Hope for the hopeless: A Review of the film Room (2015)

27 06 2021
Room(2015) Joy and her son Jack

There is a saying that every child is a gift that comes with one mouth to feed, two hands to help and one brain to innovate. This is true even for a child born in great injustice of rape and kidnapping. Such was the case in the movie Room (2015); the story of a young girl kidnapped and held hostage for seven years by a pervert. Joy Newsom(Brie Larson was only 17 when her world came crashing down: a man tricked her into his garage and locked the door. There she remained for seven years, weeping and asking for death a million times over but he thwarted all her attempts at escape or to kill herself.

But all that changed when she had a child. There’s something about child that brings hope with it.

“My whole world changed when I had Jack (Jacob Tremblay) because he was so beautiful,” Joy said during an interview after she had been released from captivity, and she got reasonably upset when the interviewer insensitively asked her why she raised Jack in captivity rather than encourage her captor to take him away.

 “He brought meaning back into my life.” Joy rightly said, and when asked if it does not bother her that Jack’s biological father is a pervert, she responded, ” Everything about that child is me, he has nothing to do with him, because being a father is not about fathering a child, it is about loving a child” and she clung on to her son protecting him in every way, ensuring that her captor never saw him nor felt threatened by him so they he wouldn’t kill him or take him away from her. For instance she would hide him in the closet whenever he is around having his way with her. But when he is gone, Joy will bath him, clean him and together they would play and do exercises. Her son Jack helped her to live and when he was five, she began planning how both of them could escape.

She eventually managed to get Jack to play dead and convinced her captor that he was dead and thus on his way to bury him, Jack escaped and alerted passerby who called the police and located his mother and freed her.

The film has won multiple awards, and was voted one of the best films of 2015 not just because it caused great emotion in people who wondered what could account for the great evil found residing in the human heart and what drives people to do unspeakable things such as this, but also because it shows that good eventually win over evil at the end. The birth of Jack in the midst of the pit of captivity and despair was a gift to his mother that helped her hold on to the tread of life which would have easily snapped if he was not there. That is why those who advocate for abortion even in the most egregious circumstances are so very mistaken, for a child is blessing and a source of hope even for the most hopeless.

by Chinwuba Iyizoba





What Beowulf has to say to us?

21 05 2021
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is beowlf.jpg
Beowulf (2007)

Living in age where the nuclear family is under attack and fatherhood is considered irrelevant hold over from the middle ages, the epic poem, Beowulf, written probably in the 6th century by an unknown author may have something to say to us. Director Robert Zemeckis  2007 CG remake of the poem Beowulf is delight to watch.

The movie Beowulf (2007) is in 507 AD when a legendary warrior, Beowulf (Ray Winstone) comes with his band of soldiers to Denmark to the aid Danish King Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins) against the demon Grendel who torments his mead hall and kills and eats his men.  To confront the devil, Beowulf told the beautiful Danish Queen Wealtheow, whom he had fallen in love with, that since he had no weapon that could kill a demon, he would fight the devil naked and let fate decide who will win. Though funny, there is a fine logic behind Beowulf’s idea that reminds me of sayings of St. Josemaria, in his book the Way:

“Detach yourself from people and things until you are stripped of them. For, says Pope Saint Gregory, the devil has nothing of his own in this world, and naked he comes to battle. If you go clothed to fight him, you will soon be pulled to the ground: for he will have something to catch you by (The Way, pt 149).”

 If the devil has nothing and comes to battle naked, then those who wish to do battle with the devil must meet him on equal term by equally being naked, or else they would be putting themselves at great disadvantage the fight. Put in another way, if we are attached to anything, the devil will use that thing to defeat us. It happens all the time, for instance, a drunk attached to the bottle is dragged to the gutters by the devil through the bottle, and similarly a man attached to sex and women is dragged by the devil to his destruction through sex and women.

Thus, Beowulf strips himself of everything and lay naked waiting Grendel, and when Grendel (Crispin Glover) enters the mead hall that night catching and eating men, only Beowulf who was naked escapes his clutches and thus was able to fight him, cutting off his arm thus wounded Grendel ran off howling in anguish back to the swamp from which he came and there he died. The King Hrothgar gave a mighty feast in honor of Beowulf and made him a gift of his golden drinking horn. However, after the celebration, Beowulf wakes the next day to find that all his men have been slaughtered except for his friend Wiglaf who was not with the others.  King Hrothgar conjectures that must be Grendel’s mother who has done it, and called her the last of the water demons and confessing that he taught she was dead.

