You are “Chosen”

22 10 2020

Approximately one year ago, I visited the Jerusalem and the holy land for the first time. One of the feelings one experiences during visits to the Holy Land is the desire to see Jesus, to get a behind the scenes, to turn back the hands of the clock and be there. There comes a time when the rocks aren’t enough, you wish to be transported back in time, to smell Mary’s cooking and watch Jesus  and laugh and play, and sorrowful, you wish to help him with the cross on Calvary. Sadly is only the imagination left to fill in the gaps of centuries, and recreate the scenes and atmosphere and only very few and very gifted people are able to use their imagination so prodigiously, as for the rest of us, any means, or anyone who can assistance us see what happened there many centuries ago is more than welcome. It is craved. Thus you can imagine my joy when I came across the film, Chosen, directed by a young man named Dallas Jenkins recreating the life of Jesus so that the less imaginatively endowed can get close up view of the greatest story ever told.

Chosen

Jenkins must have inherited his father’s knack for telling stories, and I must add, for using stories to try to spread the word of God. Jenkins’ father was a Christian novelist whose bestselling novel, Left behind, sold over 60 million copies and has been adapted to serial television programs. Both father and son, teamed up to start a movie company and intent on producing family friendly Christian movies, they launched several attempt that has been successful such as “What if” a 2010 international bestseller staring Kristy Swanson, a film about a business man whose guardian Angel appeared to him to show him what he would have become if he followed the will of God for his life, a story that is so relevant to all.

Nevertheless, Chosen would appear to be the most successful of Jenkins endeavors and the one that will endear him to the hearts of millions of Christians he would have helped to get to know God and Jesus Christ even if it is only one inch better. The project started as a short film clip called The Sheppard which Jenkins made to help his church members visualize the birth of Jesus from the perspective of the Sheppard. He shot the entire movie clip at a friend’s farm, but the clip was so go that it caught the attention of VidAngel, an online streaming service looking for original content, who encouraged Jenkins to post it up on Facebook to see if people would be interested. The clip received 15million views around the world and gave birth to a multi season series  about the life of Jesus called Chosen, and it is said to be the to be the highest  crowd funded movie of all time.

“I’m trying to justify the faith of those who invested in this project and I’m also trying to, of course, please my Savior, and make sure that we’re doing this project for Him,” Jenkins said.

It’s sad that Christians has been edged out of the competition in the movies to the disastrous consequences and missed opportunities of bringing life savings and healing doctrines too the lost and often deceived people whose only means of knowing the most important truth of gospel comes from what they glean from poor scripts and bad acting in most Christian movie, or from the ideologically manipulated and religiously hostile Hollywood blockbusters. Jenkins has shown a good example of how to use motion pictures to bring the gospel to the hearts and minds of many.

It is the same zeal that burned in the heart of Monsignor Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, when he wrote in 1959, “I found my love for God enkindled by considering Jesus’ zeal to set the world ablaze with his fire. I couldn’t contain the irrepressible ardour that welled up within me, making me cry out with the very words of the Master: I’ve come to set fire to the earth and what will I but that it be enkindled?… Here I am, for you have called me! He encouraged good people, Christians to get involved in the movie industries.  Recalling the first time Escriva saw a color television in 1972, those who were with him wrote this account:

“At Civenna, just over four kilometers from the Swiss border, and less as the crow flies, they could get Swiss television channels. Their house had a color television set, and the first time they turned it on Monsignor Escrivá was as surprised as everyone else. “Isn’t it good?” he exclaimed. “I had no idea the image would be so clear and the color so natural. The color’s so attractive that you’re captivated no matter what program is on.”

After the television set had been turned off, he reflected aloud, “All this progress, great and small, has to bring us to give great glory to God. All noble human work, done well and used properly, is a fabulous instrument for serving society and sanctifying ourselves. I suppose the same thing happened to you as to me a moment ago when we were watching television: it was easy to raise one’s heart to God, thanking him for the technical perfection of the image and the color. And then there’s an idea which is always going around my head. I thought of the good and the evil which can be done with television and with all the media. Good? Yes, because it’s a wonderful vehicle for reaching out to so many people, capturing their attention in such an attractive way. Bad? It’s that too, because images and words can be used to spread bad doctrine and false morals. And people swallow these errors and falsehoods without realizing it, they welcome it like pure gold. That’s why I insist so much that the apostolate through the media will always be very important. And Catholics who have a professional vocation to the media, journalists, people working in the press, radio, and television, have to be present and active: to be absent would be a shameful act of desertion.”

Thus, any Christian who is not eager to share Christ with others, to make his humanity known and loved, using whatever talents, few or many, is not doing well, in fact he is lukewarm. Jenkins striving to use his talents as a movie maker to make Jesus better known is commendable. Jenkins urged on by the burning desire to tell Jesus story the way it should be told, with the pump, brilliance and genius of great masters of the big studios has come up with the brilliant master piece Chosen and on behalf of many millions of Christians the world over, I would like to say a very big thanks to Jenkins for making this effort, for not giving up and for helping us see even if minutely a little more background story of Jesus life. His adaptation are brilliant, his ability to help us visualize the real environment most of us are only able to conjure and some with great difficulty is inestimable.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

Dallas Jenkins




Why Amy Barrett Matters

20 10 2020
amy-coney-barrett-1

Just this week, Stevie, a female member of a British rock band called, Fleetwood Mac,   told the world that, thanks to her abortion, she was able to make a success out of her musical career, “If I had not had that abortion, I’m pretty sure there would have been no Fleetwood Mac”. Incidentally, this same week, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a beautiful woman of 48, is set to be confirmed as the ninth Justice of US Supreme Court, having climbed to the highest peak of a career in the legal profession that few women can dream of, while being a wife and a mother of 7 teenage children, which includes two adopted children from Haiti and one child with down syndrome. As the world stands in awe of this great woman, perhaps it is a time to take a few moments to reflect on this two very different world views.

The first world view, the world view of Ms Stevie, propagated by the ideologues of a postmodern world, is the world view  that motherhood, family and children are oppressive forces, holding women back from real progress, and ensure that they never actualize their potencies. They sell this notion by celebrating the likes of Ms Stevie, flooding the front cover of their media tabloids with selfies she took in her underwears with Hollywood super star status pinned to her backside like a medal of honor, a media anointed queen of impressionable young girls.

Yet, the same devious ideologues are bending over backwards to gloss over or at best pay only grudgingly acknowledgment to a better and a more shining world view, that of Amy Coney Barrett, an intelligent, articulate and astonishingly brilliant woman who had faced the odds like other millions of hard working women all over the world, hard at work, while raising children, (future citizens of the world), and yet emerged brilliantly at the very top of their profession. Thus, the false narrative pushed by those who control the media has been deeply debunked by the tremendous success of Amy Barrett. She hurts their narrative, and the narrative of the abortion industry that claims that the only way a modern woman can stride to the top is if she has unrestricted access to abortion. Barrett confirmation ensures that women are deceived no longer.  Women do not necessarily have to choose their careers over family, love of children. It is actually the other way round for it can be argued that Justice Barrett may not have been where she is today but for her family.

True, her record breaking achievement is not a recent thing, having been practically a pace setter all her life. She graduated in English and literature with great honors and went on to study law at Notre Dame, graduating top of her class, a keen intellect, a scholar with formidable capacity, nevertheless evidence shows that having children only makes a sharp intellect keener. This second world view has been confirmed to be a better fulfilling world view, one that leads to even more enduring success by the testimony of so many women who have gone on to achieve surpassing greatness precisely because of their love for family and children. Singer and superstar Adele said that she overcome discouragement and the urge to give up singing when she had her child because she wanted her child to know “what his mother does”. Serena William won top world tennis championship after having a baby.

