pastoral fame he opted for the monastery to the disappointment of many.  He is doing important work, and yet even at moments when people are ready to receive that work, He withdraws away from them. To many that can seem strange, and perhaps even a mistake. The people need Him, and yet He leaves them with the hope of coming back soon to bring them the monastic spirituality. His decision to withdraw into solitude is virtuous. At Mount Saint Bernard abbey months and years pass without any hope of coming back to Nigeria. He waited and waited and prayed and questioned God who remains silent to his plea. Seemingly disappointed he kept faith and trusted in God. He never came back but today there are monasteries all over Nigeria.
God is faithful, patient, and loving. Today more than ever, in everything you are going through, He stands with you. Remember you are not alone in this trial, in this challenge you have to face. You are not alone, and you never will be again. Your God is faithful to the end, he does not condemn but loves. Abraham our father in faith had the same patient-trust waiting to God’s promise (Gen.15: 5-6) He waited . . . and waited . . . and waited. The length of time is immaterial Isaac was born when Abraham was a hundred years old. In whatever condition in life let us simply ask God for the grace of greater trust. Nothing fancy and nothing profound. Just ask and aim small, miss small. Maybe God wants to answer your prayer in stages. Maybe you are searching for immediate gratification in our requests. Instead of focusing on what God is not doing be attentive on the little things God is doing in your life. May the patient endurance of Blessed Tansi help us to truly receive God’s gifts this Lent. Amen.

                                                           March 10, 2019
                                             A Little of That Human Touch
My experience of lent has been a time when we engage in fasting and other penitential services, denying our material hunger and desires, it rarely calls to mind feeding our own priority desires. The most important desire in human life is hunger for God. It is a hunger from within. Buried deep within every human heart is a deep longing for God. It is a craving for the infinite, for joy without end, and for transcendent life that does not cease. We are frequently asleep to this deep hunger and it remains unconscious as we emphasis the externals of Lenten discipline. This desire has the ability of directing and controlling all other human hunger and desire. The saints give priority to this hunger. For many of us this cry of the heart is stifled or almost entirely extinguished by worldly desires: personal fulfilment, power, wealth, entertainment, doubt, and endless quest for pleasure. For all this, the hunger does not cease.
Could we, the devotees of Blessed Tansi make this year’s lent moments of reckoning with eternity.  Choose this day, death or life, time or eternity, the infinite or the finite, God or the world, momentary pleasure or triumphant joy.  The saints chose what has the greatest priority in their lives. The Blessed Tansi did it.  He had a deep longing for God from his childhood. He learnt faith and respect for the gods as he followed his pious parents to traditional feasts and sacrifices. He got it right from the early start and he made up his mind to seek what was most important in all human life – God and eternal life. When he come in contact with the catholic missionaries and got the true faith he never turned back again.  The choice he made for God and eternal life influenced the rest of his other choices and desires. He paid heed to this inner voice and allowed the longing to grow, he fed it even to the extent of looking for God in the solitude of the monastery. He allowed himself to feel the hunger for God, and then he made space for Him. With determination he stripped away all that was inessential in his life so he can find the one thing necessary. His life orientation which helped him to put a human face and touch in all he did was for God and eternal life. His priesthood and ministry had a human face and human touch - reason for the tremendous success he recorded in his apostolate.        
Could we listen to this call in our own time, this inner voice or will we numb its uncomfortable stirring by immersing ourselves again in the torrent of sensory stimulation. Could we turn to prayer and go deeper, or we will suppress the silent ache with addictions, with consumerism, with endless distractions.  Our answer is intertwined with our eternal destiny. Remember, a good human being is like virtue it does not come over night. It must be cultivated by the proper disciplines of prayer and the sacraments, hearing His voice, holding it fast, and bringing forth result in patience. Consider how you can be of service to your neighbour and give things up, not only the non-essentials, but also the essentials of life, recognizing the plight of those suffering among us such people could be the face of Christ himself. Can we make an extra act of kindness for our spouse, a brother/sister, an extra time with members of our family, live in such a way that the result of authentic love is borne in our lives.
                                                       