Thus Beowulf goes to the swamp to kill Grendel’s mother, queen of the devil, but she meets him in the form beautiful naked woman (Angelina Jolie) and enchants him, promising him to make him a king if he would love her and give her a child. She then took the dragon drinking horn from him and told him that as long as she keeps the horn she will never break her promises and Beowulf succumbs. Back home, Beowulf brings back Grendel head tells lies to his people, that he has killed the queen of the devils but the Hrothgar smells a rat and confronting him asks, “You have brought back the head of Grendel, but where is the head of the mother? To which Beowulf could give no answer except to retort, “Do you think she would’ve let me live if I didn’t kill her? And the old king suspecting what must have happened laughs and says to Beowulf, “It does not matter, what matters is that Grendel is dead and the curse of Grendel’s mother is no longer my problem.” It was then that Beowulf understood that he has now inherited the curse of childlessness and bareness with which King Hrothgars was accursed because of his sexual liaison with the queen of the devil.  Hrothgars then calling his people told them that since he has no son, upon his death, Beowulf would be king and with that he takes a leap through the window committing suicide.

Thus Beowulf becomes king and marries Queen Wealtheow but theirs is not a happy marriage and fifty years later, having conquered all the surrounding kingdoms, he is desperately unhappy and childless. However, Queen Wealtheow who is now a Christian sadly watches her husband’s infidelities, as he crawls into bed with different women, but thanks to her Christian faith  she was able to forgive. Then one day, a slave found the golden dragon cup returns it to Beowulf, who realizes that the evil queen was no longer protecting him and worries and prepares to returns to the swamp to try and return the golden cup. His wife, the queen, begs him not to go. Beowulf finally confesses all he has done and asks his wife forgiveness, declaring he has always loved her and she forgives and returns his love and affection. And his final words to her were that she should remember him, not as a warrior but as a man who had failings and weakness. With the love between him and his wife restored, Beowulf takes heart to confront the evil queen but it was too late for the fruit of their unholy liaison has grown into a mighty dragon that has already begun unleashing terror in the land and Beowulf dies from severe loss of blood because he had to cut off his own arm (much the same way that he cut Grendel’s arm) in other to kill the dragon and save his wife whom the dragon was about to slaughter.

There are many lessons to be learned from this film, one of them is the love of family, both on the side of the good guys and on the bad guys. Later in the film when we learn that the demon, Grendel was the son of Hrothgar, King of the Danes, through his unholy liaison with this Grendel’s mother, queen of the devil, we thus understand why Grendel did not harm Hrothgar, when he first attacked the mead hall, this was because even a demon does not kill his own father, Furthermore, when he returns  to the swamp, his mother, the queen of the devil asks him about his  father and Grendel quickly replied telling her, “I did no harm him,” which made her happy. Thus this film is very pro-family and fatherhood is sacred even to a heinous creature like Grendel.

The second lesson is revealed still in the opening scenes of the movie where we see the, Queen Wealtheow a modest and chaste woman who would not participate in the revelry and debauchery going on at the mead hall and thus when devil Grendel struck, it was as if Grendel had no power over her and she was invisible to him. This has been proven time and again, when girls and women guard their virginity through modesty and by not succumbing to the temptation turning their bodies into a canal play ground and toys, then they would not be tormented by the demons of abortions and others. But to do that they need to   shun pride and avoid dialoging with the devil. This was the mistake Eve made in the Garden of Eden according to the book of Genesis, when she willing entered into dialogue with the serpent in the garden, allowing him to fill her with his empty promises.  Beowulf equally made the same mistake when fell into the evil queen’s trap by dialoging with her and hence allowing her to fill him with her empty promises

 It is just as St. Josemaria advices those who wish to make progress in the interior life never to dialogue with the devil. The reason is because the devil is as old as the world and full of lies and empty promises, we cannot hope to match his capacity for deception, and the best thing is never to enter into dialogue and give the devil the opportunity to convince us because would lose we have an enemy within us that is attracted to sin from what spiritual writers call the wound of original sin. Thus we have a fallen nature and thus find it difficult to do good and easy to do evil, so the best defense against the devil who can easily seduce is never to dialogue. In conclusion, I would say that the movie Beowulf (2007) apart from a few incidents of bad language and adult scenes is very instructive and has a lot to teach us.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba





The devil wears Prada (A review)

7 04 2021
Andrea and her live in boyfriend

I just saw the movie, “The devil wears Prada (2006),” and thinking to myself that it is unusual for Hollywood films to have a name referring to supernatural things like the devil, so naturally, I was curious and watched it. It is the story of a Andrea (Anne Hathaway), a collage graduate who gets a job in a high fashion industry and in other to impress her overbearing boss (Meryl Streep) and keep her job, she metamorphose from a simple girl who loves wearing flat shoes to a high heeled catwalk model much to the chagrin of her boyfriend and ends up wrecking their marriage? No their living together.

Yes, you heard me right, Andrea and her boyfriend aren’t husband and wife. They are just living together, enjoying all the entitlement of married life without actually being married. Her boyfriend wants her to be there for him, to work less, and come home on time for “family” time, yet they aren’t actually a family. The film ends in a high note when Andrea quits her job, walking out on her overbearing boss because she realizes that she really doesn’t want to be like her boss who has had series of divorces and was just beginning another one with her latest husband. So she quits her hugely successful career, but for what? So that she could be a perfect girlfriend to her neglected boyfriend?

 I think there is something wrong with Hollywood wanting us to believe that live in relationships are equivalent to marriage when they aren’t and until Andrea and her boyfriend decides to get married they are basically living a lie since the marital bond is what create the family, any other thing is just a shame, and they may wake up one day and walk out and that is the end of it. Even a temporal thing like getting a job needs some form of formal agreement, a contract and employment letter and terms of agreements that enable both parties understand the relationship between themselves and the different obligations that each owes to the other. Similarly, a football player is received into a new team and signs a new contract in which the terms of understanding between the club and the players are clearly spelt out. Thus, a relationship between Andrea and her boyfriend, though they pretend to be husband and wife yet because they  have no formal  marriage contract can at best be likened to a player playing  all the major games but without a signed contracts or a employee that works hard daily in a nice company but has no employment contract. In both case the situation is indefensible. This is but a weak analogy because marriage is much more than a contract; it is actually a covenant in which two persons exchange vows of giving themselves whole an entire to the other. As Professor Scott Hahn puts it, “In a contract, there is an exchange of goods, in marriage; there is the exchange of persons.” The sacrament or vow of marriage is what makes a family, any other thing would be a pretence and untruthful.

Still in the same line, the movie portrays Andrea as having a flippant attitude about sex; she treats it as a casual pastime. As such when she was on the trip to Paris, and she meets a friend who had helped in the past, and has been desiring her since, so they go out and have some drinks and the next thing they are kissing and Voila! She ends up in bed with him. But the next morning, it was as if nothing happened, she casually picks up her things and walks out. I beg to disagree. There is nothing casual about sex. It is actually very serious and should be treated like so. How so? Well for one, sex leads not just to emotional bonding but also physical bonding such that if one is afflicted with a disease let’s say for example HIV/AIDs or any of the deadly sexually transmitted diseases, the other might just catch it, so don’t let Hollywood fool you. Similarly, during sex, there is a whole exchange of bodily fluids that are sometimes unpleasant.  But even more important regardless of the deception and denial of the modern age, sex is a source of human life and really meant for people who are married

To sum, the whole point the movie is straining to make is that one must get ones priorities right, placing family over fortunes but the problem is that the movie misses the more fundamental point that there is no family without marriage and that a job contract is far more secure relationship than a live-in-boyfriend and sometimes last longer. Hollywood has to help bring back the right concept of family and stop promoting harmful practices.

by Chinwuba Iyizoba





Wisdom from a third grade dropout: Story of Rick Rigsby

21 01 2021

A few days after, a Journalist, Rick Rigsby, delivered this speech, it received more than 130 million views on YouTube, and it is called the most motivational speeches ever given. In his speech, he said that one of the wisest person he ever met in his life was a third grade dropout, who taught him to combine knowledge with wisdom to make an impact–his father.