 At 48, Amy has shattered the entire glass ceiling in the legal and academic citadels and poised to become member of the US Supreme Court all the while juggling children, a husband and a child with special needs, in dramatic refutation of postmodernist feminist claims that family and children are obstacle to a woman’s dream. It would be inexcusable for anyone to believe these falsehoods from now on.

Furthermore, Amy’s nomination has put her in the spot light, bringing to lime light all good she has been doing secretly. She and her husband could have closed themselves up from the troubles of the world, enjoying their sheltered, blessed life of high success all by themselves. Yet they reached out to lend a hand to the less privileged, to the poor and made the decision to adopt two children from one of the most destitute countries in the world, Haiti. They lifted out those children, a boy and a girl, and brought them out of misery and into their own home, into their own lives, thus giving hope and a future to those who could not have dreamed off it.

The Barretts demonstrate that Christianity is not a theory to be espoused and not practice, but a real dynamics that demands a radical commitment in those who choose to be called by that name. As Pope Francis says in his latest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, “The “gospel” of save yourself is not the Gospel of salvation. It is the falsest of the apocryphal gospels, making others carry the cross. Whereas the true Gospel bids us take up the cross of others.” This action of the Barretts restores faith in humanity. Further evidence of Amy’s goodness came from a blind student who testified at the hearing saying that Amy Coney Barrett is the kindest and most generous professor she had ever had at the university and went on to narrate her story of arriving at Notre Dame as a blind student only to find out that the school did not have facilities for the blind, the type of laptop /brail she needed and finally finding herself flunking her grades went to Amy Barrett for help. After she had finished speaking, Amy told her, “Laura, this is no longer your problem it is my problem now,” and went on to solve all her problems.   

Finally, according to three presently serving female Governors in the US, Kay Ivey, Kristi Noem, & Kim Reynolds, “Should Judge Barrett be confirmed, “it will be a win-win for every female—young and old alike during the past 100 years—who has dreamed of seeing women advance to the top positions of our government.”





I love the movie “Fatima”

7 10 2020
Fatima

I must admit that I have always been fascinated by the story of the 1917 apparition of Mary at Fatima, Portugal to the three little Sheppard children, Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco in the forest and I was excited that a film about the entire episode was released in August 2020.  Though, a bit apprehensive about religious films, especially those that involve Angels and apparitions because somehow, Hollywood directors never seem to get the supernatural aura right,    I finally get to watch the movie and I think it was a great movie. The children were perfect, though I think the woman that played the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary seemed to have a bit too much powder on her face. I guess when you have spent an entire life imagining how Mary looks like; no screen image ever gets close. How wonderful it is to see our Lady. I guess I will have to wait till heaven to find out.

In any case, the movie Fatima tells the story from the point of view of Sister Lucia; one of the surviving children who saw our lady and who later became a nun, as she was interviewed by a journalist (an Atheist)

I liked the banter between Lucia and the Journalist, during the interview. At one point the journalist asked her, “Do you have any regrets?”

Sister Lucia paused for a brief moment before replying, “Does it seem that the world has heeded the words of our Lady?  My only regret is not doing enough to spread her message.”

And that message is to say the Rosary, daily for the conversion of sinners. Such a simple request but so important. According to Fr. Don Collaway, the rosary is so important, that Jesus sent his own mother to Earth to remind us earthlings to say the rosary, and yet many Christians are ever so forgetful of such a powerful weapon.

The rosary has been a bone of contention between Protestants and Catholics. Protestant claim that the rosary is not scriptural yet every single prayer of the rosary can be found in the bible. The Hail Mary is the greeting of the Angel Gabriel to Mary when he came to announce to her that she will be the mother of Jesus. Since the Angels are God’s messengers, then, it truth it is God who addressed Mary. Again, many find the repetitious nature of the prayer irksome, but the truth is that the recommended way to say the rosary is to meditate on the mysteries of the rosary which cover the entire life of Jesus from his birth to his death on the cross. Thus a Christian who says the rosary well each day would be meditating on the life of Christ each day, what better way to grow in love of God.

 Nevertheless, this is not the forum to delve into all the polemic. If you wish to know more about the rosary, you can watch the video below where Fr. Don Collaway speaks about the Rosary as the sword of Christians.  

Fr Don Calloway Rosary, sword of Christians

 I would say that watching the movie Fatima is the closest thing to being there at Fatima when all it happened, although the crowd at the apparitions sites (in the movie) where a bit too rowdy and perhaps not too prayerful (I wish the director had added more prayerful moments) but then, this was a country at the grip of communist at that time and.

There was another scene I found a bit disconcerting. When it was time for the second apparition, Lucia’s mother tried to stop her from going to the apparition site, but Lucia resisted her mother, snatching her hands away and retorting, “I have to go, Mama, because the lady told us to come.”

I thought God would not permit a child to disobey her mother, but then after due considerations, I think she (Lucia) did the right thing. Obedience to God supersedes obedience to parents and that’s what many parents perhaps nowadays fail to grasp. Children are a gift from God, and a parent is nothing but a God’s care taker for a while for the souls of children entrusted to them by God. Hence a parent’s authority ends where God begins. Parent must not stand between their children and God, but rather stand beside and support them. It’s always unfortunate when a parent is opposing God’s call. True, they have the duty to ensure that at least, the call is authentic, but once that is done, they must leave them free to follow their vocation, but even more, they should actively support them. This is common all over the world. In Africa, though Africans have lots of children parents sometimes oppose their children’s vocation simply out of self preservation, because children are a sort of pension scheme for parents due to lack of social security, a child’s vocation, especially when it limits their ability to contribute to parents upkeep can be a real problem. Nevertheless, at the bottom of such opposition lies a lack of faith in God. In Western countries, it is a bit different; parents resist their children vocation by not having children or limiting the number of children by birth control, again out of selfishness or misguided   attempt to save the world from over population. In any case I love the movie Fatima and I encourage you to watch it.





“Cuties” is generating a lot of fury

3 10 2020
Cuties is generating a lot of fury

Netflix movie “Cuties” is generating a lot of fury and rightly so.  Every sane person would agree that there is something disturbing about watching a movie where minors are dancing seductively and sexually suggestively. It makes one feel uncomfortable. Even the name “Cutie” is resoundingly deceptive and is a reflection of the dishonestly misappropriated language that has a clear meaning and attributing to something else. The word “Cute” according to the dictionary is defined as something attractive or pleasing in a youthful, dainty, quaint or fun-spirited way.  This is not what sexually suggestive twerks by 10 yr old girls is, and people who think otherwise may rightly be suspected of harboring deviant desire. The rest of the normal people these dances less than cute, at best disturbing, or outright offensive and since it involves minors, criminal.

Why would a minor dance in a sexually provocative way? Is it to attract a mate? Minors aren’t legally permitted to mate, nor marry nor give birth. Why then would a minor be directed in a movie to perform sexual seductive acts? Is it to attract men?  Its crime for a man to be sexual involved with a minor. People who denounce this movie for preparing the ground for criminal acts are on track.

