Sunday, August 14, 2022
                                               
Blessed Iwene Tansi is relevant in Nigeria today.
            The Blessed Cyprian Tansi lived a life of witness to peace and love, capable of overcoming every sentiment of hatred and revenge.  As a true Nigerian and lover of his country, he warned against the temptation that reconciliation between our ethnic groups is not possible. He fought against any unhealthy attachment to one’s group that leads to despising others. There was to 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. When he was fighting these ills with the traditional rulers of his time he was showing a way for a new Nigeria. The key to his social, political, and economic philosophy in resolving economic, political, cultural, and ideological conflicts was justice; and justice was not complete without the love of neighbours or any ethnic group. His fight for the widows, women in general, girls, and the poor was to give them their rights and justice in the community.  His life and witness remain an inspiration to everyone in Nigeria. His destiny and mission - a life of prayer and self-giving love was not an end in itself, but was literally for others.
          We will recall that Blessed Tansi was among the first Nigerians to be ordained priests in the 1930s, and he led his people by word and example. This was the time when the nationalists were fighting for a new Nigeria. There is no saying what his future would have been had he taken to political life. But he felt the call to follow Christ in another way for the interest of Nigeria. He too likes the nationalists was urged by the love of his country - his fellow men and women. He was a man of prayer, intent on personal union with God for the good of his country. In his ministry, he learned that all men and women are tempted to separate themselves from each other and from God in order to lead their own independent and selfish lifestyles. He knew that they are then disappointed by the emptiness of the illusion which had fascinated them and that they eventually end up in trouble until they can find in the depths of their heart the road leading back to true peace, love and reconciliation. His life and legacy are still relevant in today's Nigeria. His life and mission were a kind of moral revolution against injustice, hatred, and marginalization of any group, the poor and the weak. He was succeeding but he was just one man - he is today calling all Nigerians to be part of the revolution he started.
           You too can be a part of something of life-changing in the present-day Nigeria in crisis. Blessed Tansi needs each one of us to be his partner in this moral revolution to save the nation. He is seeking lay people, families, religious and priests all men of God, and politicians to volunteer their time, talents, and prayers in pursuit of the grassroots renewal our country so desperately needs. Just as many humble pieces come together to form a glorious stained-glass image, so too will God use each of us, however ordinary or imperfect, to bring about this renewal in Nigeria. He only asks that you listen to his voice. We can all respond to one—or all three—opportunities for participation.

  • Become a prayer partner for Nigeria: Join the team of spiritual advocates for the Blessed Tansi lifestyle - help us cover the whole promotion in prayer, fasting, and penance.
  • Share a testimony of how the life of Blessed Tansi has touched you – bring forward the favors received through his intercession. Share your testimony to open more hearts.
  • Change your own lifestyle – become a bearer of peace – a distinctive sign of a Christian - something that begins with us; from you and me, from the heart of each one. By doing so, peace will dwell in your home, in your church, in your country. Blessed Tansi underlines the importance of community and brotherhood by uniting families and towns and by solving conflicts and destroying every instinct of supremacy, oppression, greed, and possession.

        So let us, as we pray for him and to him, ask God that his cause may prosper, and that he may be an inspiration to many Nigerians, whatever state of life they are called to, and that he may draw many to a deeper truth that God has not forgotten us.  Finally, may this truth remind us that we all need each other, and depend on each other. We are all members of same blessed Nigeria, and may our sharing in the brotherhood and blessings of Nigeria make us more aware in a very concrete way our collective responsibility to this country. Blessed Tansi’s life and death can contribute even a little to that awareness that by itself will be no small achievement, for it is something that Nigeria of today most needs.
       [Are You Ready For Your Healing? 

  •   Have you prayed to Blessed Tansi for God to heal you or someone else without results?
  •  Are you beginning to wonder if you or a loved one will ever receive a healing?
  •  Are you bound by the injuries of your past

There are many reasons why being ready for your healing and actually receiving your healing are two distinctly different things. All too often, the two never get together because of the barriers that hinder God's work from being done in us.  Come to Blessed Tansi and you will know what it will take for you to receive your healing].​


                                                                   Sunday, August 7, 2022
                                                             Blessed Tansi a Martyr for Christ
          Christians are meant to follow the example of Christ, to glorify the Father in the world by doing what he did - to empty themselves of all attachments which cut them off from God, including, and especially, their attachment to self. If they do, they will, like him, share in the glory which God rendered to him. From eternity Jesus possessed glory in his divine nature. It was something which he did not hold onto, but rather, through his love for humanity, he became man and assumed human nature, so that he could present that glory to the world. He emptied himself of his glory out of love so that he could and would share it with us. It is love which is the bridge. It is love which connects us to him. It is love which lets us not only to experience the divine glory, but to share it with others. Indeed, it is love which makes us want to share it with others. When we embrace that love, we find ourselves united with Christ, and in that unity, we then continue his work in history.
        We have the privilege of having the Blessed Tansi who offered himself as a sacrifice give us an example of Christ-like love. “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith” (Heb. 13:7). By his life and Christian witness Blessed Tansi was just another disciple of the Lord who came before us, followed Christ, and continued his work in history in our midst. Today his life is very relevant. If we want to learn how to be Christians and receive the glory which Christ promises to us we must imitate him.
         “... 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 candor, and the sensitiveness which is their concomitant. He had a generosity of temperament which was entirely self forgetful”. (BP. Anthony Nwedo-Sermon at the re-interment Onitsha 1986)
         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 altar and perhaps God willing soon to the fullness of the honours of the altar - saint.  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 through his cross lived out the call and mind of the church in his life. His pastoral ministry in the Archdiocese of Onitsha was that of suffering. He did what many at the time considered pastorally impossible:

  • Changed not only the pastoral method invoke at the time but also the daily life of the entire community he ministered and reset the trajectory of the traditional Igbo culture.
  • Created new and concrete pastoral initiatives which made his wishes realities.
  • Did not just preach from the pulpit rather he went down to the people in the environment of their daily life.
  • Dedicated a lot of effort in building and sanctifying marriages as a bed rock of his parish community.
  • Exhorted the youth to have faith, brought them together and gave them a boarding accommodation in the mission parish school where he took special care to prepare them for future leaders. 
  • Did not just ask the community to love one another but he fought customs that offend the dignity of the human person and stood for equal right to women. The traditional masquerade cult received a deadly blow from where it never recovered during his presence.
  • Did not just say be kind to the poor and the sick, he went out on his way to become not only the voice of the poor and weak but he helped them to the extent of sharing his meal with them. The tradition avoided the lepers but he became their best friend and helper.
  • His highest priority for his parish was the Sunday Eucharist and other Eucharistic pieties.
  • Next, to the Eucharistic pieties was the sacrament of reconciliation. He spent very long hours in the confessional.
  • nothing shows his love for the future of the church more clearly than his love and care for vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

         His spirit was contemplative and missionary, missionary because contemplative. He knew that personal union with God, prayer and sacrifice, however hidden, were fruitful for the whole Church and therefore missionary.  When he left for the monastery he went to another culture and people to adapt to the ways that were strange - he had to get used to a cold climate and to different food, and to many things that even those who came from England found decidedly peculiar and contrary to what they were used to. It was not easy. His entire spiritual life was aimed at a conversion of heart, from bad to good, from good to better, and from better to best. It was an ongoing process, from bad to good to better to best.  It was a process of the heart shown and lived in – conversion, devotion, and contemplation.

                                                                    Sunday, July 31, 2022
                                                     
Blessed Tansi: Model of Perseverance
         There are days, sometimes weeks or years, when we wonder how much further we can go. Sometimes it feels like a long time since we made any real progress or accomplished anything. There are obvious reasons for worry, we are stuck or sitting up on blocks turning to rust. We might be frustrated because other people do not seem to even remember our most significant work. We feel we are being hindered and hampered as we struggle to make a meaningful contribution. This could happen to anybody at any time. Perseverance is a challenge to us humans.
          The Blessed Tansi gave us an example of dedicated perseverance and remained a model for us.  As a child, a teacher, a seminarian, a priest and a religious monk he had challenges and difficulties but he got through them all by perseverance and determination. His childhood was rough, lost his father at an early age and in order to make his primary education he has to live with his cousin teacher for his up keep and education.  He was literally a servant to his cousin doing all the house work, studies and church activities. He had great opposition from his family to go to the seminary. His seminary days were rough. Those early seminarians to the priesthood were unnecessarily tried at the formation houses. He and his few companions persevered through determination. His pastoral ministry in the Archdiocese of Onitsha had trials and oppositions. He was a man of prayer, intent on personal union with the Lord. He wanted to bring the contemplative life to Onitsha and since no one seemed ready to go; he himself asked to go to a monastery so that in due time he could bring that way of life back home. When he left Nigeria for England, 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. The cost on him was great. He went to another culture and people, he had to adapt to ways that were strange, he had to get used to a cold climate – his greatest mortifier and to different food, and to many things that even those who came from England found decidedly peculiar and contrary to what they were used to. It was not easy but he persevered. However, things did not turn out like that. God’s ways are strange. He did not bring the monastic way of life personally, for he died before his longing could be carried out.
           We too have a unique opportunity to practice living in new ways. The ways we understand and live into life, based in our reflection, will change what our lives become. Any of us who want to make a successful life must persevere all the time. We may realize we need to be responsible for leading ourselves before we can take responsibility to lead others. We may have been following good advice, exceeding expectations, getting things under control. It is possible we have even overcome opposition and outscored our competitors. We may feel less hopeful about making a significant difference. Do we still believe in what we are doing? Are we feeling discouraged, tired, or ready to give up and stop trying? We might see ourselves as out of options, out of time, out of luck. Here is a real danger to perseverance. It can happen in spiritual life. A lot of people do different things for different reasons, looking for their own answers. Some people want to become better or stronger. Other people would like to develop new skills and learn to do things in new ways. Some people want to find peace, happiness or calmness which has eluded them. Each of us is seeking something different. Are we dissatisfied, disappointed by what we have found so far? Each of us wants to heal the pain of lacking the depth and joy for which we hunger. Everyone wants more than just to be reassured or comforted. Each wants something real which will make his life different.  In all that each wants to find deep, underlying truth which transcends life’s challenges. The value of our experience is not in how it makes us feel. We have not worked so hard or so effectively just to add to our resumes. What determines how much further we can go is how willing we are to allow the insights of our faith to shape our actions. The challenges we face in the future are not about replicating the effectiveness we have demonstrated in the past. Our leadership will be less about efficiency or meeting goals and more about wisdom. When we take time for contemplation and reflection we begin to dip our toes into wisdom. Contemplation allows us to hold our experience up to the light and see new facets.
            In all his life adventures Blessed Tansi persevered because he was living his own life that was his vocation. He focused on the things that are at the core of his faith and continually renewed his awareness of the things that really matter. Today his life is important, it is because it was a life faith, of humble and persevering following out of what he saw to be God’s will for him, even when it cost everything, even when all was dark and cold. In that way he was just one more disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we can learn from him as we can from his Master.


                                                                    Sunday, July 24, 2022.
                                                     Blessed Iwene Tansi Prophet of Nigeria.
          There is a great cry of the heart in the land; the poor innocent and wounded hearts are beating loudly all over Nigeria—and we all must take heed. Nigeria today needs more than ever the ascetic love and charity of its national hero and saint, Blessed Iwene Tansi call for the work of national emancipation and freedom has not been completed. His life detachment warns us about a danger that all of us face. The danger of complacency, comfort, and worldliness in our lifestyles and in our hearts - danger of making our well-being the most important thing in our lives. He warned that whenever material things: money, worldliness, become the centre of our lives, they take hold of us, they possess us; we lose our very identity as human beings.
              Today his lifestyle and message is relevant, his lessons on zeal for common good to inspire us to destroy finally the systemic injustice and tribalism that is our nation’s original sin that subject millions of Nigerians to levels of intimate and intrusive, and therefore volatile treatment no democratic community would ever tolerate. The political rules and decisions are there so that the dignity of each human might be respected and safeguarded. To safeguard them Blessed Iwene Tansi, spent his life and strength among us his fellow Nigerians preaching and living the Good News of salvation and seeking to reconcile his fellow countrymen with God and with one another. He is a true prophet of peace and reconciliation in our time. He did not live for himself but for others. He spoke words of love and forgiveness in the family life, village town and nation. As if what he did in his life time is not enough, after his death  he brought  the Holy Father, St. John Paul 11 in 1998 to remind Nigerians the whole truth about love and living together: “Today I wish to proclaim the importance of reconciliation: reconciliation with God and reconciliation of people among themselves. This is the task which lies before the Church in this land of Nigeria, on this continent of Africa, and in the midst of every people and nation throughout the world”. (Onitsha-Sermon beatification 1998). Without reconciliation "the world [Nigeria] will look more and more like a battlefield, where only selfish interests count and the law of force prevails" (Ecclesia in Africa, 79).
             Most of us will remember what the political atmosphere looked like when the Holy Father came and what happened after that. But today Nigeria has failed even to hear this truth. Nigeria has failed to hear that the plight of the masses and the poor have worsened over the years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that small segments of the privileged class are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s present disorder and unrest are caused by our nation’s wintersthis truth.  failure or delay to listen to the Prophet of our time. And as long as Nigeria postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.
           Next year 2023, the silver jubilee of the beatification of Blessed Iwene Tansi, Nigerian national Prophet and of the second pastoral visit to Nigeria of Saint John Paul 11 coincides with national elections in Nigeria. It is fitting. In such a year with the usual political empty promises and of reckoning, let us take to heart, listen to that prophetic call for justice especially for the most vulnerable, the truth that Nigeria cannot be Nigeria until the common masses lives matter for all of us. The Blessed Iwene Tansi life and words of prophecy should reecho once more deep into our hearts to produce the desired change as we prepare for our national political elections. Let our hearts remember the hidden sufferings of so many. Let our hearts break for the anguish of many innocent lives lost over the yearsentkshould reecho oner justicef , beaten down, disrespected. Let our hearts sing the freedom-song of limitless love—sing and dream a dream of Nigeria where truth will set us all free.
           It is common knowledge that over the years in this country, the poor and vulnerable were not only neglected, but abused by those with money and power. Those who live on the lives of others, those who live a life of luxury, relying upon others so that they can maintain that life of luxury for themselves, would find that such a lifestyle came at a high cost. They would eventually be looked upon by others who saw their luxury and wealth and would come and take it from them, just as they had taken it from others. Social injustice, systematic evil, can last only so long before the whole system breaks down. Those who take advantage of others will find that they will likewise be taken advantage on another day. It is common for those with great wealth, those who enjoy extreme luxury, to be blinded by it. They hide from themselves the suffering and injustices which are around them, so then they can ignore the fact that they are the cause of pain and sorrow for others. We must not become prideful of our own prosperity, especially if our prosperity employs systematic sin to give the benefits of that prosperity to a few at the expense of many others. So long as we promote and accept injustice, so long as we let our prosperity and a luxurious way of life get in the way of justice, our worship of God is reprehensible, because there can be no true worship of God without the promotion of justice. We must do what we can to dismantle systematic injustice and make sure those who suffer at the hands of injustice receive what they need in order to be healed. We must dismantle systematic evil. We must fight against oppression. If we do so, if we work for justice, then, we can offer our own sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to God and find ourselves vindicated by God for following the true spirit of prophecy.[I don’t know whether you know that Blessed Tansi needs only one miracle accepted by the Vatican to reach the fullness of the alter-join us to pray for this one miracle] 


                                                          ​​    Sunday, July 17, 2022
                                                         Blessed Tansi - Pray for Nigeria.
        Nigeria today is hurting. Nigerians all need healing, yet many of us are separated from the very source of our strength. Jesus Christ and his one and only national Saint who invites us to return to the source and summit of our faith—the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. Nigeria is like a world that has forgotten God and without the sacred to give it orientation, it has fallen into chaos.  Not only societies and communities, but families and individuals are fragmented and dismayed.  A deeper truth remains - for though we have forgotten God, God has not forgotten us. Recently the victims of terrorism are of another category to which nothing can be compared. It is very clear to anyone who has been closely following the events in Nigeria over the past years that the underpinning issues of terror attacks, banditry, and unabated onslaught in Nigeria that we need heavenly assistance and immediately too. Terrorists are on free loose slaughtering, massacring, injuring, and installing terror in different parts of Nigeria since over eight years not because of any reasonable thing but because they are evil. Recently, the massacre of men, women, and children during liturgical worship in the church has added a new and fresh dimension to the crime wave in the country. There is a profound fear in every part of the country due to widespread kidnappings, as well as attacks on churches, markets, and public transport. Many have lost their home, family, friends, and community. The youths take a great risk to come out and live their true authentic lives. In some places people are badly rejected by family and community, thrown out like trash. Kids beaten, disowned, thrown to the streets—all because they belong to this ethnic group or religion. The situation breaks my heart.
          At the face of these our political leaders with the national security seem not to have any fruitful ideas on how to protect the citizens and make Nigeria a safe place to live.  This is where the only Nigerian saint comes in - heavenly solution and not human.  Our National Saint, Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi a true son of Nigeria, a living witness of the power of God at work in human weakness, lived in love and peace in this country and handed the same legacy which we have so quickly lost and forgotten. This Nigerian saint saw his mission as indispensable for the Church, for his suffering people and for Nigeria, a mission which called him for complete fidelity to Christ and constant union with him in reconciling his fellow Nigerians with God and with one another.  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 Kingdom and to radiate his love, truth and reconciliation. He had an extraordinary influence, a magnetic personality which seemed to attract everyone to him. He had great influence over his companions and his fellow Nigerians. “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 is an inspiration to everyone in the Nigeria that he loved so much”. (Pope Saint John Paul 11, sermon Beatification Nigeria 1998)
           Realising that we have failed, some Nigerians particularly in the crime torn areas of our state are desperately seeking assistance both human and divine since the Nigerian Government for these eight years or more is completely helpless on this matter. Some groups of Blessed Tansi devotees are remembering Blessed Tansi particularly because of certain elements of his biography that are exceedingly relevant to our day. He was a man of peace who devoted his entire life for the service of God and his neighbour. He loved peace, spoke of peace and lived for peace. Blessed Tansi had been a voice of love to those who were rejected and ill treated. Today he is still our true fulltime Advocate and Allie. We need him badly for a vibrant community full of extensive resources for love and care - with free hearts to love and be loved. The Blessed Tansi had taught us that political and religious leaders hold our future in their hands—and their response matters. They hold tremendous power for change in our communities, schools, places of worship, and homes. If human power has failed we turn to our heavenly advocate – he cannot fail us.
         “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” (ibid).
           A heavenly assistance will come but before then each and every Nigerian has something to do in the present situation - that is lavish inclusion. Real love accepts people as they are with room for who they may become. We need listen more than we speak.  Do your own part of the work.  We can err on the side of love and acceptance - default toward love and acceptance, not judgment and rejection. “Reconciliation necessarily involves solidarity. The effect of solidarity is peace. And the fruits of peace are joy and unity in families, cooperation and development in society, truth and justice in the life of the nation” (ibid). We must all choose love over being right, because love is always right. Support the change and be the change. Focus on inclusion, acceptance, and affirmation.  Focus on diversity in our lives. Expand your worldview. Switch your focus away from who is right and wrong to what is loving and unloving. Then choose love, because love is always right. Become inclusive because it is humane. It is kind. It is how we love well. Look for people on the edges, and be love and kindness. Your heart, so many other hearts need us to be part of that change. Be inclusive. Be affirming. Be the change and the love you want to see in our Nigeria.

                                                               Sunday, July 10, 2022
                                            Blessed Tansi detachment is union with God.
             Last week we saw that Blessed Tansi started to practice detachment early in his life. From the time he accepted God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ his attitude towards material thing changed. His former interest for traditional feasts and dances changed, he began to focus more on God, the church, the Blessed Sacrament and the activities of the parish. Even after school classes he is either found busy with house work in his master house or in the church before the Blessed Sacrament. When he became a teacher after his elementary school the salary he received was used for the up keep of his widowed mother, his poor siblings and poor children in the village. It is said that he kept nothing for himself and that often he went to school without shoes even though he could afford one. His interest was not on what he wore but on his duty and responsibilities. His decision to leave his lucrative teaching profession for the diocesan junior seminary in 1925 was a practical demonstration of his detachment from the world. Similarly, his leaving the very flourishing parish apostolate in 1950 for a total life of enclosure in Mount Saint Bernard Abbey Leicester, where he became the last in the community speaks eloquently of total spiritual detachment. Again from the Abbey, was his novice master, Fr. Gregory Wareign, a man who stood by him in the dramatic and extraordinary vicissitudes which characterized his life in the Abbey. He was an accurate annotator of Fr. Tansi spiritual itinerary, especially in the Abbey, he has this to say:
           “Here we meet one of the outstanding lessons of Fr. Cyprian’s Monastic life at Mt. St. Bernard ― the deep conviction of the over-riding value of the contemplative life and its worldwide apostolate. His high esteem for it impelled him to sacrifice so much willing to obtain its blessings for himself and for his own dear people. He left an extremely active and very blessed apostolate in the Onitsha Archdiocese, including his determined drive to foster vocations, sanctifying marriages, care for the poor and sick, spending himself in the confessional, and in answering sick calls to travel to a foreign land and a severe climate purely in order to learn in the school of the Lord’s service how to love and serve his fellow monks under a rule and an Abbot, to praise God night and day in choir, to study the Bible and other holy reading so that in the end his soul could be liberated from all earthly ties and cling fully to God in Divine love. He was asked to forgo many things during his thirteen years as a Cistercian monk. His faith and his ideal held fast to the end ― even to realizing that he would fulfill his vow of stability perfectly by dying here in England far away from his own people and land and be buried happily in the monastic cemetery of Mount St. Bernard Abbey ― where he rested while the pioneer band went off without him to make the longed foundation in Bemenda and not in Nigeria.”
           These testimonies hold primacy of place not only because they were fundamental in revealing the religious personality of Fr. Tansi but also because they constituted a unique and precious revelation of his inner life and disposition. They revealed candidly and openly all the warmth and feeling of a life that was completely wrapped up in a love affair with God and detached from the world. By these Blessed Tansi was opting for his union with God and personal spiritual growth hence denying himself of anything that could hinder progress - material goods and relationships. It is vital to note that the detachment of the soul from worldly attachments must never be divorced from either faith in or love of God. God created human beings with desire, especially with the desire for God. Detachment and self-denial are a means to an end by which one properly orders one’s desires to obtain spiritual perfection or union with God. For us Christians, the goal of detachment is union with God. To be in union with God requires that we have adequate knowledge of God which is often difficult for natural humans. Fortunately, natural human knowledge is not the only way of knowing. God can infuse the intellect with supernatural knowledge - the theological virtues; faith, hope, and love. Having faith in God means man freely commits his entire self to God (CCC 1814) willing and able to deny and detach himself from those desires that interfere with his commitment.
           Like Blessed Tansi we too could become spiritually detached from any worldly thing that impedes our spiritual growth. It is quite simple and quite difficult. It involves denying one’s own will in favour of the will of God which can be simple and at the same time difficult. With grace and human effort one can overcome the natural inclination to put one’s own desires and needs first and achieve detachment. The human effort must include prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. The purpose of these spiritual practices is to take the focus off of oneself and onto the love of neighbour by which we love God frees us from sinful desires.

                                                              Sunday, July 3, 2022
                                            Blessed Iwene Tansi: Why So Detached from World.
          Jesus advises his followers to enter through the narrow gate into eternal life. Only through detachment from worldly things could the followers of Jesus enter heaven through the narrow gate. The purpose of detachment is to order human beings to God. When we adhere to worldly things, we become worldly. When we adhere to God, we participate in God’s Divine nature (2 Pt 1:4). It is common among the Church fathers to practice spiritual detachment. Saint John of the Cross likens it to a form of blindness whereby the soul is cut off from worldly attachments and must rely entirely on faith. Properly practiced, spiritual detachment can serve many benefits. The most fundamental basis of spiritual life requires recognizing that we are creatures and that God is our Creator.
          In considering the life of Blessed Tansi we notice that the tricky part about his 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 practice is inhibiting one from achieving ones end (holiness and spiritual fruitfulness as a child of God), then those possessions or practices need to be discarded. For me with many years of pastoral experience knowing how naturally pushy an average Nigerian is finds it hard to explain the kind of detachment Blessed Tansi had at that time when the practice of detachment would look like going against the current. It must have been for him a hard tiring task which could be accomplished only by grace and strength of will. He opposes all inclination of nature and makes his will to do what is repugnant to nature like denying himself all legitimate comfort. This was, 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.   His consistent attitude is that material goods should be sought, welcomed, and used insofar as they help us achieve our purpose of glorifying God and helping to save souls. Money was the great deceiver and must be kept on a leash.  Considering the present day Nigerian greed for money Blessed Tansi shows many Nigerians the face and presence of God. He speaks to us, and offers us a sign of God’s kingdom in our material pursuit.
            His stand on material possession is a solution to the economic crises now in the country. The sky-rocketing essential materials, food and fuel prices have precipitated the worst social and economic unrest in the country in years, leading to thousands of demonstrators marching for change. People are stranded without basic needs such as food, fuel, domestic and industrial gas. Patients are left in the lurch without the medicine needed to sustain their life. Parents are yearning to find milk food for infants and children.  Crimes are multiplying daily all over the country. Explosion of real violence is a real danger as the country’s economic crisis worsens. The real cause of all these is material corruption, greed and bad economic management. Something must be done and rapidly too. Blessed Tansi life style of detachment is a way out – to bring about justice, equity and open the way for our youth to have a country to live with dignity.
            His life is a voice of a prophet to Nigeria at this moment. Even though he himself in his days often felt unworthy and of no use but God knew well what he was worth before him and effectively using him to preach the Good News of the Gospel. God gave his silence, his quiet, his self-forgetfulness, his words and his gestures a certain virtue, which unknown to himself, worked in the hearts of those around him. His love for poverty and detachment does not mean that he is hostile to people who do not follow his life style. The desire to give His life for the salvation of the world constitutes the most remarkable example of detachment from worldly things. His life is very relevant to Nigerians of all tribes, religion and occupation today.For us Christians generally, detachment occurs within the context of Catholic asceticism. Asceticism is a form of spiritual exercise whereby one seeks spiritual perfection that properly orders one’s appetites and affections of created things for the purpose of serving God. Detachment is not reserved only for those in a religious order.  “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Matt 16:24). In other words, Christians, as followers of Christ, must detach themselves from all worldly attachments and appetites no matter what the cost.


​                                                                     Sunday .June 26, 2022
                                                       Blessed Tansi Penitential mortified life.
            
Christians learnt from the early church that it is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. The Church has not changed her apostolic and highly organized structures and traditions. The cross is still an integral part of Christianity. Jesus the founder of Christianity announced the cross without ambiguity. He himself endured hostility, hardship, and the horrors of the cross yet triumphed and showed that the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. He caught the wise in their craftiness and showed that the thoughts of the wise of this world are futile (1 Cor 3:20). The soft Christianity of many today, who remove the cross and replace it with a pillow and who insist upon inclusion and affirmation to the exclusion of all else, is strangely absent in this early setting. Christ himself was emphatic: if you want to follow me carry your cross daily and follow me. We are Catholics sent to proclaim the gospel: that God has loved the world and sent His Son, who by dying and rising from the dead has purchased for us a whole new life, free from sin and the rebellious obsessions of this world. He is victorious over all the death-directed drives of this present evil age. Simply put, He has triumphed over these forces and enabled us to walk in the newness of life. To walk in that newness of life is not easy but some have done it and left us an example to follow.
            The Blessed Tansi is an example of those who discover the easy way to succeed and carry the crown. Let us follow him and see the secret of his success. He accepted his vocation and remained faithful to his mission. He went forth announcing the Gospel as good news, with joy and confidence, admonishing his converts especially those obsessed with pleasures to embrace the cross as our only hope, appointing catechists and teachers in every outstation he opened to teach and follow after him. Because these and all his faithful have to look up to him for example and model he remained accountable to them by his way of conduct. He suffered in his mission, long and endless treks under the equatorial heat- sometimes going without food.  Everybody knew he was working beyond normal human capacity. His labours and happiness were linked to his harvest. He knew he was to announce a new life, set free from the bondage of sin, rebellion, sensuality, greed, lust, domination, and revenge. His was to announce a life of joy, confidence, purity, chastity, generosity, and devotion to the truth rooted in love. He has to live that himself in order to make an effective proclamation. For this reason, he had to be extra hard on himself. There is no doubt some—indeed many—were offended and sought to convict him and his Christians as disturbers of native tradition and then of peace. Some evil men who benefit from certain unjust customs don’t like him and his mission and don’t want to change their way of life. They prefer darkness to light, immorality to holiness and slavery to freedom.
            He suffered and as a weapon to fight back, he resorted to a life penance and mortification, long hours before the Eucharistic Lord all for his flock and for his enemies. The saying “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” made sense to him and he sought to put it into practice. He announces and teaches that “If you’re not willing to endure the cross, no crown will come your way. If you can’t stand a little disappointment, if you can’t stand being talked about sometimes, if you think you should always be up and never down, I have come to remind you: no cross, no crown.” Our glory is through the cross. There is a test in every testimony, a trial in every triumph. There are demands of discipleship, requirements for renewal, laws of love, and sufferings set forth for those who want the glory. The Blessed Tansi left us an example to follow. Through his penitential and mortified life, the cross becomes not suffering but life, power, and love. Because of his mortified life, it is possible for him to live without sin, learn to forgive, live the truth in love, and overcome rebellion, pride, lust, and greed. Many today insist that the Church soft-pedal the cross, that we use honey, not vinegar. We joyfully announce and uphold the paradox of the cross and must be willing to be a sign of contradiction to this world, which sees only pleasure and the indulgence of sinful drives as the way forward that exalts freedom without truth or obedience, and calls good what God calls sinful.
 

                                                                        ​​Sunday 19, 2022
                                                Blessed Iwene Tansi: A Path to Hidden Holiness
           The saints are human. They did not drop from Heaven. They are human just like you and me. We are all called by God Himself to be great saints – just as the saints were. January 20th. is the feast day of a Nigerian who answered that call to be a saint.
          Blessed Tansi was born in Aguleri, Anambra-Nigeria on January 3, 1903. He had a typical childhood with his parents and many siblings in a small town a few miles from Onitsha, attending the local parochial school with his mates. There he became a great example of charity to his friends. Nearing the age of 9 in 1912, he was baptised and took the name Michael. From an early age, Michael was eager to do God’s will. Soon after his baptism, he heard a sermon about achieving holiness. Three points impressed him: first, that it is God’s will for everyone to become a saint; second, that it is easy to do so; and third, that there are great rewards in Heaven for those who become saints. Consumed with zeal for God, he began attending more frequently the parish church and the Blessed Sacrament, fasting on small piece of yam and water and imposing harsh mortifications on himself.  However, when his cousine/teacher realized what he was doing, he forbade him from undertaking this fasting regimen and these penances on the grounds that doing so was damaging his health and banned him from assuming any further penances without permission. It is said that the parish priest told him that he could become the great saint he was striving to be by being completely obedient to his Cousin/teacher in whose house he was living at the time. He obeyed but was not satisfied. He considered obedience a necessity, and therefore, insufficient as a penance. However at his age and dependence on his master with obedience he could give more glory to the Lord than by many long and arduous penances, for God delights in obedience more than sacrifice. (cf.1 Sam 15:22). It was in this manner of obedience, then, that he surrendered to God, trusting that he would become a saint by obeying his teachers and master. He subsequently abided by the maxim: I cannot do big things, but I can do little things with great love.
              We recall a very strange thing that happened on the eve of his baptism something of a kind of a sublime example of hidden holiness. He was baptised at the age of nine. As the parish priest was giving the last instructions for baptism and the necessity of parting completely with the agents of the devil, the young boy recalled that he has an idol [chi] which his pagan parents made for him at birth. He ran straight home and in front of his mother brought out the idol and broke it – an abomination - an offence punishable death in the traditional religion. His mother was dumb founded – could not understand the boy. After breaking the idol the boy ran back to the church and joined others for baptism. He was baptised the next day January 12, 1912. On that day, which he called the happiest and most wonderful day of his life, he made four resolutions, which guided him from then on - to go to Confession and Holy Communion as often as his confessor allowed him; to sanctify Sundays and holy days in a special manner; to have Jesus and Mary be his chief friends; and to choose death before sin.
             His quiet, unassuming example of sanctity lays out an imitable path to sanctity. He gave himself entirely to the service of his master and lived an ordinary servant’s life in an extraordinary way - attending Holy Mass and receiving Holy Communion with utmost love and reverence as often as he could, going frequently to Confession, performing hidden mortifications.  By doing the simple and ordinary things he became great because he was faithful in doing God’s will. That, in the end, is what makes great saints: doing the will of God. We know that great thing like “prophecies…will pass away, tongues…will cease, knowledge…will pass…, but love never ends” (1 Cor. 13:8). Therefore, it is love that will make us saints and it follows that to love God is to do His will. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15).
            All great saints imitate Christ to a heroic degree. They endure their trials bravely. They are steadfast in faith to the end. Life is a continual battle with the forces of darkness, and it will not get any easier with age. But with the prayers and example of Blessed Iwene Tansi, we have another faithful protector to guide us to God. We would do well to act on his words: “if you want to become a Christian better be a good one ...go to confession regularly and to Communion as often as you can.” 