March 3,2019
                                      Give Up this Bad Relationship Habit
In a few days will be Ash Wednesday the first day of lent for 2019.  Devotees of Bl. Tansi know what the holy period stands for all Christians and the spiritual value of the period.  Bl. Tansi all his life was a great ascetic. Those who know him well describe the hallmark of his holiness as ascetic charity. To be an ascetic you need some quiet time to yourself and God. Unfortunately, we are officially a culture that is opposed to spending quiet time inside our heads. In fact we love noise. All the noise helps us avoid thinking and examining our conscience. This Lent, rather than giving into the cacophony around us, how about we instead make time for quiet self-reflection, which will put us into the spirit of lent.  During lent Blessed Tansi spent more time in prayer, reaching out more to the company of his parishioners, giving more in solidarity and sharing the little he has with the poor and needy, spending more time visiting the sick and the elderly, more specially giving himself more to the demands of his apostolate which means more time to pastoral treks and visitations, more time spent at confessional, these meant for him a lot of sacrifice and penance. Can we make our lent this 2019 look like his, more charity to our neighbours specially to the needy, more openness and honesty in our work/business, a little more forgiving to others and a little more asking for forgiveness from others. Can we become more pleasant to the members of our house hold adding a little more to their comfort, confidence, trust and security/reliability?  As lent is explicitly calling Christians to make sacrifices that will bring them closer to God and help them become the people God is calling them to be. Make the sacrifice that matters. You may be asking what you have to give up for Lent. If you are looking for something a little different I give you a small suggestion that will not only be a great spiritual exercise, it will also improve your relationship in marriage/community/single life 100 fold.  What is it?  This Lent, I suggest that you give up loving your comfort zone more than you love your neighbour.  Your comfort zone excludes others and represents your preferred ways of being and acting. This is your sacred chamber, which only you know and have access to. May be your comfort zone keeps you on familiar ground and helps you feel safe. But the only problem is that true love and especially true, godly love in marriage and community life almost always demands a more openness, sincerity and fraternal sharing. It will be worse still when this comfort zone does not allow you to grow in fraternal charity or holiness. Do not be afraid the graces of lent will be your strength, just begin, and make a sincere and honest start. May the Blessed Tansi spirit of lent encourage us. Amen.

                                                       
February 24,2019
                                              Staying Strong in the Lord
Very often in the midst of our daily life hustle we seem to forget that life itself is a gift from God, an extraordinary miracle which brings its daily share of joys, hopes, and victories. No matter how pleasant these may be they come with them their own battle: sickness and death, financial brokenness, fatigue, rejection, persecution, family wa-ha-la, fear, dejection, spiritual problems… Remember in all these you are not alone.
Nothing can separate you from God, the beginning and end of your life. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ. Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” ( Rom. 8:35) Jesus Himself encourages us to remain strong in the face of difficulties. “...In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer. For I have overcome the world. (John 16:33). If there were no Good Friday, there would have been no Easter. Take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted even the present trial will also pass away. Jesus is with you every day until the end of the age. (Matt 28:20) From personal experience I have seen my impossibilities become possibilities with God. My end of the rope days becomes beginnings of thank you God.
There are many out there who passed what you are going through now and in the end trusting in God they made it. Even the Saints had their own portion of the world tribulation. In the end they made it. We shall also make it, do not give up. Blessed Tansi had a good share of this world battle and in the end God’s grace triumphed. May his heavenly protection help us to overcome our battles. Amen