Perhaps, Netflix, together with those who produced the movie are aware of the hypocrisy that led to the success of playboy magazine back in the 50’s. When Hugh Hefner launched playboy in 1953, there was certainly a loud public outcry, and people lashed out against playboy and many families avoided going to a cinema advertising pornography, yet astonishingly, even as protests were on going, private purchase of pornographic VCR tapes was skyrocketing, and thus Hefner who was making big bucks couldn’t care less about public protest. He saw the protest for what it was worth, worthless hypocrisy.

Perhaps, Netflix, like Hefner, is determined to ride out the storm, stay the course and in the end make a lot of money. By being innovators of child pornography, they are rest assured that there will be plenty of bucks at the end of the tunnel. It may even be that Cuties is even at this moment experiencing a windfall in spite of the pretense at protest. Thus, those of us who wish to resist the Cuties “new normal” must guard against curiosity, and hypocrisy and stop privately funding Cuties by watching it in private or else we would be hypocritically cooperating in the triumph of sexual objectification of minors and would be no different from pedophiles for whom Netflix made this movie .

Furthermore, this is not an isolated incident. There are far worse content that we should all stand up against. The Internet is brimming with pornography websites, chief of which is Porn hub, a publicly listed company in USA, with more than 40 billion visitors yearly, where anyone can upload pornographic content no matter how deviant.  Research confirms that many of the content in these sites involve minors, kidnapped or trafficked women and children. Society cannot afford to turn a blind to these extremely hard core sites while fretting over Cuties because again, that would be hypocrisy. It is sad that studies has it that pornography addiction is very high among Christians who attend Church regularly, people who should be at the vanguard of the fight against pornography. Little wonder then that pornographer are getting richer by the hour. We all need to join hand together to fight this or else Netflix’s persistence will eventually lead to the normalization of film like Cuties.





What a woman can do: Nigerian woman fabricates motorcycles parts

1 10 2020

It is hard to find good things to write about Nigeria that is why I never let an opportunity pass if one ever presents itself. Scrolling through twitter this morning, I came across a clip from Reuters about Ukamaka Okoye, a Nigerian woman who fabricates parts for motorcycles using smelted aluminum vehicle parts from the scrap yard.

According to her, she used to work as someone’s secretary in computer firm, but one day, an opportunity came for training as an auto part fabricator at Nnewi and she volunteered to attend and instantly fell in love with auto fabrication technique. Wasting no time, she set up a small factory run entirely by hand and together with her husband they began manufacturing and today they have employed some more women to help them churn out about 1000 motorcycle clutch pads and disks a day.

Her office is no air-conditioned rose smelling upscale flat, but a rented shack, hot and smoky, with blasting furnace adding to the sweltering heat of the sun blazing down her back as she works, yet she is working and working very hard, bearing witness to the truth contained the time worn refrain that when the going gets tough only the tough gets going.

In a time when countless young people are falling into hopeless despondency, Ukamaka Okoye shines the light of hope, and providing an example that if you are ready to work hard, there is no obstacle you cannot overcome and nobody has any reason to give up hope or worse fall into the temptation of engaging in crime like many young people are doing. Here is the spirit of initiative and industriousness that Nigeria and indeed the rest of Africa need to lift her from the putrid gutters of poverty.

Ukamaka and her husband have triumphed over lack of electricity Power, pipe borne water and every possible amenity that any one can imagine, and built a manufacturing firm, creating wealth and contributing their fair share in developing their country. I hope that this exposure and recognition she received from Reuters and the rest of the world would encourage investor to come forward and give her help to expand her business into a modern industry, as I know would be the case where she living in any other country other than Africa.

Yes, what a man can do, a woman can do even better. Ukamaka is a good model to many indigent young girls often tempted into prostitution and selling their bodies to survive. Ukamaka story shows that there is another way, a better way. Honest and dignified work is always available to those willing to find them, and who courageously embark on their dreams no matter the odds. Lastly the Nigerian government would do well to recognize and support Ukamaka, and more importantly study her method of enterprise so that they can guide the teaming mass unemployed young people roaming streets without direction, to emulate Ukamaka’s enterprise in other to carve a better future for themselves and the Nation.

Ukamaka Okoye and her female workers

https://reut.rs/36lZaHU





The face of America: Why Gosnell is the honest face of pro- choice

13 09 2020

There’s an African proverb that says that if you want to eat a toad, you should look for a fat and juicy one, so that if anyone calls you a toad eater you would answer to who you are.
Recently, I summoned up the courage to watch the 2018 Gosnell movie, the trial of American biggest serial killer, which is simply the story of physician who runs a filthy hospital in Philadelphia, filled with aborted body parts, who was arrested in 2011. Fainthearted, I opened all the windows, and sat trembling before the movie started, unsure of what I was about to witness. In the end I was glad I watched it, the movie was cleverly done, without traces of gore and more importantly, it answered the question I have been waiting to ask:
“What is the difference between Gosnell and the others abortion providers? The simple answer is none. Rather, he is more honest, because he embodies the American dream of effective and efficient service delivery. In 1972, he had experimented with inserting electric powered spinning knife blender into women’s womb and crushing babies like pawpaw juice, but it didn’t work and some many women died.
But America wants abortion and that is what Kermit Gosnell is all about. He is ready to deliver, fast and cheap, and good businesses, to compete, cut cost. Kermit Gosnell is a good business man, who knows that it is faster and safer to induce delivery and then kill the child rather than go inside a woman’s womb to kill a child. That’s the efficient way, the American way. Like he said those who made these laws are rambling idiot “I have no respect for any of them” and rightly so.
Gosnell lawyers put it more succinctly to the neatly dressed woman ( perhaps from Planned Parenthood) who testified during the trial that she has done more than 30000 abortions but never had to snipped the spine of “a born alive child” with a scissors.
“What would you do if you have a born alive?” The lawyer asked.
“We never have any,” the woman replied.
“That’s because you inject potassium chloride in to the womb to kill the baby, but hypothetically, what would you do if you have a “born alive?”
“We would make sure it is comfortable and allow it to die.”
“Wouldn’t it be more merciful to just snip its spine.” The lawyer asked the hypocritical jury. There was silence.


However, there are plenty of lessons in this movie for women who ask for abortion. The moment they take that decision they should not blame Kermit Gosnell for what happens next. It’s their call, their choice, their body. Similarly, the state of Philadelphia is saying to them, “Though it is your right to get rid of your baby, nevertheless, once you seek out people like Gosnell and place yourself in their hands, accept the consequences, don’t expect the state to interfere, inspect, or inquire.
America is likewise saying to them, “You want abortion; you get it, with all that comes with it. Don’t expect the press to report what happened, they aren’t going to do that because you won, women have won the right to do as they please with their bodies and we will let them.”
And why shouldn’t Gosnell’s clinic or any other abortion clinic for that matter, smell? Are killing fields expected to smell like roses? During the French Revolution, it was said that the fetid odor from the guillotine could be perceived from miles away. Likewise the grisly death camps of Auschwitz II-Birkenau did not smell of jasmine. What’s more, the child whose life is snuffed out garners no advantage even if the place was as exquisite as Buckingham palace.
Perhaps, the filthy smell and grime should have flagged the unfortunate women of the fowl thing they had embarked on. The filth should have brought them to their senses, to run away and put their trust in God who can unlock possibilities. Every abortion is a fitly act.
I would argue that Gosnell is the most honest face of American pro- choice or more accurately, pro-death movement. The filth and smell they decry are tangible manifestation of the final consequences of pro-death. Gosnell’s calloused indifference and self confidence mirrors the swaggering pro-choice America, champion of freedom, yet killers innocents. It’s the face of a legal system that protects dogs but permits egregious violence on the unborn. Gosnell calls out many Americans who, like ostrich, bury their heads in the sand rather than face what they know in conscience is evil and wrong.