A simple cook who left school to help out in the family, his father believed he left school not education, and never let his lack of education get in the way of his achievements. He taught himself how to read and write and decided to be a man: not a black man or white man, but a man. His father challenged him and his brothers to be the best they could saying, “Boys, I have no problem if you aim high and miss. But I have a problem if you aim low and hit.” Again he would say, ” Son, you better be an hour early, than a minute late.”  

Citing Aristotle, his father used to tell them, “Son, you are what you repeatedly do. Therefore excellence has to be a habit and not an act.”

One of kind with a mind chockfull of life changing wisdom, little wonder Rick has three degree and a PhD and his brother is a Judge all because  their third grade dropout Dad. The video below of the talk by Rick Rigby is worth 10 minutes of your time.





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

6 09 2020
The Washington family

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





Mother deer offers her life to crocodile to save her baby

1 08 2019

All the forces on this planet will never beat that of a mother’s love. The video of a mother deer that ran in to save her young from the jaws of a crocodile, offering herself to the crocodile in place has proved the saying true. Seeing her little child struggling to get out of reach of a giant crocodile racing to make a snack of him, mother deer jumped into the lake and placed herself between her baby and the crocodile. Steel jaws soon clamped and dragged her under water in a pool of blood, a proof of true motherhood.

Equally amazing is the video of a Lapwing bird braving farming machinery to protect her egg, not budging at all to the huge steel contraption overhead, but instead raised its wings to protect her eggs, another powerful example of the virtue of sacrificial love of true mothers.

If lower creatures are capable of such noble deeds, then higher creatures like human should be capable of nobler deeds. Unfortunately this is not the case. In many parts of the world human mothers shed the blood of their children to save themselves.

In 1973, the US Supreme Court decided that mothers could abort their unborn children at all trimesters of pregnancy for any reason whatsoever. This grievous decision called Roe vs. Wade has put human mothers beneath the deer and the lapwing bird, and has led to countless deaths since then. Every year, according to WHO, an estimated 40-50 million are killed via abortions. This corresponds to approximately 125,000 children killed per day by their own mothers.

Studies claim that many of these mothers choose abortion because having a baby would dramatically interfere with their education, work or ability to care for their dependents or when they have no other choice, given their limited resources and existing responsibilities to others. Well, mother deer had good reasons too to abandon her baby. She knew that saving that baby would cost her life, but she did it anyway.

In the same way, the lapwing bird must have felt that she had no other choice than to flee the metal tractor, yet she braced herself for impact, ready to die rather than abandon her eggs, her unborn chicks. And to think of it, not all her eggs are wanted, or planned. Male lapwing often mount without asking permission, yet once the deed is done, she is ready to die and as mother birds she loves each more than her life.

Shamefully, in these same countries where mothers are encouraged to kill their children, dying for country and for others is revered—yet their muddled minds fail to grasp that abortions are the opposite of the virtues they revere –a cowardly, deliberate assault on innocent human lives

The mainstream media and social media perhaps are responsible for the sad muddling of minds. Puppets in the hands of the cliques who own them, they are bent on propagating whatever they want while using the sledge hammer threat of “smear campaign” to knock every one into servile obedience.

Thankfully the deer and the lapwing are not rational animals. They are thus impervious to unrelenting propaganda of the dark and sinister, screeching for wholesale abandonment of the very laws of concord that makes rationality rational.

A creature cannot be greater than its creator

How come such noble instincts inhere in such wild beasts? Who put it there?
Christians believe that God created all creatures, and thus they bear a certain resemblance to God, most especially man, created in the image and likeness of God. The manifold perfections of creatures – their truth, their goodness, their beauty all reflect the infinite perfection of God. Consequently we can name God by taking his creatures” perfections as our starting point, “for from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator (CCC41)

Who else would put sacrificial love in animals if not Sacrificial love itself? Like an artist’s great mind is reflected on his canvas so the goodness in creatures is a reflection of the mind of God. And, just like mother deer gave her life to save her child, Christians believe that God, in the person of Jesus Christ, gave His life to save sinners.

Yet, those who advocate that human mothers behave less nobly than beasts are sadly mistaken, because a mother’s love is powerful precisely because she is ready to give up her life in defense of her child. This is true for mother deer, but equally true of human mothers.