                                                     
February 17, 2019
                                           Seeking God in our daily duties.
We are not just ordinary Nigerians; we are Christians Nigerians and Blessed Tansi devotees. As Christians we remember always that Christ was and is compassionate. When he noticed his fellow men and women in need he responded with healing, forgiveness and teaching. He praised others who were a bit exceptional in living a good and admirable life. Certainly you have noticed around you people who live up to their chosen calling such as spouses, parents, workers, doctors, politicians, religious and priests. They have a strong faith immersed with love that gives foundation for such good­ness. Blessed Tansi, a good Nigerian was and is one of them and is their good heavenly mentor.
He with attention, action and grabbing words, tells all of us in so many ways of how to reach our challenges in the present day Nigeria. To become gen­uine-Nigerian disciples, be alert to hear God’s calling and then do something about it. That really means witnessing as baptized disciples what that baptism calls us to do - witness of our faith in all circumstances. This will be for me and you a true encoun­ter with Christ and Blessed Tansi. We can look forward to our Nigerian elections as another call for us to live and go out to show the Gospel. May we go out as Blessed Tansi did in our own good direction and conviction and live in a more influ­ential way as a follower of Christ. Many people learn from those they love and admire. We too, as devotes of Tansi are called to read and learn from the wonderful lifestyle he left us as a true Nigerian. May he continue to inspire us especially in this time of brokenness as a nation. Amen


                                                             February 3,2019
                                             Tansi devotee must be a Christian.
Christianity is not just a point of view it is the way of life. A Christian believes that the way of Jesus Christ is the right way to be human, the way that leads to the goal of a completely fulfilled and authentic humanity. Christians are known as followers of Christ. "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”( John .14:6) To be Christian is a way; or rather it is a pilgrimage, a journey with Jesus Christ. It is to go in the direction He showed us, and continues to show us. So we are all on a journey to the Father and Jesus is our roadmap and our companion. 
If Jesus is the way, then in order to find our way we must know Jesus, not just know about Him but live the kind of life he lives. Christian discipleship is growing in our knowledge of Jesus. To be imitators of Christ, to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ”(Rom.13:14). We do this by seeking the Lord in prayer, studying His Word, frequenting the Sacraments and sharing in the liturgical life of our Catholic parish community. There are other companions with us on this journey, parents, family, spouse, children, teachers and friends. They strengthen and encourage us along the way, but the full journey is ours alone and our only constant companion and guide is Jesus. The Blessed Tansi did just this. Christ was the centre of his life and ministry. He saw Christ in his neighbours, environments and he did what he considered to be the work of Christ. He followed, imitated, made decisions and judgments based on the mind of Christ and never losing sight of his goal and knowing that he will never be abandoned. Blessed Tansi as Christ was your roadmap for life, help all Christians especially the Nigerian Christians to make their Christianity the way of  life. Amen

                                                              Jan. 27,2019
                                                        Lord that I may see!
Prayer is needed in these difficult days. Nigeria is passing difficult times and so the Nigerians themselves. I tell you again we need prayers. The darkness and cold we feel are not merely physical realities related to the time of year and weather conditions. We have forgotten the Lord and we do not have time for him. Prayer can change all of this ... but we have not yet given God his place in our lives and answer this call to prayer. Homeless, the Lord Jesus travels this world now as He did some two thousand years past. Remember many of those he loved had the doors of their hearts shut against him so that he had no place to stay. He would be conceived in the minds of those to whom He has drawn close and born in their lives and actions, but His own would not receive Him. He has no place to lay His head. Our Lady is just as much part of this story now as she ever was. For she tirelessly journeys forward determine that Her Son shall come into Nigerians anew. She is not discouraged by indifference and rejection, but has confidence in the goodness of every heart she meets. She is not afraid to accept whatever space we give her Son, no matter how lowly for she sees it as a gift from the Father above. Even the most humble stable in our hearts will suffice for her - for she already knows manger in which her Son might be safely kept.
In the dark cold of these heartless times she is not discouraged by our failures but she hopes in us instead. She who gave her "fiat" to the angel understands the greatness of our collective responsibility and vocation. Similarly, as we celebrate the life of this true son of this great land, Fr. Iwene Tansi we remember that he too knows the courage that a prayerful life demands of us. He also knows the joy of trusting in what the Lord has said. He knows that this humble trust can change our lives and this country. Most of all, he longs for us to know the presence of Christ in our lives as he knows. And with brotherly passion and solicitude he prays for us. May the prayers of this powerful Advocate of Nigeria change this country. Amen…