In truth, the real hero of the movie is the relentless blogger who without pay and against the denigrating attitude of smug lawyers and police officers, managed to bring the trail to the world, thwarting the mainstream mafia code of silence. She deserves credit and she demonstrates that truth can no longer be gagged by money and politics. She stands as model of how social media could be used for good as opposed to frivolity or worse, evil.

by Chinwuba Iyizoba





A life worth living: Denzel and Pauletta Washington’s 40 yrs Marriage

6 09 2020
(L-R) Denzel, Pauleta, Jnr, Katie

When Socrates says that the unexamined life is not worth living, he means that only when we strive to acquire self-knowledge would our life be meaningful. This truth was evident to all gathered last year at the American film institute (AFI) Life Achievement Award to Denzel Washington. Delivering the opening speech to a packed hall full of stars and superstars,  Julia Roberts thanked Denzel for mentoring and helping her put her life back together when she was going through a rough patch during the shooting of the movie Pelican brief in 1992. She said that his warm human qualities drew her to open her troubles to him, and Denzel and his wife took her problems to heart and helped her through it. Undoubtedly, this is an amazing story in Hollywood, an industry famous for men taking advantage of vulnerable women. A black man going out of his way to help a white woman, but not just that, he introduces her to his wife.

Julia Roberts

There is valuable lesson here for married men: If you wish to help other women, do so with your wife. That way your help will be more effective and what’s more, you will not run the unnecessary risk of endangering your marriage by getting emotional entangled with a woman who is not your wife and whom your wife know nothing about. The devil that drives men to adultery thrives in secrecy. When fail to introduce their wives to the women they work with, leave the door open to possible infidelity.

Again,  in Hollywood  where serial divorce, adultery and infidelity are the norm, there is no doubt that a good role model like Denzel Washington who have risen to the very top of that industry and yet kept his sense of duty, family and honor intact is in high demand.

Interestingly, when Denzel finally mounted in the midst of thundering applause, he began by thanking God and asking God’s forgiveness for what he had done badly.

Denzel delivering his thank you address

“I m up here to say thank you to God,  for giving me this ability, for blessing me, for shaping me, for chastising me, for teaching me, for punishing me, for allowing me to be a vessel to touch people around the world.”

 Few actors can boast of the kind of success that Denzel Washington has had in Hollywood: two times Oscar winner, starred in at least 53 movies–most blockbusters, in a career that spanned 40 years, yet even fewer actors can boast of his capacity for self-examination. While success often spurs disdain for religion, Denzel’s success, on the other hand, makes him more humble in acknowledging God and his instrument for sustaining, nurturing, and supporting him.

In his speech, he appreciated his mother at 95, and declared that his father taught him how to be a man. Turning to his wife of 40 years, he proclaimed, “I would not be alive, without Pauletta Washington. 40 years of sacrifice, 40 years of forgiveness, she taught me about faith, spirituality, love, real love, unwavering love, inspite of myself.”

Older than Denzel when they got married, Pauletta has played the balancing force in his life helping to anchor him from the illusory world of make belief to the nitty-gritty of reality. Mother of his children, she surely must have fought many fearful battles with jealousy whenever it rears its ugly head as beautiful dashing damsels  flock towards her handsome husband ready to give him anything if he so much as smile at them. However, she did not let fear override the trusting confidence that every spouse deserves. Her devotion to the home, made him long to return home, to her and his children. Today, she is blessed to hear him acknowledge it before the rich and powerful and attest to the truth that the power of a woman is not solely in her external beauty, but the internal as well.

Unfortunately, many people claim that happy marriage is all about the money and that having made money, Denzel and Pauletta no longer need struggle to love each other. This is not true. A cursory look at the dismal marital landscape of Hollywood full of battered, violent, and ruptured marriages, with all the abuses, infidelities, and misery is sufficient to refute this argument.

Denzel and Pauletta have confirmed that marital fidelity is possible regardless of the environment. Their example is a challenge to those who have already caved in to licentiousness to pick up the pieces and begin again, and an encouragement to the young. It also demonstrates that the prevalence of toxic culture opposed to life, values and spirit, is largely due to individual choices.

Denzel then played a video where Pauletta’s father said:

“We were put her for a reason. God created man and God intends for us to love all mankind and by being in a loving mood, caring for one another, that is our purpose for life. We should care for one another, and we should love one another.”

His words echoed the words of Jesus Christ, “Love one another by this all men will know that you are my disciples,” reminding all that all lives matter. Love does not discriminate. Jesus said to love our enemies and do good to them who hate us and thus we will be like our father in heaven. The hate we see today is the proof that we have ditched the Christian faith and that witness is lacking.

 “In this twitter-tweet mean world we have created for our children,” Denzel continued, “the least we can do is to consider what we have done, and think about the young people, the future and individually, collectively do the best we can to try and turn this thing around.”

 Perhaps to the surprise of many of his colleagues whom have been blaming President Trump for all the evil in the world, Denzel said, “I blame no one, I look in the mirror.”

“On the other side of it,” he continued, “what an opportunity we have–because tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our lives– what an opportunity we have to practice what Pauletta’s father preached.”  

 In the end, Denzel qualities as an actor, for which he was being honored, is the quality expected of all, but more especially from Christians. The Christian faith calls all Christians to do all things well as Christ did. St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, has preached message of sanctification of work since 1928 that Christian holiness depends on work well done, for God.

Finally, Denzel has borne witness that a well-done work leads us towards God, and that work sanctifies, and sanctifies others. Millions the world over watched as Julia Roberts narrated how working   with Denzel and seeing how much he loves his wife made a deep impression on her.  Julia, who herself is a remarried divorcee, knows more than anyone does the challenges of marriage. She has now been married for 17 years with her present husband perhaps due to her emulating the life of Denzel, a life worth living.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

Editor of Authors-choice





Do you know what it means to forgive? What the movie “A beautiful life in the Neighborhood” teaches us about forgiveness

31 08 2020
Susan Kelechi Watson(Lloyd’s wife), Tom Hanks(Roger), Marielle Heller(Director), Matthew Rhys(Lloyd) and Chris Cooper(Dad) attend the Photo Call for “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” at Four Seasons Hotel in New York City.

To err is human; to forgive is divine is perhaps the central message of the movie, A beautiful day in the Neighborhood, based on a true-life story of a famous TV icon, Fred Rogers, who inspired and comforted many people with his marvelous stories in his acclaimed children’s TV series which ran from 1968 till 2002 . In the opening lines of the movie, Mr. Rogers (Hanks) asks, “Do you know what it means to forgive? It is a conscious decision we make to release someone from the feeling of anger we have against them,” and he goes on to narrate the story of his encounter with a troubled journalist, Lloyd Vogel who was having a hard time forgiving his father who had abandoned his mother for another woman while she was dying of cancer. One night, at a party, Lloyd anger boils over and he punched his dad in the face and things turned ugly. Luckily, Lloyd meets Rogers when his editor sent him to Rogers’s studio to interview him for an article.

As he enters, Rogers walks off the stage, camera rolling and all, and greets him, introducing him to the rest of the crew. After the shooting, they sit down and talk and Lloyd discovers that Rogers had a great love for people, and the genuine concern he saw in Rogers eyes when he told him about his fights with his father profoundly affects him and perhaps for the first time, Lloyd gets insight into Rogers’s pleasant personality.