                                                                    Sunday, June 12, 2022
                                                      Blessed Tansi: Pastoral approach to culture
            Blessed Tansi cultural creativity was for change. Many who went before him did their best with the opportunity available to them but they did not make much powerful and lasting impact on Igbo tradition and Christian culture. They did not do more than just either consume, criticise, condemn, or copy it. The Blessed Tansi method was the only way to truly change what was wrong in Igbo culture; he sought to create something new for it - something that will inspire people enough to start to reshape their lives, behaviours, belief and surroundings. This is what he did; first he embraced his calling as a God given opportunity to help others and to change the society. He accepted the desire to take what existed in the world around him and make something better. He took his vocation serious by accepting all its demands to be creative.
          He took good care of the good things that the culture has already given him. Preserved and nourished the best of what people before him have contributed to the culture in the areas of family, marriage, youth initiation, festivals/ masquerade and role of women in the society. These areas were very sensitive because of their connection with the traditional religion. In Igbo tradition life is intimately connected with the worship of the deity.  The daily life of an Igbo man is not different from his religious life.  In these areas he focused his greatest attention making them more acceptable to Christianity. He was also aware of their future role in the society. By the payment of the bride price tradition permits the couple to live together but not so with the Christian tradition. It was difficult for converts to accept the Christian view. Blessed Tansi sought to present a true experience of authentic Christian vision for marriage and family life in order to achieve the spiritual fruits that come from living out the nuptial sacramental vocation.
          He dared to take risks for the people. He was brave and willing to think and do things that have never been thought of or done before (such as separating even with force young men and their wives who were living together without sacramental marriage) - things that would make his environments a better place. His faith and trust in God helped him to overcome fears that would block him from using his creativity to the fullest. Distractions and obstacles were many but knowing that he was not pursuing a vague and naïve general idea of changing the society, he thought and prayed about the specific ways God wanted to use him to do His redemptive work at this particular time and in this particular place. He was strengthened by the Gospel's power to transform culture as such power cannot be contained in any particular culture; it reaches into every culture and changes it by changing the lives of the people within. With God's power at work to make even the impossible gloriously possible, every culture can be changed for the better. Relying on God's unlimited power instead of his own limited efforts he was able to dethrone the myths of the evil forest, challenged and defeated the masquerade cult and bettered the status of women in general. Gradually through his efforts the community where many people have rejected or were unaware of the truths of the Gospel began to be committed to approaching their society’s challenges with an apostolic mindset. His humble way of life and trust that God was at work through him in such a way that even his efforts on the smallest scale was hugely significant if God had called him to do it. Today Nigerians reap the fruits of the risked which he took in his time. Now, when we are living in a time when killing for money is a hobby, when money seems to answer and solve all problems, when bribery and corruption are at their highest level when children cannot pray in school, when many youths are unemployed and many take to violence and horror, witchcraft and Satanism. It is time for us to learn about those who strove for and achieved sainthood; it is time for Blessed Iwene Tansi whose strong determination proves today that convinced pastors of souls who are mindful that people need to be shown Christ’s love and compassion before they will be ready to understand and embrace many of the Church’s teachings will make a similar success in the ministry.  If Blessed Iwene Tansi a Nigerian at my own age, living right here, open to the same, if not bigger dangers, still found time and means to keep himself a true follower of Jesus Christ, why cannot I do the same. Real religion is not made up of only words; we must come to deeds. Faith without good work is useless.
    
                                                              Sunday June 5, 2022
                                                 Nigeria needs Blessed Tansi message now.
             There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult our problems may become there is hope in Blessed Tansi message and heavenly intervention.  His message is an inspiration to everyone in the Nigeria. His life is his own and his vocation.  In reflecting upon his vocation and how he lived it out we are focusing on the things that are at the core of our life and faith in order to renew our awareness of the things that really matter in our life.  His life is important because it is a life of faith, of humble and persevering in and following out of what he saw to be God’s will for him, even when it cost everything, even when all was dark and cold. He was just one more disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we can learn from him as we can from his Master. As we pray for him and to him we ask God that his cause may prosper, and that he may be an inspiration to many Nigerians, whatever state of life they are called to, and that he may draw many Nigerians to a life worthy of their state. He spent much of his life in reconciling families, groups, towns and cultures.  “Father Tansi knew that there is something of the Prodigal Son in every human being. He knew that all men and women are tempted to separate themselves from God in order to lead their own independent and selfish existence. He knew that they are then disappointed by the emptiness of the illusion which had fascinated them, and that they eventually find in the depths of their heart the road leading back to the Father's house”( St. John Paul 11. Sermon. Beatification 1998)   He was a champion for forgiveness, encouraged and implored all to forgive one another and to hand on the gift of reconciliation to everybody. In this way he made reconciliation a reality at every level of Nigerian life. He inspired people to welcome the peace of Christ, and encouraged them to nourish the life of grace with the word of God and with Holy Communion.
             Today Nigeria needs to live in peace with one another. Perhaps this is the greatest problem now confronting this great nation. This peace can only come through the witness of the sons and daughters of Nigeria. With individual reconciliation Nigerians can bring to society at large the forgiveness and reconciliation of Christ our Peace. If we don’t do this our country can become more and more like a battlefield, where only selfish interests count and the law of force prevails. Like Blessed Tansi we Catholics in Nigeria must be authentic and effective witnesses to the faith in every aspect of life, both in public affairs and in private matters.
           The real measure of this man is to be found in what God accomplished through him.  His humble but zealous apostolate brought massive expansion of the church through building new outstations where reconciling and sanctifying marriages, families and towns took place. One of the obvious effects of his reconciliation efforts was relief and help to the poor, sick, needy and abandoned. His message is universal because it is basically the message of the Gospel applied to concrete situations in the world of today. For him human life on earth has 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 fulfillment only in God lived among and identified with the poor, the sick and the dejected of society.
            The life of Blessed Iwene Tansi teaches Nigerians how to give more and give all for the good of all - common good - how to suffer more and by this means to bring relief and to save more souls. Through his penitential and mortified life he brought God’s blessings for his people. There are, of course, many ways to sacrifice for the good of others. If God permits physical sufferings, we can convert them into a bodily self-offering. We can sacrifice monetarily — truly sacrifice, going without things we need — in order to help those who often go without many of the basics we take for granted. And we can make the commitment to give our life to spread the message of love and forgiveness whether in far distant lands or in our own neighborhoods.

                                                                      Sunday, May 29, 2022     
                                                Relevance of Blessed Tansi Family Apostolate.
           Family, the domestic church, is the key to the renewal of society and the Church at large. But how is the family to live out its mission in an apostolic way? From my pastoral experience over these fifty years, I do not believe there has been ever an easy time to be a parent or raise a family. We are certainly in a time with its own unique challenges, especially regarding our faith. I am confident, however, that if the Lord has allowed the Church and the family to live through an age such as this, then He has a plan for how we are to remain in Him and communicate His Gospel to the world. However, the church and parents need to double down on their commitment to Christ and take the posture of sharing our living faith with our children who will in turn become the next generation of apostles.
          In this regard, Blessed Tansi has a message for our generation. In my early years in the junior seminary, I remember being regularly inspired by the missionary journeys of St. Paul and the other Apostles. I used to dream of new mission fields, extreme situations, and heroic crusades that the Lord had in store for me when I become a priest. In fact, one of my hopes in discerning the priesthood and celibacy was the perceived freedom to radically follow Christ to the ends of the earth. Later few years after my ordination to the priesthood my bishop, Francis Arinze, now Cardinal introduced a heroic missionary priest - Fr. Michael Iwene Tansi to me. I picked an interest and studied his life and ministry in the Archdiocese of Onitsha. Needless to say, what I imagined in my missionary dreams became real in the life of this holy priest.  I love his zeal for the salvation of souls. His pastoral approach to the family fascinated me. Today we are hearing the repeated calls of pastors declaring that the entire Church must embrace our missionary callings and each takes up his part to proclaim Christ to all creatures. That we can no longer live as foreigners and allow the invading surrounding cultures to take away our Christian family values. I continue to tell myself that if the present-day pastors of souls were to adopt Blessed Tansi's zeal and approach to family apostolate some of our problems might be minimized.
           The Blessed Tansi baseline is that experience will outweigh instruction. Instruction must be followed up by action and experience and this guided his pastoral approach to families. For families to take up their role in the mission of the church they must be involved in apostolic activities, which means intentionally building the kingdom in response to God’s calling. He began with the sanctification of marriages and families. Parents need to be holy first before they can initiate their children into it. Father Tansi promoted the status of women. He insisted that betrothed girls should attend his marriage training center where they were taught Catholic doctrine, home keeping, Christian family traditions, sewing, knitting, etc. He thus laid solid foundations for Christian families in the mothers-to-be. He opposed the Igbo practice of men calling their wives "onye be m" (the person of my house) because this suggests inequality of the spouses and undermines the proper role of wives in the family.
           He promoted the education of young girls and young boys in many senses of the word. He had primary schools and succeeded in inspiring his teachers, who saw their role not just as teachers but as formators of the growing population. At Dunukofia and other places, Father Tansi had boarding houses for pupils in Standards five and six, young people around the ages of eleven and twelve. The boys lived in the mission compound from Sunday evening to Friday afternoon then they would return to their parents and help on the farms at the weekend. These children in the boarding house had fixed times for morning and evening prayers. They took turns in serving Mass which they all attended each morning when Fr Tansi was not visiting the many outstations of the parish. Fr Tansi himself read the spiritual reading to them for fifteen minutes each day with explanations.  For his teachers who taught these children, he insisted that those who have young girls and young boys must teach them dignity, respect, and love for life. They must teach them purity and holiness. Teach them not to be afraid. Teach them to love one another and to keep the commandment of God about love. Teach them not to touch each other in an immodest way so that on the day of their wedding they could give to each other a virgin heart and a virgin body. The young people must be able to control themselves, to be able to love and to be able to pray. Only a man with a great concern for the future role of the family could do these things.
            He was sometimes hard on parents who neglect their parental responsibilities.  He made his parishioners realize that by God’s design, the family is the place where we really learn everything. Parents who have seen their children grow into adulthood know their longing for a home, especially for Christmas and many other holidays. Families are necessary for every age of human life and history but we need to adjust our understanding and practice of family life to better suit the needs of the age we find ourselves in.  


                                                               Sunday May 22, 2022
                                          Tansi had quick and deep understanding of Christianity.

                Looking at the way Blessed Iwene Tansi lived out his life and the kind of lifestyle he adopted one would think that the Blessed Tansi lived in the Light of Heaven. The Holy Father St. John Paul 11 thought that way.  “He was, first of all, a man of God: his long hours before the Blessed Sacrament filled his heart with generous and courageous love. Those who knew him testified to his great love of God. Everyone who met him was touched by his personal goodness”. (Beatification sermon 1998)  Remember that the Blessed Tansi family background was not Christian. His parents were devout members of the Igbo traditional religion. He was brought up in the practices of this religion: attending feasts, sacrifices, and dances with his parents. At the death of his father when the young boy was only seven, he was sent to live with his Cousin Robert Orekeyie for upkeep and education. This devout teacher brought him to the catholic school where he was exposed to Christianity. He began to learn the Christian religion which was just being introduced by the missionaries who combined evangelization with western education. The young Iwene Tansi was so absorbed and fascinated with the Christian religion that within three years he was ready for baptism which he received in 1912. He was among the first group of children in Aguleri who were received and baptised by the just coming missionaries. “Blessed Cyprian Michael Tansi 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” (ibid).
             Coming from a pagan background and very quickly rose to ‘Blessed’ is for everybody a remarkable evidence of grace and human personal effort. The way he lived his life from the age of twelve when he was baptised shows a clear and quick understanding of Christianity. He did not only accept the content of the Christian way of life but living it he made it African-Nigerian. Because he made Christianity his own and Nigerian his pastoral ministry made great impression and impact on the people. What he learned as a child in the traditional religion he transferred into the richness of Christianity.
          The most important judgement any of us will ever make is about the intentions of God – his very nature and the purposes of his heart. This judgement in and of itself shapes the rest of one’s walk of faith. If we judge God to be angry and vengeful, we will not feel safe in his presence and will steer clear of spiritual intimacy; if we judge him to be merciful and gracious, we can discover the most incredible, tangible connection with the Lord, and walk closely with him each and every day. This was the first and most important step in the life of Blessed Tansi. He seemed to have understood who and what God represents in his life. He judged God faithful, and in doing so received the blessings that radically transformed his life, his future, and his view of the entire human race. Judging God faithful, the young Tansi measure expanded to contain the uncontainable.  He was able to see the world in a different way – with the eye of faith. He understood what to take from the world and what to reject. It was moving away from the old and moving towards the new – accepting Christ and his way of life. He struggled to trust God and his neighbour, and to see God as he is. He succeeded because his trust in God was as easy as his breath. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”. (Rom.12:2) One of the great lessons Blessed Tansi tried to teach his young people is to make a correct and true judgment of God which will lead to a true and unlimited intimacy with God. Thinking falsely of God will prohibit one from lightness of spirit and will lead one to walk around with heads full of lies and shoulders bowed.  He helped them to maintain a clear, accurate image of God at the forefront of their minds. “... show us the Father and that will be enough for us. . . Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” John 14: 8-10.  He understood Christianity as the way of life of Jesus who is the way the truth and the life. Jesus God became for him the healer, the deliverer, the protector, the provider, and thinking otherwise was undermining the faith. The day he accepted that God is good was the day he truly learned to adore Him. His worship of God was as free as it was because he trusted Him completely and loved to be in His presence. His detachment from the world is another proof for us of his belief that humans are aliens and strangers in this world, and should be longing for a better country - that better country is not up in the clouds—it is down on earth. While the world now under sin and curse is not our home.  The New Earth filled with beauties and no longer under sin and curse will be our home forever. 

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                                                              Sunday May 15, 2022
                                           
Tansi Pastoral approach to Fallen Catholics.
              Because his was an era of primary evangelisation, there were strictly speaking not much fallen Catholics. What were obtainable were lapsed and uncommitted Catholics most of whom were lured to returning to the traditional religious practices after their conversion by the excitement of its feasts, dances and social affiliations. Blessed Tansi would never allow that because of the dangers to their faith evolved. For him converts must reinvigorate their faith with a strong hunger for Christ by all time fidelity to their baptismal vows, intimate relationships with others, depth of their own interior life, and growth in personal virtue. When they are strong they can form others into intentional disciples by their evangelization. This was actually how he sent out teacher catechists as evangelizers to the remote areas of his parish. He believed that the multiplication of disciples in this way could and would change traditional culture as well as individual lives. His zeal is such that no time, no energy and no resources should be wasted for evangelization and he himself taking the lead. His Dunukofia mission included Uke, Abatete, Ogidi, Eziowelle, and Abacha; others were Umudioka, Umunachi, Ogbunike, Umunya, Awkuzu, Abba, Ifite-Ukpo, Ukpo-Akpu, Enugu-Agidi and Ukwulu. For the purposes of his pastoral trek, he divided his very vast mission into three zones: the central zone, Umudioka, Umunachi, Ogbunike, Ifite-Ukpo, and Umunya: the Eastern zone, Ogidi, Abatete, Uke, Eziowelle, Abacha and Ideani, and the Western zones Ukpo-Akpu, Abba, Ukwulu and Enugu-Agidi. Each week he concentrated his pastoral ministry in a zone, the others were visited only on emergency cases like a sick call or death. “Going on trek” became a regular thing for him and when people looked for him and could not find him the conclusion is ‘he is on trek’. The only means available for him for such distance and vast area was a bicycle. He did most of the trek on foot.He had very strong words of condemnation for towns and individuals that did not meet up to his expectation. Abatete, Ogidi and Ogbunike were singled out in this connection.  “Agwo talu Ogidi julu Ogbunike odu, bua Abatete aso” (The snake that bit Ogidi rubbed its tail on Ogbunike and spat on Abatete). He hated sin and denounced wrong doing, by using strong measures, which the undiscerning may described as harsh and irritable. To see his flock giddily intent on justifying their evil ways with contempt for God afflicted and tortured him, made him suffer agonies, exhausted his mind and rent his heart. He commented denouncing the hardened heart of some Abatete Catholics: “Abatete, Nkwuputa unu na eyim egwu, Olili Nso unu na anata na eyim oyi” (Abatete people, your confessions terrify me, your sacramental communion are shameful). This impelling need to make others understand the error of sin and the offence committed against God and his determined will to do everything possible to collaborate in the salvation of souls, led him to be sharp at times and even harsh toward others. This brusque treatment served to startle sinners to make them realize the seriousness of their offences against God, induce them to reflect and to repent. It suffices to think of all the times harsh words and seeming curses were pronounced over an individual or a group of individuals. “Ogbunike, mango di na uno uka unu na ekpe unu ikpe” (Ogbunike, the mango tree on your church yard testifies against you). His pastoral method and action is all motivated and guided by love and compassion. In other words, he was willing to love others enough to do whatever it takes to help them grow closer to God and, to get them to heaven. He was willing to suffer with them and for them. And willing to do more at all times for them.​


                                                           Sunday, May 8, 2022
                                Blessed Tansi Pastoral Method has an attraction to the Young.
           
One of the attractive sides of Blessed Tansi pastoral approach is his attention to the young people. His ministry attracted them and they followed him. His apostolate had a great attraction to the young. We can think of the success of his school apostolate, his boarding houses for boys and girls, and the formation of Mary league girls who were organized with a kind of military rules and discipline. Above all was his great zeal for evangelization and expansion of the church and the compassion for the poor, sick and aged which attracted the interest of the young people. The young people could see immediately his concern for the spiritual and human need of the people. Francis Cardinal Arinze told me that during the holidays his house looked like a mini-seminary. He worked beyond the normal human capacity in his pastoral ministry. It was clear to everybody that he was for them and cared very much for both their spiritual and material needs.  It was easy for them to follow his instructions. Some of his pastoral methods for bringing back sinners to the sacrament may be too hard for the present day pastors but they were appropriate for his time.  What was important was the goal of his apostolate which goal is still the same today but the method may differ.
             Today one of the most worrying features of our day is the falling away of young people from the ways of faith. Many are no longer attracted to the church and clergy. The sad fact is that as the priests and church leaders struggle to fill the young hearts with the joy of the Gospel — with the certainty that each has an indispensable role in salvation.  The secular society insists that anything transcendent is an illusion. Power, money and success/happiness seem to answer all human quests and problems. As a result meaning and purpose are absent from the lives of many young people. The local church must solve this great puzzle of how to reach the young people on a spiritual level. Even though times are different and culture has undergone great changes a good study of Blessed Tansi approach to youth apostolate might help. The good news of the gospel is the same to every generation and should be attractive to all at the same time. Blessed Tansi used the method he was convinced appropriate at his own time. His personality and lifestyle are something else to consider.  He was a holy man, what he believed he lived and preached. Cardinal Arinze said that his person and presence are like fire to which no one who comes close could remain indifferent. When the holy pastor spoke the audience listened with rapt attention and interest. In digging into some of his writings and advice to young people who followed him I have come to appreciate his attempts to teach them love and sincerity to oneself -  a way out of the blankness and despair of skepticism of the time and into the easement of moral certainty.   In his time life was difficult and filled with suffering. There were afflictions people couldn’t control, like illness, the loss of loved ones and natural disaster. Even worse was what tradition called malevolence - the dark parts of our nature that hurt others, and the malevolence of those around us that wound us. This was the baseline condition of life, and to young people who suffered it came as a relief to learn that it was everyone’s experience. The good news, according to Blessed Tansi was that we could still prevail. We could take up arms against the sea of troubles, and by opposing we could courageously confront them. Humans were not victims but protagonists, and able ones. From the beginning he adopted a lifestyle of responsibility for himself showing everyone that life has a meaning and purpose.  Before everyone his personality and actions were like light shining and lighting up the dark world that others rely on. People simply believed and followed him. Even certain tragedies of his own life like the mysterious murder of his mother did not change his optimist and positive lifestyle.  The malevolence that adds the horror of purposeful injury to the accidental cruelties of our days is nothing else but original sin, the inky darkness that lives deep inside each of us, without exception.
              He taught his youth that they must be responsible, maintain self esteem and dignity even in the pursuit of happiness.  The young men of his days were aching for a challenge and for a citadel to conquer as much as the young of today.  Only that the old knew, inside them, that they were created not for the banal pursuit of comfort but for the glorious adventure of heroic deeds and noble purposes. This idea of noble purpose that Blessed Tansi taught them made all the difference. Some present day pastors have presented our religion as a comforting, healthy way to pursue happiness and grow our self-esteem.  We have forgotten the meaning that comes from taking on responsibility — for our relationship with God, for the beautiful practices of our faith, for our brothers and sisters. It is in the fulfillment of duty that the heart is engaged and enkindled, and that dysfunction becomes peace. Jesus Christ modeled and proposed a life of valorous responsibility. “Take up your cross and follow me”.
 

​                                                                  Sunday May 1, 2022.
                                                  Turn to Blessed Tansi when life gets messy.
             We considered some weeks ago the benefits of knowing Blessed Iwene Tansi. Part of knowing him is to be able to learn from the way he himself managed the difficult stations in his lifetime and to be able to run to his patronage when we are in difficulty. When the Blessed Tansi in 1949 arrived to become the first indigenous parish priest of Aguleri he found almost everything upside down: his own people did not want him as their pastor, the mission and the schools were bankrupt, the teachers and other church workers were owed salaries for months. In this embarrassing situation, he reassured his assistant priest Rev. Mark Uluogu that they have two most important things they needed to begin their mission; there is God for them and there is a roof over their heads. We all know that when life gives us too much lemon the best thing to do is to make lemonade instead of wasting the lemon. But what should you do when the lemons come in multiples and so quickly that there isn’t time to look for the juicer? This was that sort of situation for the parish priest and his assistant in Aguleri 1949.
           What happens in real-life situations when all of our best plans and preparations get thrown out of the window at a moment’s notice by factors beyond our control? It could be difficult and trying if you have ever had such a situation. Like the Blessed Tansi at Aguleri incident be optimist and trust in God with the hope that things will get better. Sometimes one feels it is hard to be optimistic in the midst of stressful situations. But often this is due to a misunderstanding of what true optimism really means. Authentic optimism is not wishing our problems away or telling ourselves pretty lies that things are not really as bad as they seem.  Rather it is a true belief that at the beginning of time, God had a plan for the world and that–in spite of sin thwarting that plan in the present–God’s plan will be restored through grace at the end of time.  It is another way of saying that all things work for good for those who love God and earnestly work hard for that good. Be positive and act positively. Do what is humanly possible and wait for God’s action.  You can change the situation; you have the means available to you. Recall your past blessings, your strengths, and your skills as a reminder of what you have to work within responding to life’s challenges. God has not changed, has not forgotten you, and has not finished with you. Keep the big picture of God’s blessings in mind – this requires us to be able to step out of the chaos of everyday life and remember who we are and what is important.

This requires us to stay connected to God–to be able to see things from his point of view. People who look at Blessed Tansi thirteen years of monastic experience from the outside may think that it was the most difficult station in his life. It may be or may not but surely it was the most fulfilling station of his life because he found God where he could relate most intimately with him. Like him, if we find ways to bring the present moment to God no matter how crazy it is. God will take over and we find joy in managing the situation. Often we forget the positive thing to do and look on the negative side – coming up with the wrong questions – who has done this to me, my enemies are on me. Forget such thoughts and focus on little ways to be a gift to others all day long.  As you go about your day, consciously ask yourself: how you can make a difference in this moment? Is there something I can do to make this person’s day even a little easier or more pleasant? Is there something you can do to take down the tension in this situation? 

            You don’t have to be a martyr about it.  Just look for those little ways to be a gift or create caring connection while you are passing by or passing through.  These little acts of kindness increase your joy by helping you see all the ways you are making a positive difference in your world and in the lives of those around you. Then have you prayed to God with Blessed Tansi : O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me! The Blessed Tansi said this prayer many time in his life time. When you repeat it with him the difference will be clear. As you do these things remember that at the different and difficult stations in his life he persevered trusting God will not abandon him.​ 


                                                                 Sunday April 24, 2022
                                                          Blessed Tansi Lifestyle is radical
              The Lord is truly risen indeed...! As we rejoice in God’s love and mercy shown to us in the resurrection of Christ we see a reason to take responsibility for the great gifts received. For we walk no longer in darkness but have the light of life. Jesus has laid out a path for us, showing what will truly give us joy and happiness. As we celebrate the ‘Mercy Sunday’ we remember God has forgiven us in Christ and his mercy has a mission which is not licentiousness, lawlessness or a permission to continue in our old life of sin. Mercy given calls for new beginnings – radical change, so that we can go and sin no more. Blessed Tansi understood very well that the mission of God’s Easter mercy is ultimately one of self donation. And he lived it out by a radical way of choices and life so as to die to sinfulness, selflessly serve others and became a second chance for others.
             In 1950 Blessed Tansi left his flourishing apostolate in the Archdiocese of Onitsha for unknown plunge into the monastery of Mount Saint Bernard England. The decision to do this was radical for he was leaving the security of the world, even his own safety, in order to answer a divine call to live his life according to the Gospel - close to the poor and to his people, with a heart drawn to Jesus and his brothers and sisters. It was not an easy adventure but he was happy because he found God whom he was looking for. It was what he thought to be the will of God for him. He was radical after his Master Jesus who gives all and asks for all. He gave to Blessed Tansi a love that is total and asks from him an undivided heart. Blessed Tansi understood that his Master Jesus is not content with a percentage of love. He cannot love him twenty or fifty or sixty percent. It is either all or nothing. He cannot treat his Master like the gospel rich young man who went away sad after Jesus had asked him to sell all his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor and come and follow him. Off course Blessed Tansi gained at last;  it paid him. He did not loose anything giving up all for the sake of Jesus and his gospel. He is now officially counted among the Blessed of God.
           This radical lifestyle stated early in his life. I now can think of his leaving the comfort of his parent’s house to live and serve his cousin teacher in order to go to school and to become a Christian. At his time the teaching profession was among the most rewarding profession but he gave it up for the seminary in 1925.  He was a very successful parish priest in the Archdiocese of Onitsha from 1937-1950 but he gave it up for the monastery in 1950. In his pastoral ministry some of his methods were also radical. His vehement opposition to the traditional rulers who used their laws to suppress the right and dignity of the people especially the poor is among some of his radical decisions. He fought for the right and freedom of women and opposed any one who stood on his way. Girls were literally instructed to fight the masquerades that often molested them for refusing their love advances. Some of the traditional laws on widowhood were unfair and degrading, these he could not allow to be going on. He was not afraid to denounce them and boldly preached love and human respect to all. I should also mention his radical love for the poor and sick. The lepers come readily to my mind. The lepers in the traditional religious belief were offenders of the earth goddess. They were being punished by the gods and nobody should associate with them for fear of incurring the wraths of the gods. Blessed Tansi broke that concept at the displeasure of the people. He befriended them, fed them, treated them and found a home for them and nothing happened to him. This radical step opened the eyes of the people and they responded to his call to love and help the lepers.In all these Christ was the highest lover he was looking for. Like the biblical trader he was looking for the goods of great value and when he found one, went off and sold all he had to buy it. (cf. Matt. (13: 44-45). God was his object of highest value – wherever and whenever he saw this valuable he abandoned everything and went for it. In each of his radical changes he was greatly criticised. But he was certain on what he was doing and nobody could stop him not even the cruel death of his mother. His desire to uphold the supremacy of God regardless of any social status was not appreciated by the majority of his contemporary. What they thought he lost in each case the Blessed Tansi gained a hundredfold.


                                                     Sunday Easter, April 17, 2022
                                         
                    Your help is still needed!
                                                    The Lord has truly risen indeed! Alleluia.

           
This Easter, as you experience the great joy of the Lord’s resurrection and as you make more Easter people welcome, think of going out of your way to make new devotees for Blessed Tansi. The start of one’s relationship like a faith journey is an exciting and blessed time, and each one of us should go out of our way to make these new devotees feel excited and supported by the protection of Blessed Iwene Tansi. We need a kind of grassroots campaign once more to bring Blessed Tansi to every corner of Nigerian community. If Blessed Iwene Tansi is a product of the Nigerian local church who we want to bring to the universal church for recognition (Sainthood) all Nigerians must know him and take part in this great work. During this Easter season spend some time learning about Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi, a Nigerian, beatified by the Holy Father, St. John Paul 11 on March 22nd 1998 at Oba near Onitsha. The members of Blessed Iwene Tansi Solidarity Prayer Group, the Devotees, and the members of his associates are embarking on a campaign to inform Nigerians through understanding and prayer how to encourage the Vatican to canonise this humble Nigerian priest. Learn about the life and virtues of this holy Nigerian, and then share his stories with your family and friends. Support his prayer groups in your parish. If you do not have any help to start one immediately. Children, schools and organizations can become effective means to increase awareness of his canonization. Parents and teachers can become great and effective agents in this regard.
            I am particularly happy that after two years of pandemic uncertainty, things are beginning to get back to normal in our churches this Holy Week and Easter. The Lenten Friday Stations of the Cross, Palm Sunday, and Easter Sunday Masses were celebrated without any significant restrictions for first time since 2019. This is a great reason to thank God and to consider doing so with an ever-increased attitude of love and hospitality for the rest of our lives.  “Welcome one another … as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God,” (2 Cor. 15:7). This will become our mission as we bring the Blessed Tansi to the fullest of the altar. The stories of the way Blessed Iwene Tansi celebrated and lived lent and Easter are hopeful and inspiring. His dedication stemmed from a totally selfless and pure love of God and from a profound faith -- faith that he was being called to do God's work, what he had asked of him and faith in the Gospel message. It was through doing what he believed to be his work that he saw, loved, and consoled Jesus in his neighbours. The trials and difficulties he experienced were only on the sense level, for he was in reality constantly united to God and lived in an unbroken union with him and was able to declare that his mind and heart are habitually with God. He chose to focus on what was beautiful and had a special gift of perceiving God's action even in challenging circumstances, accepting whatever happened as permitted by him for some greater good. It was again a reflection of his strong faith. During lent in spite of his mortified and penitential way of living he seemed to work harder – even beyond normal capacity. Increased his long hours in the confessional, more pastoral treks, increased visits to the sick,  made more provisions for the sick and needy, longer fasts and prayers.  Remained more available to his parishioners.
           As we move about we can see for ourselves that in some parishes there are some old members of our prayer group whom we have not seen for a long time. They may have stopped attending our gatherings due to one reason or another. Please help them to find their way back for we still need them. We probably may even know families or individuals who, for one reason or another, have decided not to return — or who have simply drifted away, believing to be out of sight and out of mind. Do not be afraid to ask your parish priest or religious in your parish for help. These as well as the laity have an important role to play in encouraging the faithful to come back to Mass and popular devotions. As members of the Body of Christ, we are part of a family of believers. This Easter, let us remember that our important duty - to promote the cause of Blessed — of making him known and of praying for a successful conclusion of his worthy cause.


                                                                     SUNDAY April 10, 2022
                                                                                                                        The Simplicity of Blessed IweneTansi
               Blessed Tansi extraordinary life began in 1910 in the village of Igboezunu, Aguleri. From his humble beginnings as the child of peasant farmers Blessed Tansi would one day become a powerful spiritual leader in the Archdiocese of Onitsha and from his penitential and mortified life would bring the monastic apostolate to Nigeria. He started to be extraordinary when at the age of 9 he was preparing for baptism and in order to renounce Satan and all his works went and broke his personal ‘chi’ {God} made for him at birth. This act is an abomination in the traditional religion – the consequence is death. People thought that he would die but he did not. People feared what would happen to him later. By his action he did not condemn the traditional religious practice of his parents but taught that he knew something much better. From that time he followed the incoming missionaries, joined their schools and apostolic work.  
                As a priest he was much devoted to the poor, sick and needy. Spoke much of helping the sick and the poor so that one might assume that charity was the virtue he valued most in his life, but it was not. Rather from his most constant emphasis on simplicity before God and his personal lifestyle, simplicity would be the personal virtue he valued most.  It can also be said thatsimplicity was his “gospel”.  What exactly is this holy simplicity that is so important to him and how can we imitate this virtue in our own lives? From the way he lived we can describe what simplicity meant to him. His whole life has one single purpose which is freedom from complexity or division into parts. It was to love God with his whole heart and with his soul and with all his mind. (cf Matt. 22:37).  He did not want to do things to impress anybody or out of human respect. He was single-minded in intentions and in his pursuit of God’s will. He was free from any kind of luxury or ornament. He was completely detached from material wealth. He had no superfluous furniture, pictures or decorations in his house where everything was simple. I think that he knew that possessions bring attachment, and attachments hinder one from living for God in complete freedom. He lived Jesus command: “Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poo r, and you will have treasure in heaven.” (Lk 18:22) Finally he was free from any form of deceit or guile. He was very sincere with himself and with the people. He was sincere in words and actions saying things as they truly were to avoid any duplicity or deceit. He was a “true Israelite, in whom there is no guile or deceit.” (Jn 1:47)
              How can we imitate this virtue? In all humans there is a war going on inside each one of us daily. We struggle with a deep yearning for power, control, honor and praise. All of which we falsely believe will bring us comfort, love, and peace. Without consciously knowing it, we constantly seek to satiate these aspects of our egos in large and small ways. This battle leads us to spend our days trapped in cycles of fear. We all do it. It is a part of our fallen nature. Therefore, we live in a society where it is considered normal to present an image of ourselves that is not authentic. Just as in Blessed Tansi day, this is an obstacle for evangelization and service to the poor. If people sense any lack of authenticity in us, then they know we cannot be trusted and our message or service to them will be empty. On the other hand, if we have the courage and humility to be seen as we truly are, to speak the truth in love, and to do everything with authenticity as our guide, then we will be effective in sharing the gospel and in helping the poor, the way Tansi was. Simplicity is the spirit of Jesus and no one has ever embodied simplicity the way Christ did. Looking at the life work of Blessed Tansi we see that by imitating Jesus in His spirit of simplicity, he became Christ to the poor, the sick, and the abandoned.  He was move with pity at the condition of the lepers just as Jesus was moved with pity for the widow from Nain whose son had died. (Lk 7:13) His heart was filled with compassion when he encountered the widows and orphans of his parish who suffered, and he wanted to do all in his power to help them. We too can do the same in our neighbour hoods.