                                                            Jan. 20,2019
                                           Feast of Blessed Iwene Tansi Jan.20
This year we celebrate the feast of Blessed Tansi with the Diocese of Nnewi. The venue is St. John Cross Uruagu Nnewi where Fr. Tansi exercised his pastoral ministry from 1937-1940. Saints are those persons in heaven, whether or not canonized, who lived lives of great charity and heroic virtue. They now live forever with God and share in his glory. Their status is what should motivate us in everything we say and do, because our goal is to be like them and to be with them in heaven. Each time we celebrate the feast of Blessed Tansi is an opportunity to reflect on our path to sanctity and to look to him for renewed inspiration. Celebrating at St. John Cross Uruagu in Nnewi Diocese this year is a wonderful opportunity to remind us all of his priestly witness and ministry some 80 years past when he ministered to us. It is also an opportunity to talk with younger generation about the saints and to share the story of the life of Blessed Tansi with them. In his living stories we will see what made him holy. This will remind the younger generation and ourselves who knew him when he was here that we are called to be saints. We live like saints, we die saints and we enter heaven to share the glory of our heavenly Father. There is much that we can do to share the Faith simply with those around us. It is so greatly needed. When we tell the story of Fr. Tansi we will be inspired to love more and to rededicate our lives for the service of others as he did. He loved us, he sort for our good, he shared his most precious gift with us without minding what it cost him. We are happy to remember him as the one champion for the liberation of the lepers. He gave them a status and a sense of belonging. A sign of it can still be seen today at St. Peter Damian’s leprosy centre Ndiakwu Otolo. We remember his inspiring catechism for the youth and the family, his untiring effort to prepare couples for marriage and his concern and devotion to the sick, the needy and widows. These memories speak eloquent words of his greatness and holiness. His coming to Nnewi in his mortal remains will light up our mediocrity to love God and our fellow men. Blessed Tansi may your coming to Nnewi this year in your mortal Remains bring peace to Nigeria in this election year. Amen.

                                                             Jan. 6, 2019
                                          Make 2019 your most profitable year!
You can make it because God’s love for you this year is incomparable, unshakable, and unstoppable. Though from mere human perspective it is difficult for us to understand that God is the source of all opportunities and life. The world acknowledges and elevates most often many self-made individuals. Many of these people bask in the glory that is given to them by the world. This was the reason why blessed Tansi detached himself from material things and pleasures. There are a few things I am sure the Lord is preparing for you this 2019. He is thinking about you today; something that reflects His heart of a Father for you; something that reminds you how powerful, unwavering, and unstoppable His love is for you. Even now as you read this he seems to be saying to you “I will never stop calling you and knocking on the door of your heart. I will never get tired of seeking you because I love spending time with you, my child. I love you today and forever. The love that I have for you will never run dry. It will never end. Nothing will destroy it” Remember that before God you are original, unique, matchless and without equal. Your gratefulness opens the door to God’s presence. Do not let your thankfulness run dry. There is always a reason to say thank you. Thank God for this new year that is like a fresh start, thank him for providing for you and your family. By choosing thankfulness, you allow your soul to be nourished in God’s presence, and you will become part of changing the atmosphere wherever you are. Be a blessing to others and share today's message with your friend.
Do not be afraid we are journeying with Blessed Tansi as we look forward to his feast day Jan. 20. The novena for the feast starts Jan. 10. The feast celebration for the Archdiocese of Onitsha shall be on Saturday Jan. 19. Uruagu Nnewi.