Chinwuba Iyizoba





Irate Wife Smashes Laptop on Husband’s head for looking at other women: Controlling Anger issues

26 07 2019
Tiffany McLemore and her Hubby in happier times

Some people explode with anger because they discover they can control others by doing this. “If you don’t do what I want, I will make you very uncomfortable by blowing up. You might control someone today with your anger, but tomorrow that person might no longer put up with your behavior or might not even be around to control. This is the behavior of a furious wife, 30, who smashed a laptop over her husband’s head ‘because he looked at another woman on an American Airlines flight’

According to dailymail.uk, Tiffany McLemore, 30, launched the merciless attack after accusing her husband of ‘looking at another woman’ on a plane preparing to depart from Miami to Los Angeles on Sunday. Flight attendants asked the husband to move to another seat away from her. As he walked down the aisle she chased him and slammed a laptop over his head

The crew threatened to have McLemore arrested so she stormed off the plane. Police were unable to locate her in the airport and her whereabouts are unknown

The husband said he did not want to press charges and took a later flight home. The couple, who live in Los Angeles, appear to have two children together

In footage filmed by fellow passengers that went viral on social media

Controlling anger issues

The truth is that someone else may well have done something wrong, and our feeling of anger may well be his fault. But our blowing our stack is not his fault. It’s our own fault. We are not like animals, which, when provoked, have no choice but to react violently. When we feel angry, we have a choice to act either rationally or irrationally.

Forgiveness expert Dr. Fred Luskin says that anger and unforgiveness quite often stem from the breaking of our “unforceable rules” For example, my mother should have loved me, or my husband must be faithful, or my friend should never lie to me. If you make a rule like that and it is broken, you may go wild with anger. Now all of these “rules” are good and desirable, but you cannot ensure that they will play out in life. You may try to manipulate others into keeping these rules, but ultimately, you are setting yourself up for failure. People are free to choose their actions, and sometimes they choose wrongly. So, you need to change your rules into desires. I hope my husband will be faithful and my friend will not lie to me. It would have been nice if my mother had loved me, but although she didn’t live up to my desires, I will survive. And I won’t ruin my peace because she didn’t come through as I would have liked

Anger (the sin) and unforgiveness are related to pride. In essence, it is saying, “How dare you make me feel bad!” or “How dare life give me this trouble!” Pride is considered the root or beginning of all sin. I often encourage people with an anger problem to pray daily for humility.

One of the Spiritual Works of Mercy: to endure injustices patiently. That is a key element in living a spiritual life that many Christians forget. Sure, we try to get justice, but anyone

Any who has lived a while in this world knows that you can’t always get it. Sometimes we just have to live with an injustice, and if we bear it patiently, we gain a great deal of grace. A cousin of this spiritual work of mercy is to forgive all injuries. If we can make habits of this and of bearing injustices patiently, we will be well on our way to real holiness.

The most basic way to know that we have forgiven others is to pray for them, for their good and especially for their salvation. St. Elizabeth of Hungary once prayed to God to give great graces to those who had injured her the most. After this prayer Jesus said to her, “My dear daughter, never in your life did you make a prayer more pleasing to me than the one you have just said for your enemies; on account of this prayer I forgive not only all your sins but even all temporal punishments due to them.”

Heal Painful Memories

Sometimes people get stuck when they try to get over their anger or to forgive. They can’t seem to erase the terrible memory. A key way to deal with this is called healing of memories.

Dennis and Matthew Linn have studied the whole process of healing memories, and they suggest that there are five stages in healing a memory, similar to the five stages of facing death outlined by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross:

1. Denial: The person refuses to admit he was hurt.

2. Anger: The person blames others for hurting him.

3. Bargaining: The person puts conditions on his willingness to forgive.

In other words, he decides what it would take for him to forgive. Although these conditions are usually unlikely to be met, the offended person at least allows that forgiveness might be possible.

 4. Depression: The person is down on himself for allowing this hurt to paralyze him.

5. Acceptance: The person seeks to grow from this hurt.

Calm Marital Anger

Having worked with a good number of married couples, I have discovered that anger is a strong force for dividing husband and wife. Each spouse needs to know how to keep calm and to help the other keep calm as well.