​​                                                              Sunday April 3rd. 2022
                                                      Benefits of Knowing Blessed Tansi
            Befriending the Saints can give us a boost when we feel lost, lonely, and afraid of trusting God. Today living a wholehearted Christian life is becoming increasingly difficult. Our culture is becoming anything but Christian. Secular culture is bombarding our spiritual life on all fronts. If we lose the ability to be intentional about setting aside moments each day for solitude, we will lose our faith without realizing why, how and when. Sometimes our faith can become stale and stagnant and we desperately grasp at frayed floss to keep hanging on. Whether you are a Catholic from infancy or a convert well into your adulthood, faith relies on more than what we can see. Friendship with Blessed Tansi somehow brings us back home. We are inspired by his dramatic conversion and equally so by his quiet fidelity in all the stations of his life as a teacher, priest, and monk. We are drawn by his wonderful pastoral leadership and example. We are edified by his courage in facing difficult situations in his life. Our hearts fill with compassion at his spirit of poverty and detachment from material things. But mostly our hearts drop at his excellence in clemency, love, and compassion to the sick and the poor.
           We long to do great things for the poor when we read about his pastoral ministry to the lepers, the widows, and the abandoned. Meanwhile, the tireless work for educating and catechizing the young people reminds us that this is our work too. His concern for the sanctification of family and marriage, education, and liberation of women help as we strive to love and give equal rights to all people we encounter. His missionary experience and practical zeal for souls which found fulfillment in his call to the hidden way of life - contemplative and missionary help us to understand the importance of our personal union with God, prayer, and sacrifice. As a good pastor of souls, he shows us that holiness does not have to be flashy, but involves the basic virtues in which he thrived — faith in God, the twofold love, heart-felt compassion, the capacity for hard work, and a real fatherly sense of protection for those entrusted to us.  “ …Fr. Tansi's witness to the Gospel and to Christian charity is a spiritual gift which this local Church now offers to the Universal Church”. (JP 11 Nigeria 1998) He lived out the Gospel in a way that was convincing and in a way that gave credible witness with a very high degree of credibility. The type of witness that is contagious. The work we are called to do is the work of the Saints. But we need the histories and legacies of the Saints to bolster the belief that we, too, are called for something greater than acquiescing to the world’s clamor. 
           We know that the beginning of every relationship often feels awkward and forced.  Don’t loose courage if you find in Blessed Tansi lifestyle a little difficult, it has to be so. You are a different person and called with your personal charism. Educate yourself on whom Blessed Tansi is. Understand more about the lives he lived and the works he did. Pray, and continue to pray! Spread the information about him.  Share this information with your friends, family, bible study groups, knitting circles, committees and more.
           Continue your acquaintanceship with him by offering traditional prayers, such as novenas or even chaplets. Later, you may likely move to a more organic and natural conversation with him. Put his picture that you love best on your reading table, near your bed or any other place you frequent very often.  Form a habit of mentioning his name often but more importantly when you need his assistance. If you can join one of his prayer groups and attend masses celebrated in his honour.  Wearing his blessed medal is an intimate and constant reminder for you to strive for virtue throughout ordinary and especially difficult days in your life. Wearing his medal can help us in our spiritual journey, even as we offer a brief aspiration or cry for help.  Parents may like to give their children his name at their baptism in this way you will be accustomed with his name in the family. Friendship relies on reciprocity. It is important to move from a superficial knowing to a deepening of fondness for a person. It might sound strange at first, since the Blessed Tansi is a person physically distanced from you. But the give-and-take of this relationship will enliven you, because you will learn how to move from asking to thanking. And he will always, always lead you to Jesus, your True Love and model.

                                                            Sunday March 27, 2022
                                        Beatification of Bl. Tansi – Blessing to Nigeria.
           
Last Tuesday, March 22, 2022, the Archdiocese of Onitsha celebrated the 24th anniversary of the Beatification of Blessed Iwene Tansi. The venue was the beatification site at Oba. It will be recalled that the Holy Father John Paul 11 now Saint, beatified  Blessed Tansi in his second pastoral visit to Nigeria. During his sermon the Holy Father described Blessed Tansi as “a prime example of the fruit 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” As we celebrate this unique event we remember that this fruit of holiness which grew and matured in this land is our own brother. He was like us and lived with us. He made his Christian way of life truly African. In him, Nigeria has something to offer to the universal church – truly Nigerian/African holiness. This is a good reason to rejoice and to be proud of. Furthermore, the Holy Father said that “Father Tansi witness to the Gospel and to Christian charity is a spiritual gift which this local church now offers to the universal church…”  We have something in Blessed Tansi that Nigeria can offer to the universal church. What a happy memory. It is fitting that we celebrate a Nigerian, true servant of the Lord who exemplifies what it means to be a true Christian disciple and a model of holiness. During his ministry in the Archdiocese of Onitsha, Blessed Tansi was a great and inspiring spiritual leader who offered direction and inspiration to everybody.
         The second visit of the Holy Father to Nigeria was in itself a great blessing to Nigeria.  He came only to beatify Blessed Tansi. The beatification brought the Holy Father a second time to Nigeria.  We remember that his coming brought Nigeria many social and political blessings. Before his coming Nigeria was in a bad state, fearful, insecure, and was in great social and political tension. It was a military rule I quite remember, political tension was at its highest and there were many political prisoners. Soon after the Pope’s visit, intervention and beatification of Blessed Tansi tensions began to die down, many in prison were released from detention, political parties were formed and the country returned to civilian rule. I see a hand of Blessed Tansi who loves his country so much in all these changes. Certainly, heaven was at work for and in Nigeria.
          Twenty-four years after, one would ask: what have Nigerians learned? This may be a good question for reflection for every Nigerian especially the politicians and those in public office. The Blessed Tansi is still very much alive in Nigeria; his fame of holy life is spreading among Nigerians. Many Nigerians are inspired to live a life of penance and devotion after his example. Many more are relinquishing their worldly desires and devoting themselves to a new way of life in service to others and the common good.  Could more Nigerians who aspire to worldly success and fame after blessed Tansi example sacrifice some of their wealth for the good of the common people and become missionaries to spread the Gospel of love to the poor and voiceless in this country. Could more wealthy and powerful Nigerians learn to give to the poor instead of taking what belongs to the poor? Blessed Tansi travelled to point of exhaustion the length and width of his mission in the Archdiocese of Onitsha to bring help and hope to millions of his people.
            The beatification of Blessed Tansi which came at the period of Nigerian religious and political history is a profound symbol of the deep Divine love and blessing through the intercession of his devoted and humble Servant. I have great hope that this year’s celebration will increase our zeal for perfection which will lift us up from our tepidity and selfishness and inspire us to strive more diligently to work for love and peace for our brothers and sister many of whom almost seem to be weakened or at death’s door through starvation.

                                                                 Sunday March 20, 2022
                                            Beatification Memorial: Tansi Mindset a Challenge.

           On Tuesday 22nd. March 2022 we remember the 24th anniversary of the beatification of the Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi at Oba near Onitsha by the Holy Father, St. John Paul 11. We celebrate the event today with sense of devotion, thanksgiving, commitment and responsibility. It is his lifestyle, his legacy for all Nigerians of today and of the future. He lived among us as a professional teacher, a diocesan priest and a religious monk.   His life and priestly vocation in particular was outstanding model of asceticism, piety, devotion to the Eucharist and of pastoral zeal. Today his life teaches us the basics of Christian vocation, love and responsible living. His concern for the under privileged, orphans, the needy and the poor speak eloquently to all Nigerian of life giving values we seem to forget today. To ignore these values may have a catastrophic effect on nation building and future Nigerians. We learnt when we became Christians that the human curse started with Adam when he lost the close communion he had with his Maker. Ever since then, mankind has been emotionally afraid, emotionally naked and emotionally in hiding. Our problems all stem from the fact that we are separated from the presence of God in our lives which has been the legacy of Blessed Tansi. We all know that we have gone astray over the years. Nigerian need to return to the basics Blessed Tansi taught for no particular age group, no level of economics, and no strata of social standing is immune to the biting fangs of guilt.  Unfortunately, Nigerians have sacrificed this basic truth at the altar of egoism and selfishness. Those who seem to believe in his legacy have actually failed him by refusing to accept or even simply to acknowledge his great truth.
          The love of God and of his fellow men and women urged him to live the way he lived. A man of prayer, intent on personal union with the Lord. We, clergy, religious, laity, are meant to focus on the things that are at the core of our faith, to renew our awareness of the things that really matter in our lives. If his life is important, it is because it was a life faith, of humble and persevering following out of what he saw to be God’s will for him, even when it cost everything, even when all was dark and cold. He was just one more disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we can learn from him as we can from his Master. So let us, as we celebrate his life, pray for him and to him, ask God that his cause may prosper, and that he may be an inspiration to many, whatever state of life they are called to, and that he may draw many to the priesthood and the monastic life. We will always count it a great privilege to have had him as a brother, to have witnessed his beatification on a Nigerian soil. He gave a great example of faith, fidelity, humility, love.Finally, our hearts go out to him in our struggle to find our place in this vast, confusing world. And we pray that we see ourselves through the eyes of the One who knows us better than anyone else does and who loves us beyond we can ever imagine. To do this, we must start thinking like the Blessed Tansi did and heeding our own call as devotees who are living today. May our celebration today remind us that we all need each other, depend on each other. We are all members of the same Body, and may our sharing in this Eucharistic celebration make us more aware in a very concrete way of the catholicity, the universality of the Church, and of our real oneness in Christ. Blessed Tansi life and death 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

                                                              Sunday March 13, 2022
                                              Blessed Tansi lived against the current

             Sometimes his actions looked like going against the current of natural behaviour. But for him, it was a matter of justice and self-conviction. For an average Nigerian who was naturally pushy it was a hard tiring task which could be accomplished only by strength of will. Blessed Tansi opposed all inclination of nature. This was a sweet task for a soul in love with God;  a soul which knew that everything it refused to self was given to God and that when it had reached the point of renouncing self in everything God Himself will give it the precious pearl of divine union. He was united with God’s will in all his actions. Because he surrendered completely to God’s providence and living in God there was nothing left in his self, nothing was provided for the future, no road was mapped out, but like a child was lead wherever God pleased. Even though he often felt unworthy and of no use, God knew well what he was worth before him and effectively using him to preach the Good News of the Gospel. God gave his silence, his quietness, his self-forgetfulness, his words and his gestures a certain virtue, which unknown to himself, worked in the hearts of those around him. This may be the reason why everyone who came in contact with him was touched by his goodness. No one remained indifferent after meeting Blessed Tansi.
             His love for poverty and detachment did not mean that he was hostile to people who did not follow his life style. His two assisting priests at Akpu, Fathers Panaki and Emerenini were allowed their own life-style. He did not despise the innocent joys of this world. In appearance he looked at least ten years more than his actual age. Toil had thickened his figure from slimness to a broad sturdiness. He was very generous to people especially to the poor and the sick. But his spirit of poverty and sense of justice prevented him from helping materially his own relations. He wanted them to work for what they needed. He consistently resisted the financial and other material pressures coming from his immediate family. While parish priest at Dunukofia his brother came from Aguleri asked him for money to buy seed yams for the planting season. He refused and made him to understand that the mission fund did not belong to the parish priest. On another occasion his cousin brought Aguleri fresh fish to sell in the market at Akpu but was not able to sell all the fish before some went bad. He was stranded, he had no money to travel back home. When he learnt that his cousin Fr.Tansi was around, with every hope of rescue he went to him for help. To his greatest embarrassment, Fr. Tansi gave him a knife and asked him to cut grass in the field in order to earn his return fare. His brother Vincent might never forget the day when he visited him at Dunukofia and Fr. Tansi asked him to split stones in order to pay for the food he ate.
             Even though hardship and rigorous self-discipline have exacted an inevitable toll on his face yet his friendship with people did not change. Gray was beginning to temper his hair. His eyes already weakened through excessive reading with poor light especially during student days were beginning to tell on his sight. The body stress from the continued unrest and long treks under hot afternoons of equatorial region had very little mercy on the ascetic young man. And with all these his sober mannerisms were normal and cordial.
 


​                                                                                                                 Sunday March 6, 2022

                                    Tansi lived with detachment from worldly riches/pleasures.

                Human nature likes easy comfort and pleasure. Sometimes the demand could lead to frustration and despair if not achieved. St. John of the Cross proposed a golden rule to curb and to subdue this incessant demand of nature for inordinate desire for pleasure: ‘ ... never incline to the easiest thing, but to the hardest; not to the tastiest, but to the most insipid; not to the things that give the greatest pleasure, but to those that give the least; not to the restful things, but to the painful ones; not to consolation, but to desolation; not to more, but to less; not to the highest and dearest, but to the lowest and most despised; not to the desire for something, but to having no desires’. This has guided generations of seekers to spiritual peace and progress. 

              Jesus himself lived each and every moment of his earthly life doing the will of his Father and to the young rich man who admired him wanted to live after his example he asked him to give up everything and follow him. The Blessed Tansi took serious the words of Jesus to this young rich man and made it a pattern of his life style. Very early in his life in the village living with the parents who had not much and who lived by providence from hand to mouth he learnt contentment at having nothing and trust in providence. He was not attracted to wealth and pleasures. When in 1919 he became a school teacher a position that earned him some salary but money was not his priority rather what he can do for others with his position and money.

             As a parish priest he did not own anything, he gave everything away to the neediest; he did not feel the necessity of having anything for himself: His ridge fasts, incredible pastoral trek and labour, sleepless nights, austere penances and continual mortifications were natural consequence of his detachment and love of poverty. Most of the spiritual sons and daughters today echo the most constant and repeated advice of their master, “…the world is nothing, only God. We should leave this world and have time for God”. For him to have time for God meant to dedicate his activities to him, to spend his life and be spent for Him. To give himself time for the service of God was to give back to Him one of the most precious gifts he has given to man. He looked at the world as something which was passing away, his attitude to temporal things was total detachment. His favourite Igbo adage summarized this: ‘Chakulu chakulu cha. Anu felu akpili, ogaa’ (Chew a piece of meat once, twice and thrice, once dawn the throat, it goes and never returns). With this he presented to his parishioners a very realistic picture of the world, its pleasures, its wealth, honours and beauties. They pass away so quickly. The world is not a lasting place. He undertook difference kinds of penances, imposed many hardships on himself in order to subdue the flesh and to make it the servant of the spirit. Through his personal poverty he identified with his flock, his generosity made him revered and loved. He could build a decent rectory like his colleague but he chose to identify himself with the local buildings. His house was built with mud and grass thatched roofs. He could afford a clean rest house in the outstations but he decided to live in the school store whenever he was visiting any outstation on trek. His house was poor, diet was poor, clothes was poor, last to go to bed and first to rise and spent long hours at night in prayer. Throughout his life he had always had great potentials to wealth and high positions but he had always rejected them choosing a poor state. In spite of his rigid lifestyle he was cheerful without dissipation, humble without pretence, serious without constraint, giving fraternal correction without haughtiness, edifying his neighbour by word and example without hypocrisy, strict on himself without imposing this on other people, confiding in divine providence without presumption and blending most beautifully work, rest and prayer. 

             He is a model of evangelical life not only for priests, but for laypeople, especially for those who work in the vast field of charity. He learnt to love the poor from childhood, the traditional society where he grew up had special place for the weak. He saw how his parents welcome and share their meals with the poor and needy. As a priest he became still more detached and his heart opened for everyone. To have such a new heart was to see and experience his desired change. He became less desirous for himself and focused less on passing worldly things, and more on the lasting treasure of heaven. He concentrated attention on the other things and began to love what and who God loved. He began to love holiness, justice, chastity, goodness, righteousness, and truth. His heart became alive with joy and zeal for God and an 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.

             St. James had similar warning when he said: “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God … Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:4, 8).

                                                                  Sunday, February 27, 2022

                                                           Blessed Tansi Lived with Prudence

               The faith is to be lived out. To do so, we are expected to act with prudence. We should not expect God to do everything for us. If we believed God should do everything for us and so we do nothing, there would be no purpose for us, no reason for us to live.  God can and will often help us in various ways, but more often than not, it will be through inspiration instead of direct intervention. If we do not engage such inspiration properly, if we do not engage it with prudence, we might end up suffering greatly, or worse, dying when we need not die. On the other hand, if we are faithful and wise, we will put our trust in God while doing what we can for ourselves. This is exactly the kind of legacy Blessed Tansi left behind: that to make a right choice we should remember one thing: good decisions are always about others, not just ourselves

               Choosing is a challenge. It involves facing the fear of the unknown, emerging from the chaos of uniformity, deciding to take your life in our hand. Blessed Tansi was a pious man of God, a man who acted in accordance to wisdom and grace, doing what he could to fulfil his role as a monk, pastor and teacher in the world. The decision to leave his rewarding teaching profession a sure financial means to support his poor aging mother and family was not an easy one. The opposition from the family and relations was tough. Exercising his usual wisdom and prudence and trusting that God was calling him to the priesthood he had to leave his teaching profession for good. He entered the Archdiocesan junior seminary at Igbariam in 1925. Ordained priest in 1937 and worked as an assistant priest at Nnewi for two years. He was appointed to the new virgin parish of Dunukofia in 1940 where he found no structure on arrival. He was given an ‘evil forest’ to build his mission. It looked like an impossible task but he trusted in God and used his wisdom and prudence to make Dunukofia a viable, flourishing and enviable parish in the Archdiocese. He trusted in God and trusted God would work in and with him in his actions. God never disappointed him. With the same trust he took a great unknown plunge in his monastic vocation where he suffered greatly at Mount St. Bernard Abbey. He knew that God was calling him to a monastic life which he knew nothing about. It was God he was seeking and following, the place was immaterial. He suffered but was happy because he found God. He did not say to God: “Why should I leave my home where I have a flourishing apostolate?  Instead, he knew that it was God calling him and it was his responsibility to obey without counting the cost. The cost was great indeed. He became the last in the community with absolutely no responsibility. This was after he had been a parish priest for ten years in the Archdiocese. The cold was his greatest mortifier after food. He was patient with all of them. At last he gained more than he lost and today he left us a flourishing monastic legacy in Nigeria

            In his prudent life adventures there are many things we can learn. First and foremost among them is that when uncertainty is near, we should be prudent and wise and not presume that we can do nothing thinking that God will keep us safe from any and all harm. We must do what we can to protect ourselves and those around us. God cannot do for us what we can and should do for ourselves. God might inspire us, God might give us special graces which will help us in the situations which we find ourselves in, but in the end, God wants us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, that is, God wants us to cooperate with grace, doing what we can so that there is something for grace to take up and perfect. 

If we have faith, we show it by what we do. We are to trust in God in everything we do, but to do that we must trust that God will work in and with us in our actions. If we don’t give God something to work with, then grace has nothing. Blessed Tansi did exactly what we should all do. In every difficult and uncertain situation he trusted God would assist him and would engage it with prudence. This attitude helped him to succeed as a good pastor and monk.  If we want God to help us, we must be willing to do our part, or else suffer the consequences of our inaction.

 ​                                                          Sunday, February 20, 2022

                                                        Blessed Tansi and Self-denial
           
Last week we discussed the Blessed Tansi commitment to service and the common good. This action is rooted in his humility and self-denial. He made his life service, a sacrifice to his ministry and vocation. He denied himself comfort for the sake of those entrusted to him to serve. Their comfort was a priority for him. He never allowed his own passions or selfish wants and desires to dictate his actions. Instead, he was docile and receptive to the will of God preoccupied solely with what will bring souls to Christ and improve a lot of his people who were at the time extremely poor and exposed to various sicknesses. 
            The world in which we live is getting overly complex. We are so enamored with gadgets, technology, material wealth, fashion, and entertainment/pleasure that we often miss what is essential. That is not the world of Blessed Iwene Tansi. His greatness stands out even more because his mission was carried out in humility and silence. He chose this way and style of life — humility and simplicity in his apostolate and relation with others. He invites you and me to be disciples who serve others first, not ourselves. Even today opportunities abound and can take a variety of forms. We can volunteer our time at church or in our communities assisting at something that can promote the common good. We can visit homeless shelters or refugee camps. We can assist those around us who are struggling right now financially, emotionally, and especially spiritually, either in person or through charitable organizations in our parish. Or, we can make visits to those who are homebound, in hospitals, in their homes, or widows who are struggling to make ends meet.
            Blessed Iwene Tansi teaches us a lesson of simplicity. Stories abound how he slowed down to appreciate the people of all classes, blessing and encouraging them. His house during the school holidays was a semi seminary/convent. He took great interest in seminarians and postulants especially the indigent ones serving and spending time with them, sharing faith and experiences, or even making a personal retreat is of benefit in keeping things simple. The church women never forgot that he helped them to sweep and scrub the church floor for Sunday mass. His priesthood was not out to make a name for himself. He was no social media influencer. Instead, the reason for his life was to remain humble before God and to bring as many souls as possible to Him. There was another thing to his simplicity that allowed him to increase his trust and dependence upon God. Because he was not distracted by the trappings of culture, he was able to have fortitude in God’s plan because of his simple trust in a God who loved him. The same trust is accessible to us if we keep it simple. The sacrifice which is always a mystery but not devoid of meaning is necessary for all of us in our vocations, Tansi invites you and me in the struggles of life to carry our pains in life with patience and to unite them to the cross of Christ. Tansi in denying his own objectives wants and desires made his will one with God. We are also called, like him, to unite and to make sacrifices. This can be done through charitable giving, fasting, increased prayer, or giving away things we do not need. His silence, service, simplicity, and sacrifice are not easy pills to swallow, but they do lead us closer to Christ and salvation.

​                                                            Sunday, February 13, 2022

                                                  Blessed Tansi:  Service and Common Good.

              Living out the Gospel demands can often be difficult. Christians ought to see the face of Christ in every person they meet, but when that person is deformed, disabled, or unpleasant, it can be hard to reach out with the gospel demand of charity. We have the example of many saints who lived out the gospel of love despite trials and obstacles. The Christian goal is so much more than being a hero in the eyes of the world. Christians strive to become saints - like Blessed Tansi, who build a culture of life in our society by serving and saving the lives of lepers and bringing comfort to the most hated and feared people in society.

When we think of Christians in our Nigerian situation that lived out the gospel call for love and service we typically think of Blessed Iwene Tansi, who heroically chose to befriend and to serve the lepers against the traditional exclusion—a choice which cost him a great disaffection from the community even from his own Christian converts. That is the way he lived the gospel of love and service. He saw Jesus in every person – in the faces of disfigured lepers, in the agony of the sick and hungry, and in the anguish of those who suffer because of traditional laws which militate against the common good. He was outspoken when it concerns the lepers and the underprivileged in general. He condemned society’s apathy to them.

            Today people speak more of his service to the poor and weak and his concern for the common good than his marvelous achievements in the pastoral life of the Archdiocese. We sometimes forget that he not only stood up for the problem of lepers but also brought attention to the needs of the poorest of the poor and the sick. Fr. Tansi changed the ugly destiny of the lepers in Nnewi – giving them a home and a sense of being human. In the tradition of Nnewi people, as it was in many other places among the Igbos, leprosy was a dreadful sickness. Many abhorred and shunned the leper, who was regarded as an ill-fated person. Lepers were abandoned and isolated. Relations did not even help their lepers for the fear of the gods. Such was the fate of the lepers that Fr. Tansi met at Nnewi in 1938. When he met them he had no doubt about his love and sympathy to them. He denounced publicly this obnoxious belief that they were ill-fated and that they committed serious crimes against the gods.  His Christ-like-sympathy to the lepers quickly like a bright flame lighting up the darkness of peoples’ mediocrity, revealed what Christ was constantly asking of them, that was, a whole field of man’s relationship with the needy neighbours

            Before he left Nnewi for Dunukofia in December of 1940 on transfer he has already gained the people’s welcome response to his call to assist the destitute and lepers. His personal love and initiative to all human problems had that piercing shattering effect in penetrating the people’s apathy caused by traditional religious belief. Gone but his message remained, his life speaks his message, his deeds form the content of that message, his testimony, his protest to indifferent man. When it comes to spending the money available to him he had priorities. He placed the sick and the destitute first in his priority, then the widowed and poor. He was sympathetic beyond compare to the destitute and orphans. He rendered financial aid to them from his merger tithes. He fed those brought to the mission house, especially the sick. Today people remember his charity and concern for the common good, his going to the village visiting the sick, comforting the bereaved, and feeding the hungry children.

    ​                                                        Sunday, February 6, 2022
                                                              What does a Saint look like?

              "Open to me the Gates of Holiness: I will enter and give thanks."  Holiness is at once the point of departure and the destination of humanity.  All are called to holiness of life – Sainthood.   Bereft of what is holy, life easily drifts into meaninglessness. Failure to respect that the human person is first of all spiritual and religious before he is biological and political is a catastrophic failure of our secular society.  Our life especially the Christian life has a process of maturity from baptism to the fullness in Christ – holiness. (Ephesians 3: 16-19).  This fullness is the end goal of our journey with God and is union with Christ.
             With so much solemnity Nigeria has given recently to the celebration of the annual feast of Blessed Tansi some are asking the question: how does a saint look like. When Blessed Tansi was alive and working in the Archdiocese of Onitsha people saw in him some saintly treats - the reason they flocked to him for holiness. He was a saint. Seeing him was for them seeing a saint.  He looked and acted like a saint. Why was he different- because he lived entirely for God and others. We are constantly told by our culture that we have to take care of ourselves. This is true in the proper sense. If we do not take care of ourselves, then we can’t take care of other people. But we are not supposed to put ourselves first. When we do, things become disordered within our souls. It is in times of suffering that this becomes a greater danger and we forget to serve the people around us. It becomes dark, and we focus too much on our own affliction.
            Jesus came to preach the gospel to the poor and the weak. This particular mission plays a very important role in the life of the church and in the ministry of every priest. Blessed Tansi lived and acted with a belief that God heals us in our grief in the measure and manner we reach out to others in their needs and suffering. He opened his arms wide so that in his bodily pains and sufferings united with Christ—he can open himself up to others who are suffering around him. He was able to bind the wounds of others, through his willingness to love in his grief. The Nnewi lepers benefited, the sick especially those with a deadly disease and abandoned ones benefited immensely, the smallpox victims of Nando in 1943 got relief and the widows of Dunukofia found in him a saviour. By doing saintly work he became a Saint. Similarly, if we do the work of saints we too will become saints.  Like the Apostle Paul, the Blessed Tansi has been crucified with Christ; it was no longer him but Christ bringing his salvation through his servant. (Gal. 2:20).
             We all aspire to be heroes in worldly matters. But as Christians, our goal is so much more than being a hero in the eyes of the world. We strive to become saints—like Blessed Tansi, who build a culture of life in our society by serving and saving the lives of lepers and bringing comfort to the most hated and feared people in society. One of the things that militates our desire for sainthood is our fleshly desires but our faith tells us that God helps us to grow and acquire good habits and increase in the virtues - holiness.   As we increase in the acquired virtues, God also increases us in holy prayer and can bring us to such depth in wordless prayer and holy encounter with Him.​​
             

                                                               Sunday, January 30, 2022

                                                      Blessed Tansi: Our pathway to humility.
              Last week Nigeria celebrated the life and legacy of Blessed Tansi, our national religious hero, whose leadership helped bring about massive changes to the pastoral life of the Archdiocese of Onitsha in the 1940’s. We remember not only the justice he pursued but also the compassion he showed to the poor and the weak. Today we look at his life and mission as a pathway to freedom/humility. Blessed Tansi opened up for Nigerians the pathway to freedom, peace and happiness and this is the pathway of humility. More than half of a century after his death, Nigeria faces many challenges — issues of economic inequality and regional discrimination, violence in our communities, the struggle to have a good government and many more. In recent years, our nation has also become more polarized and our divisions angrier. As we look to our future, let us continue to draw from Blessed Tansi wisdom, especially his commitment to the beatitudes and the principles of nonviolence and love for our enemies.
            He was among the first Nigerians who received the faith from the early missionaries in this country. He so absorbed this faith that he made it his own and truly Nigerian. The love for this faith and its demands set him on fire that revolutionised and changed the life and culture of the people at his time. People, traditions and cultures that militate against the Christian faith and culture received serious attack. Love alone knows how to find this trail and faith, unshod and thus vulnerable, progresses step by step into what would seem to be powerlessness.  Such an adventure can only be possible through courageously engaging the task with total reliance on God.  It is a task that one takes under the authority and power of heaven. He won at last. The poverty and chaos of his time did not hinder his total and relentless pursuit for common good even though he was aware his own power and authority are subject to futility and conditions of the time.  He knew that in a world that is passing away, self-preservation means either gaining control over circumstances as long as possible or else losing it all together. Furthermore he knew that the more one lives by the struggle for earthly power and authority, the more one's own freedom is diminished. He gave up all these, subjected himself to self denial and extreme detachment that he may unite himself with heaven for the good of others. The years of his teaching career was a service to others, his pastoral apostolate in the Archdiocese of Onitsha was itself love and compassion. He could have time for himself but he chose not to. This is his royal pathway of true freedom and recourse is made to earthly power only as love for Christ deems necessary and then it is quickly surrendered. Regarding the possession of earthly goods, power and authority devotees of blessed Tansi must take the path of humility which requires total indifference to anything that is not God's will. This kind of indifference to earthly possession and power is impossible except to those who by faith live under the power and authority of heaven. Again and again we are reminded that to overcome all our self-cantered, selfish inclinations we are to die to the self so that we can truly love others, thereby following after Blessed Tansi. This way of life must not be understood nihilistically. It is not about destroying ourselves, denying ourselves of the good given to us. It is rather about training ourselves to overcome our fallen, sinful inclinations which are based not upon the loving nature given to us by God, but rather, on the way we have developed a false sense of the self and made ourselves to be the ultimate good above all other goods. Such selfishness ultimately makes it impossible for us to know how to love others because all we love and worship is our selfish self. Blessed Tansi is telling us that we need to move beyond all particular attachments we might have in the world, especially attachments to ourselves, which hinder us from loving and being loved, that is, all those attachments which would hinder us from the state we need to be in to experience God and his glory.

​                                                                   Sunday, January 23, 2022
                                                               
Lessons From the feast 20 January.
            Nigerians and devotees of the Blessed Tansi everywhere have celebrated on January 20 the annual feast of the Blessed Tansi. Nine days to the feast many joined the novena prayers to prepare for the feast.  Many dioceses in Nigeria have a grand Eucharistic celebration to honour and venerate our National Saintly hero.  In the Archdiocese of Onitsha, the devotees gathered yesterday, Saturday 22 January to honour our patron saint with a grand solemn Eucharistic celebration at the Central shrine Aguleri.  Now the grand jubilation is over one may begin to ask what have we learned and gained from these celebrations. Yes, for some, prayers have been answered, for others, healing has taken place but for the majority, great spiritual joy has taken place. But beyond all these something more important – a change in the ways we live.
           Blessed Tansi lived out his vocation and mission in a very simple, humble, and consistent way all his life. His whole life and activities were grounded in the love of God and neighbour.  His thoughts are on loving God, acting the way God wants him to act, which means loving and supporting his neighbour the best he can with the gifts which he was given. Because of giving himself, overcoming the self, that is dying to the self and abandoning all attempts of self-glory he received eternal beatitude, a beatitude which is shared by all who find themselves one in Christ. The reason the church recognized his simple/humble life on March 22nd, 1998 – making him Blessed.
           We too have a mission/vocation in life. To live out that mission, to fulfill it, one must be grounded in love, to realize it is not about rising up and becoming a spectacle in the world for others to love and respect, but rather, it is about loving and respecting others, lifting them up so that they too can be that which they are meant to be. Blessed Tansi's life and mission promoted the service to others. Think of his untiring labours to evangelize his parishioners, the youth, the women, the family, and indeed the whole of Igbo culture. By fulfilling his ministry and turning himself into a living sacrifice of love for the sake of others he laid a foundation for future Nigerians to imitate. He did not selfishly prop himself up, nor did he allow others to do so for him; rather, he always made sure his parishioners knew that his mission, as great as it was, was a limited one.
           Our life too must be lived for the sake of others, indeed for the sake of the whole world. It is only in such service that true glory is found, true peace, and when it is found, it is shared. Nigerians, when properly living out their mission, live for others, promote the common good working to make sure that the next generation will have the best guidance possible so that they, too, can live out their mission and be as God desires them to be. By living out and fulfilling our duty, by acting out of love, not selfishness, Nigerians will receive not only what is promised to those who properly live out their vocation; but will enjoy loving peace as brothers. . In that way Nigerians will look like brothers and sisters of Blessed Tansi. 