 When he asks Rogers if he had burdens and how he deals with them. Rogers admitted that like every one, he too has burdens but that he tries deal with them without taking it out on others. For instance, if he was having a bad day,  he would swim as hard as he can, or even bang out a single note on the piano keys, but more important he had learnt to accept people they way they are.

Rogers made Lloyd understand that these virtues were what made him attractive to many people because his message uplifts them and they felt understood and loved, and therefore many open their hearts to him.

“He is the nicest man I have ever met,” Lloyd announced to his wife, Andrea when he returned home.

When Lloyd met Rogers’s wife, he could not but blurt out the question that was topmost in his mind. “How does it feel to share the same house as a living saint,” he asked her. To which she replied with a sincere smile, “Roger is not perfect, he has his flaws, but he is always striving to overcome them.”  “Furthermore,” Roger wife adds, “he prays for people he meets by name every day.”

Her answer is similar to what saint Josemaria, the founder of Opus Dei, used to repeat so often, that a saint is not a person who has no defect but one who continually struggles to overcome them with the grace of God and by forgetting himself and concerning himself with the problems of other people.

Rogers’s affection finally helps Lloyd deal with his anger and make up with his father after a final row in his apartment precipitated his father’s heart attack and his father was rushed to the hospital. This marked the turning point for Lloyd who healed by Rogers’s words and examples returned repentant and apologized to his wife and firmly determined to patched things with his dad who was dying..

In the end the healing process was completed when dad and son shared a glass of sherry, his dad assured him that he had always loved him. “I love you too dad” he replied bringing tears to the old man’s eyes. This reconciliation reunites the entire family, and Lloyd sister comes in to share the moment. Lloyd’s dad died a few days later after meeting Rogers who helped him overcome death fears by asking for his prayers. Lloyd became a more caring person, even to his wife, offering to stay home and take care of baby so his wife could get back to work.

A beautiful day in the Neighborhood was a successful movie that made a stunning $42.8 million at the box office profit  and Times Magazines voted it the best film of 2019; in contrast, the sex themed Hologram for the King (2016), made a $23.2 million loss.

With its good humor, family, and children friendly entertainment, this movie proves to be timely in an industry fast normalizing hard core on-screen sex and foul language.  I hope that its success sends right message to Hollywood producers and encourage them to produce more movies like it, and thus contribute in making a better world.





Critical review of movie “Unplanned”

29 08 2020

Unplanned  is a movie based on the bestselling biography of Abby Johnson, a young woman whose passion for helping women led her to join planned parenthood, an organization that claims to help women by promoting abortions. Abby would later rise to become a director in this organization. However, her near death experience while aborting her own baby refuted the organization’s assertion that abortion is safe and risk free.

Furthermore, the organization’s affiliation with Margaret Sanger, a racist who promotes abortion of blacks and handicapped raises many questions. Her disillusionment reached a climax when one day she was asked to assist in an abortion procedure and she found herself staring for the first time at an ultrasound image of an unborn child in womb fighting desperately for its life before suction.

When the abortionist doctor jokingly called for more suction pressure, “Beam me up scottie” Abby fled the room and from the organization, convinced that she had made a terrible mistake joining them. From then on, she would dedicate herself to spreading awareness of the wickedness of abortion.

Though the movie is rich in vivid images and gives cinematographic satisfaction, it however fails to capture the interior workings of human conscience, for instance, there was a scene when the abortion clinic staff refused to go outside because their consciences were troubled because a nun was praying and weeping outside the clinic because of their work. Likewise, the movie couldn’t help viewers imagine the grief and remorse in Abby conscience because of the two abortions she had (as she recounts in the book). Similarly, the movie was unable to help viewer capture the love, patience of her dedicated husband and the faithful love of her parents, all which seem to converge as a sign of God’s power working on the human conscience. Her encounter with the reality of abortion during the procedure in which she had to assist with an abortion and her seeing the struggles of the tiny fetus shim away from the suction probe was only the climax of the long chain of events probing and prodding her conscience to accept the reality as what it is.  Perhaps, the contrast between the book and the movie, could serve as a pedagogical evidence of books superiority over movies in portraying the full spectrum of human experiences because no matter how well a movies is made, it often misses out in what is most interior, most intimate in the life of the characters

Abby’s story is a witness to the infinite mercy of God who never abandons the most reprobate but rather with infinite patience, and unobtrusive love continues to draw the penetrating light of truth to convict. In addition, this story is also proof that it is never too late to return to the right path and that no matter how far of the mark, the grace of God can bring us back. Furthermore, this story highlights the perennial importance of the Christian concept of “hating the sin” but “not the sinner” as a most efficacious means win people over. Shawn, Melissa, Elizabeth and the other pro-lifers because they treated Abbey with love and respect, made  it was easy for her to turn to them for help when the grace came demonstrating that error, blindness and defensive justification all fall away with an encounter with a non judgment love,  a personal love that is unconditional.

The story is also an important lesson on the mysterious efficacy of prayers. Many people are often tempted to abandon prayer after a while when it appears that things aren’t changing. The  pro-life crew who prayed daily outside planned parenthood clinics and were occasionally tempted to discouragement because they were unable to see the fruits of their efforts. Thus they were stunned when Abby revealed to them that there were observable decrease in numbers of women opting for abortion each time they were praying.

Lastly, despite its problems, the movie offers valuable insights into the inner working of the abortion industry, but even more interesting, it demonstrates a way for people on different sides of the abortion argument to come together drawn by the truth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhgCvUyZSHs

by Chinwuba Iyizoba





The sex agenda: Hollywood attack on Judeo-Christian sexual ethics

17 08 2020

Research shows watching onscreen sex and pornography is more addictive and harmful than tobacco, yet Hollywood keeps escalating use of onscreen sex and pornography in blockbusters. Why? This article would argue that the permissive attitude of Hollywood and other social media to onscreen sex, nudity and pornography, is a deliberate attempt to supplant Judeo-Christian sexual ethics with moral relativism, in addition, this paper would argue that the promotion of the theology of the body of St. John Paul II as the best measure to counter this agenda.

According to George Gerbner’s Cutivation theory, people often imitate what they watch. To avoid imitative smoking by their teenage viewers, big studios prohibit cigarettes smoking in PG-13 rated movies. Paul (2013) citing studies conducted by Annenberg Public Policy Center and the University of Pennsylvania claims that Hollywood successfully cut onscreen smoking down from roughly 68 percent in 1985 to 21.4 percent in 2010 and onscreen Alcohol use from 89.6 percent in 1985 to 67.3 percent. Unfortunately, onscreen sex and pornography remained at 80 percent high all through the period (Paul, 2013).  

Why is Hollywood determined to ignore science when it comes to onscreen sex and pornography? Research confirms that onscreen sex and pornography harm teenagers. Brown & Newcomer, (1991) found that teenagers who watch intense sexual contents begin having sex earlier than that those who do not. While Eyal & Finnerty, (2009) confirm that among public health professionals,  escalating sexual content in movies and   social media as a growing concern driving the surge in teenage risky sexual behaviors. In addition, research by Institute of Medicine (1997) confirms that one in four sexually active teen in US have STD, and of the 19 million STD infections diagnosed annually, half of them are teenagers and young adults between ages 15-24. 

Pornography fuels human trafficking. Peters, Lederer and Kelly (2012) cites instances where women are kidnapped, coerced and forced to perform sex  acts while being filmed and uploaded to porn sites for real time views. Cybersex camps springing up in Philippines with kidnapped and indigent girls are enslaved for commercial sex, live streamed to paying customers in the US.