A Wife’s Healthy Anger

Is there a way for a woman to get angry at her husband without harshness, without setting her heart against him? Is there a way of getting angry that will charm him and win him over rather than depress him? Absolutely. It’s called “childlike anger” in Helen Andelin’s best-seller, Fascinating Womanhood. I would call it playful anger.

click here for free download of Fascinating Womanhood by Helen Andelin

Here’s how it works: she gets “adorably angry,” as does a young child. She threatens never to speak to him again, and as she walks away, she looks back to see if he is taking her seriously. This childlike exaggeration makes the man want to laugh. It makes him feel stronger, sensible, like a real man. This sauciness of a child, says Andelin, is most attractive to a man and is far better than the meanness of a bitter woman (or resentful silence).

Here are some of the rules Andelin gives: Eliminate all bitterness, resentment, sarcasm, hate, and ugliness.  Use only adjectives that will uphold his masculinity, such as big, tough, lug, brute, hard-headed, stiff-necked, or hairy beast. Never use imp, nerd, wimp, little, creep, or jerk. . Exaggerate. For example, “What’s a big brute like you doing picking on a poor, defenseless woman like me?” Or make an exaggerated threat such as “I’ll never speak to you again!”

One woman Andelin describes had had a miserable marriage for eight years. She started being more positive and loving as taught in Fascinating Womanhood, and things improved.

One day her husband was telling a young marriage-minded bachelor he should think twice before marrying. “Look at all the headaches a wife can bring.”

He kept going on and on, knowing that his wife was very much within earshot.

Finally the wife had had enough. She decided to try playful anger.

She turned to her husband, stomped her foot, and said, “You big hairy beast! I’m never going to like you again, ever!”

 As she left the room, she looked back with a faint smile. Her husband was grinning from ear to ear as he said to the young man, “Did you hear what she called me?” When she got to her bedroom, she wondered, “Great, but what now?”

He had never once apologized in eight years. But just minutes later he came in and said, “I’m sorry, and I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. Will you forgive me?” She wrote “I’d have forgiven him anything at that moment.”

Two months later he gave her a birthday card — his first ever. It had a cute little hairy beast on the front, and on the inside he had written, “Happy Birthday! Lovingly, Your Hairy Beast.”

 Another woman read Adeline’s book and had been planning to put this playful anger into effect. She would practice in front of a mirror, trying to keep a straight face. Finally, the big moment arrived. Her husband came down to breakfast one

He began to smile and they both had a good laugh. They avoided a nasty day.

Calming an Angry Wife

 Now, when a husband has an angry wife, whether she expresses childlike anger or explosive anger, what can he do? One thing he shouldn’t do is lose his own cool. If she expresses childlike anger, he can smile back at her, but he should be sure to tell her, “I’m sorry I made you angry. Will you forgive me?” as the man in the earlier example did. Simple enough.

If she expresses explosive anger, he should listen carefully until she is finished. Then, once he knows why she is angry, he can offer to discuss the matter.

 He could say, “Tell me what I did wrong, and I will try to improve.”

That’s often a winner. When a woman is upset, angry or not, she often wants to talk about it. He needs to listen.

Calming an Angry Husband.

 St. Monica had a husband with a wild temper. When he got angry, she would say nothing. She would go about her business saying very little and wait until he had calmed down to speak to him. She had plenty to complain about too, since her husband was a womanizer, as were most of the husbands in Tagaste (Northern Africa) at the time. Many of her friends suffered bruises from their husbands, but Monica didn’t, because she knew when to be quiet and when to speak. Best of all, she was able to facilitate the conversion of her pagan husband and his difficult mother. Was she a doormat? No way. She knew what was important to her — her relationship with God — and she was not going to allow anything to interfere with that, even her exasperating husband. It seems that silence or speaking very little — not defending oneself and not losing one’s temper — is the best way to calm an angry husband. It is hard to have a rational conversation with a man who is in a rage. “Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God” (James 1:19–20). This is not the silent treatment. It is waiting out the storm, not punishing. Once a husband gets a lot of his anger out, his wife might say, “As I read you, you’re upset because of [whatever it is], right?”

And then she can try to have a rational discussion. She can ask him if he would be willing to tell her more and tell him that she really wants to understand. And, if he tells her more, she can offer him some help in the matter. It’s all about putting aside her anger at the way he’s behaving and getting to the sore point and healing it. St. Paul of the Cross wrote, “When you feel the assaults of passion and anger, then is the time to be silent, as Jesus was silent in the midst of His ignominies and sufferings.” Maintaining silence when one is angry is a good idea for both husbands and wives, but especially for wives.