​                                                               Dec. 30,2018
                                                        Family God’s Greatest Gift.
Blessed Tansi had a very strong devotion to his family apostolate because he understood the importance and role of the family. Jesus chose to become a baby born of a mother and to spend all but His last years living in an ordinary human family. In part, to reveal God’s plan to make all people live as one holy family in His Church. (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:16–18) We are to live as His children, “chosen ones, holy and beloved,” Happy homes are the fruits of our faithfulness to God. The family of God on earth cannot become a reality unless we make our families what it should. For Blessed Tansi the church cannot fulfil her mission on earth-heralds of God’s family unless we have faithful families. In the church through her sacraments every family finds its true meaning and purpose (cf. Ephesians 3:15)   How is your family? Can you compare it to the Holy family of Nazareth? Remember your family is unique and important. It has a definite role and mission to the world. Now as the festive periods are getting over their effects will usher you into another new beginning-new year. Success is the word and opportunity is the means. Preparation to meet the opportunity is important. God will offer the opportunity. Make adequate preparation. I am looking forward to 2019 transform you into a person who is going to see real, over-the-top, success of your life and family.“Do all that you can to live in peace with every one.”And “in your anger do not sin” Again“…do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” I pray you an opportunity- grace –filled 2019.

                                                            Dec. 23,2018
                       “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel”
We have journeyed together to deepen our faith this Advent season. We have also prepared ourselves for celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Can you believe we will celebrate Christmas in just a few days? I am very excited. I hope you are as well. Jesus Christ has come, He is coming… and He will come again!  Everywhere, in our towns and villages there is festive mood, festive lights illuminate the streets, the fragrance of pine fills the air, masquerades soon will return to the streets and for several days, Christmas carols have returned to the radio and TV. Each of these carols seems more beautiful than the last, and this week, I like these lyrics that magnify the person of Jesus, our Savior. Perhaps you know these verses: “O come, O come, EmmanuelAnd ransom captive IsraelThat mourns in lonely exile here” Many names are given to Jesus in the bible. These names will help you understand who is in our midst and why he has to come. Here are a few of them: Alpha and Omega, Good Shepherd, Almighty God, Son of God, Lamb of God, Light of the world, Prince of Peace, Morning Star…. Jesus also bears the beautiful name “Emmanuel”: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).” ( Matthew 1:23,) What an unfathomable mystery, what infinite grace! Through Jesus, God is with us! He ransoms us, delivers us from everything holding us captive. He destroys the dominions that attempt to keep us pinned to the ground. Our lives, unified with Emmanuel, are no longer lives of loneliness! We are not alone and never will be because He is with us, every day, until the end of the world when we join him in eternity. Whatever worries may await you today, Jesus is there, and nothing and no one could ever separate you from His love! Cast your cares on Him, and you will see how He takes care of you. Our thoughts shall meet at his Eucharistic table and the crib. Merry Christmas.

                                                       Dec. 16, 2018
                           You can put a smile on somebody’s face this period.
It is not how much you have or how much you give that matters but the spirit of love that moves your concern for another. It is said that the Blessed Iwene Tansi gives freely to the poor and needy. He has a great concern and a soft heart for those in need. At Dunukofia he feeds the poor from his poor resources. As an assistant priest to Fr. John Cross Anyogu [ latter bishop] in Nnwei parish in 1938 the lepers share his meals with him. In this way he puts a smile on the faces of the needy. He may not have satisfied their hunger for food but he made them feel accepted and belonging. No one knows what this lifestyle cost him but one thing is certain he felt fulfilled giving some help to another. This touches me because:
God’s power is made manifest in the weak and needy. Jesus said, “Whatever you do to the least of your brother you did it to me”  Blessed Tansi sees Jesus in these sick and hungry people. Have a simple faith. It is enough to touch the Father’s heart.
Everything is a gift and grace. We do not deserve anything, but God, our Father, wants to provide for all our needs. “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:19) I believe that God wants to and will provide for all our needs.
Generosity is a key that opens the door of blessing. You may not have much but the Lord is able to feed the five thousand out of a few loaves and fish.  The apostles Paul encourages his son Timothy to “do good...be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.”(1 Timothy 6:18)
Our little gift can be a miracle in the lives of others. Through you, someone can find hope and a smile again.
Think of being God’s ambassador  of love wherever you are.
Blessed Iwene Tansi, please help me to understand that it is not how much I have but the spirit of generosity in me. Amen.