                                                            Sunday, January 16, 2022  

                                                        January 20, Feast of Blessed Tansi
                                                        Spend the feast with Blessed Tansi.
            January 20 every year is the feast of Blessed Iwene Tansi, spend the feast day with him. Many devotees have been preparing for the feast with  nine days novena prayers. We remember him as a very devoted and energetic Christian, simple priest and monk. He spent a greater part of his life in Nigeria as a child, a school teacher, a seminarian and a priest until he joined the Cistercian Monastery in England where he fulfilled his monastic vow of stability on January 20 1964. With his sure guidance devotees who are struggling with the frustrations of our present day Nigeria will soon have a sigh of relief as they experience within themselves an ever-growing desire for the coming celebration of his feast day. In today Nigeria with so much darkness, so much anger. so much sadness, so much loneliness, so much angst and so much fear we need the Blessed Tansi in our lives. Our loving Patron- Blessed Tansi knows all this pain, yet has us happily prepare and follow his lead. We follow him not all to the priesthood or monastery but to our own given vocation charism. Each of us has been given a charism thanks to the grace imparted to us in our baptism. It is this charism which gives us our particular mission in life. Not everyone has the same mission, not everyone has the same work to do. Nonetheless, all have something invaluable to contribute to the world. All missions complement each other. Thus, no matter what one’s mission is, what one’s charism is, if they live it out properly, they will find themselves receiving not only grace, but great personal satisfaction, as they will have realized who they are meant to be in Christ.
           For us in Nigeria this feast will help us to examine our life and living, our spiritual journey which is very relevant to our patron — Blessed Tansi. His impact on our life of faith, perhaps will be a worthwhile opportunity to examine what lessons he has taught us and consider how we can carry these into everyday life. At this time more than ever he is calling on all to follow him to a life of righteousness. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6). Nigerians should desire righteousness not the false righteousness performed by those who like to glorify themselves and receive accolades for what they have done on an external basis, but true righteousness, a righteousness which is borne out of love and seeks the common good as Blessed Tansi lived out in his life. Nigerians should act in accordance to the dictates of justice, working for and promoting the common good which sends selfishness to its untimely death.
           Blessed Tansi showed us how to love and whom to love. His preferential love for the poor and the weak is for us today a yardstick. As long as love is ignored and rejected common good will suffer and suffering will prevail. In his humble life Blessed Tansi showed us that pride will lead to destruction and suffering. Pride is a common sin that all of us battle. It causes division within ourselves and in our relationships with other people. We see the devastating impacts of pride in our families, friendships, relationships with co-workers, strangers, and in the inner-workings of the Church. Pride is the original sin through which we desire to be God, to always be right, and to have power. No joy can come from pride.
          During this feast “have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7)

 
                                                                Sunday January 9, 2022
                                                      Serving you on our journey to Sainthood

           You know what...Words really can’t express my appreciation adequately. On behalf of all of us in the postulation, I say thank you for your prayers and commitment to this worthy Cause. I know that without the assistance of your prayers and support we would not have been where we are today. Thank you for being true partners in this worthy Cause of the Canonisation of Blessed Iwene Tansi.
           Please continue to keep this Cause in your prayers and be assured that I offer up every suffering for you and your journey towards the conclusion of this Cause and God. That is what moves me most - that all we do is serving the Cause and drawing you closer to God. Please keep all of us in the Postulation in your prayers that our mission may soon come to a happy conclusion.
           May the Lord bless you and may Mary, the Holy Mother of God, be your light as we journey into 2022,  please God our year of promise and favour. Jesus Christ be praised, now and forever. . I would like to say a BIG THANK YOU ALL for being with us in the year 2021, and may 2022 bring with it vibrancy and great opportunities for all of you and help us remain strong as we collectively work for the promotion of this cause. 2021 has seen a great progress in the Cause. My special thanks and appreciation to the members of the Onitsha Archdiocesan Tribunal who investigated the alleged miracle attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Tansi. They did a very excellent job.  To them and all the various groups in the Blessed Tansi Prayer Solidarity I extend my warm greetings and best wishes for a very happy, stress free, prosperous, and safe 2022
          With the Vatican investigation on the alleged miracle opened, the process now needs more prayers than ever. Blessed Tansi feast day comes up on Thursday the 20th. January 2022 with the novena for the feast stating on Tuesday 11th, January 2022. Let us all pray during the novena for the success of the Vatican investigation on the alleged miraculous cure. The Archdiocese of Onitsha will be having a grand assembly and solemn Mass at the Central Shrine Aguleri on Saturday 22 January 2022 at 10 am. All devotees of Blessed Tansi should be there.
          Your prayers certainly will make a difference in the promotion of the Cause. Our commitment to this cause in this year provides us new seasons in life that invigorate us to live with more passion, purpose, and direction. The novena for the feast this year is the most obvious time many of us hit, reset and start on new ventures in life. We are all going to see the new things God has planned for us. Please join us with your prayers for the happy conclusion of this worthy Cause

                                                                  Sunday 19, December 2021
                                                         Tansi Priestly Ordination-84 years ago.
               Today Sunday 19th December 2021 marks the 84th. anniversary of Blessed Tansi priestly ordination. In those days priestly ordination was not a common event.  It was a very rare event. The first African priestly ordination in the Archdiocese of Onitsha, Fr. John Cross Anyogu (later bishop) was in 1930.  Seven years later, on 19th. December 1937 the second priestly ordination of William Obeleagu, Joseph Nwanaegbo and Michael Tansi at the Holy Trinity Cathedral (now Basilica) Onitsha took place. These three had been companions in their struggle to the priesthood in the seminary since 1925 when they entered the junior Seminary at Igbariam. Each of them took his priestly vocation serious and touched the lives of many people in different ways as God shows to all, in a vivid way, his presence and his face in the lives of those He called to minister to his people.
              Blessed Tansi in his own way and through his personal charisms become an example of the first fruits of the early missionary’s evangelization. He became perfectly transformed into the image of Christ (cf. II Cor 3: 18). He spoke to us, offered us a living hope for God’s kingdom to which his converts were powerfully attracted.  Fr. Tansi for the rest of his life always expressed the highest esteem for the gift of the priesthood. It was clear to him what he was called to be and to do -  Sacerdos et victim. He loved and lived it out to the full. He wanted and inspired all the youths in his parish to become priests or religious. It was his youthful dreams. He pondered on his desire to become a priest but it was far from easy for him to achieve it. Indeed, he arrived at priestly ordination only after many ordeals and misunderstandings, with the help of far-sighted priests who did not stop at considering his human limitations but looked beyond them and glimpsed the horizon of holiness that shone out in that truly unusual young Nigerian.  
             By this gift of his priesthood he knew that he was consecrated to serve, humbly yet authoritatively.  He knew that the Lord had given him great graces at his ordination and urged him more strongly than ever to throw himself into the work of his sanctification, that so he might draw many other souls to Him. And so the young priest wanted the greatest possible fervor and exactness in all his priestly duties. 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 Kingdom and to radiate his love and his truth.  From the moment of his ordination he determined to be completely enthralled by Christ.  This was the goal of his entire life and the goal of the entire priestly ministry. 
              Today we remember him as a good priest who lived according to the heart of Christ. A good shepherd of souls, a devoted evangelizer, a compassionate brother, a good Samaritan to the sick, needy, poor and voiceless. Through his priestly lifestyle he emphasized the indispensable role of the priest. As a pastor the parishes where he worked and the people who met him knew that he was the greatest treasure that the good Lord could give to a parish and at the same time one of the most precious gifts of divine mercy. His life and witness is “an inspiration to everyone in the Nigeria that he loved so much…” (John Paul 11 sermon at beatification). 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. 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. Fr. Tansi really went to every corner of his vast parish, untiringly, in order to seek for his flock and to bear fruit that lasts. He was a priest to the last, for he offered his life to God for his flock and for the entire human family, in a daily self-oblation for the service of the Church. And in this way he became one with Christ, the Good Shepherd who loves his sheep.

                                                                Sunday, December 12, 2021
                                           Tansi detachment: Powerful message to Nigerians today
            An average Nigerian would not accept poverty. It is a curse but the simple gospel message is that Jesus lived poor each and every moment of his earthly life doing the will of his Father in heaven. "My meat is to do the will of my Father in heaven”. Detachment to material world represents to every soul the words which touch the heart and urges every person to take serious the words of Jesus to the young rich man give up everything and follow me. None of us can slow the passage of time; and while we often focus on all that has changed in the intervening years, much remains unchanged, including the Gospel of Christ and his teachings.
            Today money and material pleasure seem to charm us with seductive and insistent messages that focus on easy gains, false needs, the cult of physical wellness, and of entertainment at all costs.  All these are like fireworks that flare up for a moment but then turn to smoke in the air. The evils of their pursuit have put Nigeria on a dead-end road. The only way to resist these evil trends is to return to the beauty and amazement of the faith and the examples of our father in faith. We take a great risk forgetting who we are and becoming obsessed with appearances, bombarded with messages that make life depend on how much we have in the bank, what we wear, the car we drive,  the house we live in, the friends we make and how others see us. 
            The Blessed Tansi, a true Nigerian continues to bombard us with his strong message of detachment to material possession and worldly pleasures which remain valid today. A peculiar aspect of the life of this humble Nigerian priest was his detachment from material goods. He did not own anything, he gave everything away to the neediest; 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. Most of his spiritual sons and daughters today echo the most constant and repeated advice of their master: “Remember that your worth is in who you are and not what you have”. Ascetic but not austere he loved genuine pleasures and entertainments. Stressed and weak from his continued unrest and long pastoral treks under the hot afternoon heat of equator he still had time to sit with the villagers whereby a score or so of them would gather outside their huts at the tropical moonlight, to converse, make jokes, play flutes or drums and to share some calabashes of palm wine. Good humoured arguments might take place, a flute man perhaps would break the monotony, and then the drum, sooner or later, songs and dances would begin. Whenever he had time to join them he used the occasion to impart some religious instruction. His sermons became richer when he made use of lessons drawn from these ancient stories. He also mixed with young people and enjoyed their jokes. 
             Tansi is a model of evangelical life not only for priests, but for laypeople, especially for those who are entrusted for common good or those who work in the vast field of charity. 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 welcomed and helped the poor and needy. As a priest he became still more detached and his heart opened for everyone. To have such a new heart was to see and experience his desired change. He became less desirous for himself and focused less on passing worldly things, and more on the lasting treasure of the Kingdom of heaven. He concentrated attention on the other things and began to love what and who God loved. He began to love holiness, justice, chastity, goodness, righteousness, and truth. His example constitutes a constant invitation to everyone to open arms to every person who had need.  In many ways his message has been for our times.
            Fr.Tansi through his personal poverty identified with his flock, his generosity made him revered and loved. He could build a decent rectory but he chose to identify himself with the local buildings. His house was built with mud and grass thatched roofs. He could afford a clean rest house in the outstations but he decided to live in the school store whenever he was visiting an outstation on trek. All through his life he had great potentials to wealth but he had always rejected them choosing a poor state. His leaving a very rewarding teaching profession with all its great future promises for the Seminary seemed a kind of madness for his relations. Through his personal industry, education and status he could rise above the general poor condition of the average man. He did not want to do it. He chose to raise the standard of living of others but himself remaining poorer than many. Most of his flock ate three times a day, a little food in the morning, then midday meal if during the farming season was taken in the farm, otherwise at home and a heavy pounded yam or cassava in the night. Fr. Tansi had enough to eat but he rather prepared the food, gave to the poor and needy and fed on groundnuts and roasted yam, a diet poorer than that of the poorest villager.
           In 1948 at Akpu the parishioners were touched by his strenuous exertions and voluntarily raised by a collection the sum of a hundred pounds. They sent the money to the Bishop at Onitsha to buy a kit-car for their Parish Priest. The bishop an Irish kind prelate knew that Fr. Tansi would not accept the car however he bought the car which Fr. Tansi eventually rejected and requested the Bishop to buy for him a motorcycle. It was not easy for the people to accept poverty kindly. Fr. Tansi was the one man who left relative comfort and security for poverty. A mentality, which was hard to understand by the majority.


                                                          ​         Sunday, December 5 2021
                                                               Blessed Tansi Road to Sainthood
           Our greatest goal on earth is to become saint. A saint is a human being chosen by God for a special purpose. All are called to be saints in one sense or another. We all have a special job on this earth that nobody else can do. We can either do it or fail to do it. It is another way of saying that nobody can be you or can replace you. To achieve that job in its fulfilment requires a multitude of sacrifices and of steps growing in virtue.  Saints’ way of life in a in certain sense is to be an enemy to the way of world, the way of the flesh, and the devil. Reading the lives of saints as in the life of Blessed Iwene Tansi we notice their great detestation to every sin. Saints are totally dependent on Christ for all things.  They are above all Servants of Christ, willing to give up every aspect of their being for the greater good of being closer to God. Saints are in every way human. We cannot become saint without becoming human. Human beings in their nature are fearful and panicky and these are good qualities to sainthood. A human being realizes and acknowledges before God that he is in need of salvation. That is what it means to become a human being. Our sin and weakness define us as the human race in great need of mercy.
           Our weakness can become our greatest strength if we allow God to make it so when we trade our sinful natures for humility before God. We know that humility is the basis of all other virtues. Love without humility is selfish and self-serving. Charity without humility is an empty gesture. And so on. Humility is the most important thing in God’s grand economy. Love springs from humility, and from love springs mercy. Genuine Christian love and mercy for our fellow man is nothing without humility and humbleness before God. 
           The church canonises some Saints in heaven to show us that we too can become saints. Being a saint does not mean to be a holy superman or superwoman. It is quite the opposite in deed. In fact, saints know and revile their own sin. The Blessed Tansi lived a very happy social life. Though ascetic in his way but was very cheerful with others and people felt at home with him. His house as a pastor in the Archdiocese of Onitsha was home to all especially to the youth. During the holidays seminarians and aspirants make his rectory their home. He allowed lawful enjoyment for his youth. He gave nice food to all who were visiting. His onetime cook Mr. Uchendu remembers that the only time the pastor came to supervise in the kitchen was when a visitor was around or when he was preparing the meal for some poor people. It was said the once he offered the visiting seminarian, Mr. Godfery Okoye (later bishop) his only camp bed in the out station while he himself passed the night on a wooden chair. He always advised his youth to enjoy themselves as much as they could – if only they kept away from sin. Each and every one of us can march towards sainthood and achieve the highest of human potential if only we can be humble. Pride is the greatest obstacle to holiness. The road may seem endless but rest assured that God’s own grace will guide your steps if you let Him.


                                                                Sunday November 28, 2021
                                                              Friendship with Blessed Tansi
            Making friend with Blessed Tansi or any Saint for that matter goes hand and hand with faith in God. You make friend with a saint because the life of the saint reflects the image of God. Without faith it will be impossible to love or please God. In Blessed Tansi we meet a simple priest who many Nigerians remember with pride and who the universal Catholic world on the 22 March 1998 recognised the humble way he lived out his vocation. He is dynamic and endowed with fiery zeal for souls, gifted in native common sense, full of wits and piety, very humble and given to charity and love of the neighbour. As a professional teacher, a priest, and religious monk he followed the path of integrity, and his message today for his fellow Nigerians is his simple lifestyle detached from the mad pursuit of material wealth. His memory lives on in his spiritual sons and daughters and in the parishes he initiated and pastured in the Archdiocese Onitsha, where his cause of canonization was initiated in 1986. The Blessed Tansi Prayer Group and the knights of Blessed Tansi carry on his work to this day. In imitation of his strong faith, members are fortified in the Catholic faith. In the shadow of his compassion to the weak and charity to all, the members contribute time, talent and commitment to Christian faith for building up the local Church and Nigerian society. 
          To befriend a man like this you need faith which is “... confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)  So, healthy faith is based on hope and the assurance that God loves us and rewards us. Similarly, to befriend Blessed Tansi you need an assurance conviction he loves you and will be ready, if you are, to lead you to God.  You and I all have faith. You know when you have faith. We believe in God and know when we believe in Him. We believe in ourselves also and we can believe lies or the truth. So we know really when we have a faith-interest in the Blessed Tansi and want to become his friend. Even if you do not have what it takes to become his friend you can ask for help to become his friend and your making this request is already a sign that the friendship has begun. I can guarantee he will answer your prayers, and it will start with you evaluating and changing your beliefs. Start believing what I will now say to you. 

  •  Blessed Tansi loves you and will help you get through God’s plan for your life
  • Blessed Tansi greatest interest in heaven is to see you true and effective ambassador of Christ.
  • Your life has a purpose – you are salt and light for so many

You can make a list of many other things you are expecting to get out of this friendship. Can you agree and make my list yours. I believe this will help you build a stronger and healthier friendship and faith in Blessed Tansi. Then will your long awaited miracle come. 


​                                                                    Sunday, November 21, 2021
                                                     
Blessed Tansi legacy continues to inspire
              With a heart for the poor and dedication to the suffering, Blessed Tansi's humility and generosity continue to inspire his devotees.  We remember that his holiness which became noticeable early in his life grew and matured slowly but has now become legendary. He had a heart for the poor and was dedicated to the service of those suffering from poverty. His humility and generosity have propelled his devotees to greater charity in recent times. Since after his beatification in 1998 many groups and associations have taken to his way of charity to the poor and less privileged. Although Blessed Tansi became most well-known for his works of charity, he was also a reformer in the family and marriage. Worried by the influence of Igbo culture and tradition which weighed down on Christian family and marriage, he staged a battle to reform Christian family and marriage. His reform helped the Christian family and marriage to refocus its mission.
              Born into a poor peasant farming family in Eastern Nigeria in 1903 the Blessed Tansi went to seminary in his twenties after some years of profitable teaching profession. The experience was anything but a time to grow spiritually, as he encountered more conflict and violence than study and prayer. The Christian marriage culture of his era consisted of two: those who live without sacramental marriage after the traditional marriage which recognises them as husband and wife and those who after the traditional marriage go for sacramental marriage before living together.  After his priestly ordained in 1937 at the age of 34 he started his family reform at Nnewi. First fought for the right of lepers in the family, (for lepers were excluded from the family), the right and education of married women and the sanctification of Christian marriages in general. This fight continued wherever his priestly apostolate brought him: Nnewi, Dunukofia, Akpu and Aguleri. He insisted that lepers who traditionally were regarded as cursed by the earth goddess should be helped and assisted by the family. Young traditionally married couples should not live together without sacramental marriage. He founded and built hostels where he kept young traditionally married girls. Here they were taught wifely skills and prepared for sacramental marriage. He was aware of what corrupted family culture was doing to the Church. Hence he resisted the opposition of young Christian men whose wives were taken to the premarriage training centres. He realised the great importance of good chrisitan family to the local church. As he poured out his life in ministry for others, especially those on the margins, he desired to build the local Church in renewing family with a focus on sanctification and the needs of the poor.Blessed Tansi today should be seen as a heavenly patron of all charitable works and special advocate for holy family life.  The cause of his canonisation has reached an advanced stage in the Congregation for the causes of saints. The postulation for the cause calls for more prayers to get this cause to a very happy conclusion.

​​                                                                    November 14, 2021
                                              Tansi Loving Concern for Souls in Purgatory

          Last week we discussed purgatory and some of the ways we can help those who are there. Apart from helping them our belief in purgatory itself provides consolation for the living. Looking out for the good of others is necessarily wrapped up with the pursuit of our own holiness. Union with God is our ultimate life goal. As such, it is our ultimate joy. So whatever truth helps us attain our ultimate goal of union with God necessarily is a joyful truth. The doctrine of purgatory is one of those truths that help us achieve ultimate union with God. The ultimate destiny of every soul in purgatory is secure. Since they died in God’s grace and friendship their destiny is heaven.  Every soul in purgatory is secure with respect to his salvation. Therefore, purgatory is a joyful truth. It inspires the pursuit of holiness. 
          Our belief in Purgatory elicits loving concern that manifests itself in acts of charity, which in turn contributes to our pursuit of holiness. The holy souls need our prayers –and at the same time, they can be powerful intercessors for us. “Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.” (CCC 958) When we pray for them, it makes them able to pray for us.  Their intercession could be a tremendous blessing in our life. This reciprocity can be understood since from the early days of the Church the faithful not only pray for the Souls in purgatory but also asks for their intercession.
          The Blessed Tansi had a loving devotion and concern for the souls in purgatory. He celebrated the feasts of All Saints and the All Souls with great solemnity and encouraged his faithful to pray for those in purgatory through the month of November. At every outstation of his parish under the supervision of his teacher-catechist he established a devotion and novena prayers for the holy souls through the month of November. He himself took part in the devotions at the parish centre. He taught that as member of the body of Christ we have obligation to pray for our members who are suffering. Just as the knowledge of some relations suffering somewhere elicits sentiments of love within our hearts that manifests itself in acts of help, so too knowledge that fellow members of the Mystical Body of Christ are suffering across the boundary of death can elicit a movement of charity within the heart and manifest itself through acts of charity on their behalf. Such acts may include offering the Mass, almsgiving, indulgences and prayer.
         True concern for the good of others is necessarily wrapped up with the pursuit of holiness because it is the essence of love. Love for our neighbour is the second greatest commandment (Matt. 22:39). So love for neighbour is essential to our pursuit of holiness.  Our concern for those in purgatory reminds us that love of neighbour extends beyond the boundaries of death to the suffering souls in purgatory. So whatever acts of love we perform on their behalf, whether it be offering the Mass, almsgiving, indulgence, or prayers, such acts contribute to our growth in holiness. We become more conformed to Christ, who always lives to make intercession for us. (Heb. 7:25).  Each November, the Church, in Her goodness, offers a gift for the faithful to give to the souls in purgatory. From November 1-8, the faithful can gain a plenary indulgence for the souls in purgatory by visiting a cemetery and praying there for the dead. In order to obtain the indulgence, a Catholic in the state of grace must have the intention to obtain it and fulfill the following condition

  • (a) visit a cemetery and pray there for the dead, even if only mentally
  • (b) make a sacramental confession ( within about 20 days before or after)
  • (c) receive Holy Communion
  • (d) recite at least one Our Father and one Hail Mary for the Holy Father 
  • (e) be free from attachment to all sin, including venial 

God is on our side. He wants us to be able to obtain this indulgence as an act of charity for the souls in purgatory, and He will help us fulfil the conditions if we only ask.

                                                                Sunday November 7, 2021
                                                           Purgatory: They need your help.
           
When our loved ones die, we naturally want to honor them with flowers, a funeral Mass, kind words, and sometime an extravagant funeral expenses. But the best present we can give them is to pray that they might be united with God. On All Souls’ Day November 2, the universal Church prays for all those in purgatory, people who were much like us, whose offense may have been less than ours. On that day, and during the entire month of November, we remember our departed brothers and sisters as we go to the cemetery where they are buried, obtain indulgences for them, give alms, do some good work, ask for Masses to be said in remembrance, all on behalf of those close to us and to others we may have neglected during the year. We remember that when the Church canonizes a saint, we are confirming he is in heaven. The Pope does this based on the supplied evidence of a holy life, and also the evidence of miracles attributed to the prayers of the saint. Canonization says they are in heaven now and that any purification they might have needed is complete.
           Catholics have always believed in a place of final purification for the faithful who died. From the earliest days the Church believed that those who died a martyr are already with God since they were perfectly conformed to Christ and his cross by their death. But for many faithful who never had the opportunity to give such a public witness, the church offers prayers, especially the mass that having been purified from every imperfection they would enter into heaven. The place of this purification is called purgatory. Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that all those who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified are indeed assured of their final salvation but after death they undergo purification, so as to enter heaven. (No. 1030) Purgatory is not a second chance after death; it is the final step for righteous individuals who, before death, lacked an opportunity to atone for venial sins or do sufficient penance for serious sins already confessed.
             The basic principle of justice is that all debits owed must be paid. Christ paid that debit for us by uniting our nature to his divine nature and we receive forgiveness when we turn to him in repentance through those whom he appointed for this purpose. “... those whose sins you forgive are forgiven..” (Jn. 20:21-23). There are however other people to whom we are indebted by our wrong doings.  We have to pay these as much as we are able: such as returning stolen goods, correcting injury to someone’s good name, asking forgiveness of someone we hurt and so on. If we do not pay this in this life we have to pay it in the next. This is why this month the church is asking you to help the suffering souls in purgatory. Remembering and praying for the faithful departed is tied directly to our belief in purgatory. Any prayer or pious act applied to the souls in purgatory can be a way to pray for them. The most effective manner of praying is to have Masses offered for them or to apply the fruits of your own attendance at Mass. The Rosary, too, is a wonderful way to pray for them. We pray for the souls in purgatory because they are undergoing the final purifications that are necessary for most of us after we die. Every time you pass a cemetery, it is time for a little prayer: ‘Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.’ It is just common sense that you help some of them get out of Purgatory. If you do I assure you they will never forget you. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


                                                                      October 31, 2021.
                                                                   Sinners become Saints.
               The Church at All Saints Day, November 1 honours the Saints in heaven, those who have been canonized by the Church as Saints as well as those who have not been canonized. The Church is composed of Christ faithful living on the earth and those who have gone before us. These include the Saints in heaven and the faithful Souls being purified in Purgatory. All the faithful here on earth are looking forward to become Saints in heaven when we leave this world but we know that it is hard to stay joyful today here on earth. We have all noticed a rise of anxiety, anger, and bitterness, whether in ourselves or among neighbors. Our cultural climate is today toxic, to say the least. Yet we are called to be missionaries of saintly joy/happiness. How do we do this? How do we develop and protect our happiness as heaven is close at hand.
                All devotees of Blessed Tansi have an added advantage of becoming themselves saints because they find in their connection with him an inspiration and encouragement for living out their vocation in life. Saints are ordinary people who love Jesus and wish to serve him in their neighbours. It is not God’s will, however, that all devotees should follow Blessed Tansi to the priesthood or monastic life. But it is God’s will that all should in their various vocations love God and their neighbour as Blessed Tansi did in his own vocation. All of us at one time or the other need motivation and reassurance that what we are doing is correct and will bring us to holiness. We find these in the life of Blessed Tansi.  He came from a poor family background, found early child hood difficult, lost his father at a tender age, brought up by a cousin teacher who sent him to school. He was a professional teacher, a seminarian who found his studies rather difficult, he was a diocesan priest first an assistant priest and later a parish priest and finally ended his life as a Cistercian Monk. In his life you can find one who faced with courage and determination all the ups and downs of life. If you want to find a saint who experienced what you are experiencing - is there in the life of Blessed Tansi. If you long to hear about a Nigerian who had been there, done this or that, and survived he is there. If you want to read about saintly children, teachers, seminarian, pastor or religious his life will give you a blue print. With great delight, you will find in his life a clear road to sainthood. That is not to say that the different stations in his life were easy for him or that his life  was so wonderful.  Not at all.  He was fully human, weak, and sinful but he persevered trusting in the grace of God. He used the graces given him to love and serve his family, neighbours (specially the poor and sick), and God. In this aspect he was a hero.
           This is the reason why we the devotees and friends of Blessed Tansi would want to share his life style to all. Since we know that many out there do not have a lot of free time to seek for a saintly motivator, try to keep the image of the Blessed Tansi always reflecting in your lifestyle. In all your daily activities in the office, in the farm, in the market, at school, while in the car waiting to pick up your child, or whenever you can steal a few minutes for yourself keep the determination and persevering spirit of Blessed Tansi before your eye. When you reflect on the lessons learned from his life and pray through his intercession you can be sure of his powerful assistance from heaven. It is my hope that you will feel such a connection with him. You can be sure of having him your spiritual friend and an inspiration. Have no doubts about this, your vocation in life whatever it may be is a vocation. God has called you to serve his people through it. With the gifts and virtues he has bestowed upon you, you are made to be a saint, and to help others become saints too. You will be a Saint. Don’t be afraid of a fall for every fall has a lesson with it.  So whether you are a priest, religious or lay faithful find encouragement and inspiration in the Saintly lifestyle of Blessed Tansi. Your decision and conviction to act now is so critically important in the conditions in which we are now living because everything is becoming so secularized. My prayer is that you will be heartened by the saintly possibilities in your vocation to become a saint.

​                                                                   Sunday, October 24, 2021
                                                                          Tansi, Pray for Us!
               
Blessed Tansi's legacy inspires all his devotees. One of his outstanding legacies is the habit of prayers. He is known for this habit all through his life. He was born in Aguleri, in Eastern Nigeria, in 1903. His parents were poor farmers, whose four children attended the pagan feasts and dances with their parents of the traditional Igbo religion. His conversion and baptism at the age of 12 brought him close to Mass and the daily Rosary. As a child, he had a great love for the mass and Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. As a school teacher, he prayed with his pupils and brought many with him to Sunday masses. At age 23, he announced to his family that he wanted to be a priest and in spite of their great opposition he entered the diocesan junior seminary at Igbariam in 1925 and was ordained a priest in 1937.  He began his priestly ministry at Nnewi in 1937, Dunukofia in 1940, Akpu in 1945 and Agleri in 1949. He entered the Cistercian Monastery of Mount St. Bernard in 1950 where he died in 1964 after fulfilling his vow of stability.

              During his lifetime as pastor of souls, Blessed Tansi drew many people to himself and his ministry. He founded many mass centres and schools in the villages and farms in the rural areas of the Archdiocese. He was known for his compassion to the sick and needy. He was very much concerned with the family, sanctity of marriage and the youth. He spent long hours at the confessional and encouraged people to go to confession regularly. Blessed Tansi also had a tremendous devotion to the Holy Eucharist. To the faithful who believed themselves unworthy to receive the sacrament, he responded that we are all not worthy of such a gift, however, to approach the Blessed Sacrament in a state of mortal sin is one thing, and to be unworthy, quite another. All of us are unworthy, but it is he who invites us. It is he who desires it. We all approach the sacrament with humility and receive with a heart contrite and full of love.
             Many miracles have been attributed to Blessed Tansi, including the gifts of reading the souls of his penitents during confessions, prophecy and healing. He lived a penitential and prayers life. He described prayer as the best weapon we have. It is the key to God’s heart. He advised that we speak to Jesus not only with our lips, but also with our heart.  He also maintained that the best place to find God is in prayer. Blessed Tansi was known for his great intelligence and exemplary character, piety, humility, charity and purity. The Nigerian Bishop’s Conference named him Patron of Nigerian Priests. Many of his devotees are enjoying his powerful protection and intercession and at the same time praying for a happy conclusion of his worthy cause.
             He died repeating the words “Jesus, Mary and Joseph.”  Pope St. John Paul II beatified him in his native land before hundreds of thousands of pilgrims on March 22nd, 1998, and designated January 20 as his feast day. Thousands of his devotes are praying hard today for his canonisation – the fullness of the altar.

                                                                Sunday, October 17, 2021
                                Tansi advise to his devotees [a follow up of October 17 celebration]
              Many of us have taken part in the novena masses/prayers for the October 17 celebration. We have prayed and hopefully looking forward to the effects of our prayers. Many are already rejoicing that their prayers have been answered. As we look forward to better days ahead we should remember some of the things the Blessed Tansi is expecting of us in the days ahead.  What he expects from us is surprisingly simple and the results will be great if we try to do them.
            The first is to remain in the habit of prayer.  As we have come through the nine days masses/prayers we should remain in prayer always. Talk to Jesus always. Talk to Blessed Tansi every day no matter how short the prayer is. Remain in his friendship. Then, invite people to join you in prayer especially the members of your family. The first people to pray with are your family members than the others around you. There is always great power in prayer. “In order to love adequately, faithfully, and constantly we need a companion, a friend, a patron, a counselor. We must look for the One in the Blessed Sacrament.  See him too in Holy Scriptures and in other pious books”. (Retreat to Bp. Godfrey Okoye Mt. St. Bernard Abbey ― 1961).
           Promote the habit of Sunday Eucharist. The Sunday Eucharist called the Sunday Mass is the greatest weekly obligation of all of us. Nothing, I repeat nothing should take the place of this all-important weekly obligation.  Blessed Tansi loves his Sunday Mass and he celebrated it with great devotion.  He doesn’t ask for Eucharistic Adoration, though that is his great practice; he doesn’t even ask for daily Mass. He asks for Sunday Mass from each of us. Today especially among the young many have fallen into the trap of thinking that Sunday Mass is no big deal, and not worth promoting. That is a huge mistake. After all, it is the summit toward which the Church’s action tends and at the same time the source from which comes all her strength. (Says Vatican II). Committing to going to Mass every Sunday, no matter what, will transform a family and will change the fortunes of the individual.
            Do not neglect the sacrament of Reconciliation/confession. In many of the parishes in the Archdiocese weekly confessions still remain a common practice. Many take this practice seriously. But in some places, this sacrament is getting into crises-resulting in the loss of the sense of sin. Blessed Tansi himself was famous for his diligence at the confessional and the time he spent there and advised people to go regularly to confession. The sacrament is essential for our life as Catholic disciples and devotees of Blessed Tansi. We all know that God forgives our sins at the confessional. He also wants his parishioners to forgive one another as God forgives them. He makes the gift of reconciliation real at every level of Nigerian life. “There must be kindness and forgiveness to every child of Adam”

       His devotees must love the church. The Blessed Tansi has a deep love for the Church – the body of Christ.  He wants our love for the Church. He assures his sons and daughters that nothing in their life will happen without grace and grace comes most often from the church and from hearing the Word. Love the church because it a body to which you belong. Respect it, protect it, build it up and stay close to it always. Lastly he asks for love: with one another and with the poor. All devotees must witnesses to Love, stake everything on charity. He wants us to love our families and fellow parishioners, and let that love pour out to the poor.  His demand on us is quite simple and not complicated. No need to take a difficult course or adopt a strange way of life. Just ask others to join us as we pray, worship, confess, read the Bible, and serve. The result will be astonishing.

 

​​​                                                                                                               Sunday, October 10, 2021
                                                        Be part of the Reinternment Anniversary

           We are all prepared for 17th October, we have been keeping up with the novena mass/prayers which we began a few days ago. Our faith can bring us and our loved ones in need a great relief. A young girl was healed because a religious Sister brought her to Blessed Tansi on October 17. This year the event could be a source of great hope for us and many more.  We all have friends or family members whose spiritual and material well-being matter much to us.  We may have tried explaining, arguing, and the rest, and come up short.  Do not give up.  Instead, look up to Blessed Tansi on October 17 and beyond. He is the one who can help us in desperate situations; he can also obtain healing for us. He loves us personally and loves our loved ones in need. Come to him with faith and confidence.  We should bring our love ones to Christ through the Blessed Tansi, and bring Fr. Tansi to those around us especially the needy.  We can do this in several ways:

  •  bring somebody with you to Mass during the novena in honour of Fr. Tansi,
  •  proclaim the gospel of Fr. Tansi in word and deed to those around you,
  •  keep a regular devotion to Fr. Tansi,  
  • make a pilgrimage to Blessed Tansi during this year’s novena.
  • he was famous for the time he spent in the confessional, go regularly to confession.
  • always pray for a happy and quick conclusion of the cause
  • tell stories about Blessed Tansi to the old and young especially of favours through his intercession.
  • his holiness is a shining example for the faithful, put into practice in your own life what inspires you in his lifestyle.
  • like him keep faith in times of trial, adversity, and illness. 
  • give gifts if you can to promote his cause especially for the building of his shrine at Aguleri.