Article is culled from Rev. T. G. Morrow’s book (Overcoming Sinful Anger How to Master Your Emotions and Bring Peace to Your Life)





Inspiring Story of “Iron Lady” Muniba Mazari

19 07 2019
Muniba Masari

Sometimes even to live is an act of courage. 20 yro Muniba Masari’s life was shattered by a car accident when her husband who was driving fell asleep and the car fell into the ditch. Though he managed to jump out and save himself, she sustained lots of injuries:  fractured wrist, collar bone and rib cage; because of the rib cage injury, her lungs and liver where badly injured. She couldn’t breath, she had lost urine and bowel control. To add to that, her backbone where completely crushed. She was paralyzed for the rest of her life.

Two and half months in hospital and multiple surgeries later, the doctor said she will never walk or have a child again.

She was devastated and asked her mother, “Why me. Why am I even alive?”

Her mother said to her, “This too shall pass. God has a plan for you; I don’t know what it is.”

Those magical words set Muniba’s heart afire. She had always wanted to be an artist, and though the doctors said she could no longer use her hands, she asked her brothers to bring her canvas, and when they brought them, she did her first painting inside the hospital and that began her process of recovery.

When she was discharged, her doctors told her to lie down straight on her bed for 2 yrs.

“That was when”, she said, “I realized how lucky people were who could walk around, go outside, and they don’t even know it” She decided she was going to help others to know how lucky they were.

Her first step was to liberate herself from her fears. So she took a paper and jotted down all her fears.

Her biggest fear was losing her husband, divorce. She was 18yro when she got married to the man her father chose. It was never a happy marriage. Her husband had survived the accident unscathed and scorned her because of her condition and was having an affair with another woman.

 “I was clinging on to this person who didn’t want me, Muniba said, and from that day, I decided to liberate him, to set him free.”

But in so doing, she set herself free also, from worries.

Perhaps, this was what St. Josemaria meant when he wrote “Is it not true that as soon as you cease to be afraid of the Cross, of what people call the cross, when you set your will to accept the Will of God, then you find happiness, and all your worries, all your sufferings, physical or moral, pass away?”

 “In fact”, Muniba continued, “I was so free that on the day that I heard that he was getting married again, I sent him a text saying congratulations, I am happy for you, and he knows that I pray for him today.”

Unawares, she had followed the teaching of Jesus who said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. – Mt 5:43-48 

Again, her fear of never having a child of her own evaporated when she realized that there were thousands of children in Pakistan who had no one to love them. So she decided to help them, by adopting one as her own, and a cool stream of happiness flowed back into her bruised heart. Today Muniba has a healthy young son whom she loves and who loves her, more, she goes around giving talks and helping people see the good side of life, and appreciate what they have.

Every great athlete will tell you that they are at their best when they are not self focused or self conscious, but rather when they are totally focused on the outside, on the game, likewise, people who have suffered some disaster are best able to overcome when they resist the urge to bitter self pity, focus on helping others.

Muniba’s pain and suffering opened her eyes and made her more understanding with the sufferings of others and thus made her a better person.

“There are incidents that happen, that deform you, yet they mold you into the best version of you,” Muniba said, thus affirming the truth that behind the dark clouds of pain lies the silver lining of realizing a better, more beautiful version ourselves, like gold purified by fire, like rough diamond made valuable by knocks and chisels blows.

Understanding God

“God has a purpose you,” her mother had said to her and those magic words had set her heart into a search mode, looking outside of self. It awoken her curiosity to discover what she can do to help others, for to suffer need is something that can happen to anybody, but knowing how to endure it belongs to great souls, to souls who have loved much.

It is understandable that most people avoid suffering like a bat avoids fire, but if the suffering has come to stay, then rejection would be futile and harmful because the hand of the clock no matter how we wish cannot be turned back.

The wise thing is acceptance. And making the best of the bad situation

This is why the Christian message is so powerful and is called the good news.  God emptied himself, became man, and humbled himself to die on the Cross, so that people like Muniba will know that God loves them since he himself choose to suffer similar affliction, but not just her, but indeed all men and women of all times

Prior to Jesus message, suffering was insufferable, and those who suffered had no hope. Then worldly power and wealth was everything and a man’s worth was largely measured by what he had.