The authors’ allege that pornography is the leading cause of objectification of women and violence against women.”A study by FBI researchers of 36 serial killers revealed that 29 were attracted to pornography and incorporated it into their sexual activity, which included serial rape-murder (Peters, Lederer and Kelly, 2012 p. 13).”

Furthermore, they assert that pornography is breaking down in marriages, men addicted to onscreen sex and pornography wishing to replicate their fantasies, finding their wives on willing, seeks out prostitutes, leading to family problems. In addition, law of diminishing returns demands that addicts often require more deviant form hardcore pornography to get the same level of arousal, leading to greater and greater perversion (Peters, Lederer and Kelly, 2012). They also claim that pornography fuels trafficking of women to produce pornography and consumption of pornography escalates deviants sexual appetite in men who seek out trafficked prostitutes to live out their fantasy, thus pornography drives prostitutions and prostitution fuels sex trafficking.

One common theory that tries to explain the use of sex in movies is that it makes movies profitable, in other words, sex sells movies. However, studies by Cerridwen & Simonton (2009) disprove this theory, showing that there is little correlation between a movies box office performance and sexual content. Egan(2000) however disagrees, arguing that pornography is indeed a multi-billion dollar industry, tied with many American corporate names. The author claims that DirecTV, a General Motors subsidiary buys nearly $200 million a year in pay-per-view sex films. Egan confirms that international brands like AT&T Corporation are neck deep in selling hard-core sex channels to millions of hotel room in Marriott International and Hilton. Mahlburg (2020) discovered that each year, 42 billion users visit the largest pornographic site in the world called Pornhub, where research has revealed every type of criminally deviant porn can be found even with minors. While Asher of Vivid Entertainment Group argues that obsessed people are sources of income, and hotels make up to 90 percent profit from streaming in-room porn.

Nevertheless, it can be argued that profit alone fails to explain the proliferation of onscreen sex.  After all, Hollywood and other social media willingly loose out from $8.4 billion dollar bounty that the US tobacco companies spent in 2018 in advertisement and promotion because of their anti-tobacco stands.

Thus, Charles (2014) asserts that the primary objective of Hollywood’s proliferation of onscreen sex is to subvert the Judeo Christian morals of their viewers. Alberto and Eliana (2009) details other research supports the use of onscreen sex to undermine Judeo-Christian sexual ethic. The authors cites the Brazilian military government’s agenda of legalizing divorce, in the 70’s, using television series inundated with sex to little by little deform the consciences of millions of viewer, this successfully resulted in a spike divorce rates among women across Brazil municipal areas.

Furthermore, Charles (2014) cites Michael Catt, senior pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany saying, “We’ve always heard that Hollywood is about making money, but I think it’s really about an immoral or amoral agenda to promote lifestyles, relativism, compromise, and shades of gray with no black and white. There is a force in that community. Michael continues, “more important than making $100 million is to plant seeds in the minds of young people that will take them away from Judeo-Christian ethics.”

Gordon Pennington, successful marketing consultant in Hollywood adds, “Whoever controls the image of culture controls culture.”

In addition, according to West (2014), they are willing to risk everything, even lawsuits from the #metoo movement of female actors forced to perform sexual content, as conditions of employment. Back in 1953, In an era when an NC-17 rating for X-rated films well known to lead to box office failure, West argues, Hugh Hefner was willing to lose money to destroy by founding playboy magazine, and the adult movie industry to spite Judeo- Christianity. Lucky, the invention of the video cassette recorder (VCR) ended up making him a lot of money, because “The first thing that a lot of people did when they got their VCR was rent or purchase an adult movie (Porn in the USA , 2003).”

Furthermore, other evidence of anti-Judeo-Christian bias emerges with a cursory look at Hollywood’s blockbusters over a thirty-year period. Greydanus (2020) claims that Hollywood consistently links Christianity with murderous violence, like the rosary-clutching villain in the Legend of Tarzan and murderous villain called “the Butcher” who wears T-shirt with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Wanted (2008). Again, you have Tom Hanks’, Irish Catholic hit man packing a rosary and automatic weapons in the Road to Perdition (2002). Going further, recall the butchery and cold-blooded murder in Gangs of New York (2002) and The Godfather (1973) all carried out by religious people.

Even more scandalously are depictions of ordained ministers, priest, bishops, and popes as bloodthirsty murderers (Greydanus, 2020).  The Albino monk assassin in The Da Vinci Code a block buster released in 2006 as another poignant evident, and V for Vendetta (2006): a depraved bishop who is complicit in Mengele-like human experiments and who indulges a sexual penchant for very young girls or the Catholic-themed killings in Seven (1995) and The Glimmer Man (1996) (Greydanus, 2020).

It can be argued that onscreen sex and pornography in particular strikes at the heart Christian sexual ethic. Houck (2009) asserts that Christian moral code exalts decency, modesty, and purity of heart as a basic perquisite to see God. “Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). However, on screen sex and pornography excites lustful thoughts and attacks cleanliness and purity of heart. Seghers (2018) argues that for a Christian, sex is holy and linked generation of new life.

According to West (2015), in John Paul II teaches in the theology of the body that Christ spilt blood on the cross gave Christian life to believers within the Church, in the sexual act, a husband’s spills his blood within his wife, and gives new life, a new human person. Furthermore, Christians consider the human body as the dwelling place of God, not to be degraded as a sexual object for commercial consumption. West (2015), expounding on the Theology of the body of John Paul II said that if Heaven is the dwelling place of God, then a woman’s womb is heaven on earth since God took flesh on womb of a woman, Mary. Thus, the author continues, it is by God’s design that in the sexual art, man enters the heaven of a woman’s womb and spill out his life the way Christ spilt his blood for the Church (West, 2015). “Coming together in the profound partnership of marriage, man and woman live for the other in mutual love and deference. This union is expressed concretely in the couple’s bodily sexual bodily gift of themselves to one another in sexual intercourse. Here they speak a profound language of total self-gift and unconditional fidelity (Grabowski (n.d).”

Onscreen sex and pornography breaks the fidelity between marriage and sex, introducing  complexity, selfishness, lust, into a perfect act mutual and exclusive self-giving between married spouses.

In summary, with pervasive onscreen sex and pornography, Hollywood is not showing too much sex, rather they are showing too little, and they do not go far enough. Sex is much more than physical bodies, it has eternal dimension. They treat sex pornography as a consumer product because of the huge profit coming in from it, but also with a primary agenda of   subverting the Judeo Christian ethics. Yet the remedy to this destructive distorted view of sex lies in the proper understanding of the Theology of the body of John Paul II

References

 Alberto,C., & Eliana, L. (2009).Television and divorce:Evidence from Brazilian Novelas( Working Paper No. 651). Retrieved from Inter-American Development Bank Research Department website:https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/51502/1/591278979.pdf

Charles, C. (2014). Hollywood’s Immoral Agenda Entertainment Industry Accelerates Attack on Biblical Values. Retreived from https://decisionmagazine.com/hollywoods-immoral-agenda/

Cerridwen, A.,& Simonton, D.K.(2009).Sex Doesn’t Sell—Nor Impress! Content, Box Office, Critics, and Awards in Mainstream Cinema.  American Psychological Association, 3(4),200-210. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/aca-3-4-200.pdf

Egan,T.(2000,Oct.23). Wall Street Meets Pornography. The Newyorktimes .Retreived from https://www.nytimes.com/2000/10/23/us/erotica-special-report-technology-sent-wall-street-into-market-for-pornography.html