         Through encounters with Blessed Tansi miracles are constantly occurring. The real question is do we see and understand them? Do we have the eyes of a living faith which recognize the hand of the Lord at work? It is a part of our duty to Blessed Tansi to report to the postulation the favours and miracles received through his intercession. The postulation for the Cause of Blessed Tansi needs to know the favours which you receive through the intercession of Blessed Tansi. These testimonies can be sent directly at postulationtansi@yahoo. You can also give your testimony to your parish priest who will eventually make it available to the postulation. It is through these testimonies we can make out a miracle. If you do not want your testimony to be published, your wish will be respected.  Feel free to send us new ideas and suggestions on how this cause could become more popular in order to get one miracle needed to reach the goal

​​                                                                    Sunday, October 3, 2021
                                                              Tansi: Significance of October 17
             For all devotees and lovers of Blessed Tansi, 17th October will forever be remembered?  When the remains of Blessed Tansi were brought back from Mt. St Bernard Monastery England they were reburied in the priests’ cemetery Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity Onitsha on the 17th. October 1986 after a solemn concelebrated mass. It will be recalled that on that day just before the Eucharistic celebration the first major miracle obtained through Fr. Tansi intercession was recorded - a girl with advanced stage of cancer.
            The pious and ascetical Archbishop Charles Heerey, an Irish missionary bishop of Onitsha wanted a monastic apostolate for his diocese. When he found that Fr. Tansi was very interested in the monastic apostolate he made contacts in Europe to find him a monastery. After several contacts Mount St.Bernard agreed to accept him.  Father Michael entered Mount Saint Bernard on 3rd July 1950. Archbishop Heerey and Fr. Tansi expressed their fervent hope that Father Michael would eventually return to Nigeria to establish the monastic and contemplative life in Onitsha. At that time he entered the abbey there were 71 in the community, of whom 30 were priests and the rest were brothers. To become the last in this community he was choosing between fame, popularity, power, authority, the idol of money, and the love of God that promised to fill his heart and desires. He was choosing a place where he would like to die. 
            After 14 years of monastic experience death on January 20, 1964 brought to an end this humble life of a quiet Nigerian monk at the abbey of his final profession and at the same time giving it an ultimate divine value. He could not return to Nigeria as hoped for but his spirit did. After 22 years in September 1986 his remains were exhumed and ready for the long expected return to Nigeria. He had done everything well, he has fulfilled his monastic vow of stability and owes nothing to anybody; he has to go to his people who has been long waiting for him to return. He arrived Onitsha on the 16th of October 1986 and was received on the 17 October1986 with a solemn Eucharistic celebration in the basilica where he was ordained priest in 1937, his remains were later reinterred at the Priests’ cemetery beside Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity Onitsha. That day before the Eucharistic celebration began through his powerful intercession a young 20 year old girl obtain a complete and instantaneous healing of an advanced stage of cancer.
             The events of that day till date have a specific ecclesial trait: an enlightened pastor who left his flourishing apostolate to bring the contemplative apostolate to his people returning performed a miraculous healing to mark his return. He returned with heavenly gifts and blessings for his people- authenticating the path of holiness he has chosen. Every year we gather to celebrate this wonderful event through which many receive conversion, graces and healing. For this year 2021, the celebration shall take place on parish levels. To take part remember:

  1. To join in the nine days novena masses and prayers, which begin from Friday October 8 to Saturday October 16. For this year October 17 is a Sunday many would like to end and have their mass on Saturday 16th.
  2. Remember to book masses with your parish priest early enough.
  3. Join in the novena at least privately
  4. For those around Onitsha make time to visit the Relics at the basilica of the Most Holy Trinity.
  5. Do not forget to pray for the happy conclusion of this worthy Cause.


                                                               Sunday, September 26, 2021
                                                     Tansi: the legacy of apostolic vigour (3)
            The Gospels are full of statements that highlight Jesus’ pastoral zeal—to reach Father’s love for humanity. Similarly, Fr, Tansi was filled with pastoral zeal from the moment he realized his vocation and calling to the Lord’s business. Another fundamental characteristic of this extraordinary priestly figure was his diligent ministry of confession. He recognized in the practice of the sacrament of penance the logical and natural fulfillment of the priestly apostolate, in obedience to Christ's mandate: "…if you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (cf. Jn 20: 23). Even though his days were fully engaged and despite the hardship and personal discomforts he imposed on himself, Father Tansi was always encouraging and stressing the importance of the confessional act as a means to bring spiritual comfort and peace. Because he was deeply convinced of the spiritual importance of it he spared no effort to make himself available for all who needed it. Just as he had a reputation as a very zealous pastor in the same way he had a reputation as a zealous confessor. He was a man who would do anything for his parishioner in order to put them right with God, austere towards himself and strict with discipline too. He was a leader and was fearless in standing up against evil and a principle he believed was right.
            The sanctity of marriage and the family also played an important role in his priestly ministry.  His concern was demonstrated in the relentless efforts towards the establishment of pre marriage centers where intending female couples were protected and were taught some pre marriage courses and wifely skills. He had an intense concern for the spiritual formation of women in general and for the maintenance of sexual purity in particular. His concern for leading individual cassava growers and market women to real holiness is one of his most attractive and unusual characteristics. He promoted education of young girls and young boys in many senses of the word. He had primary schools and succeeded in inspiring his teachers, who saw their role not just as teachers but as formators of the growing population. At Dunukofia and other places, Father Tansi had boarding-houses for pupils in Standards five and six, young people around ages of eleven and twelve. The boys live in the mission compound from Sunday evening to Friday afternoon and return to their parents to help them at home and farm work at the week end. Fr Tansi was very concern for the purity and holiness of boys and girls. His concern for holiness of the young was not only limited to his seminarians and aspirants but also to every young girl and boy. The young people must be able to control themselves, to be able to love, and to be able to pray. Only a man with a great concern for the future could do these things.
             Assuredly love of Christ was his most characteristic quality. He normally spent the night uniting himself to Christ in prayer, sometimes being found on the chapel floor as his students come in for morning prayers. Much of that time was given to meditation. His care for others complimented his love of Christ. He loved people not simply because of Christ’s command or because he saw Christ in them, but from a natural compassion. His concern for others ran deeper than meeting their material needs. He worried about their eternal salvation.

                                                                 Sunday, September 19, 2021
                                                        Tansi: the legacy of apostolic vigour (2)
            At his time evangelization in Nigeria was at its primary infant stage. The missionaries were few and were just beginning. Language and culture posed a great problem for them. Guided and strengthened by the Spirit they did excellent work even though the prize in suffering and death was enormous. Fr. Tansi and his first Igbo priests made a lot of difference in the new missionary outreach in the Archdiocese of Onitsha. In his vast mission, he faced unexpected situations, new issues, and emergencies to which he respond in the light of faith and with a deep knowledge of Igbo culture. The sick are dying without any form of medical care, the vast majority of his parishioners were poor and starving, injustice to the voiceless stayed on his face. These were some serious problems that he was obliged to face and to solve. He did these by showing a mature pastoral charity to lonely people and those in need of assistance and help. He first brought Christ nearer to them by ministering the sacraments and by giving them the Word of God and consolation. It was for him an urgent matter because it concerned a fundamental aspect of social life and justice, namely, charity to the weak, the poor and the defenceless. Apart from conversion and administration of the sacraments Fr. Tansi considered with equal gravity the duty of charity and justice, that is, the duty to help widows and poor people and in response to the commandment of Jesus to provide lovingly for the brothers and sisters in need. Infant mortality was high but no child died without baptism, no sick went without his visit and no beggar left without food no matter how small. He thought that Christians must not only proclaim the word of God but must also put the word which is charity and truth into practice. “Blessed Cyprian Michael Tansi 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 now offers to the Universal Church”. (St. John Paul 11, Nigeria 1998)
           Fr. Tansi believed that all people are great gifts from God. He believed that all human beings need to be protected and loved—from the moment of creation until death. He treated every person with dignity and respect, no matter how dirty, poor, or helpless they were, and worked tirelessly in the defence of marginalization of women and girls. He is a great example of how we should live our lives as Christians—always willing to help those in need and respecting the dignity of every human being no mater his state and condition. It was said that he visited the sick and the poor constantly. Sick people were brought to his house, treated and fed. His little income was meant for their needs. He did not only depend on his income. He begged in order to supply the need of his sick and poor parishioners. In the traditional religion the faithful provided for the essentials of their priests so his converts had a carry-over attitude and considered it a religious obligation to provide for his daily needs. His converts were generous, they did not have much money but they gave him the produce from their farms. With these, the pious pastor was able to prepare delicious dishes for his aged and destitute friends. John Uchendu, his onetime cook remembers that the only occasion Fr. Tansi came into the kitchen to supervise the cooking was when the food was meant for his destitute and visiting friends. Fr. Tansi remains today a model of pastoral charity to pastors and Christians.
 

                                                                     Sunday, September 12, 2021
                                                               Tansi: the legacy of apostolic vigour.
            The Catholic Church canonizes holy men and women as role models for the living, these are examples of people who heard God’s call to holiness and set themselves to that task in the different areas of their vocation in life. They are mortals like us. We can look at the timeline of their lives and see their obvious weaknesses and struggles and how they overcame them by relying on God, His Sacraments, and His Word. As we study the life of Blessed Tansi, we see his personality, his achievements and his popularity.
            Even with his very flourishing pastoral apostolate in the Archdiocese of Onitsha Fr. Tansi still felt that God was calling him to a life of enclosure. In 1950 he left to become a Cistercian monk of Mt. St. Bernard abbey in England. His leaving a vibrant pastoral apostolate in the Archdiocese of Onitsha looked like both a loss and a disappearance. He was such an active and successful parish priest that the people thought that his opting for a monastery was a pastoral loss to the church in the Archdiocese. When he left he disappeared from his own people who were for 13 years anxiously waiting for his return. When his death in January 1964 was announced in Nigeria many who knew him thought that Mt. St. Bernard has rubbed them a powerful and vibrant spiritual leader, while  some others believed that unless a grain of corn dies in the ground it will yield no fruit. With his death the fame of his sanctity grew and spread especially among the parishes and outstations where he ministered as parish priest. The first initial steps to put him on the road to canonisation was made by Archbishop Francis Arinze (now Cardinal) the then Archbishop of Onitsha. He made contracts with the bishop of Nottingham where Fr. Tansi died and obtained from him an authority and competence to open the cause of Fr.Tansi at Onitsha. On April 22, 1982 he also obtained the support of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria. Archbishop Stephen Ezeanya officially inaugurated the cause in the Arhdiocese of Onitsha on January 20, 1986. Soon after the inauguration of the cause, he also brought back the Remains from Mt.St. Bernard Monastery to be reburied at Onitsha-Nigeria 17th October, 1986.
             The greatest achievement of this holy priest is his great and touching evangelical witness. Greatly linked together to his role in the new evangelization in the Archdiocese of Onitsha is his witness as a Christian, a priest and a religious. It is said that man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses. Fr. Tansi is a great witness among his people. He teaches his parishioners primarily by his personal influence and authentic Christian witness. This is especially evident in the way he live out his life, simply and honestly. He offers the Sacrifice of the Mass with great reverence, respect and awe. His holy example inspires the people to pray and make regular visits to Jesus in the tabernacle. He is so consumed by apostolic zeal that he never abandons his duties despite having often suffered from a conviction of personal inadequacy and unworthiness. He remains faithful to his penitential mortified life; praying, fasting and self-mortification. He also observes with strict fidelity and dedication the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience. By his heroic practice of prayer, humility and patience he is responsible for an untold number of conversions. One of his students at the St. Charles’s Training College Onitsha and later bishop has this to say: “. . . 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. From the point of view of his work in Nigeria his most fruitful period was that of the years as the parish priest in the Archdiocese of Onitsha;”( Bishop A. Nwedo, sermon at mass of re-interment October 17, 1986).
              He lived in an era of missionary and infant primary evangelization. The Igbo man of those days needed God as well as charity. His ministry of charity is intimately linked with the proclamation of the gospel but doing charity is not only giving food and other material needs but giving God. Love of God and the neighbour is a fundamental quality in the life of Fr. Tansi. This takes us to the heart of his life and message which is very much needed today. 

                                                                Sunday, September 5, 2021
                                                       Fr.Tansi Patron of Nigerian Priests (2)
            If we begin to compare the pastoral attention which Fr. Tansi gives his flock to what today the people of God  get from their pastors you will notice that the People of God today are being spiritually starved without knowing. They seem to be getting used to the worldly notions of the priesthood and the over bureaucratic responses they are repeatedly getting from some of their pastors. In Blessed Iwene Tansi as in some priest-saints we see the true vision and understanding of the priesthood. His priestly style and life point to the sublime heights the priest is called to and the lay faithful calling to love their priests deeply as men appointed by Christ to be other Christ in this life. Priests through their sacred office and the indelible mark placed upon their souls at ordination, they are other Christ.
          Fr. Tansi really went to every corner of his parish, untiringly, in order to seek for his flock and to bear fruit that lasts. He was a priest to the last, for he offered his life to God for his flock and for the entire human family through his penitential mortified life of prayer and fasting. He ate very little, slept little, prayed much and spent most of his time on pastoral trek to remote villages and farmlands. And in this way he became one with Christ, the Good Shepherd who loves his sheep. His greatest priority in his ministry is the daily Eucharist and the ministry of confessions-penance. All through his life he expressed the highest esteem for the gift of the priesthood in the celebration of Mass and in hearing confessions. The Sacrifice of the Mass which is the living source from which our reparation derives its efficacy and inspiration is the first and highest function of the day. The gift of the Eucharist was for him worth more than all the rest of life. This daily function was celebrated with a fervour which is apparent even to strangers. “Father Tansi had strong faith in the Holy Eucharist. He celebrated Mass in a way that inspired faith. His Eucharistic Benediction nourished faith. Even the way he genuflected showed his Eucharistic faith. He prayed for long hours in the Chapel by day and by night,    (Francis Cardinal Arinze)
           The Eucharist is Jesus and Jesus is the centre of his life. Similarly, his lofty priestly ideal is made abundantly evident by his desire to see himself as the great High Priest of his people, who should be "a propitiation for the sins of the people." (Hebr. 2. 17). He shows this in his desire and long hours at the confessional. Confession is synonymous with going on trek to the outstation. He gives great importance to the ministry of confession. He makes the sacrament possible and available and stays on it as long as the people needed it. He distinguishes himself as an excellent, tireless confessor and spiritual director. Passing with a single inner impulse from the altar to the confessional, where he spends a large part of the day as long as the penitents are there. He does his utmost with preaching and persuasive advice to help his parishioners to rediscover the meaning and beauty of the sacrament of Penance, presenting it as an inherent demand of the Eucharistic presence and participation.Other area his pastoral ministry received great attention and where he had his greatest option is the ministry to the hungry, thirsty, homeless, afflicted, imprisoned and the poor in general. He serves Jesus in the needy around him. Jesus sums up the commandments as loving God above all else and loving our neighbour as ourselves. Jesus identifies himself with all those around the world who are underprivileged and do not have sufficient source of livelihood. “Whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” Christians from the very beginning have praised those who care for the underprivileged. Fr. Tansi sees this mission as indispensable for the Church, for his suffering people and for the world, a mission which calls him for complete fidelity to Christ and constant union with him. His life belongs to Christ alone who is his joy, and through his deep intimacy with him, his heart is expanded to love the multitude of souls entrusted to him. He focuses on the salvation of souls and to be a loving spiritual father to those souls. He is no longer his own and not ordained for himself.

                                                                    Sunday, August 29, 2021
                                                          Fr. Tansi: Patron of Nigerian Priests
               It was on the 3rd day of June in the year 2010 at the National Eucharistic celebration to mark the end of the ‘Year for Priests [June 19th. 2009 – June 18th. 2010] that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria declared the Blessed Iwene Tansi the Parton of Nigerian Priests. The same Conference had earlier sitting in Lagos on 22nd April 1982 after considering the life of Rev. Fr. Iwene Tansi gave approval for the promotion of his cause as it will bring good results to Nigeria especially in the area of priestly spirituality.
            The universal call for holiness alone would be insufficient to explain Fr. Tansi consistent pursuit for holiness. Although each age has its own spiritual condition, Fr. Tansi’s age helped to condition his spiritual ambition. It was an age when racism was inherent in the colonial political system, when the hitherto quiet and static Igbo traditional society was invaded by the ferocious western influence, when the traditional belief and customs remained unquestionable and when Christianity was threading its way into the unique static life system. There were certainly some obvious difficulties to be encountered. One thing certain Fr. Tansi lived with the utmost simplicity. But as a growing youth many things remained for a long time a great puzzle; the evil ambition and influence of colonization with the accompanying racists’ assumptions, desecrating of the happiness of the native society with spoliation and savage appetites of greed made manifest in slavery. The second was the inherent injustices inbuilt in the traditional customs and practiced against its own people, the ‘Osu’ and Oru’ system were more prominent, and the third was the amount of suffering, hunger and disease prevalent in his society. He must have found the solution to these problems the gospel way and so he lived it out in practical terms. These and many others were the problems that disturbed this young man in the village and could explain his gospel way of life.
            He excised his priestly ministry during the colonial administration and when most priests were foreign missionaries. Like other priest-saints, he demonstrated that a priest’s fruitfulness is directly tied to how much he is willing to die with Christ for the salvation of souls. From his day one as a priest he was willing to give everything to God for the salvation of souls. In his lifestyle he sacrificed the comforts of the world, honor, and praise so as to be able to lead his spiritual children to the heights of holiness. His kind of priestly life was not a functionary one as this will be spiritually impotent in the condition of his parishioners who might quickly lose sight of his high calling and saw him as seeking the security and comforts of this life above their salvation. His pastoral approach was different. The years of his pastoral ministry at Dunukofia, Akpu and Aguleri the story was the same. He was concerned and dedicated to the salvation of his spiritual children’s souls above everything else. His concern was Christ and the promises of eternal life. Like a soldier, he defended his flock at all times fighting spiritual battles on their behalf through fasting, penitential life and prayer. He forsook the comforts of this world for the sanctification of his apostolate and his flock. He gave priority to the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance, the celebration of Mass and the opening up of centres for worship and school. His ministry took him to remote villages and farm lands where the only way to reach them was by narrow bush tracks frequently used by farmers, wine tappers and hunters. Fr. Tansi really went to every corner of his parish, untiringly in order to seek for his flock and to bear fruit that lasts. He was a priest to the last, for he offered his life to God for his flock and for the entire human family in a daily self-oblation for the service of the Church. And in this way he became one with Christ, the Good Shepherd who loves his sheep.

                                                           Sunday, August 22, 2021

                                                Blessed Tansi: Prophet of the Future.

              We all know the Blessed Iwene Tansi, a humble Nigerian priest who lived in Nigeria's colonial era. The church recognized the humble way he lived out his life and priestly ministry by beatifying him before his numerous countrymen and women in 1998 at Oba in the Archdiocese of Onitsha-Nigeria. He is a model of hope for many Nigerians who are today passing through many difficult social, economic, and political problems. Very certainly, many of us are going through circumstances that we don’t understand. Even though we know and understand that all things work together for our good yet the reality on the ground can lead to despair. Many like the biblical Job are being tested and tried on all sides, illness, grief, pain, suffering, hunger, spiritual and physical attacks on their lives. The life and teaching of Blessed Tansi can encourage and give us hope for the future that God causes everything to work together for your good.

         In his times and life Blessed Tansi cried with those who have been abused; consoled those who grieved; prayed with those who were homeless and helpless; sheltered those who were physically and spiritually lost. He was a powerful voice for those who have no voice. In him, we experience one priest whose priesthood was unconventional, creative, energizing, unpredictable, and exciting. “The life and witness of Father Tansi is an inspiration to everyone in Nigeria that he loved so much... 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”. (St. JP 11, Nigeria 1998)

             He lived with hope as he faced the problems of the time and this is precisely where one of his greatest challenges of our time lies. 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 is pure Love, he would always affirm that life is worth living and that Christ gave it its full meaning because he loved human beings. He loved them all. The religion he advocated is a religion of joy, not a morbid quest for mortification as had sometimes been believed.  What gave him joy was the great number of Masses he had celebrated or will celebrate, making Christ really present on the altar each time. The innumerable absolutions he had given and would give enabling sinners to be forgiven and return to God with hope. As a man of the future, he took seriously Paul's words: "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above" (Col 3: 1). His priestly ministry was always a living witness of hope and the power of God at work in human weakness. His family apostolate was not only future/hope oriented but laid solid foundations for future Christian families.

-                 he promoted the status of women, the education of young girls and young boys insisting that betrothed girls should attend a six-month marriage training centre where they were taught Catholic doctrine, and wifely skills. He insisted that those who have young girls and young boys must teach them purity, holiness, dignity, respect, and love for life.

             We too, no matter our condition and status can put a smile on somebody’s face and bring him hope and life. You can be the only bible/Jesus some other person can and is waiting to read. You can become the Good Samaritan to someone in trouble/abandoned. You can bring hope to others by the good example of your life. God is the One in whom we live and move and have our being.


                                                                     Sunday, August 15, 2021
                                                                 Fr. Tansi is Relevant today.
               Every one of us is born with a gift to share, a burden to carry, and a job to do. Today messes and chaos are common place in most households and communities. It is true that God did not create chaos; chaos comes from the enemy. We know this, because in the Old Testament, God spoke in the still, small voice – not in the thunderous noises, atop a high mountain, or through the gusty gales. Still, because He is a God of mercy, He enters into our calamities. He is present with and through every tribulation and every moment we feel our brains are hijacked by the chaos in our everyday life. Sometimes we cannot find joy. But we can create it. We remember many Nigerians who by their life and legacy have brought joy, peace and reconciliation to their fellow Nigerians. Such people lived like true prophets among us. One of such men whom we are promoting the cause of his canonisation is Blessed Iwene Tansi, born January 3, 1903, ordained priest January 19, 1937 died January 20 1964 and beatified on 22nd March 1998. Like a true prophet he was consumed in serving the Lord and his people alone and no other gods or interests in the world. He was amazing and incredibly courageous. Like many saints, he was misunderstood by those around him. He had much to overcome when he was growing up and during his pastoral ministry. The young saint struggled in school, but was able to persevere through his formation after starts and stops due to the events of his day.
            Today he is the patron saint of Nigerian priests. If ever there is a priest-saint for our times, it is Blessed Iwene Tansi. A man who understood to his very depths the calling placed upon him at his ordination. He lived the sacred character of his office fully and he loved deeply with the heart of a spiritual father. Like the Good Shepherd, whose heart is moved with pity at the flock without a shepherd. Blessed Iwene Tansi sought to give his life as a sacrifice for the salvation of souls. He wanted to lead all souls to God. The catholic church today in Nigeria needs badly a Saint like him when the beauty, sacred character, and the high calling of the priesthood is being marred by scandal and poor spiritual formation. We look up to his pastoral example at a time when priests look like functionaries, administrators, fundraisers, social justice warriors, and bureaucrats. In the present day Nigeria when people seem to lose hope in the Government of the day their salvation could come from priests who choose Christ and the love of souls over and above everything else. Men who seek to love with the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus regardless of what others think, including their brother priests.
              In the years of his pastoral ministry at Dunukofia, Akpu and Aguleri the story is the same. He was concerned and dedicated to the salvation of his spiritual children’s souls above everything else. He was not concerned with honour, praise, acceptance, or worldly lures. His concern was Christ and the promises of eternal life. Like a soldier, he defended his flock at all times fighting spiritual battles on their behalf. He fasted, prayed and lived largely on poor and merger diet. He forsook the comforts of this world for the sanctification of his apostolate and his flock. Part of the reason I think the people of God are looking for prayers houses today is because they are starved for spiritual fathers. They need spiritual attention which they sometimes do not find in their pastors. In many ways, the faithful do not even realize they are being spiritually starved because we are so used to worldly notions of the priesthood. Now is the time to recapture a true vision and understanding of the priesthood as we earnestly promote the cause of canonisation of Blessed Iwene Tansi.

                                                               Sunday, August 8, 2021
                                                  TANSI JOURNEY TO SAINTHOOD.
              Faithful Christians in Nigeria have continued to ask: “when will Blessed Tansi be canonized and why the delay? The postulation does not have the answers except that the only thing needed to reach the fullest of the altar - is Sainthood is one miracle accepted by the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints. When, how and from where this miracle will come the Postulation just don’t know. None of us can work this miracle except God. Jesus himself “accompanies his words with many "mighty works and wonders and signs", which manifest that the kingdom is present in him and attest that he was the promised Messiah. The signs worked by Jesus attest that the Father has sent him. They invite belief in him. To those who turn to him in faith, he grants what they ask. So miracles strengthen faith in the One who does his Father's works; they bear witness that he is the Son of God.” (CCC # 547-550)
              As God’s children we can all ask Him to do a miracle for us through the intercession of Blessed Tansi. And indeed we all have a duty to ask him to do it for us. I believe that if we do he will. The Catholic Church has always proclaimed her belief in the existence of many different kinds of miracles. Our tradition and history are replete with examples of miracles. All miracles are due to the Risen Lord's continued ministry of mercy in our midst. His redemptive work continues through the ministry of the Church which is His Body. All miracles are still signs of the Kingdom of God. The Blessed Iwene Tansi has already on 22nd of March been beatified by St. JP.11 in Nigeria. This was an official recognition of the humble way he lived out his life and vocation.
             Today the primary purpose praying for his canonization is to have the church officially authorize his veneration and intercession world-wide. The investigation process prior to his canonization seeks primarily to ensure that he lived an extraordinary life through the ordinary events of his life as professional teacher, priest and religious, that he is in heaven and that God is working through his intercession bringing favours and granting petitions to the people of God. When he will be canonised his cult shall be celebrated world-wide and in addition:

  • His name is added to the church’s catalogue of saints.
  • He is invoked in public prayers world-wide.
  • Churches may be dedicated in his memory.
  • Mass can be offered in his honour and his feast days are celebrated his memory.
  • His relics are enclosed in vessels and publicly honoure

               Some of these prerogatives he already enjoy in Nigeria as a National Saint when he was beatified in 1998. When he will be canonised they will be extended to the universal church. This is what we are praying for. All it requires is a miracle through his intercession and approved by the Holy See. Miracles provide the strongest reason many faithful have for their faith. The process for determining a miracle cannot proceed without the testimony of physicians who might or might not believe in miracles but must fill two absolutely essential roles.

  • to declare the prognosis hopeless even with the best of the art, that is - a public admission of medical failure.
  •  to recognise a miracle which is to express surprise at the outcome without giving medicine any credit for the cure.

              Blessed Tansi is now on this final trial stage in the Vatican where he is being tried for a miraculous healing attributed to his intercession. Join us in prayers for the Cause as we celebrate the mysteries of our faith which bring about miracles. The universal church provides an avenue for us to ask for this miracle- through the celebration of Tansi cult - mass, office, approved local prayers and veneration.     


                                                                   Sunday, August 1, 2021

                                                        Nigeria: Democracy or Conspiracy
               Sadly, one of the tendencies we have as humans is to take something which is good and taint it. Sometimes we abuse a good thing in itself as we employ it for some evil ends. The good thing is entirely destroyed as it is certainly reduced to the benefit of a smaller group, just as evil corrupts the good by destroying it. Democracy as a system of government and as we know it is good and perfect but can be abused by a group and changed in such a way as to benefit only a few individuals. A political group can manipulate democracy for its own purpose in exclusion of the entire community. When this happens they become political conspirators with conspiracy theory for their own purpose. A conspiracy theory is an accusatory perception in which a small group of powerful people are working in secret for their own benefit against the common good and in a way that undermines the bedrock ground rules against the widespread use of force and fraud. Political parties could degenerate into political conspirators.
              In our traditional setup we know there had been bad chiefs and rulers who used their privileged positions for their own purpose. In the days of Blessed Iwene Tansi these undoubtedly received his intransigent attention and condemnation. Masquerades were pursued, their secret revealed, an offence that attracted severe punishment or banishment; men that molested widows by insistent love advances were denounced publicly, religious feasts that end up at night with dances and procession by boys and girls were condemned, the system by which masquerades were used to hand down judgments was condemned and their verdicts rejected and resisted, traditional burial rites and rites of widowhood came under very severe attack. He was a spokes man for public conduct and morality. The Parish priest was not afraid to denounce even rich men if their ways were evil. On several occasions during his ministry at Aguleri his parishioners rose up and challenged his apostolate which they said did not have any sympathy for their customs. He stood out against the whole of the parish council at Aguleri on what he considered to be a matter of principle for the common good. If the Blessed Tansi were here today he would stand up against some of our political parties for their manipulation of democracy.
             To some extent what has been happening in Nigeria recently can be seen as a conspiracy of a small, powerful and elite force of political parties against the common good. They certainly wish to retain their standing regardless of whether their actions benefit the citizens or not. They have determined wrongly that what is good for them as those in power is in the best interest of the people of Nigeria. Simply themselves, this small powerful force abused their authority against the good of the nation.  Nigerians love democracy but the political party conspiracy must be rejected. The past is not being destroyed, history is not lost when conspiracy is removed, rather, the past becomes free and we are once again able to learn from it. We can and should be able to both recognize and respect the good of the past, the holiness of democracy without accepting any ideological conspiracy which turns the good into some evil. We must remember the greater good, knowing that its promotion is the promotion of God and God’s will.

                                                                   Sunday, July 25, 2021
                                                                    The sins of a Nation        
          You do not have to be perfect to be a blessed Christian. We cannot earn the grace and blessings of God—they are gifts. Last week we considered Nigeria as the biblical Prodigal Son - a particularly ungrateful and foolish young man, who in essence wanted his father dead but since his father could not die. He requested for his share of the inheritance which he squandered with high living and whores.  There is nothing so remarkable about this fellow. His name is ours and our Nation. So is the land he went to. Strange, to call it a far country, when it seems as if it were next door, because all you have to do is turn your head where you are, and you will see many Nigerians doing exactly what the young son was doing. Actually, you do not have to turn your head at all. All you need is to look into your own heart. That far country is, like God’s abundant blessings Nigeria has been blessed with but what do we Nigerians do in practice – you notice a realm of corruption, licentiousness, ingratitude, impiety, cruelty, and slavery. Every one of us has been there, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. So many sins have been committed in this country that has been so much blessed. And many loyal sons and daughters of this land who understand have shade tears at the fate of this Nation.
            What the great fathers of this land did bequeath to us - great political and moral wealth, quite aside from a heritage of deep spirituality, art, music, and brotherly love; we have mostly squandered it or left it to rot. The funny thing about drunken license is that even when you are in the middle of it, you are not genuinely enjoying yourself. Who is really happy with our situation? There may be shrieks of laughter here and there, as from madmen, or grinning, like skulls, but gentle smiles, no, none of them, nor self-forgetful and innocent mirth. Somewhere deep within we know that it is all a sham. It is a sad and sullen land. I can see it in the youth, who view the older folks as largely selfish and not to be trusted—nor are they entirely wrong about that. How can such a nation survive - where the Government is clueless, the politicians shameless, civil servants’ attitude to work carless and the masses helpless and heartless. Imagine a nation where more than half of the graduated and qualified working population are unemployed.  I am not surprised, what do you expect when the passion for education among the young is dead, and the passion to become an overnight billionaire is what is driving this generation. When teenagers, the future hope and leaders , who are supposed to dedicate all their time in studies learning morals are busy on social media looking for either a date, how to defraud others or to get many questionable followers on social media or are making suicidal attempts for green pastures abroad. What do you expect when unfortunately and shamefully the parental institution that represents the first agents of socialization and learning has failed. What do you expect from a society that celebrates money and material things more than integrity and excellence thinking it is brave, it is free, it is authentic, it is something or other to forget the emptiness gnawing away within. Even though a bad omen looms ahead, correction starts from each one of us.

                                                                    July 18, 2021

                                                           Nigeria: A Prodigal Son
                 Life can get tedious and life in the present day Nigeria can get even more tedious. The world ordinarily is not as the world should be, broken by sin, and so can be hard to understand. Nigeria not only shares the fate of the world but in addition faced with great inhumanity can be another hell for many Nigerians. In fact, there are, most probably these problems created by Nigerians that they will never solve to their own satisfaction. They are simply lost and confused like the biblical Prodigal Son. The answers may be beyond the capacity of their intellect but heaven will help because “Father Tansi knew that there is something of the Prodigal Son in every human being. He knew that all men and women are tempted to separate themselves from God in order to lead their own independent and selfish existence. He knew that they are then disappointed by the emptiness of the illusion which had fascinated them, and that they eventually find in the depths of their heart the road leading back to the Father's house” (Sermon beatification Nigeria March1998) Fr. Tansi accepted a reasonable uncertainty in his life but just lived by faith and action while his faith sought understanding continuously as he did not have the option of not thinking and of doing the best reasoning possible.
             In our longing for the return of this Prodigal Nigeria justice is important. Nigerians must desire it, yearn it so much and hunger for it. And just as we cannot live without food, so we find we cannot properly live and be satisfied without justice. So long as we hunger for it, so long as we thirst for it, we should find ourselves working for it. We will do what needs to be done to attain it. Once we begin our pursuit for justice, we will find that there is no end to our search for it. Our quest for it must goes on forever. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice.” It does not suffice for us to want justice. We will find ourselves constantly reforming ourselves so as to conform to its dictates. But will not stop there. We will work to transform unjust and unfair structures, so that the country itself can become more and more just. This means, we must heal at all levels the damage done by injustice. If we do not, we will find ourselves promoting injustice through our neglect.
              Nigerians at all levels need hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism. Goodness does not come on grand stages with fanfare and media coverage. Rather, the best people are those who live lives of excellence and virtue with conviction, seeking no reward or notoriety. But how is such conviction cultivated? Blessed Iwene Tansi and successful people sought to be a blessing to others regardless of their faith and ethnic background. It is not our task to conquer and rule at all cost. It is our task to be a blessing to Nigeria. The use of intimidation and force for political ends is not righteousness but idolatry. To invoke God to justify violence against the innocent is not an act of sanctity but of sacrilege. It is time for Nigerians to seek common sources of moral conviction, shared simply by being human. Having for so long felt the pain of injustice and dishonesty in this country every Nigerian should have a fellow-feeling with other Nigerians, who suffer the same pain. This is not a call to debate, legislation, philosophical hair-splitting, or theological distinctions. It is a simple call to action. We are called to do more than talk.
              “Blessed Cyprian Michael Tansi 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. So too the Nigerians of today — young and old alike — are called to reap the spiritual fruits which have been planted among them and are now ready for the harvest”.( Saint JP 11. Sermon beatification Nigeria March 1998)

                                                                      July 4, 2021               
                                             
God wants to speak to you – Nigeria.
           