​                                                             Dec. 09, 2018
                                     Your life consists in drawing nearer to God.
Bl. Tansi spent his whole life seeking the face of God in doing what he was convinced to be the will of God for him at any time of his life. In order to achieve this, he endeavoured to detach himself from visible material things knowing that they are transient and in a short time will all be taken from him. We too must do the same if we want drew nearer to God. With this in mind let us this advent practice: 
More spiritual reading and prayer.
Going to confession and Holy Communion more often; 
Letting the one object of our life be to serve God in the men and women we see.
Trying to bear patiently with things contrary to our will.
 Being most tender in our love for God and our neighbour; 
Acting in a charitable way as much as possible to others,
Being firm as a rock in bearing the trials sent us by Divine Providence.
Remembering that good works are of no use unless we bear the cross as well, nor do sufferings profit us unless we lead a Christian life. 
Jesus wanted his follower to be where he was in this same way the devotees of Bl. Tansi will also use the means adopted by their mentor in order to reach the kind of holy life which he lived. Blessed Tansi is an ever timely model. He teaches us that there is a culture of the spirit from which flow the serenity and far-sightedness required to face the most complicated personal situations. Please dear Bl. Tansi help us especially when we flatter in this journey…Amen.

                                                             Dec. 02, 2018
                    ADVENT TIME TO SEEK ANSWERS FOR WORLD PROBLEMS.
When Pilate questioned Jesus, 'So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, 'You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice'" (Jn 18:37).
Since Christ came to bear witness to the truth, it follows that the truth is needed in my life and the world around me. In fact, humanity is a truth-thirsty people. Whether admitted or not, everyone desires truth, since it is one of the primary goals of the human intellect. Throughout  all of history man has always been a religious being in search of the truth that both applies to himself and transcends himself. Humankind wishes to know its origin, purpose and destiny, including what it means to be a human person.
Advent is a sacred season in which the faithful prepare for Christ who is come, is coming, and will come again. A time in which we open our hearts to the grace and truth of Jesus Christ in order to enter more deeply into the saving mysteries of the life of the Savior of the world (cf. Jn 3:17). That we desire Christ presupposes that we, too, desire to belong to the truth, for the Lord is Truth. Advent is, therefore, a time of seeking Truth in the hope that its full light will penetrate our minds and hearts and how life is to be lived in order to attain its fullest possible dimension. Consequently, you and I must unceasingly search for not only the truth about ourselves but the truth about the reality in which they live. The answers we seek are found in Christ who is himself "the way and the truth and the life" (Jn 14:6).
Blessed Tansi, an ever timely model you teach us that there is a culture of the spirit from which flow the serenity and far-sightedness required to face the most complicated personal situations. Please dear Bl. Tansi help us especially when we flatter on this journey…Amen.

                                                                Nov. 25,2018
                                                       Christ, the Universal King
Christ received from his Father authority to rule all creation. It is the truth that in Jesus, God keeps the promise He made to David of an everlasting kingdom, of an heir who would be His Son, “the first born, highest of the kings of the earth”. In Jesus God the Father is renewing His “everlasting covenant” with David. Jesus calls Himself “the Alpha and the Omega,” the first and last’ the One who calls forth all generations. He has made the world, and His dominion is over all creation..
Christ is King and His kingdom, while not of this world, exists in this world in the Church. We are  this church and a royal people. We know we have been loved by Him and freed by His blood and transformed into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father. As a priestly people, we share in His sacrifice and in His witness to God’s everlasting covenant. We belong to His truth and listen to His voice, waiting for Him to come again amid the clouds.
Father, through the Bl. Tansi you teach us to live and to witness to your rule over all creation. Help us to be a part of this kingdom all the days of our live. AmenKnights & Ladies Tansi Weekly Meditation