Eyal, K., and K. Finnerty. (2009). “The portrayal of sexual intercourse on television: How, who, and with what consequence?” Mass Communication & Society 12: 143-169. Retrieved from https://www.kff.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/sex-on-tv-4-report-introduction.pdf

Greydanus, S. D. (2020). Let’s face it: Hollywood’s got a “religion problem”.Retrieved from http://decentfilms.com/articles/hollywood-religion-problem

Grabowski, S. J(n.d) The Theology Of The Body AccordingTo Pope John Paul II. Retreived from https://www.foryourmarriage.org/the-theology-of-the-body-according-to-pope-john-paul-ii/

Mahlburg, K. (2020, June 26).Tell Pornhub and Planned Parenthood that Black Lives Matter. Retrieved from https://mercatornet.com/tell-pornhub-and-planned-parenthood-that-black-lives-matter/64162/?preview_id=64162

Paul, B. (2013).Study: PG-13 Films Combine as Much Violence, Sex and Alcohol as R-Rated Titles. Retrieved from https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/study-pg-13-films-combine-663899

Peters, R.W, Lederer, L.J and Kelly,S.(2012).The Slave and the Porn Star: Sexual Trafficking and Pornography. The protection project: Journal of human right and civil society

Retrieved from https://www.rescuefreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/slave-and-the-porn-star.pdf

Porn in the USA, part 2.  (2003, Nov 21). [Video/DVD] New York: BBC Studios Americas, Inc., Columbia Broadcasting System. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1822822291?accountid=188730

Seghers,J.(2018). Theology of the Body: An Overview. Retrieved from https://www.totustuus.com/essays

West, C. (2015, Oct 24). DCC Lecture Series [Video/DVD] – God, Sex and the Meaning of Life. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHUsnDwB8Ww&t=33s





The Four Last things: What happens after our death

3 08 2020

The Four Last things

Last month, I read about Eschatology, a Greek term that refers to the four last things in everyone’s life: death, judgment, heaven, and hell. Among these, the one that we are all familiar with, because we see it often, is death.  Still, most of us, perhaps out of fear, do not consider what happens after we die.

Death

Well, according to Catechism of the Catholic Church, death is the separation of soul from body. The soul, being spiritual cannot die. The soul is immortal, self-reflective, and aware and knows.  It possesses the ability to move from one place to another, passing through walls and things like that. More important, as soon as we die, God grants our soul light to see with perfect clarity, the good or evil aspects of the choices we have made throughout our lives up until the moment before our death. Death makes these choices permanent, and the soul adheres to these choices, and can neither change nor repent any longer.  Thus, the soul of the dead perseveres in choosing or rejecting God forever.  Death irrevocably fixes the good or evil we have chosen in life and we cannot change. Put another way, death is the end of testing process, what remains is either reward or punishment.  God immediately judges and rewards the good soul with heaven, and judges and punishes the evil soul with hell. If the soul is in state of grace with some imperfections, it goes to purgatory for purification.  This immediate judgment is the particular judgment and it is differs from the general judgment at the end of the world.

Immediately after death, the soul is Judged in the Particular Judgment

At the particular judgment, the soul of the dead appears immediately before God (even as the relatives are weeping or preparing the decomposing body for burial). God grants the soul light to see the choices made while alive. If it has chosen God (good) it rushed towards God who is infinite love, beauty, happiness, joy eternal blessedness and the very source of all that is lovely. If it has chosen evil, it rushes away from God, towards hell: hatred, evil, misery, emptiness, and eternal separation from God. The truth of the particular judgment and the immediate retribution or punishment at the moment of death is borne out in sacred scripture by the words of Jesus on the cross to the good thief “Today, you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

Regarding the fittingness of immediate judgment after death, it is argued that, since a dead man cannot choose good or evil anymore, there is no reason to wait until for the final judgment at the end of time, to reward the just or punish the wicked. Besides, such a “waiting” or “delay” will only punish the just, keeping them in a state of permanent anxiety, not knowing their fate, while at the same time it would be a reward for the damned soul whose punishment is put off as it where for a very long time till the end of the world.

Purgatory

If the soul is imperfect, having no mortal sin, but retaining imperfections, it goes to a place of purification we Catholics call purgatory. This is because, before a soul enters heaven, every trace of imperfection must be eliminated, and all attachment to sin or evil destroyed, and purified.

Though many people (mainly Protestants) argue that there is no purgatory, for it is not explicitly stated in the bible, and since we are saved by faith Christ in alone, we are perfectly ripe for heaven when we die. Yet, the Church teaches that purgatory is in the bible, even though it is not explicitly mentioned.  The sense of purgatory is clear from the Old testament, second book of Maccabees where Judas Maccabee took and gathered a collection of money for the sin offering for the souls of the his dead men to be released from their sins.( Mac  12:39). In the New Testament, purgatory is even clearer.  1 Corinthians 3:10–15, talks about two fires, there is one fire to examine the good or evil of men’s deeds and another fire to purify them before they are saved. Experience tells us that there are different shades of perfection, and we all can grow in perfection. Thus, purgatory answers the question, “What happens to the soul of the imperfect who dies.”

This is why the Church offers the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass, during the funereal and encourages all to offer suffrages for the souls in Purgatory. The souls in purgatory by the nature of their state can no longer merit graces for themselves and are wholly dependent on the people on earth to pray for them.

Pain of loss & pain of the senses

The souls in purgatory suffer two kinds of pain. The pain of loss consists in a certain delay of seeing God. The souls in purgatory no longer desire material things; they only have one consuming desire, to see God. That delay is pain, but it is much unlike the pain of loss suffered by the damned souls, in that they have the joy of knowing that it is only a temporal delay and they are sure of seeing and uniting with love of God. In addition, there is the pain of sense that some call fire. This fire purifies them of their imperfections. This suffering is not a meritorious act because it is not performed freely but with compulsion. Yet, the souls in purgatory gladly accept this fire and impatiently await the end of their trials so that they can be with God.  The duration and intensity of their suffering is dependent on the amount of suffrages we on earth offer for them through our good acts and Eucharistic devotions. It is a duty of Charity to pray for the souls in purgatory, since they are our brothers and sisters. It is a requirement of justice, since souls can be unduly detained because of our negligence, and finally it is obligation of piety that we owe members of our supernatural and natural families who might be in purgatory.

Hell

Truly, many do not understand what hell is, if they did, they would be anxious never to go there. Strictly speaking, the Catholic Church does not talk about those in hell because they are considered to be outside of the Church. They are no longer a part of the Church. The souls of people who die in the state of opposition to God through attachment to evil go straight to hell. Hell is the ratification of the choices they freely made up until the moment of death. Death makes the opposition to God permanent and eternal. In Hell, the separation from the all-loving God is permanent, irrevocable and without end. It is a life of complete frustration and emptiness. Hel is the opposite of love; it is hatred, darkness, and eternal punishment. It is eternally living with evil, and knowing that it is forever, without end. Recalling that we are going to die and that there is an afterlife could help us keep focus

Hell involves two kinds of pains. Pain of loss and pain of sense.