Let us not forget the Blessed Iwene Tansi’s powerful call to Nigerians. The Holy Father, Saint JP 11 reminded us of this truth when he said: “Today, one of Nigeria'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…This is the task which lies before the Church in this land of Nigeria, on this continent of Africa…” (Sermon beatification Nigeria 1998)
                     God speaks to us on a daily basis, so why do we have such a hard time hearing Him. Do you understand the words that you sometimes read and hear?  Communication is difficult in any relationship, especially when there is a language barrier or a problem with transmission. How many Nigerians of different ethnic groups or political associations can boldly say they understand this call for dialogue and reconciliation?  Can you hear me! is always a funny joke while the devil at work knows what he is doing, lives and properties lost, masses suffer in the land of their birth and in the midst of plenty.  Nigeria has the powerful strength to capture Mazi Nnamdi Kalu in a foreign land but does not have the strength to capture Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen in Nigerians own soil – that logic does not fit in. Something is wrong somewhere. Everyone I know today expresses this frustration. We want to hear from God, but we cannot hear His voice. We want to obey His every command, but we cannot hear His instructions. Material considerations, selfishness and avarice harden our hearts. Of course there are some things we can do to save the situation.
               Avoid violence at all cost; it is a devil’s tool. Take the word of God which is alive and active. Sharper than any double edged sword.  (Heb. 4:12) Learn from the advice and lifestyle of our great men and women who have gone before us. Reconciliation is a task which lies before Nigerian men and women of every ethnic group. This is an advice from a foreigner, head of the world’s greatest religion and an extraordinarily intelligent and prophetic holy man.  Reconciliation: “This is the task which lies before the Church in this land of Nigeria, on this continent of Africa…”
              The Blessed Tansi set aside a secret place to meet with God. His favourite spot was before the Lord in the tabernacle where the Lord filled his brain, body, and spirit with love for his neighbour. Here he focused his mind on God thoughts. Even today God generally speaks to our minds through thoughts, His usual method of communication. Yes, He can speak in an audible voice, send a human angel or write on a wall. But He usually speaks to your negative self-talk directing your mind to think creative, healthy, and divine thoughts. It is not too hard to hear the voice of God in your mind. It is just a matter of discerning His thoughts, the enemy’s lies, society’s errors, and our own selfishness and pride. I have met with many who tell me that many present day Nigerians have no integrity. If you are holding a public office and you can no longer perform, save millions of your country men and women from unnecessary suffering and resign – that is integrity.
              Do you realise that you are irreplaceable Nigerian with an irreplaceable function and duty to Nigerian. In our day-to-day lives as Nigerians with integrity we are to look up to our spiritual mentors like the Blessed Tansi, and they are to be positive influences for all our earthly matters. Like them the bottom line is this: all Nigerians should strive to be men and women of integrity for our community, for our families, for our sons and daughters, and for all children. We need to stand into the breach where Nigeria has intentionally broken down and attempts to destroy itself through greed and proud arrogance. This is the devil’s storm trying to destroy Christianity.  If he then succeeds he can destroy the lives of millions of families, millions of women, millions of children, and millions of sons and daughters who look up to see good leaders but see no one stepping into those roles and thus they fall into despair or grief.

                                                                           June 27,2021

                                            You Are God’s Answer to Nigeria’s Problems
             
God has a master plan to change Nigeria, and we each have a place in it. All we need to do is live the basic vocation of every Christian: Love Jesus Christ as God and love our neighbour as Jesus Christ. “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”  Many who have lived in this land before us lived out the command of the Lord and were both happy and at peace in this land. They are both an inspiration and testimony. “The life and witness of Father Tansi is an inspiration to everyone inNigeria… Everyone who met him was touched by his personal goodness. He was then a man of the people: he always put others before himself…” ( PP. JP 11 Sermon beatification Nigeria 1998).  We recall that even as a young man Tansi had a tremendous and unwavering faith, tenacity of purpose and rugged physical strength to fight evils. He was but one man, and sometimes his efforts must have seemed pitifully futile in the gigantic morass of trouble and despair that was the moral and social condition of the time. He never gave up. Now looking at the huge success which he achieved one might think that he got all on a plate of gold. 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. It was his life, God’s call for him, an invitation to do a service for God. The cost to him was certainly great but later he gained more than he seemed to have lost. He found peace for himself and his brothers through darkness and suffering. His life helps us to see and to appreciate what is important at the core of our being and also helps us to renew our awareness of the things that really matter in our national lives. His life is important to us because it is an exemplary life of faith, of service and perseverance. To his spiritual son he said: “ You have divine mission, appointed to go and bear much fruit… to be God’s messenger, a messenger of peace, a messenger of love, a priest of God, another Christ, showing to all you meet that God is love, is worthy of your love…” (Bishop G. Okoye Mt. St. Bernard 1961).
                Nigeria is a land of possible gods and goddesses, a society of possible riches and poverties. All day long Nigerians are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. There is no exemption to this rule whether you like it or not.  But let us stop deceiving ourselves, we are adults. In Nigeria today we are all architects of our national economic and social woes. We don’t have to blame anybody. Let stop the game of blame. Any change begins with you. Our attitude and unpatriotic behaviours should stop. Politicians sing the song of the people yet they have no intention to right the wrong in the community affecting the people. Sometimes we take others as ordinary people. No, it is not that way. Nobody is ordinary. Our next door neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. The dullest and most uninteresting person you disregard today may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship. In our multi-ethnic differences, we live surrounded by icons of Christ, waiting for you to serve whoever you call your God through them.
              Nobody is small. God is counting on your response. No matter whom you are, God needs you in his plan to reach others. God has committed some work to you which he has not committed to another. Each person has his mission. The more you love, even in a small way, the brighter Nigeria becomes. Your smallest service will have enormous results. Our small words and gestures can bring great change. We each know from personal experience that hurtful words or actions can wound for a lifetime — it is all the more true that loving words and actions can change lives. Our times, dark and marked by evil, can change if we first bring the light of the Gospel, especially through our lives. If we change, Nigeria will change. Neglecting important things now will lead to disastrous things tomorrow.
      

                                                            Sunday, June 20, 2021 
                                                   Tansi Saintly solution to Nigerian Crises.
                In all civilized groups peaceful, negotiated dialogue and looking for what unites give solution to political and social crisis. Violence, power minded arrogance, use of military might or repression has nothing good to offer.  Where ever there are situations of existing inequalities, abuse of office or intimidation of the weak and poor there is always an absence of peace. The marginalization of any group ethnic, religious or political party is a threat to democracy. It is inhuman and below the integrity of any real human to talk of peace which he or she does not want to work for.  The kind of peace we want must begin with us. The Nigeria we want must begin from all of us no matter who you are and where you are. Until we realise that the value of Nigeria today is the average of our own individual values, we will keep on killing, making mockery and fooling ourselves. You and I are our Nigerian problems. Be the change you want to see in Ngeria.
                I know of  one man, a patriotic Nigerian, whom the whole Catholic world recognised the humble way he lived out his simple life reconciling his brothers in the most difficult times of the British Colonial era, the Blessed Tansi. “Today, one of Nigeria'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”. (PP. Saint JP.11. Sermon Beatification Nigeria 1998). Tansi has the peace of Nigeria at heart while ministering as a priest and much more now as Nigerian national heavenly advocate.  He used peaceful, negotiated solution, without giving up his principles to find solutions to the pastoral crises of his time. Such solutions helped to avoid the violence or repression which is often used around the world particularly in colonial administration and in situations of existing inequalities.
                Years of his pastoral activities in Nigeria have been like rain in the midst of the hot social and religious situations that the country was going through at the time. He lived in a positivist Nigeria, which did not prevent him from expressing his faith, but not in a polemical way. He was very friendly and had a very good relationship with those who thought differently from him. And in the Nigerian current situation, this is very important. He was also an open believer. He is a testimony, a model, so necessary in today’s Nigeria. I have been discovering many different facets of a multifaceted life of this pious priest who on the one hand was normal, close to the people, very demanding but much loved and admired by all.
              Without having had any publicity campaign, his testimony spread like wildfire throughout Nigeria and beyond. I am struck by the requests for his relics from all over the world. Nigeria has a treasure in the lifestyle of this holy man but does not want to use it. Nigeria! Stop killing one another and come to meaningful, loving and positive dialogue. The poor masses that voted the politicians to power are being killed every day in thousands and politicians are busy protecting the political interests and affiliations. The interest of Nigeria is bigger than any political party, ethnic or religiousgroup. 

                                                                         June 13, 2021
                                                    Walk with the Saints and become Saint
             The choice of our associations will determine our destinations. Even someone with great character, self-esteem and religiously inclined can be led astray by bad associations. “Do not be misled…bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinth. 15:33). There is a great wisdom in the importance of choosing the right partners in business, marriage, vocation and friendship. The old saying: “Show me your friends and I will show you your destination” 
            In Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi we meet one who came from being a devout pagan village boy to a Catholic Christian, to a great professional teacher, 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. Many of his devotees world-over are now praying that he gets a fair judgment at his trial for sainthood in the Vatican. Providence in his early childhood put him in the hands of a devout and disciplined teacher/cousin. 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. He fulfilled the command of the gospel: “…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
             His lifestyle is a yard stick for all Nigerians if we are serious to get out of our present national and individual problems. Come near to him ask questions that will help you to know him better. Pray to and through his intercession. Prayer will help you find a safe place with him and with God. You may be hidden from the world, swallowed in our national personal problems but God knows you and what you may be going through. “...your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3).
            For those things that are legitimate, good, and approved by God, Blessed Tansi encourages and wants his devotees to have access to them. In fact, the desire will is God to be your first source of blessings. Often, we think that happiness is outside of us and depends on circumstances. Our friendship with Bl. Tansi will teach us that God is the only true giver of happiness.
            I know many of you have gone through many painful ordeals which really hurt. I remember King David once taught Solomon a great lesson: “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers.” (Psalms 1:1)  I personally want to be blessed, and I am sure you do, too. So let us take a moment and ask God to help us choose the company of Blessed Tansi. Ask God to help you discern the great profit in his lifestyle and to enter into a covenant with him.  Begin today by getting more information through the: Postulation, Cause of Blessed Tansi Basilica Onitsha, (postulationtansi@yahoo.com). You will be glad you did. Choose wisely because you are a miracle.

                                                                                                        
June 6, 2021

                                              Saintly Solution to Nigeria’s problems

             The blessed Iwene Tansi (1903 – 1964) was a leading figure in the early Catholic Evangelisation in Nigeria, possessed brilliant understanding of the Igbo culture/religion and practical abilities to conversion and enculturation. His pastoral approach in the Archdiocese of Onitsha (1937 – 1950), are considered by many the best pastoral approach to Catholic Evangelisation in Nigeria, and had a profound influence on the religious life not only of Christians but of the whole community. “ … 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”. (Bp. A. Nwaedo, Sermon – reburial mass of Iwene Tansi, Basilica Most Holy Trinity Onitsha, October 17, 1986)

                Blessed Iwene Tansi as we know was the first Nigerian Trappist Monk (June 1950 – January 20, 1964) who lived the Monastic life with great zeal, faith, humility and absolute tenacity in his love for God and humanity. His beatification by John Paul 11 on March 22, 1998 is a gift from God to Nigeria, a country that is in need of the wisdom contained in his lifestyle. The trials that Nigerian face today are different from those that confronted Blessed Tansi. Nonetheless, his life approach and sermons have much to say about how to respond to abuses of trust and power, to the pressures of life within a secular Nigeria. It is hard to describe the power that his words have to move the heart and the mind if only Nigerians will listen.

                 Twenty three years after his beatification the church is earnestly praying for his canonisation which will come after a successful recognition of a miracle attributed to his intercession. We know that one of the most common type of miracles considered by the Vatican is a sudden healing of someone.  The cure to be considered miraculous, the disease must be serious and impossible to cure by human means. The healing must be spontaneous, complete and permanent. One such miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Tansi has been recorded. The Church to recognize a miracle, a thorough process must first take place. The first diocesan process has been successfully concluded in the Archdiocese of Onitsha and the second and last process is now taking place in the Vatican. We all need to pray hard for a positive judgment of the church on this matter. The medical experts involved in the investigation are humans and therefore there could be human errors. This is the reason for prayer.

            The present problem of Nigeria is rooted in love. There is an absence of love in our social, political and religious life. Blessed Tansi knows love, and shares that love to his people. He knows far more of the truth by experience than what can be learned through study, which is why his wisdom exceeds the wisdom of the scholars and politicians. We all want our lives to matter — to have some sort of lasting significance. But this can prove elusive, even for those who have the best of intentions. Trusting God means believing in His care for us and loving others even when evil seems to be gaining the upper hand — a point understood and rooted in Blessed Tansi lifestyle.

                                                                  Sunday 2, May 2021.
                                                               
Called to Labor of Love

              When we think of the life and times of Blessed Tansi one thing stands clear to us that is his whole life was a labor of love.  His entire life was lived in service to God - as a school teacher, headmaster, catechist, priest and monk.  In all these and at every stage he remained a faithful servant - caring for the poor, needy and the voiceless in the service of the church and God. He had one single ambition- that the will of God to save all mankind may come through. As he answered God’s call both as a professional and as church minister the story is the same – that they may know him and his plan for their salvation. This one thing dominated and influenced his life style. His prerogatives showed his characteristics most clearly. He is a doer that laid down his life for others. When he would have enjoyed the then very lucrative teaching profession he opted for the seminary. When he was popular and very successful parish priest he opted for the monastery because his bishop wanted the monastic apostolate for the diocese and because he felt God was calling him to a life where he could give up all and think alone of God – foe him a higher calling to bring God’s salvation to all. He did not ask questions of God’s plan; he did not waste time or got caught up in himself. He did not count the cost of what the monastery adventure could mean to him – going from master to servant, from authority to the last in the community where for sometime he was not even allowed to perform some of his priestly functions. He did not give in to any fear or temptation to doubt.
                Each of us has to do the work God lays before our path.  What is your guiding principle as you go about your business?  Is it love, wealth or power? To begin with are you satisfied with your income, savings, and resources, or are you living hand to mouth specially now most people are just scraping by. What is guiding and influencing your life style? What solutions do you have to get things going well in your life? I think we all should ask ourselves the right questions and tell ourselves the real and right truth about our life. Why are things going wrong in our lives? The answer must come from within and must do with what are our priorities in life. “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Cor. 9:6) Service of God in our neighbour must come first. Common good must supersede private interest. Every bit of our future good harvest is tied to how we sow and reap and what we do to others. You cannot embezzle public fund or with hold funds meant for the masses and expect to have a good conscience. The experience of Covid pandemic has taught me one thing for sure that it is time to take a step of faith and consistently seed our time, talents, and resources for the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed Tansi lifestyle can help each and every one of us.

                                                               Sunday 25, April 2021.
                                                         
God gives grace to the humble          
               We all need one more favour or the other in our lives. The Easter season, which lasts from Easter itself until the feast of Pentecost is the most appropriate time of the liturgical year to receive more favours from God. The Church, in her wisdom, has more for us during this season.  More joy, more feasting, more life. Jesus spent forty days after his resurrection with his disciples teaching, strengthening and comforting them for the days ahead. During this period he helped them to understand what had just happened and what would happen next. They needed this time with the risen Lord to deepen their faith, and I think we do too. When we spend time learning more about the events that took place after the Resurrection, our faith will mature with the same new understanding that the disciples experienced.
               In the case of the disciples fear of the unknown was their most immediate problem – what would happen to them now that their Master is gone. Some of us live in great fear of our future – the unknown. Some are in need more forgiveness while others struggle with guilt and shame. These and perhaps more are truly very legitimate concern for many. The Covid pandemic has unfortunately added to the list. Many have no job while those who have lost them and others have lost their business and are hungry. These are enough reasons for concern. There is no aspect of the disciples’ daily life that did not get the attention of the risen Lord. We can access more favour than ever before during this Easter season. Each day is new and glorious, for each day opens up to us the whole new concepts to try again and explorations to make. Each moment, the risen Lord hides his Presence so that we may seek and find Him. Each cross hides His shadow that we may take up that cross with purer love. The church assures us of more grace as we live every day the life of Easter – believe, repent, and get converted/renewal in your life. Grace comes in the form of forgiveness and cleansing of sins and mistakes. Grace positions you as a child of God. God is not angry or neutral towards you. He loves you as a son or daughter. His grace will unleash more and more favour upon you and through you to others.
                 The period of Easter to the birth of the Church – Pentecost is a time of fresh starts and is the perfect time to enter into ourselves and begin to live the truth of our faith. As you live the Easter Season and as you begin to think about how the hidden and risen Lord is present in your own family, in your business and in the challenges of your life you encounter him as the disciples did. Let prayer and the Risen Christ be your inspiration as you encounter him in the Broken Bread of the Eucharist. May this Easter season be a blessing to you and your family as you celebrate the resurrection of the Lord.


                                                             Sunday 18, April 2021.

                                               Make yourdaysofEasterFullofHopeMake

                I have always told devotees of Blessed Iwene Tansi to make their devotion full of hope. In the same way you can make your Easter period and the rest of your life full of hope. Remember that Easter is the most important liturgical time for us Catholics because it celebrates Jesus' victory over sin and death for the salvation for mankind. This is also God's greatest act of love - to redeem mankind. Think of the cripple at the temple entrance, he never imagined his problems will ever be over and that he could ever walk again and earn his living. It was the power of the resurrection that fixed his life problems. The Resurrection shows us that God is up to something greater in our lives. Like the disciples of Jesus there is more to come than the fear, drudgery and pain of our present days. The closed doors in your life will begin to open when you know this victory, believe it and live it. Christ has brought the world victory. Even with what is going on in Nigeria today as we experience almost an eclipse of any sense of morality even and of human life itself. Sanctity and inherent dignity of human life in this country is a mockery to many. In the midst of this confusion there is still hope because Christ is risen from the dead. [Col’. 3:1]

                 But how can this hope come in practice in the midst of all these security, social, political and economic challenges? Simply by living your faith every day the resurrection miracle will come. Each and every one of us doing right what he/she supposed to do. Then the divine assistance will come. The power of the resurrection will take control. Light will overcome darkness. Come out of your darkness then you may experience the light. When we are daily astonished and amazed by God’s love shown to us on the cross then we shall be sure of God’s forgiveness and the possibility of a new beginning. 

                When I think of the human and life risks which the Blessed Iwene Tansi took in his days to make a single convert and to establish a new mission I can’t but be moved to action. His efforts to be a holy priest and effective pastor challenge every day our very poor mediocrity. In the same way if God had loved us so much as to dofood for us what He did in His Christ then I must become an Easter Christian and alleluia will become my song every day of my life. Be careful the jubilations, joys and hopes of Easter are not just for the time of Easter. They are for daily living especially in our daily Eucharist, our life-giving food.                                               

                                                             Sunday 28, March 2021.
                                                                    Reconciliation.
              Just last Monday 22nd of March, we celebrated the 23rd anniversary of the second pastoral visit of St. John Paul 11 to Nigeria and the beatification of our Brother, Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi. The team of the Holy Father’s prophetic message to Nigeria at that mass of beatification was ‘reconciliation’ which after twenty three years re-echoes a fresh in our minds and heart. “Today I wish to proclaim the importance of reconciliation: reconciliation with God and reconciliation of people among themselves. This is the task which lies before the Church in this land of Nigeria, on this continent of Africa, and in the midst of every people and nation throughout the world. "We are ambassadors for Christ . . . and the appeal that we make in Christ's name is: be reconciled to God" (2 Cor 5:20). For this reason, the Catholics of Nigeria must be authentic and effective witnesses to the faith in every aspect of life, both in public affairs and in private matters”.
              We are yet in another Lent with COVID.19. Lent is a natural time of reflection, a time to model our behaviour. In the advice of the Holy Father let us make these days a time of introspection and of self-emptying, of prayer and of sacrifice.  A good time to push our own desires aside to make room for God’s will. For more than three years in this country we have been living a life of significant sacrifice. We have endured all kinds of mental, emotional and spiritual fatigue that come with periods of economic, social, security, health and educational uncertainties and anxieties. Most of the world are living and managing the Covid pandemic but ours is plus the pandemic of killing, insecurity, hate, corruption and absence of any concern for common good. Had we listened to the holy Father John Paul twenty three years ago we would have not been in the mess we find ourselves today. Unless Nigeria learns to love and to reconcile with one and live with another and stop pretending that one group is superior to another our country will continue to “look more and more like a battlefield, where only selfish interests count and the law of force prevails" (Ecclesia in Africa, 79). (JP. 11, 1998) At the same time bearing a lot of the man made pandemic challenges. God is completely aware of all we are going through. What can we learn from those experiences and how can we look ahead to what is to come. Burdened and worn out spiritually, physically and emotionally yet a new life is always possible in Christ Maybe this is the time to focus on personal growth in a particular virtue or to grow in relationship with members of our family. Maybe we focus on breaking any bad habits we acquired over the past years. We are God’s children that make us givers and receivers of love. And no matter what else is going on, that is always going on. If we take this seriously, we will be asking in conscience forgiveness from God, and asking if we have been holding a grudge against someone, and have not sought to make amends with that person. Celebrating the sacrament of Reconciliation might be a great start. Forgiveness is also the fundamental condition for reconciliation, not only in the relationship of God with man, but also in relationships between people.


                                                            Sunday March 21th, 2021

                                                  St. John Paul 2nd Pastoral visit-Nigeria
                                                          Beatification of Blessed Tansi

                The second Pastoral visit of the Holy Father, John Paul 11 (now St. John Paul 11) to Nigeria on 22nd March 1998 to beatify Fr. Cyprian Michael Tansi OSCO is one of the greatest historical/spiritual event that has ever happened in this country. In a few days we will be celebrating the 23rd anniversary of that event. We remember the Holy Father now a Saint of the Catholic Church, his powerful words of wisdom and encouragement should re-echo once more in our ears and minds.
               
 “Today, one of Nigeria'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. Today I wish to proclaim the importance of reconciliation: reconciliation with God and reconciliation of people among themselves. This is the task which lies before the Church in this land of Nigeria, on this continent of Africa, and in the midst of every people and nation throughout the world. "We are ambassadors for Christ . . . and the appeal that we make in Christ's name is: be reconciled to God" (2 Cor 5:20). For this reason, the Catholics of Nigeria must be authentic and effective witnesses to the faith in every aspect of life, both in public affairs and in private matters”.( John Paul : sermon beatification mass)
               We remember our brother and hero, the Blessed Tansi. We remember his lifestyle: simple, detached from material things, mortified and penitential living, his ascetic charity and endless pursuit of virtues/holiness, his zeal for Christ and the gospel, a tireless worker of the Lord whose only motive is the love of God and salvation for his people. But it is not enough to remember this lifestyle as event done and forgotten. It is our legacy. We love it and take it up in our lives. We learn and practise them 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 holiness. His mortified penitential life is proposing a construction project for all his devotees and sons. His ascetic charity reminds us that we are temples of God. This image puts clearly before us our true Christian identity and an opportunity to eschew selfishness, to love, to do good and to help a neighbour in need. Remembering his life is an opportunity for us to come to self-knowledge, knowledge of our own fragility, selfishness and sinfulness. His detachment is a reminder that we do not use our positions in life only for bastions of wealth and prestige but rather an opportunity for self-emptying love and of friendship with the poor and lonely.  Unfortunately, we have a complicity, in our greed and selfish-laden society how can we let ourselves off so easily. We have suffered greatly for our mistakes and sins of greed in private and public life.
                   His long years of trials and suffering remind us that 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. Nigerians like other humans crave 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 where Blessed Tansi and St. John Paul are having a real infinite good time. 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.[Note!!!!  Unfortunately, we shall not gather in crowd for this year’s celebration because of the scourge of Covid pandemic. But do your normal novena and attend mass in your parish church. Pray for a quick and happy conclusion of Blessed Tansi trial in the Vatican.]

                                                            Sunday February 7, 2021
                                                             
Make 2021 full of hope.
               In the last two weeks we meditated on our resolutions during the New Year and the Feast of Blessed Tansi. Let us endeavour to stick faithfully to them throughout 2021. One thing that can hinder us from doing so is FEAR. For in this year where the pangs of 2020 and its pandemic are still a reality the words of Jesus to his disciples still give much hope. ‘Do not be afraid’.  These words serve as a reminder that despite all of our worldly worries, God still care for us and we are his children. Continuing in the footsteps of our Father and Patron, Blessed Iwene Tansi we have come to understand that when there is so much bleakness in the world, so much political discord, so much isolation and suffering, prayer is greatly needed to provide strength. Similarly the words of Saint John Paul 11 testify to the importance of prayer when the going is tough. “In prayer we express to God our feelings, our thoughts, our sentiments. We wish to love and be loved, to be understood and to understand. Only God loves us perfectly, with an everlasting love. In prayer, we open our hearts and our minds to this God of love. And it is prayer that makes us one with the Lord. Through prayer we come to share more deeply in God’s life and in his love.”(to young people: Louisiana USA 1987).
                The Blessed Tansi who makes prayer a part of his daily activity would pray the whole night when faced with difficult circumstance. His mission in the Archdiocese of Onitsha was a very difficult one. To succeed he remained faithful to the promptings of the Lord in his prayers even in the midst of great suffering. Through his prayer life, great humility, developing confidence in the Lord and growing determination, he would act on what the Lord asked of him, even if he would be misunderstood. By grace he was "made joyful in God's house of prayer" (Is 56:7).
              Do not be afraid of 2021 rather seek divine support for your resolutions through your fidelity to prayer. Dedication to the service of others, your family and work will first be derived from your time devoted to prayer and meditation. Goodness, happiness and prayer have such a link that none could exist without the others. Form a habit of daily prayers, go to mass on Sundays and on week days when you can. Have a true devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Blessed Tansi and some of your favourite Saints. When you realise the importance of prayer your Christian life will change and you begin to understand better the world around you.  I invite you send us your prayer intentions at email
postulationtansi@yahoo.com  we can also enrol you in our Prayer Guild. By becoming a part of this program, you commit to regularly joining us in prayer at Masses celebrated every Monday at the Shrine of the Blessed Tansi, Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity Onitsha. I also invite you to join us in-person as your comfortability allows to these every Monday Masses at 9.30am where we pray for the happy conclusion of the worthy cause of Blessed Tansi. We want you to be part of our community as we strive to meet your spiritual and material needs. In doing so, we provide hope that by focusing on you beyond the typical New Year’s resolutions, you will have a large impact on others by being Christ to others.

                                                               Sunday Jan. 31, 2021
                                                       
In the footsteps of Blessed Tansi.
              January is often the time we make resolutions. We have just been through with the annual feast of the Blessed Tansi.  Many of us during the novena in preparation for the feast have made some resolutions and promises to God through him. Hopefully we shall remember those promises as we enter the New Year with all the hopes it has for us. For some of us improving your physical health during the pandemic is most important. Good, but we must also remember that Blessed Tansi would demand us to strive to improve our spiritual health as well as physical. He himself did not care very much for his physical health but the spiritual. Spiritual health is achieved when you feel at peace in our self and with others. This does not mean you will not face difficult situations or even experience hard times, but you have a way to cope when these situations arise. You can fall back on your Patron the Blessed Iwene Tansi and his set of values which will put you in connection with a higher power to find meaning and purpose in your life.
              One of the ways to do this is to look at your past in order to see what went well and what did not. Many of us will blame the Covid. 19 which has caused us many hardship during the past year.  Even though, there has been much suffering I am almost certain of many positive highlights each of us can recall. Every suffering comes with very positive lessons. In whatever situation a child of God will always fine some sunshine among. Blessed Tansi suffered much for his apostolate and for his people. In every situation he saw the hand of God who uses suffering to bless his children. His thirteen years of monastic experience in a cold and physically hostile environment in England was unimaginable for an African in those days. He went through it just for the promises it would bring for him and his people. Today we all see the fruits. Similarly in 2020 the pandemic threw us into some very difficult circumstances: the shutdowns, the riots of the youth, the hunger and layoffs not to mention of the political turmoil and insecurities. Nobody saw these coming. At least not most people. These trials were fabricated. There is a sinister force pulling the strings of world domination. The devil is up to no good. As St. Paul puts it: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12). Whatever happens this evil one, the devil, the father of all lies has no power over a child of God. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (Jn. 10:10)Like Blessed Tansi you can with determination make a difference in your environments that seems to be going dark.  At this moment of your life going in the footsteps of Blessed Tansi “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matth.5:14)  As salt and light you can make a positive difference for the people around you. 
                                   

                                                                 Sunday Jan. 24, 2021
                                                        2021 With Blessed Iwene Tansi.
               It is just four days we came out of the Novena mass/prayers for the feast of Blessed Iwene Tansi. I hope you enjoyed the feast. For the covid. 19 we are not able to gather for the feast in large numbers, nevertheless, all the devotees have their celebration in their parishes and institutions. It was good. Now we are going to live the after fruits of the celebration. I suggest you live 2021 under the protection of Blessed Tansi helping you to make 2021 better than 2020 and better than all the years of your past life. Let us face it—2020 tested our faith, health, and financial prowess but with Blessed Tansi 2021 can be our great comeback year. Do you believe this? Devotees of Blessed Tansi believe it, and so do I. There are a few important elements I like you pay much attention: 

  • Seek an honourable living and keep away from evil deeds.
  • Don’t give up at the face of any disappointment.
  • Always appeal to God to bless you. 

              2021 can be the greatest year of your life. Be bold and ask God for incredible things because you are designed to be a miracle through the heavenly intercession of Blessed Tansi. Keep him always very close to you in all you do. If you keep his company you will enjoy the sweetness of his favour. The old adage says, “Birds of a feather flock together.” And your associations very often determine your destination. The greatest favour Blessed Tansi wishes for his spiritual sons, daughters and devotees is holiness of live. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful ;”( Psalm 1:1). Do you notice the progressive nature of these relationships: following the sinner’s advice, standing in his/her pathway, and sitting in the midst of the wicked? Your choices in 2021will have a connection with your success/failure. We cannot fool ourselves. Luck alone will not get us through this pandemic, nor will it get us into lives of significance. Without any pretence do your honest part as well as you can. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7).  There is also a direct connection between your harvest and the books you read, the friends you make, the places you go, the efforts you make and the partnerships you develop. 
                Come with us to Blessed Tansi this 2021 I do like to challenge you to take a hard look at yourself and your needs. Discover new ways of solving your problems and of becoming a new and happier person in 2021. I know you can become a happier person this year. We in the Postulation for the Cause of Blessed Tansi are praying you will take the necessary steps and God will help you through the intercession of Blessed Iwene Tansi

                                                                   January. 17. 2021

                                 Feast of Blessed Iwene Tansi (January 20): Life and Legacy.
             The beatification of Blessed Iwene Tansi on 22nd March 1998 continues to remind us that the life ministry of this holy, humble parish priest continues even to this day. In the words of Pope John Paul 11 his “the life and witness of Father Tansi is an inspiration to everyone in the Nigeria that he loved so much”. (Sermon Beatification Mass 1998) His feast day every year on the January 20 is a yearly invitation for all Nigerians to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus. His legacy is a journey through the ultimate expression of self-sacrifice that he endured for us. If celebrating his feast does not create some lasting change in us, it means we have done it wrong.
             In his life and ministry he strove for holiness, cried with those who were abused; consoled those who grieved; prayed with those who were homeless/lost and had been a powerful voice for those who have no voice. He was one whose priesthood was unconventional, creative, energizing, unpredictable, and exciting. He was among the first Nigerians to be ordained, and he led his people by word and example. He 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 do it; he himself requested to go to a monastery so that in due time he could bring that way of life back to Nigeria. He went to England, to another culture and people, he had to adapt to ways that were strange, he had to get used to a cold climate and to different food, and to many things that even those who came from England found decidedly peculiar and contrary to what they were used to. It was not easy. As we know, things did not turn out like that. God’s ways are strange. He was not to do this personally, for he died in England at age of 62 before his longing could be carried out.
               The memory of his life style lives on in many Nigerians especially in the Archdiocese of Onitsha which initiated his cause of canonisation in 1985. The shadows of his ascetic charity show us that holiness does not have to be flashy, but involves the basic virtues - faith in God, the twofold love, heart-felt compassion, the capacity for hard work and a real fatherly sense of protection for the neighbour. By all accounts his priesthood and religious characteristics made him a Christian and a model priest. He was regarded as saintly by the elderly and infirm for whom he cared, by the parents whose children he taught catechism and by the weak and marginalized with whom he visited. Even non-Catholics were impressed by his authenticity.
               All of us want our lives to matter — to have some sort of lasting significance. But this can prove elusive, even for those who have the best of intentions. Think back, for instance, on the past ten to fifteen years of your life. If you are anything like Blessed Tansi, there are many things that, with the wisdom you have now, you would have done differently. But, here you are today — your past frozen, as it were — living with the consequences of the decisions that have brought you to this point. Ultimately, his feast celebration this year can turn us to his witness of holiness an inspiration in our own call to be saints.
               As I wish all- devotes of Iwene Tansi a happy and fruitful celebration I request you to remember this worthy cause in your prayers, especially at Mass. Ask the faithful friends, especially children to pray for the cause. If you can attend the every Monday cult celebrated in the presence of his RELICS at the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity Onitsha please do. The celebration begins at 9.30am.