                                                            Nov. 18, 2018
                                    Making each day the best asset of your life.
Withdraw your heart from the material world before God takes your body from it. Keep your mind in perfect peace with everyone however much it is occupied in the things of the world. Time passes whether you know it or not. Each time God offers to you is a golden opportunity for something better. Think of how much time you give to mundane matters.  Stop a moment and think how you are being led captive to the end; what is this world to you if it is holding you captive?  You are going to God; you do not wish to entangle yourself in earthly things.
If, in spite of all your efforts, you often find your attention distracted from religious matters, what would it be if you took no pains to be recollected? Consider that you are only beginning a new relationship; remember your former good resolutions, and beg God to assist you in carrying them out, for you have more experience as to the best means of keeping them now than you had before. 
When faced with spiritually bankrupt and lax faithful of his own town Aguleri, Blessed Tansi did not give up. When vast regions of his parish lapsed into spiritual indifference, he spent night and day storming the villages with his instructions in order to reignite the Faith. He remained in constant prayer for his flock. He fearlessly denounced decadent leaders and withstood their subsequent oppositions with perfect charity, winning over skeptics and melting the hearts of sinners. Blessed Tansi, help us in our spiritual struggles. Amen

​                                                              Nov. 11, 2018                  
                                                       
Begin Saving Your Soul
A thought most reasonable and most worthy of all. With the use of our reason, we know that death is coming. We should begin so to regulate our life that when death comes, our days may all have been spent in preparation for worthily receiving the crown of glory. Begin this preparation with reconciliation, repentance and amendments for any past negligence. This is the time to renew our courage and to exert ourselves to remedy the weaknesses of our youth and to devote ourselves with fervour to making ready for passing unto eternity. This preparation consists not only in setting ourselves free from both debts and mortal sin, but in doing penance for our past faults, so that when our good and evil deeds are put into the balance of justice, with the divine mercy added to the right side of the scale, our attachment to God’s service may weigh as much as our former attachment to the world. As Blessed Tansi devotee, be charitable, devout, patient, and humble, in order to compensate for your former defects in these virtues.  Be ever busy with a holy fervour, seek to get nearer and nearer to God.  Remember these later years are especial gift mercifully given for this purpose. Therefore, care less for temporal things and attend instead to those which are more important.
Beloved Blessed Tansi, in your case you spent your whole life preparing for eternity, help me to spend these later years of my earthly life doing what I ought to do to be with you in eternity. Amen.

                                                               Nov. 4,2018

 A few days ago we Catholics around the world gratefully commemorated all the faithful departed as part of our faith in the communion of saints. We devote a special time of prayer and concern during the month of November for all the faithful departed especially those among our family, relatives, friends, benefactors and those who have died in the service of others. Our faith is expressed so well in the Preface for Christian Death:
“In Him who rose from the dead our hope of resurrection dawned. The sadness of death gives way to the bright promise of immortality”. 
As we struggle to live our own Catholic life we are privileged to offer petitions for our faithful departed.
“All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death, they undergo purification so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of Heaven”.  ( CCC. 1030)
This can help us to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ and to understand better that God has wonderful plans for us and that we one day look forward to joining our loved ones in the fullness of joy in the presence of a loving God who cares so much for us. 
Blessed Iwene Tansi you taught us to pray for the faithful departed and at the same time prayed with us , hear our prayers and console us as we renew our faith in Christ Jesus, who rose from the dead, help to strengthen our hope that all our departed brothers and sisters will share in Christ resurrection. Amen.  





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Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity 
Onitsha Archdiocese
Anambra State of 
Nigeria

BLESSED CYPRIan IWENE TANSI​