The pain of loss is the most intense and in enormity, surpasses every other suffering imaginable because it is the loss of the ultimate end, happiness, and eternal bliss desired by every creature. The souls in hell experience intense remorse, but not because of repentance from their sin, but because of the enormity and the eternal duration of their punishment .They also experience the pain of the senses, which some consider to be unquenchable fire, burning sulfur. Even if they do not know it, all men are created in the image of God, to live with God forever. Every soul hungers for this union of love and happiness with God. To be eternally deprived of ever achieving this is the most terrible suffering a soul can have, a loss of all meaning and purpose and a permanent state of frightful misery

This pain of sense on the other hand is comparable to dying but never dying, hence the name “eternal death.” Apart from this two pains mentioned above, there are other pains, such as the suffering of being in the eternal company of the wicked and the damned, where all is misery and vile, the permanent company of the devil and all his demons, where hatred and evil is the only rule. We should truly pity those who do evil here on earth.

Heaven

The existence of heaven is explained in the same way that the existence of hell is explained. It is proper and fitting that those who die in the state of grace, without sin, and in union with God, having kept and obeyed his laws in this life be rewarded. That reward is the immediate and eternal possession of God who is love.

The metaphor of heaven as the dwelling place of God in the sky can be misleading, but through faith, we know that heaven is not a place but a living relationship with the Holy Trinity in Christ. Happiness of heaven is the enjoyment of all good, all love and beauty and bliss in God in a permanent eternal way without any fear of loss, forever. This eternal vision of God cannot be unless God grants the soul a light of glory that illuminates and unites with God. This light of glory called lumen Gloriae enables the creature to see and know God. Since love comes from knowledge, this act of seeing and knowing God is immediately followed by an intense love of God that produces immense joy, happiness bliss that nothing in this world can describe.

Thus, the soul participates in all joy and happiness of the blessed. Moreover it is in the blessed company of the saints, Mary and all the blessed. It is also know all creatures through the mind of God. It is able to communicate with his loved ones on earth and rejoices as they progress towards heaven. 

The final judgment

Unlike the particular judgment that comes immediately after death, the final judgment comes at the end of the world. It is the public ratification of the irrevocable sentence of the particular judgment. Moreover, is in keeping with the justice of God that just as many people do good without reward because no one sees them and many people do evil and are never caught, the final judgment will be the universal acclamation of hidden good doers and universal condemnation of hidden evildoers.

It is also the time for the resurrection of the body. The same body that participated or even aided in the good or assisted in the evil done while on earth, will resurrect and re-unit with the soul for the universal judgment of body and soul. The final judgment will show that God’s justice prevails over all the injustices perpetrated by his creatures, and that God’s love is stronger than death. Our hope does not look forward to the eternal life of the soul alone, but to the eternal life of the whole human person, body and soul. There is an eternal life of salvation, as a participation of the entire man in the glorious Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In addition, there is an eternal life of damnation, in which the separation from God becomes eternal.

by Chinwuba Iyizoba





Why is Hollywood is obsessed with sex?: The movie “Hologram for the King” should have been about other things

25 06 2020

To begin, I recently watched an old movie called “Hologram for the King.” In the movie, a mid-aged man (Tom Hanks) traveled to Saudi Arabia to pitch a proposal for a hologram to the oil rich king of Saudi Arabia. On arrival, he discovers to his astonishment that things were not what he expected. Apart from having to deal with the heat and the dust, the culture clash left him reeling, and to make matters worse, he had no clue when the king who is traveling all over the world was going to show up for the meeting. The king’s cousin who was in charge during his absence was equally elusive. To add, he had to deal with a mysterious lump on his back, which he attempted to explore with a kitchen knife causing enough bleeding for his friend and driver, Kareem, to convince him to see a doctor.
At the hospital, he encounters a middle-aged Saudi woman- doctor and of course, they fall in love and begin a secret escapade. Finally, Hanks abandons his wife and daughter in America and settles down in Saudi Arabia with his newfound love.
It is striking how quickly an apparently solid story rumples down to sex and animal attraction between two mid aged people.
I wonder why they did not call it “The sex life of a mid-aged couple.” It is a pity that in the entire length of the movie, the king, and the hologram appeared only for a few flickering seconds.
Why is sex, divorce, and marital infidelity so important a theme in Hollywood films?
Hanks ditches a daughter who loves him dearly. He ditches friends, family, and relatives—chuck all out to live in Saudi Arabia with a woman he barely knows and whose culture and life would be burdensome. With any luck, right thinking people would know that this is widely unrealistic and any man that does that deserves a movie made about him even less.
It is not very hard to imagine a better ending for this movie. Hanks, if he were a real man, would have realized immediately that relationship with this Saudi woman would be self-defeating. That it would end up hurting him and the people he loves. It should have hit him like ice water that a life’s commitments he has with his wife and daughter is invaluable and should not be traded for quick fixes and, moreover, in a few years, he would be old and wrinkled and she even more, since science says women age much faster than men do. If Hanks were a real man, he would have thought through and walked away from that short-lived pleasure. That would have been a better ending.

by
Chinwuba Iyizoba





Lessons from the Danfo girl

26 04 2020

Here’s a story that shows how love conquers even the hardest hearts.

Something interesting happened on my way to Oshodi this morning. At the motor park, this rough mean-looking conductor was screaming for passengers, his vernacular oscillating between Yoruba and Pidgin English. ‘Oshodi! Oshodi!’ he shouted angrily as I, along with some other passengers, struggled for seats.

There was this beautiful young lady who waited patiently until the bus was almost filled. Then she pleaded to sit by the conductor until somebody came down, when she would have a proper seat.

The bus conductor didn’t even look at her pretty face; he hissed and shouted at the driver to move, while asking the girl why she didn’t rush like the other passengers. The girl started pleading in Yoruba interspersed with English before saying, ‘I know you are a good man, never mind the fact that you have been shouting’, (that elicited laughter). ‘Let me sit by your side, please’, she added.

Finally, with much frowning of face the conductor relented and she sat beside him. It was a tight squeeze but she didn’t complain. Instead, she started praising the conductor who in turn started teasing her, speaking (and sometimes spitting by mistake) into her face but the girl never looked away as she kept smiling.

He asked her where she worked and she replied that she was a student at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) studying accounting. The conductor teased her in Yoruba about why her boyfriend didn’t drop her at her destination but the young lady laughed it off and continued to gist with him in Yoruba.

When she reached her destination, the conductor alighted from the bus for her to come down. She did and paid her transport fare. Then the conductor told her to give him a peck on the cheek for being so ‘gentlemanly’, although he was really not serious about it.

Then it happened! The lady jumped forward and gave him a peck on the cheek! She then waved bye and ran down to her street.

The driver and other people began to hail the conductor who started joking, saying he knew he was irresistible etc. and others were taunting him. But not long after, the conductor put his head down and became uncharacteristically quiet.

The driver soon asked the guy why he wasn’t calling out bus-stops anymore, wondering whether the pretty girl had cast a spell on him. At that point, the conductor said something in Yoruba that I didn’t quite understand and then his voice became emotional and believe it or not, he started to cry. Others were now consoling him in Yoruba.

When I asked what the problem was, the lady beside me explained that the conductor said he just realised he would never be able to get a girl like that in his life. He was weeping because he knew no girl of her class might ever do to him what that girl just did, to touch a dirty person like himself; that the girl is nice and well brought-up and that if he had money he would have chased after her.

So the passengers were consoling him in Yoruba that he would go higher in life and be able to marry a girl like that and that he should not cry because it was not the end of the road for him. That really touched me.

For a moment in that conductor’s life, his facade of a street thug fell away and he was a vulnerable emotional aspiring young man, just like everybody else.

If you wish to bring out the best in others: love and affection is the only way. The girl changed the danfo “agbero” to a human being, simply by treating him with love an affection.

Original story by Segun Adeniyi Thisday Newspaper








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