                                                                   Christmas, 2020
                                                    Wise men still seek Jesus at Christmas.
              Many of us have looked forward at least from the time of advent for a saviour - divine help and healing for there have been times when we needed to hear something positive from God and would open our door for a divine healing process from our so long frustrations. We looked to Christmas as a coming light into our disturbed and darkened life. God loves to make promises and then eventually fulfil them in time. The only thing that can hinder God’s promises is our free will, when we reject or refuse to cooperate.  Christmas is God’s promise to bring healing and salvation to the world. God reaches out to us with open arms at Christmas. God is waiting for us on Christmas, and it is up to us to go out and meet him. If we have ever needed an invitation to encounter God, Christmas is that invitation. It is a time not only to meet him on Christmas Day, but also to look forward when he will come again to invite us into that eternal embrace.
            Let us go joyfully to meet the Lord. The shepherds hasten with joy to the stable in Bethlehem and the wise men from the East did everything to overcome all obstacles to meet the Lord. Both the one and the other in a certain sense symbolize the entire human family waiting for God’s fulfilment. Our relationship with God is always a two-way street. God opens his arms to us and waits for us from wherever we come and wherever our journey is taking us. It is again ‘come to me all you who labour and are over burdened’. It is an invitation. We need to take the initiative and run joyfully to meet him and be embraced by him. Like the wise men from the East we need not count the cost or be distracted by any other thing. 
             These wise men had a revelation that a coming Messiah was born. Aided by their faith and a star, they risked their lives to worship the little baby. These three wise men brought treasures gold, frankincense and myrrh to Jesus. Have you ever sought Jesus in the midst of trials? Have you ever brought Him treasures that were meaningful to you?  I assure you that even today wise men still seek Jesus to give Him their gifts and talents.

                                                                          Dec. 20. 2020
                                                             Christmas in Covid Pandemic.
              Already here with us is Christmas celebrations and its meaning.  Our hope for the future should be much brighter. Nevertheless, it may be an understatement to say that 2020 has been a trying year on all of us. Here in Nigeria we have dealt with a contentious SARS-POLICE brutality that is still largely unresolved. We have faced a global pandemic that has caused economic ruin and social isolation on a historic scale. This latter has surely brought pain and suffering to each of us personally as we may have experienced the death of relatives and friends, lost jobs or business and may be battling with un precedented price increases . Our Church also has had the greatest liturgical restriction ever witnessed in my entire life. Everyone wants 2020 to end. But we are not sure of what is coming next after 2020. So, where and to whom can we turn for hope? The meaning of Christmas may give an insight, the Incarnate Word of God is our first and last hope of safety future. In him humanity has all the answer for our global problems. We can look to Jesus Christ, Saviour and Crucified Lord, and realize that death and suffering is not the end. He has conquered, and He wants to conquer for us and with us. All of us want to be happy. No matter whom we are or where we are from, we all share that desire for happiness. 
              Some things make us happy for a short time, like food, fun, and being with friends. But these pleasures come and go. Many are able to find longer-term happiness with family, but families also come with disappointment and hardship. And ultimately, all of us are confronted with an inescapable reality—we are all going to die. When we contemplate the end of our lives, we must ask serious questions. Is there nothing more to this life – faith in the meaning of Christmas will tell us ‘there is much more in life’. Many of us are already prepared or are preparing for our journey to the silent stable that will hold our Savior on Christmas, we take with us our own nothingness. We can only truly approach Him if we surrender everything to Him. Much will be asked of us as we begin to celebrate the Christmas feasts. Many people will be unable to see vulnerable family members to celebrate the holidays, some have died and some will die, and others will lie alone sick in hospital beds. Thank God we have come out of quarantines and lockdowns in this country and in some other nations. This is the reality we face in this year’s Christmas that has contained much darkness. Sacrifices will be asked of us that we may not expect or want to make. How we prepare spiritually now for these possibilities and for disappointments during the Christmas will determine whether we are free to enter the light of Christmas, regardless of our circumstances. We must surrender everything to Christ now. He alone has the ‘words of eternal life’.  There is nowhere else to go. Jesus has the words that bring the happiness of eternal life.  
            Now where ever you are whatever you have for this Christmas share it with others – no matter how small. Sometimes in difficulties we find God and his blessings. Be a blessing to someone at this Christmas. Saints, men and women of true heroic virtue, have all traversed grave difficulties only to be made better for such trials. The Blessed Iwene Tansi has taught us that noble souls, in adversity, rise to new heights. So, even the very challenging 2020 Christmas can be the cause of soaring like a jet plane to heights of holiness that we have previously never thought of. Here is hoping great, a blessed Christmas and a new year for all of us.

                                                                       Dec. 13.2020         
                                                          Live the charity of Bl. Tansi
          If there is anything Blessed Tansi left us as a legacy, it is charity-love for our neighbour especially the most vulnerable. Devotees of Bl. Tansi must follow after and continue the work begun by Christ in his earthly ministry and continued in our time through our pious pastor and heavenly benefactor, Blessed Iwene Tansi. Jesus served all through humble love. He fed the multitudes. He healed the sick. He forgave sinners. By all that he did, he showed his love to humanity. God himself shows to men, in a vivid way, his presence and his face in the lives of saintly people who lived in the human condition and are more perfectly transformed into the image of Christ (cf. II Cor 3: 18). Most of those who have known Fr. Tansi have a unanimous testimony that throughout his life he had a consistent pursuit of goodness. Where there is love for the neighbour specially the weak, he believed there is God. This is his universal message, a message that provides hope and guidance to people from all walks of life. This message also reveals how this humble monk impacted the lives of millions, both those who knew him personally and those who indirectly came to know him. His message is so universal because it is basically the message of the Gospel in concrete situations. Lives on earth have a purpose and this purpose must be taken seriously. Human thirst and search for love, for goodness, and for truth could find its fulfilment only in God, lived among and identified with the poor, the sick and the dejected of society.
          Nigerians in whatever state of life are instinctively drawn to goodness, to genuineness, to holiness, love and compassion. But many have not the courage to live this out in practice or even to condemn a wrong doing where it exists. How can we live a life worthy of our calling if we think that the legacy of Blessed Tansi is insignificant in Nigeria today? How can we truly say that we follow him if we think so little of helping people in their material needs, pitting them against spiritual obligations? There is too much suffering today in this country. Have we truly understood Blessed Tansi and his message? Sadly, we have not. We often relativize and ignore the needs of others. We try to find ways to justify our inaction. Make no mistake the material health and wellbeing of our neighbours is as important as our religious duties. Christ identifies himself with the needy brother.
           Christ entered our world to help us, to serves us out of love. We are expected to live in the world, serving others like he did. This is how we are to live the legacy of Blessed Tansi in all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love,  eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.( Eph.4:1) It is out of place to fight against each other because we let sin divide us. It is sin to be arrogant, boastful and proud, expecting others to glorify us. When we do some good for someone else, we think we deserve special praises, showing that our reason for doing what we did was for our own good, not the good of others. Remember when Christ was asked about how to inherit eternal life, Jesus told the lawyer that we should love God, and love our neighbour as ourselves (cf. Lk. 10:27). If we do so, we shall experience what it means to be truly alive (cf. Lk. 10:28), for only when we have organized our lives around the dictates of love and fulfil them do we truly achieve our full potential.

                                                                  December 6, 2020
                                                   
Bl. Tansi Devotee Must Care for Others
             Every practicing Catholic in this country has at least heard of Blessed Tansi Solidarity prayer movement and their activities to spread devotion to him by imitating his life style. Blessed Tansi is a priest who made fraternal charity the hallmark of holiness and life style. A priest with a heart for the weak, sick, widows and orphans, a priest who devoted much of his parish pastoral ministry to sanctifying marriages and families, a priest who would become known as an apostle of Christian family life, a priest who improved the social and spiritual status of women. As Providence would always have its way the difficult early years of the young Iwene Tansi would be essential to his later understanding of his parishioners’ problems and to his vision for solving them. He lost his father at a very early age and was brought up by his cousin who looked after his early development and education. 
               As a parish priest in the Archdiocese of Onitsha (1937-1950) his charity reached out to every parishioner, parish young male parishioners who were being lured away from their faith and education by the idle traditional practices such as dances, feasts and masquerade he organised schools and boarding houses to give them formal education. For the young female parishioners he organised a convent-like house to give them the elementary education and wifely skill which they would need as future wives. For the widows and orphans, he went so far as to accept guardianship of widows’ children who stayed in the parish environment as he provided for their spiritual formation. Powered by his deep prayer life, he not only preached the faith, but lived it by transforming friends into brothers who cared for one another. 
             Even today in our own time God’s grace flows through us like a river, washing us and nourishing his divine life in us. His grace flows freely when we let go of the attachments that dam us up, blocking grace’s entry points. If we are distracted by material things and do not make time to pray or care for the need of our brother we will miss what is most important. Those dams not only block the grace from working within us, but they also block it from flowing out to others and becoming a source of light and strength to them. Becoming a saint is not easy in any age, but in ours it has become increasingly difficult due to the rise of an anti-Christian culture – money, greed and selfishness. What is holding you back from being a saint? We face so many obstacles, both within and without. When we open ourselves to God’s grace, he makes crooked ways straight in us, turning us into conduits of his grace for our culture and people. The saints provide witness to the reality of God’s grace-that it is possible to be holy. If we cling to God above all else, his divine life will flow through us, not only cleansing us but bringing God’s fire of love to our Nigeria. 

                                                                 November 29, 2020
                                                              Living in difficult times.             
             This is not silly. People are suffering/hungry in this country. The corona virus pandemic, trauma caused by its related deaths, the deaths and losses caused by ENDSARS protest, widespread civil strife on our streets, the economic hardship triggered by increased fuel prices, the depreciating value of the Naira, more importantly rampant deaths on our streets, the non-concern attitude of political leaders and anxiety over our country’s political situation have all played their part. The loss of confidence in our political system makes many to seek something else to comfort them. Some of them good and some bad. For some this is no other than their faith in God. For me this is the beginning of what I call my faith. Our help must come from God and from no other but we must play our part well. The essence of faith is that something meets me at my cross road and that thing is greater than anything I can come up with on my own. It breaks me out of isolation and liberates me from my preoccupation with myself. It enables me to resist the brute force that would otherwise pull me under. It frees me to escape my own gravity and selfishness. The most basic answer to our crisis is when you put your faith into practice and seek goodness. If you are a man, be a man of God/Goodness. If you are into anything that is not chaste/good/morally edifying, get it out of your life. Are you misusing the authority and power you have at work or in the family? Are you misusing the wealth and the money that belongs to you or to others especially money meant for common good?  Faith is relationship/fellowship with him who has the power to carry me safely over the elements much stronger than me. And all of this can start simply by acknowledging His ever-presence in all I do and seeking to do good.
             Do not give up, it is of no use. Now is the time to recommit to living by faith — not by our ideas, not by emotions or feelings or passions or fears, not by our resources, by preconceptions, our plans, or by our understanding but by desiring for all Nigerians the very good you desire for yourself. Yes, what we are being blessed with at this trying moment in time is the exquisite gift of desolation. It is a gift and a lesson. Perhaps, God purposely puts to the test the very confidence he himself inspires in us. He does this by letting us suffer for our faults, actions and omissions at the same time calling us for a change of direction since all that glitters is not gold. We cannot continue to build our nest where we do not belong. We belong to God. This is true but not all. We need to have our sense of belonging. Let all Nigerians do something called gratuitousness which is the desire and ability to do something simply because they are good in themselves, without concern for personal gain or recompense. The beautiful part is that all of us can do this, and it is ridiculously easy. Even more make it a daily duty to make someone’s day plus-one better. By doing this we communicate that we care about them and that we can be counted on. Bonds of friendship become more deeply forged and relief for the suffering will come.

                                                                    Nov. 15. 2020

                                             Purgatory- where our love ones lavish.
               Last week we meditated on the indulgences for the souls in purgatory and the new opportunity the Holy Father offers to all of the baptised to gain indulgence for these our love ones in the month of November. I am sure you are making use of the opportunity already. This week we meditate on what purgatory looks like. This mediation will help us to understand better what these love one suffer and help us to do everything to avoid purgatory ourselves when we die. The problem with any question about the afterlife is that only those who have experienced it can explain its attributes. Most of us have not had any near-death experiences where we can get a glimpse of what awaits us, so we rely on what God has told us through the Bible and the official teaching of the Church. The Church teaches that
             “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)
             It is a final stage of purification for the elect after death. It is like washroom before entering
the banquet hall for the great feast of the Lamb. How long does this last, we just don’t know. Strictly speaking, purgatory is a spiritual experience, being a prelude to Heaven. Basically, after we die and before our bodies are resurrected, many of us will experience purgatory. It is difficult to understand how we can experience something without our body, but it is a mystery we will only understand after our own death. Saints have different depictions of it, many of them including some sort of pain. It is a type of pain that is temporary, lasting only a time until we are able to move forward to Heaven. The good news for us is that once we reach purgatory, the only direction we can go is up!
              The Blessed Iwene Tansi asserts that helping the souls in Purgatory is one of the greatest acts
of charity we can offer to our loved ones who have departed from this life these souls are in dire need of purification of their souls. Therefore, as a manifestation of our great love, compassion, and concern to come to the assistance of our brothers and sisters detained in Purgatory to be purified of their past sins, let us be generous and strive to do something special for them. Indeed, may our prayers and sacrifices serve not simply to alleviate their pain, but also help them to arrive at their ultimate goal—the eternal bliss of Heaven.
            There are some practices to undertake this November:

  • Offer Masses-By far the greatest sacrifice we can offer for the souls in Purgatory

       would be to offer Masses.

  • Offer Your Daily Communion- Make an explicit offering and intention at every Mas you attend, to assist at Mass and receive Holy Communion to alleviate and liberate the souls in Purgatory.
  • Fervent Prayer-Every day, say at least one prayer for the souls in Purgatory. In doing so, you are practicing one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy.
  • Almsgiving- Give generously to the poor- money, food, clothing, shelter, or even sleeping mat
  • ​Corporal Works of Mercy - Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, give clothes to the naked, visit the sick and the incarcerated. “Whatsoever you do for the least of these my brothers, you do unto me.”(Mt. 25:40)
  • Offer up Your Sufferings for the Suffering Souls-So much suffering in our country, but so much suffering is actually wasted.
  • Pray to Our Lady & the Saints like Blessed Tansi
May the Souls of the faithful departed through the Mercy of God rest in peac

                                                                  November 8, 2020
                                                           
November for Holy Souls
            Every November, the Church offers the faithful an opportunity to release souls from their temporal punishment in purgatory so they can immediately go to heaven. This is called a plenary indulgence for the souls in purgatory. This indulgence applies to one soul of your choice each time you perform the required acts. Steps to Obtain a Plenary Indulgence for Souls in Purgatory this November:

  • Visit and Pray at a Cemetery for the deceased even if mentally.
  • Go to Confession & Receive Holy Communion
  •  Pray for the Pope ( one our Father and one Hail Mary )


This specific plenary indulgence is normally only recognized from Nov. 1-8 but because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Vatican extended the period for plenary indulgence for the souls in purgatory throughout the entire month of November.  A great privilege indeed.
             The Blessed Iwene Tansi who lived a life of intense prayer and mortification had a great devotion for the souls in purgatory. He had supernatural gifts and great sensitivity to the angelic world and the souls in purgatory. He talked often of the eternal condition of those who had died encouraging the faithful to pray for them. He encouraged his parishioners to pray and make sacrifices for the Holy souls during the month of November. He had a special devotion to the souls in purgatory which continuously grew in his ministry until he organised groups from his Christian mothers’ society and Mary league association into a powerful prayer army for the poor souls in purgatory. With them he organised regularly Masses to be said for the peaceful repose of souls in purgatory. As true faithful devotees of Blessed Iwene Tansi we should imitate his pious devotion to the souls in purgatory, especially during this month of November.
           The holy souls need our prayers and at the same time they can be powerful intercessors for us. Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective. When we pray for them, it makes them able to pray for us. This reciprocity has been understood since the early days of the Church and many have been benefiting from it. Let us imitate the example of the Blessed Iwene Tansi and the Saints who have special devotion to the souls in purgatory. God is on our side. He wants us to be able to obtain this indulgence as an act of charity for the souls in purgatory, and He will help us fulfil the conditions if we only ask.

                                                                  November 1, 2020
                                                                     
Saints And Us
           November 1st. we celebrate the Festival of the Saints of whom there are many of our Nigerian brothers and sisters. It is a day that should fill us with great hope and joy because it reminds us that we are part of a great communion, a great band of brothers and sisters, who completed the same pilgrimage that we are currently traveling. They have made it to the New Jerusalem that heavenly city where there are no more END SARS youth protect, corruption, tears or suffering, crying out or pain, where there is no more deat h but only life forever with our God. It is clear that Nigerians are living in a time of confusion and uncertainty; living conditions are bad both in the Government and citizens. I am not qualified to evaluate whether this is the worst confusion I have ever seen or not— it is true we have been through some pretty bad times over the decades—but it is serious as it is certainly intensifying as hostility and neglect and  abuse of human right continues to grow. What Nigeria needs now is Saints, Saints and more Saints. What Nigeria needs now is sinners and penitents who have experienced again and again the merciful love of a Father who is always longing for the return of his prodigal sons and daughters. We are the prodigal sons and daughter if we just can do the right thing.  This is the only change that can save us from total collapse – God forbid.
             Like the Saints whose festival we celebrate today, we are called to infect our country with the joy of the Gospel. It is the joyful witness of those who have experienced the happiness of knowing God’s love  and forgiveness— not as a theory or a theological concept — but as a result of a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus that is irresistible to a nation longing for authentic and enduring peace and joy. It is the witness of this true joy that has the power to transform our many years of bad Government, tribal hatred and nepotism into vibrant peaceful society. The feast of the Saints offers us a new opportunity to open our hearts even wider to our fellow Nigerians and to Christ in order to receive complete joy and abundant life that only a change of heart can provide.          
               Perhaps we can find a metaphor in the ENDSARS youth protect that has wreaked so much havoc on much of our States. What appeared as one enormous storm was in reality the conflagration of several storms joining forces and colliding to create a colossal weather event. That crisis was a conflagration of many societal ills coming together. We need to read the handwriting on the wall. Our culture more and more is embracing an ideology that believes in only what can be seen and touched, while affording little importance to what requires discipline, what is long-term and enduring, what cannot be seen or touched but which elevates the human heart and inspires the human spirit. Some have rightly identified the current crisis to be primarily a crisis of bad Government and greed.  More importantly I think it is a result of crisis of Saints among Nigerians. That is to say that morality and Christian values have been so weakened because there are not enough believers living their faith with passion and zeal. The antidote to this perfect storm-crisis is the witness of the Saints. What can most readily rescue Nigeria caught in the whirlpool of despair is the joyful example of the Saints, whose festival we celebrate today, among whom are recovering sinners. The Saints are individuals who experienced the depth of God’s love for them revealed in Jesus Christ. The Saints discovered the beautiful and life-changing truth that God did not love them in their perfection — in other words because they deserved to be loved — but loved them in their weakness. It was the joy of experiencing the merciful love of God that drove our Blessed Iwene Tansi and so many of the Saints whose Feast we celebrate today to proclaim the Gospel of love — not so much by words but by the quality of their lives.  

                                                                    October 25, 2020

                                              Blessed Tansi can save the unity of Nigeria.
            When any situation goes off hand a child naturally runs to either the father or the mother believing that they will offer solution. Nigeria seems to be on a cross road now. Which way forward no one is sure, to be or not to be is the problem at the moment. Force will definitely not bring the desired solution. One thing is certain to every dick and harry in this country know something is wrong, Nigeria has got it all wrong these years. We cannot continue this way - that leads to a dead end – a place of no return. The Blessed Iwene Tansi advocated dialogue in situations like this. When he was one time parish priest of Akpu made up of two warring communities – Akpu and Ajali he advocated dialogue that eventually brought the communities peace.  This is the Nigerian way of handling community differences. God helps those who help themselves. Nigeria can only survive the present predicament through meaningful dialogue. Together, we can seek the truth in dialogue, in relaxed conversation or in passionate debate and in a true spirit of dialogue, we grow in our ability to grasp the significance of what others say and do, even if we cannot accept it as our own conviction .
              The attitude of know-it-all position will not help anyone. We must face the reality in truth. Many are suffering and dying in a country of plenty while few seem to have the monopoly of everything – wealth, power and intelligence.  This cannot hold for long – does not make sense. Our diversity allows disagreement, while hoping for common ground and common good, at least in goals, if not always in methods and means to a shared end. I do not have all the answers to our problems but I am concerned to encourage an honest and open debate so that particular interests or ideologies will not prejudice the common good. We cannot continue to be indifferent to the plight of millions of our young Nigerians. I have their sympathy when they say enough is enough but not with violence. With dialogue something new and good can emerge.
             God has given us this beautiful Nation and good people that inhabit it. Let us honestly look at the way we look at one another, not just locally or tribally, but nationally, for the common good, for the good of the future of this country and our children given to us by God. The Igbo man has blood just as the Yoruba man in the same way as a Fulani man and so on. If you harm any of them he will bleed the same way. All these things mesh in together exceptionally well. I now turn to the Blessed Iwene Tansi our National Saint, our national heavenly Advocate, a man of peace and reconciliation who spent his earthly life reconciling his Nigerian brothers and sisters with themselves and with God, who understands peace and speaks of love to come to our assistance at this time of our national trial.

                                                               October 18, 2020.                           
                                                       
34th Re-interment Anniversary
             Yesterday Saturday, 17th October we celebrated the 34th anniversary of the re-interment of the Remains of Blessed Iwene Tansi at the priests’ cemetery basilica of the Most Holy Trinity Onitsha. Fr. Tansi was among the first Nigerians to be ordained priest. He led the people by word and example. He had a very flourishing apostolate in Nigeria as parish priest. He had a great influence on the people Christians and non-Christians. But at a stage in his very active pastoral ministry he felt the call to follow Christ in another way – the monastic apostolate. He was urged to do this by the love of God and his fellow men and women. He was a man of prayer, intent on personal union with the Lord, and was also urged by a great desire to bring the monastic and contemplative apostolate to Nigeria. He left his extremely active and flourishing pastoral ministry and left for Mount St. Bernard Abbey in 1950.  When he left Nigeria he completely disappeared as far as Nigerians were concerned. He had gone from light into darkness, from a life in the sight of all to a life hidden from the world. From the world of authority and command to a world of powerless and inferior, from a life of master to the life of last in the community - all perfection and holiness.  God’s ways are often strange. He did not come back alive, for he died on January 20th 1964 just before his longing to bring monastic apostolate to Nigeria could be carried out.
              At the heart of his adventure was God’s call, an invitation to go into the unknown where God was waiting for him. It left his country and his family like Abraham and so many others. It was to undertake what he believed to be a deeper and more enduring apostolate. His was like all true calls 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. He found peace and God in the darkness. 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.   When in 1986 Archbishop Stephen Ezeanya initiated his cause of canonisation in the Archdiocese of Onitsha, the bishop got the permission of the Vatican and Mount St. Bernard Abbey to bring back his Remains to Nigeria. He was reburied in Onitsha on 17th. October 1986.Every year we remember this event because his life helps us to see and to appreciate what is important at the core of our faith, help us to renew our awareness of the things that really matter. His life is important to us because it was a life of faith, of humble and persevering 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. After his death his fellow monks at Mt. St.  Bernard Abbey praised his refined meekness, his serene equilibrium, rectitude, loyalty, reasonableness and special approach to meditation. Today in Nigeria his testimony invites us to be able to combine love of God with love of neighbour and not to tire of building relations of brother hood and reconciliation.   His pastoral life was full of life and vigour as he made converts in great numbers and attracted many people to God. His pastoral gentleness and compassion are even today remembered and admired.

                                                                 October 11, 2020
                                                           
Covid 19 - Transform Nigeria.
             The good effect of suffering is sometime it brings us to our senses when we erred, helps us to think better, humiliates us and more importantly helps us to think of others who suffer perhaps like us. The present Covid 19 has succeeded to put everyone rich and poor alike, powerful and weak in the same fear and lockdown.  The sufferings we are undergoing today in Nigeria is inviting all of us, individuals, societies and government to slow down and to listen and to engage with others – brothers and sisters, in meaningful dialogue and mutual assistance. This is a big challenge to all of us - an invitation to look at our fellow Nigerians through the same lens. Many are suffering and dying – a condition that could be avoided if only we can think human. We as people and government have not had it on a plate of gold since independence. Covid 19 has exposed and worsened our condition.
             For example, Nigeria has had for decades the fuel-prices problem – various governments have subsidized the product to help the masses while creating an avenue to enrich a few – it has not worked nor helped anybody.  Logically the solution should be for supply and demand to determine price. But why should it be done now that the Covid 19 left many struggling to make ends meet. Many Nigerians are grieving the loss of loved ones; healthcare professionals are working under tremendous strain; schools and markets shut down - all those things we know about in the struggle trying to deal with this virus that is hitting so many. Why should the government bring this fuel prices thing now the people are at their lowest. Why should it retain the monopoly of the product?  It does not make sense.
             Nigerians live in a country that is still structured by inequality, and the church has to wrestle with that as much as the country has to wrestle with it. Nigerians are brothers and sisters in the light of our common creation and that has a radical equalizing effect. And it means that is a permanent binding: We can choose not to speak to your brother or sister, but they remain our brother and sister; it is a lifelong, indissoluble bond. There are structures of sin that blind us to our ways of relating – corruption is an example. The key point is the necessity of dialogue and encounter of truly listening to the other’s experience and allowing it to challenge one’s way of thinking and acting. This will make way to recognizing and understanding the structures of injustice in the country and the way in which we break our relationships with each other.  Nigeria is on the brink. If we take responsibility for our common home and for our brothers and sisters, then we do have a good chance. Many have a loss of hope and are afraid because there is so much collapse, and the dominant culture tells us to work harder, work harder, do much of the same. Our national Saint and powerful heavenly intercessor, Blessed Iwene Tansi will see us through.

                                                               October 4, 2020
                                                   
Corruption-Nigerian Pandemic
             So far Nigeria has recorded over one thousand covid-19 deaths in six months. Everybody talks about this deadly virus and fears it but for years Nigeria has been living with the other more deadly virus afflicting its people, economy and life such as the “pandemic of corruption”, whose victims are the poorest and the youth who because of corruption are dying in thousands in Libya,  Mediterranean  Sea and other places across the world. This is so painful because it undermines the credibility and vitality of democracy, morality and the hope of all, especially impacting the humblest and poorest in our society. Corruption is a social, political and economic scourge that rots and eats away at everything. Dying many Nigerians have lived with this monster for years looking and waiting for a messiah that is unlikely to come. It has claimed the lives of more Nigerians than the Covid. 19    pandemic.  Government and societies have called for years a meaningful fight against corruption without addressing the root cause - kind of partisan politics in this country. If the Nigerian youths find their destiny in their fatherland – why should they prefer to go to die in the desert?  This is corruption pandemic which take more lives of Nigerians than Covid 19 pandemic. We need the efforts of men and women who love God and their neighbour as themselves to make a change.
               Nigeria needs to rehabilitate the way of exercising its political order, as ideological and partisan passions today don’t allow the people to see beyond what’s good for themselves, hence the need to cure another great virus. That of social injustice, marginalization and lack of opportunities for the weakest. The old politicians remember this country is not only for you. At 60 we should all retire from active politics. Give a chance to millions of intelligent/active Nigerian youths. I believe Nigeria has a future because God in his providential love never abandons his people. The compass of the soul of a Christian people always heads towards God. But we cannot continue as we are, because Nigeria after what we are going through would not be the same again. Wanting to return to normality has to be wanting to return to the normality of the good, not to injustices, violence, deception and unbridled materialism. Blessed Iwene Tansi assist your country men and women with your heavenly intercession.

                                                           September 27, 2020
                                           
In Covid. 19-Keep Christ at the Centre
               Who would have thought back in March that, two thirds of the way through 2020, the Covid 19 would still be a huge part of our lives? The situation has indeed been challenging. Many have been doing their best to share the joy of our faith and keeping best to keep Christ at the centre of their life. When we keep Christ at the centre of our life then there is no greater responsibility than caring for the sick — who are Christ himself. Our faith tells us that care of the sick must rank above and before all else, so that they may truly be served as Christ “I was sick and you visited me” (Mt 25:36), and, “What you did for one of these least brothers you did for me” (Mt 25:40).
             The Blessed Iwene Tansi transformed the parishes where he worked in so many ways, but treatment of the sick was the most dramatic one. He did not just love the sick because of Christ but he loved them as Christ himself. The Igbo man of Fr. Tansi days needs God and charity. Blessed Tansi ministry of charity is intimately linked with the proclamation of the gospel. His doing charity is not only giving food and other material needs but giving God. Love of God and the neighbour is a fundamental quality in the life of Blessed Tansi. We too can imitate him in this most trying period of covid 19 pandemic. We cannot tell who will be infected the next day or who is dying next. We have a great responsibility to one another – love and care. Whatever you can to help another do it.  Even if it is these days when everything is hard, you can look at that hard beaten neighbour and say, I love you because you are my brother/sister. We must all wake up the pandemic challenges – Government, Societies, Churches and individuals. The responsibility is ours and we can’t afford to be indifferent. Often people in need have excessive demands – yes because they are in need/suffering. They challenge our patience to put up with them even when they distress us. Serving the sick leads to a greater joy and reward.  Do something today - the kindnesses we do now will be remembered for a lifetime.

                                                            September 20, 2020
                                               
Covid 19 – Seek Blessed Tansi help.
              If Blessed Iwene Tansi were alive today, he would assist the poor and needy affected by the pandemic and would call on people to not be indifferent to the needy and the poor. We remember him for his great concern for the poor and needy when he was in our parish. His life as parish priest in the Archdiocese of Onitsha, speaks out forcefully of his dedication to the suffering, poor and needy and his fight against Christians living a double-life. Befriending the sick and poor was not an option in his ministry activity it was the main event. His priesthood was linked to service, to the tender affection and protection given especially to the poorest, weakest, the least important and most easily forgotten. Like the good pastor, he sought to be the servant, not the lord of his parishioners. Most confusing for many of his contemporaries was his attitude to the poor and infirm. Later on as a priest he spent a greatest part of his time to serve the sick and dying. The most striking difference in the compassionate parish priest is that while others may send alms to the sick through servants and messengers for fear of contagion or attack. In a gesture both fearless and kind he went into the villages and homes of his vast and remote parish to losing relief to the sick and needy. There is a popular story of how he brought the sick and the poor to his house to be treated or fed.
             He did not fear even the dreadful small pox. In 1944 another popular story had it that there was a serious and terrifying epidemic at Nando, an out station of his parish where many were affected by the epidemic, some died. As the plague assumed its large proportions many were affected. On hearing of the Nando epidemic, the compassionate priest rushed to the place, administering the sacraments, giving some medicine and food and burying the dead.  His life and ministry focus was on Jesus and His love for all, especially the poor. His spirituality was based on the person of Jesus who loved us and gave Himself for us. He saw Jesus in every person and loved Him very specially in the poor, needy, sick, destitute and suffering through his care and service. We are today experiencing an unprecedented pandemic and many lockdowns affecting life of all sections of people, especially the poor. Death, hunger and poverty are around us. If Blessed Tansi were alive today, he would repeat what he did at Nando years past and would tell us to see Jesus in every suffering person, needy person, poor person, dying person, and care for them in whatever way you can.  He drew his strength from prayer, very specially from Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, and with that strength met the same Jesus in the poorest of the poor and served Him with love. If he did so much in his mortal flesh he can certainly do more for us in his heavenly state. Let all join together in prayer to seek his powerful intercession wherever you are and whatever is your condition. His help will certainly come. Every Monday in the Archdiocese of Onitsha his cult is celebrated in the Basilica that holds his mortal remains.

                                                                 September 13, 2020

                                                              In Covid 19 God speaks
           Some relations experience difficulties in communication, especially when there is a language barrier. There may be also problems with transmission. If you are in a relationship with God do you ever have problems hearing from God? Most people I know express this frustration. We want to hear from God, but we can’t hear His voice. We want to obey His every command, but we can’t hear His instructions. But the Scripture says that “the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword...” (Hebrew 4:12). May be your relationship with God is not so healthy. Maybe something blocks the way. Have you ever asked yourself that question?  Healthy relationship matters.
          The response to Covid-19 by many nations demonstrates that health is more important than business, money, relationships, entertainment, education, the arts, fashion, and countless other priorities we once had before the Covid 19. The lockdown in most countries is a ‘good litmus test’. The health of your physical body is important and needs to be a priority. It is the foundation of everything else- emotional, spiritual, relational, financial, career and community. Each sphere of your health requires an investment of time and energy. So many people take their health for granted until they become sick. If you neglect one, it will have a negative impact on the whole. Each sphere has its own set of needs and obligations. For example, your body needs a balanced diet of healthy foods. If you don’t eat well and exercise, you may experience life-threatening conditions that require surgery or medication. If we are careful we can know the functioning of our body and our health condition. In the same way we can know our spiritual condition. If we see ourselves clearly it will not too hard to hear the voice of God in your mind. It is always a matter of discerning His thoughts as the enemy’s lies, negative vain ambition and glory invade our daily activities. God generally speaks to our minds through thoughts. This is God’s method of communication.
           In practical life everyone has some burden, more or less heavy to bear: physical or moral weakness, financial need, the press of duties and responsibilities, fatigue or other troubles which weigh on his shoulders. In the midst of these everyone feels the need of a helping hand to carry this weight. The period of Covid 19 calls for a helping hand from every one of us. Maybe God is speaking to you now.  If you open up you will hear his direction. If you are deaf to the needs and problems of your neighbours you are definitely deaf to the voice of God. During this pandemic, God certainly speaks to every one of us. Let us see who we can help out there. Love for Christ is the vital expression of our union with Him and with one another. The closer this union becomes, the more our love increases and the more we are able to hear his voice.  That voice is for us to share the joys and sorrows, the cares and anxieties of others as if they were our own. The Covid 19 has affected us in various ways. In the same way our needs vary. Can you today give a helping hand to someone in need? As a government, church, society or individual do not make things more difficult for people already suffering from the pandemic hardship.  As I say to many people ‘stay prayerful.’ It is another way of helping. God understands what is most important that each one of needs most.
“Rejoice with them that rejoice; weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15). 


                                                                   September 6, 2020
                                             
Covid 19.  Spiritual when your roof is leaking.
              It is hard to be spiritual when your roof is leaking. Nigeria with leaking roof is on dual track – handling the challenges of mundane social political life and also working on her dreams and goals. There are moments in life when you have to set your challenges down for a moment to go fix your leaking roof. Nigeria battles with two challenging monsters – the pandemic and the insecurity of life and property. In the recent past many Nigerians have lost their lives and property from the hands of fellow Nigerians namely boko-haram. With many dying every day from the present pandemic and violence across the country Nigeria has a serious leaking roof. This is the time to look at our national dreams without any apology.  First things must be first: only a living person can think of a dream and vision. ‘Which way Nigeria…?’ your children are dying from the hands of terrorist, Nigerian soil has been occupied by enemies of the country for many years. Let us not deceive ourselves things are not alright – our country is rotten, our roofs are leaking and youths look up for a better tomorrow but hardly is there any hope. Many of them leave the country at all risk in search of green pasture.  Many die on the way. Many Nigerians are reaching a breaking point while the rich become richer and the poor poorer. How long will this situation continue Mother Nigeria at 60 years?
            As the covid 19 pandemic is claiming many lives and destabilizing economy worldwide, Nigeria on the other hand is killing fellow Nigerians more than the pandemic because a hungry man is an angry man.  If more Nigerians die from violence and insecurity than from the pandemic, it makes sense to look first for vaccine to stop the human killing across the country. Who should provide it? The answer should come not only from politicians but from every Nigerian. In all cultures and religions to kill is a great moral offence. The more we use arms and weapons for settling disputes and misunderstanding the more people we kill and the further we shall be from achieving the end. Here I humbly recommend the vaccine of love and compassion in all we do.  The greatest and most effective vaccine of all is the Kingdom of Compassion. The more I study the Kingdom of Heaven, the more I am struck by one simple force that emanates from its mandate of love - compassion. Blessed Tansi, universally proclaimed ‘compassionate Nigerian’ was really human and full of the kingdom of heaven and dominated by its power, the reason he had compassion on those who suffer.  Begin by asking yourself: ‘are you full of compassion for the suffering masses in this country, the lost, broken and marginalized.  Find a need around you today, and fill it. Yes the past is you. We have all gone wrong but we can’t remain there. We must forgive ourselves and move forward. What is particularly alarming to me is how easily people will buy into the lie that you need to forgive yourself and not take the time to actually think through the issue more critically. Forgiving yourself of the wrong done means you are ready indeed for a change. This is the change Nigeria must make. What is more problematic is that most often we end up in lip forgiveness and reconciliation. We have an issue with loving ourselves too much. We have an issue of presumptuousness. We presume an inflated sense of the self, so much so, that at the end of the day, we still need to answer to ourselves. We pay lip service to the idea that you need a peaceful united Nigeria yet we have still find a way to make ourselves the primary victim of our crimes against Nigeria. If we are honest, we have all found ourselves in this predicament at one point or another in our walk. Like the biblical David and those in their own desperate plight in the wilderness, we must fix our eyes upon the Standard ethic

                                                                    August 30, 2020
                                                     
Covid 19- Nigeria – Call for Service
              Nigeria like every other Country is looking for a solution to the global pandemic – vaccine / treatment. With hope and God willing this will come soon. Before then what other help can we as a government, a community or as an individual give to those suffering most among us, remembering that the pandemic affects us in varying ways. Some are sick, some lost their means of lively hood – hunger and name it. During an epidemic of small pox in 1944 in Nando and environs sections of Blessed Tansi parish of Dunukofia. The Blessed Tansi treated the sick, the dying and buried the dead. The epidemic was so severe that there were no celebrated funerals and because of the infectious nature of the disease no healthy person could come near the infected and the dying. Before the epidemic Blessed Tansi was a humble parish priest who went above and beyond his duties to serve his people at various points of their need. He was a priest for the people. But in a special way during this small pox epidemic his loving heart was on clear display, as he did all that he could to minister to his people spiritually and corporally. Till date people still remember the heroic way he continued to shepherd his people during a deadly outbreak.
            The people of Nando knew little of hygiene and less of sanitation; it was hard to make them take the most necessary precautions. Blessed Tansi was everything at once: doctor, nurse, and sanitary inspector, as well as parish priest. Not only were there, the sick and the dying to be tended, but the living to be heartened and consoled. He never abandoned his flock and stayed with them, making sure they were buried with great dignity at a time when funerals were only allowed at the graveside, with a strict restriction on attendance as we experience today in our own pandemic. For fear of infection and taboo associated with the victim of small pox the dead had to be dropped at the evil forest or buried by night and no one was allowed to attend the funeral. Not only did the pious pastor recite the prayers and carry out the ceremonies prescribed by the Church on such occasions, but would take his place as coffin bearer (where coffin was available) and even helped to dig the graves. This extraordinary care for others carried on throughout the rest of his life, and he never wavered in his desire to minister to the needs of those that were suffering.
         Today what can we learn from his life style - Bear one another’s burdens, that is what he is telling us. Blessed Tansi did so much for his people because He was moved with compassion. Be filled with a heart of compassion. Be moved to tears and actions before your suffering Nigerians. Care about people and their plight. Care, because God cares, and He wants His compassion to flow through you, your family, your church and your business. Be the heart and hands of Jesus to a lost Nigeria.  Christ forgave the woman of adultery and stopped a murderous mob. (John 8:2-11)

  1. He forgave a handicapped man of his sins and healed him. (Matthew 9:2-7)
  2. He healed a woman with an issue of blood. (Matthew 9:20-22) 
  3. He fed thousands, with the word and with food. (Matthew 14: 15-21)Jesus had compassion on the people because they were like sheep without a shepherd. (Mark 6: 34)  You too can do it. This is the time for it.


                                                                     August 23, 2020
                                                 
Covid 19 – Teaches something Beautiful.
             mirrors what our hearts truly desire: our rest with God.  Seeing something beautiful can change ugliness we find in this country. Without sacrificing our desire for justice or losing focus of the vigilance we need amidst a pandemic, we need to stop and recognize that that Something beautiful attracts and has more power than we usually afford it. It is a helpful remedy to the ffering I agree but when put hands together to help one another our suffering will be lighter –that is beautiful and can give us some rest in the midst of suffering. It is a rest that which is beautiful can change our hearts for the better and offer us a little moment of rest. Yes, many are suyour hearts because the beautiful goes straight to the heart. The perception of something truly beautiful stops us in our tracks and can give us a moment of pause, a moment of rest or wonder – the moment of delight. For a brief time, the heart rests in the beautiful because the beautiful finds a home in the human heart. Nothing could be further from such rest than many of the current events of our day. The Covid-19  pandemic, which has disrupted the lives of people across the globe. Many are out of their means of livelihood and are suffering – physically, psychologically, and spiritually. So many people have died across the globe. Covid-19 is ugly. In addition to that there is the sad and horrible death of many recently in South Kaduna and across the country at the hands of youths’ brutality and the subsequent senseless and destructive violence in its wake. This, too, is ugly and manmade. These harsh realities reveal the ugliness in our hearts. This is uglier than the covid pandemic. The vaccine for this killing is in our hands and we can’t use it because we are ugly. The ugliness of sin, suffering, and hatred can distort the capacities of our minds and hearts to perceive and enjoy the beautiful. When the mind and heart are infiltrated by the ugly, the heart cannot rest. The result being a loss of meaning and purpose, often filled with bitter rage and hate, anxiety and chaos. The ugliness that suffering and sin usher into this country – without the antidote of God – can fetter the heart to this ugliness and lock it into place with a dead end. Many wealthy politicians have for a long time made the youth of this country to believe that all is power and money and this must be got at all cost. They give money, promise power, get to the top and destroy the youth that foolishly fought for them. The vicious circle of youth obedience to the powerful and mischievous at the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, violence and cruelty continues and many of the innocent youth end up in suffering and jail while the real grand thieves run this country.
                Only something beautiful can change our situation. A simple invitation to love what is good and beautiful can begin to make a new pathway to the dead end of our problem. Some time projecting the life and sacrifice of our national heroes and what love, patriotism, forgiveness and justice did in the lives instead of our present and extraordinary emphasis on wealth and power can bring nearer the idea of goodness and beauty. Beauty is something that radiates in our minds beyond the sensible world. When someone truly grasps something beautiful, the very hardness and ugliness of heart they may have begins to scatter by the radiance of this new, penetrating light. They begin to see a need in their world the desire to fill the need will in turn fill their heart with compassion move them to tears and actions. Care about people and their plight. Care because Jesus cares and wants compassion to flow in this country.  Please be the heart and hands of Jesus to a lost country. 

                                                                      August 16, 2020
                                         
Covid. 19 - Nigeria needs more of human decency
             Many in this country are facing more trials, temptations and setbacks. Emotionally healthy people also have tough times. But the present pandemic seems to put everyone in the same trial. Our society stinks whether you know it or not. An air of brokenness pervades our national horizon. Sometime time ago we were all angry with someone he said that this country is a cheat-hole. He should not have said that but looking at real condition he may not be wrong. We are the ones making this country a cheat-hole because many of us are cheats.   Actually, human decency is the lifeblood of any civilization and culture. The desire to help each other keeps humanity surviving and thriving. This is a kind of craving to reduce slaughter and make life better for everyone. It is the driving force of social and national advancement. Every government program that reduces poverty, improves health, prevents violence, upgrades nutrition, guarantees human rights, betters education, secures housing, assures equality, cures disease, enforces fairness, among other things, is a step in the process - decency. Can we proudly be positive about this for Nigeria? Nigeria has a problem, you all know it - she lacks decency. But who is to blame? Quickly I say all of us to blame. At all levels we have not done what we should do to help one another. The youths who suffer most are used to cause havoc and to slaughter other youths.
            In many countries the decline of violence may be the most significant and least-appreciated development.  But in our country brutality is deeply woven into the fabric of our daily existence. Murder, rape, genocide, torture, wife-beating, lynching, duelling, tribal/religious attacks and killings are the order of the day. Our today’s instant flashing of lurid news scenes, especially over the past few years, makes it appear that terrible behaviour is everywhere in this country.  You can disappear and get lost anywhere and anytime in this country. Savagery has its way everywhere. Even in this pandemic there is so much going on right now that demands our attention and none of it is good. I will not torture you with a litany of it all – you do not need reminding. Suffice it to say that it is overwhelming.Put decency in what you have to do to get by. But do not abandon your dreams of being human – decent. Do not restrict them. Do not curtail them. When it comes to justice for human life, justice for the poor and weak do not set small goals, let the sky be your limit. Whether we are talking about politics, the pandemic, or our ordinary everyday lives, I assure you we are a long way from being complete. Completion will be determined at least in part by our present actions. And our actions flow from our goals and dreams. The famous saying: “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” And remembering that “in these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37) I find the answer to all our troubles of life – faith in Jesus. Jesus is the answer to all the prejudice, hatred, violence and even COVID-19. Your faith in him is the secret to set people free. You have the answers to all of life’s questions. You carry around in your body the antidote to hopelessness and guilt. God believes in you, and He is reaching out through you to win the lost, broken and abused. Your faith tells you very strongly that you are a warrior for God among your people. You will overcome all obstacles and trials. You were designed by God to do great exploits. Hardship is not a sign you have sin in your life rather it is a sign you are on the right track with God.

                                                                August 9,2020
                                 
Covid-19 Pandemic- Opportunity for self knowledge
           These days the world feels ‘afflicted in every way but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed’ ( Corth. 4: 7.). This is true just because of whom we are. Do you know you are royalty, chosen, holy, special and part of the Light-Christ. I have heard many say that they have never been in a very deep, dark, tormented situation as the world is now due to the covid-pandemic. Many have been subjected to a kind of imprisonment caused by the lies, shame, guilt, rejection, self-hate, addiction and suicidal thoughts. The enemy like the roaring lion knows, if he could isolate you, he could torment and lie to you. Many during this horrifying period have been wearing this cloak of shame, loss of hope, self-hate for too long.
            For a moment, think of God literally removing this cloak off your shoulders because of who you are – a creature so dear to God. What will He not do for a loved child like you – so royal, chosen and special. When you fully realise this truth you will feel some lightness in your heart, His tangible presence and peace. He is your Father, He is the very air that you breathe. You love the Father-God so much, and you know He loves you equally. You may not understand everything, but He understands every situation. You may not be sure of what happens next but he is in control and will never leave or forsake you because you are royal to him. Rather, He clothes you with righteousness.
           If He permits the present situation for reasons best known to him, who are you to question him since you know he will surely bring our boat safe to the shore. You need to learn to love the new discovered you and at the same time not hate the old you of the past. Forgive yourself, let go of your past behaviours, memories or identities. Do not be stuck in the failures of your past or the labels you have been going with, they can only help you move from where you are to your new found state. You can be completely honest about yourself. Whatever that past may have been, God is ready to change that for you. This is one of the good things we have learnt since following the Blessed Iwene Tansi and studying the lives of the Saints who have gone before us living the life of faith. You are created for growth and success and not for any kind of failure. Whatever kind of failure you may have experienced is for now a lesson for your success to come. Because ‘you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9) Repeat today to the hearing of yourself and others: “I am royalty, chosen, holy, special and part of the light.” You should fall in love with the new found you. (2Cor. 5:17) 

                                                                    August 2, 2020
                                 Covid. 19 Pandemic – dare to pray and go to Mass.
            Prayer and Mass are so necessary in the midst of pandemic and present societal collapse.  In dystopia, as we experience around the world today, would it not be safer and more meritorious to worship in a more socially acceptable way? Get it right, humanity is helpless before this pandemic, big and small countries are affected alike, powerful and weak are both on their knees, rich and poor run with equal anxiety for safety.   The pandemic has exposed the nothingness and powerlessness of the self made rich and powerful. This was the condition of man when Christ first walked the streets of Israel and it is precisely to deal with the miserable human condition that the night before He died, the Lord made Eucharist. When one is bereft of one act of worship that is right and just for human solution what else does one expects. We need to return to that table of the Cross-Altar-Eucharist. Without the Word of God and the Eucharist to lift up our hearts, the world's empty boorishness is deaf to the cry of human injustice to heaven. It is to help humanity escape this labyrinth of anxiety and despair that Catholics must go to Mass.
                We go to mass to meet with Blessed Iwene Tansi and the other Saints of God who over the centuries have put their lives on the line so that we might enjoy blessings we ourselves did nothing to earn. We remember that Blessed Tansi and these saints are signs of hope, reminding us that what is noble is also worthy of the sacrifices we share as a people. The Blessed Tansi in his priestly ministry sacrificed a lot to bring the Mass to his people because he believed it to be a sign of hope and salvation. He was never tired of making long and dangerous pastoral treks through the bushes to the remote villages and farm lands to celebrate masses. The Sacrifice of the Mass makes their belief, efforts and conviction present to us again. At this time world-over there is so much suffering especially among poor and vulnerable.  The Crucified Christ has chosen to disguise Himself in their plight and without the Mass, we can never recognize Him.  We go to Mass because, contrary to the prevailing voices of lost hope and doom, our Christian faith teaches us to believe first and foremost that we are not condemned but forgiven at a great price. When we go to Mass we stake out a claim that before the Cross we are each of us judged as thieves and liars. The blood of Abel is on our hands. Before the Cross to which the Mass brings us, we see, in the very face of all our self-contradiction, there is truth and this truth raised up on the Cross has taken the form of mercy. Participating in the Mass opens floodgates of astonishing wonder and confident sharing in Christ's great sacrifice unleashes torrents of Divine Glory on the suffering and unrepentant humanity.
             At Mass, we stand as children of the Most High God whose Love has called us to true worship and we find the courage to work for reconciliation and to believe in the power of kindness even more than the threat of covid pandemic-disease. Not worthy that the Lord should enter under our roof, we accept responsibility for what we have done and failed to do, and as Christ calls to us at Mass, we climb down from our pride to repair what damage we have done giving Him the opportunity to heal the broken situation of the world. May the prayers of Blessed Iwene Tansi assist every one of us.​
                                                            

                                                                      July 26, 2020
                                                             
The World is Suffering
         ‘May God bless you, be gracious to you, hear and answer your prayers’. When I remember that we have missed each other for some weeks partly because of the very difficult times we are all going through it becomes totally reasonable to give you blessings. It is a gracious and useful option when you cannot find words to respond to someone else’s difficult circumstance. May God work it out for all of you and remove the stones from your path. Sometimes, when terrible things as we are seeing now are going on, we feel inclined or even obligated to provide big, important, theologically profound answers to the existence of evil not only in the world, but in that other person’s own life. However, some occasions might call for it. But when confronted with another person’s grief and trouble, the sympathetic listener might do better to say, I am praying for you; may God do something for you. In the present situation we are all in the same boat. Our griefs right now are piled up so high. No one person can even understand all of them. A better thing to do is to repeat prayers and blessings. We need God’s blessing. We need him to turn his face towards us. We need him to give us his peace and healing. We need him to keep us and be gracious to us. We need him to take care of both us and our children and our children’s children. And we need this all the time—in the morning, in the evening, every moment, every hour. We need it right now, for if God turns away from us, that is darkness and despair. The person who does not think he needs God’s attention and love and blessing is in a bad way—deluded in the short run, lost in the long one. This is the most powerful weapon we have at this trying period. With the right disposition we can trust that he has already answered our prayers. He is for us, he has blessed us, he is keeping us, his face shines on us. How can we know this? Because we are suffering.
          In 1944 Blessed Tansi as the parish priest of Dunukofia was faced with a similar situation as
the world is facing today. There was a deadly epidemic of small-pox, a very deadly and infectious sickness. Many were affected by the epidemic and many died. 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 towns. It was believed that whoever visited the patient would himself contact the disease. Fr. Tansi remained moving from one village to another, 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 another looking for the weak, the dying and the dead. He relied on the power of his faith and prayers.
           The whole world suffers now. That is what it means to be human. That is why every single
person endures so much disappointment—because no one wants to experience suffering, and yet every single person does. For the person who turns his or her face against God, who shakes a fist or just does not even pay attention, suffering turns out to be pointless. There is no reason for it. Covid 19 is for everyone—the whole world endures this terrible time. But for those who love God, covid 19 is actually good. It is God’s blessing; it is his favour and goodness for those he loves. See and feel it for is an objective reality. God does not give bad things to those he has called, to those he loves. A lot of his gifts feel awful, but they are not awful. All of them are good. So do not despair, go ahead and pray that everyone might come within the reach of God’s saving embrace. Blessed Iwene Tansi-Pray for us.                                                                                           

                                                                    April 12, 2020

                                              ​   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.​  

                                                                                                          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.  


 June 6, 2018

Saintly Solution to Nigeria’s problems

The blessed Iwene Tansi (1903 – 1964) was a leading figure in the early Catholic Evangelisation in Nigeria, possessed brilliant understanding of the Ibo culture/religion and practical abilities to conversion and enculturation. His pastoral approach in the Archdiocese of Onitsha (1937 – 1950), are considered by many the best pastoral approach to Catholic Evangelisation in Nigeria, and had a profound influence on the religious life not only of Christians but of the whole community. “ … 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”. (Bp. A. Nwaedo, Sermon – reburial mass of Iwene Tansi, Basilica Most Holy Trinity Onitsha, October 17, 1986)

Blessed Iwene Tansi as we know was the first Nigerian Trappist Monk (June 1950 – January 20, 1964) who lived the Monastic life with great zeal, faith, humility and absolute tenacity in his love for God and humanity. His beatification by John Paul 11 on March 22, 1998 is a gift from God to Nigeria, a country that is in need of the wisdom contained in his lifestyle. The trials that Nigerian face today are different from those that confronted Blessed Tansi. Nonetheless, his life approach and sermons have much to say about how to respond to abuses of trust and power, to the pressures of life within a secular Nigeria. It is hard to describe the power that his words have to move the heart and the mind if only Nigerians will listen.

Twenty three years after his beatification the church is earnestly praying for his canonisation which will come after a successful recognition of a miracle attributed to his intercession. We know that one of the most common type of miracles considered by the Vatican is a sudden healing of someone.  The cure to be considered miraculous, the disease must be serious and impossible to cure by human means. The healing must be spontaneous, complete and permanent. One such miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Tansi has been recorded. The Church to recognize a miracle, a thorough process must first take place. The first diocesan process has been successfully concluded in the Archdiocese of Onitsha and the second and last process is now taking place in the Vatican. We all need to pray hard for a positive judgment of the church on this matter. The medical experts involved in the investigation are humans and therefore there could be human errors. This is the reason for prayer.

The present problem of Nigeria is rooted in love. There is an absence of love in our social, political and religious life. Blessed Tansi knows love, and shares that love to his people. He knows far more of the truth by experience than what can be learned through study, which is why his wisdom exceeds the wisdom of the scholars and politicians. We all want our lives to matter — to have some sort of lasting significance. But this can prove elusive, even for those who have the best of intentions. Trusting God means believing in His care for us and loving others even when evil seems to be gaining the upper hand — a point understood and rooted in Blessed Tansi lifestyle.

 


March 13, 2022

Blessed Tansi lived against the current

 

 Sometimes his actions looked like going against the current of natural behaviour. But for him it was a matter of justice and self conviction. For an average Nigerian who was naturally pushy it was a hard tiring task which could be accomplished only by strength of will. Blessed Tansi opposed all inclination of nature. This was a sweet task for a soul in love with God;  a soul which knew that everything it refused to self was given to God and that when it had reached the point of renouncing self in everything God Himself will give it the precious pearl of divine union. He was united with God’s will in all his actions. Because he surrendered completely to God’s providence and living in God there was nothing left in his self, nothing was provided for the future, no road was mapped out, but like a child was lead wherever God pleased. Even though he often felt unworthy and of no use God knew well what he was worth before him and effectively using him to preach the Good News of the Gospel. God gave his silence, his quietness, his self-forgetfulness, his words and his gestures a certain virtue, which unknown to himself, worked in the hearts of those around him. This may be the reason why everyone who came in contact with him was touched by his goodness. No one remained indifferent after meeting Blessed Tansi.

His love for poverty and detachment did not mean that he was hostile to people who did not follow his life style. His two assisting priests at Akpu, Fathers Panaki and Emerenini were allowed their own life-style. He did not despise the innocent joys of this world. In appearance he looked at least ten years more than his actual age. Toil had thickened his figure from slimness to a broad sturdiness. He was very generous to people especially to the poor and the sick. But his spirit of poverty and sense of justice prevented him from helping materially his own relations. He wanted them to work for what they needed. He consistently resisted the financial and other material pressures coming from his immediate family. While parish priest at Dunukofia his brother came from Aguleri asked him for money to buy seed yams for the planting season. He refused and made him to understand that the mission fund did not belong to the parish priest.On another occasion his cousin brought Aguleri fresh fish to sell in the market at Akpu but was not able to sell all the fish before some went bad. He was stranded, he had no money to travel back home. When he learnt that his cousin Fr.Tansi was around, with every hope of rescue he went to him for help. To his greatest embarrassment, Fr. Tansi gave him a knife and asked him to cut grass in the field in order to earn his return fare. His brother Vincent might never forget the day when he visited him at Dunukofia and Fr. Tansi asked him to split stones in order to pay for the food he ate.

Even though hardship and rigorous self-discipline have exacted an inevitable toll on his face yet his friendship with people did not change. Gray was beginning to temper his hair. His eyes already weakened through excessive reading with poor light especially during student days were beginning to tell on his sight. The body stress from the continued unrest and long treks under hot afternoons of equatorial region had very little mercy on the ascetic young man. And with all these his sober mannerisms were normal and cordial. 

Sunday May 1, 2022.

Turn to Blessed Tansi when life gets messy.

We considered some weeks ago the benefits of knowing Blessed Iwene Tansi. Part of knowing him is to be able to learn from the way he himself managed the difficult stations in his life time and to be able to run to his patronage when we are in difficulty. When the Blessed Tansi in 1949 arrived to become the first indigenous parish priest of Aguleri he found almost everything upside down: his own people did not want him as their pastor, the mission and the schools were bankrupt, the teachers and other church workers were owed salaries for months. At this embarrassing situation he reassured his assistant priest Rev. Mark Uluogu that they have two most important things they needed to begin their mission; there is God for them and there is a roof over their heads. We all know that when life gives us too much lemon the best thing to do is to make lemonade instead of wasting the lemon. But what should you do when the lemons come in multiples and so quickly that there isn’t time to look for the juicer? This was that sort of situation for the parish priest and his assistant in Aguleri 1949

What happens in real life situation when all of our best plans and preparations get thrown out of the window at a moment’s notice by factors beyond our control? It could be difficult and trying if you have ever had such a situation. Like the Blessed Tansi at Aguleri incident be optimist and trust in God with hope that things will get better. Sometimes one feels it is hard to be optimistic in the midst of stressful situations. But often this is due to a misunderstanding of what true optimism really means. Authentic optimism is not wishing our problems away or telling ourselves pretty lies that things are not really as bad as they seem.  Rather it is a true belief that at the beginning of time, God had a plan for the world and that–in spite of sin thwarting that plan in the present–God’s plan will be restored through grace at the end of time.  It is another way of saying that all things work to good for those who love God and earnestly work hard for that good. Be positive and act positively. Do what is humanly possible and wait for God’s action. You can change the situation; you have the means available to you. Recall your past blessings, your strengths, and your skills as a reminder of what you have to work with in responding to life’s challenges. God has not changed, has not forgotten you and has not finished with you. Keep the big picture of God’s blessings in mind – this requires us to be able to step out of the chaos of everyday life and remember who we are and what is important. This requires us to stay connected to God–to be able to see things from his point of view. People who look at Blessed Tansi thirteen years of monastic experience from outside may think that it was the most difficult station in his life. It may be or may not but surely it was the most fulfilling station of his life because he found God where he could relate most intimately with him. Like him if we find ways to bring the present moment to God no matter how crazy it is. God will take over and we find joy in managing the situation. Often we forget the positive thing to do and look on the negative side – coming up with wrong questions – who has done this to me, my enemies are on me. Forget such thoughts and focus on little ways to be a gift to others all day long.  As you go about your day, consciously ask yourself: how you can make a difference in this moment? Is there something I can do to make this person’s day even a little easier or more pleasant? Is there something you can do to take down the tension in this situation? 

You don’t have to be a martyr about it.  Just look for those little ways to be a gift or create caring connection while you are passing by or passing through.  These little acts of kindness increase your joy by helping you see all the ways you are making a positive difference in your world and in the lives of those around you. Then have you prayed to God with Blessed Tansi : O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me! The Blessed Tansi said this prayer many time in his life time. When you repeat it with him the difference will be clear. As you do these things remember that at the different and difficult stations in his life he persevered trusting God will not abandon him.

Sunday .June 26, 2022

Blessed Tansi Penitential mortified life.

 

 Christians learnt from the early church that it is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. The Church has not changed her apostolic and highly organized structures and traditions. The cross is still an integral part of Christianity.Jesus the founder of Christianity announced the cross without ambiguity. He himself endured hostility, hardship, and the horrors of the cross yet triumphed and showed that the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. He caught the wise in their craftiness and shown that the thoughts of the wise of this world are futile (1 Cor 3:20).The soft Christianity of many today, who remove the cross and replace it with a pillow and who insist upon inclusion and affirmation to the exclusion of all else, is strangely absent in this early setting. Christ himself was emphatic: if you want to follow me carry your cross daily and follow me. We are Catholics sent to proclaim the gospel: that God has loved the world and sent His Son, who by dying and rising from the dead has purchased for us a whole new life, free from sin and the rebellious obsessions of this world. He is victorious over all the death-directed drives of this present evil age. Simply put, He has triumphed over these forces and enabled us to walk in newness of life. To walk in that newness of life is not easy but some have done it and left us an example to follow.

The Blessed Tansi is an example of those who discover the easy way to succeed and carry the crown. Let us follow him and see the secret of his success. He accepted his vocation and remained faithful to his mission. He went forth announcing the Gospel as good news, with joy and confidence, admonishing his converts specially those obsessed with pleasures to embrace the cross as our only hope, appointing catechists and teachers in every out station he opened to teach and follow after him. Because these and all his faithful have to look up to him for example and model he remained accountable to them by his way of conduct. He suffered in his mission, long and endless treks under the equatorial heat- sometimes going without food.  Everybody knew he was working beyond normal human capacity. His labours and happiness were linked to his harvest. He knew he was to announce a new life, set free from the bondage of sin, rebellion, sensuality, greed, lust, domination, and revenge. His was to announce a life of joy, confidence, purity, chastity, generosity, and devotion to the truth rooted in love. He has to live that himself in order to make an effective proclamation. For this reason he had to be extra hard to himself. There is no doubt some—indeed many—were offended and sought to convict him and his Christians as disturbers of native tradition and then of peace. Some evil men who benefit from certain unjust customs don’t like him and his mission and don’t want to change their way of life. They prefer darkness to light, immorality to holiness and slavery to freedom.

He suffered and as a weapon to fight back he resorted to a life penance and mortification, long hours before the Eucharistic Lord all for his flock and for his enemies. The saying “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” made sense to him and he sought to put it into practise. He announces and teaches that “If you’re not willing to endure the cross, no crown will come your way. If you can’t stand a little disappointment, if you can’t stand being talked about sometimes, if you think you should always be up and never down, I have come to remind you: no cross, no crown.” Our glory is through the cross. There is a test in every testimony, a trial in every triumph. There are demands of discipleship, requirements for renewal, laws of love, and sufferings set forth for those who want the glory.

The Blessed Tansi left us an example to follow. Through his penitential and mortified life the cross becomes not a suffering but life, power, and love. Because of his mortified life it is possible for him to live without sin, learn to forgive, to live the truth in love and to overcome rebellion, pride, lust, and greed. Many today insist that the Church soft-pedal the cross, that we use honey, not vinegar. We joyfully announce and uphold the paradox of the cross and must be willing to be a sign of contradiction to this world, which sees only pleasure and the indulgence of sinful drives as the way forward that exalts freedom without truth or obedience, and calls good what God calls sinful.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Blessed Tansi detachment is union with God.

 

Last week we saw that Blessed Tansi started to practice detachment early in his life. From the time he accepted God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ his attitude towards material thing changed. His former interest for traditional feasts and dances changed, he began to focus more on God, the church, the Blessed Sacrament and the activities of the parish. Even after school classes he is either found busy with house work in his master house or in the church before the Blessed Sacrament. When he became a teacher after his elementary school the salary he received was used for the up keep of his widowed mother, his poor siblings and poor children in the village. It is said that he kept nothing for himself and that often he went to school without shoes even though he could afford one. His interest was not on what he wore but on his duty and responsibilities. His decision to leave his lucrative teaching profession for the diocesan junior seminary in 1925 was a practical demonstration of his detachment from the world. Similarly, his leaving the very flourishing parish apostolate in 1950 for a total life of enclosure in Mount Saint Bernard Abbey Leicester, where he became the last in the community speaks eloquently of total spiritual detachment. Again from the Abbey, was his novice master, Fr. Gregory Wareign, a man who stood by him in the dramatic and extraordinary vicissitudes which characterized his life in the Abbey. He was an accurate annotator of Fr. Tansi spiritual itinerary, especially in the Abbey, he has this to say:

           

“Here we meet one of the outstanding lessons of Fr. Cyprian’s Monastic life at Mt. St. Bernard ― the deep conviction of the over-riding value of the contemplative life and its worldwide apostolate. His high esteem for it impelled him to sacrifice so much willing to obtain its blessings for himself and for his own dear people. He left an extremely active and very blessed apostolate in the Onitsha Archdiocese, including his determined drive to foster vocations, sanctifying marriages, care for the poor and sick, spending himself in the confessional, and in answering sick calls to travel to a foreign land and a severe climate purely in order to learn in the school of the Lord’s service how to love and serve his fellow monks under a rule and an Abbot, to praise God night and day in choir, to study the Bible and other holy reading so that in the end his soul could be liberated from all earthly ties and cling fully to God in Divine love. He was asked to forgo many things during his thirteen years as a Cistercian monk. His faith and his ideal held fast to the end ― even to realizing that he would fulfill his vow of stability perfectly by dying here in England far away from his own people and land and be buried happily in the monastic cemetery of Mount St. Bernard Abbey ― where he rested while the pioneer band went off without him to make the longed foundation in Bemenda and not in Nigeria.”

 

These testimonies hold primacy of place not only because they were fundamental in revealing the religious personality of Fr. Tansi but also because they constituted a unique and precious revelation of his inner life and disposition. They revealed candidly and openly all the warmth and feeling of a life that was completely wrapped up in a love affair with God and detached from the world. By these Blessed Tansi was opting for his union with God and personal spiritual growth hence denying himself of anything that could hinder progress - material goods and relationships. It is vital to note that the detachment of the soul from worldly attachments must never be divorced from either faith in or love of God. God created human beings with desire, especially with the desire for God. Detachment and self-denial are a means to an end by which one properly orders one’s desires to obtain spiritual perfection or union with God. For us Christians, the goal of detachment is union with God. To be in union with God requires that we have adequate knowledge of God which is often difficult for natural humans. Fortunately, natural human knowledge is not the only way of knowing. God can infuse the intellect with supernatural knowledge - the theological virtues; faith, hope, and love. Having faith in God means man freely commits his entire self to God (CCC 1814) willing and able to deny and detach himself from those desires that interfere with his commitment.

 

Like Blessed Tansi we too could become spiritually detached from any worldly thing that impedes our spiritual growth. It is quite simple and quite difficult. It involves denying one’s own will in favour of the will of God which can be simple and at the same time difficult. With grace and human effort one can overcome the natural inclination to put one’s own desires and needs first and achieve detachment. The human effort must include prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. The purpose of these spiritual practices is to take the focus off of oneself and onto the love of neighbour by which we love God frees us from sinful desires.





BLESSED CYPRIan IWENE TANSI​

Tel: +2348030958350
Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity 
Onitsha Archdiocese
Anambra State of 
Nigeria