Christ turned all that upside down. He, being rich, became become poor, born in a Manger, the dwelling place of animals, lived poor and preach that the poor are blessed, and that all the things that men cringe and fly from are the true treasures, hunger, thirst for Righteous, meekness. Further, He not only preached, His death and resurrection sealed His teachings as authentic and indeed divine.

Though Muniba isn’t a Christian, she has grasped the tenants Christianity, and just like in the Passion, the Cross ceased to be a symbol of punishment and became instead a sign of victory, so Muniba’s wheel cheer and urine bag is a sign hope and victory for all. At 42, she has won so many international award as an artist, motivational speaker, activist, TV Host, and Pakistan’s First Goodwill Ambassador to UNWomen Pakistan.

“I always go around with a big smile on my face,” Muniba says, an iron woman whose example is urging everyone to make up their minds to follow the way of self-surrender even when the Cross is on their shoulders, she urges us to have a smile on our lips, so that light can enter our souls.

by Chinwuba Iyizoba





The Millionaire Who Loves Street Children

27 05 2019

by Chinwuba Iyizoba

Mully family

His father was an alcoholic and often beat his mother. At 6, he knew the pains of hunger, cruelty and indifference and at 17, he ran away from home, walking all the way to Nairobi. There, a kind lady offered him a job. He later worked for a construction company and started his own transport business, with one taxi, which grew to a fleet, then a bus company, a transport company and finally, an insurance company, and by age 40, Charles Mully was a millionaire.

He began living in luxury, enjoying the company of the rich and powerful and forgot his past.

“I associated with big people, rich people,” he said. His home life was also a happy, he and wife; Esther lived with their eight children in a beautiful, large home on a big spread of land near the Kenyan town of Eldoret.

Wake up call

One day, while parking his car, a group of street children approached and asked him for money. Suspecting that they probably would use the money for drugs, he ignored them. When he returned, his car was gone.

Shocked and dismayed, not for his lost car, but because for the first time, he remembered himself as a little abandoned boy fending for himself, with no one to help.

He saw himself in those street children. He realized that they must despise him as strongly as he had despised the rich and powerful who wouldn’t lift a finger to help him. Now he was rich and powerful, and he wasn’t lifting a finger to help.

The excuses the rich gave for not helping him were the same excuses he was not giving for not helping. He was no different. His was selfish, a coward and a lover of comfort. He wept for hours, wrestling with a hard decision that was pressing urgently upon him.

“I saw myself in their eyes,” he said of those desperate children. For the next three years, I saw the children everywhere.”

Finally, he decided. He would sell his businesses and take into his own home the children from the slums.

When he told his family of his decision, they were horrified. They had a comfortable life and didn’t want to be inconvenienced.

His wife was heartbroken by his decision. “People told my wife to take me to the hospital,” he said with a chuckle. “They thought I had lost my mind.”

Yet, she supported his plan to sell off his business and take in street children.  His biological children were alarmed when their father started bringing home children from the streets, their alarm turned to anger when they realized they had to share their rooms.

“Daddy will come home later from walking the streets, smells of streets children filling the house, and some skin disease,” his daughter said.

Soon, their large home had nearly 100 orphans from various tribes, sleeping in every corner of a house. The house was soon too small to carry on and they rented a much bigger house. After taking in hundreds of children the Mully’s needed even bigger house, and so they moved to a dry and deserted land with nothing on it, not even water.

The going was rough at first until, through a miracle, they discovered water, which transformed the land into a fertile land so that they could cultivate their own food and as time went on, they had a sizable farm from which food came to feed the growing number of children.

With God’s grace and hard work, they have transformed this dry patch land into a home where abandoned children can find a true home. Charles called it the Mully Children’s Family (MCF), and he is so happy to give these children, who call him and wife, dad and mom, a true home and loving family.

Today, the MCF has taken more than 23000 abandoned children off the streets and given them education and a future.

In Africa rife with startling inequalities, where a few have so much when millions have nothing, Charles Mully has shown that sharing with the poor is a way to make personal wealth more effective. Just as he built a great business starting with one taxi, he has built a great family starting with one child at a time, a family of every race and color. His efforts have spawned MCF vocational schools and colleges right within the community.  While the boys learn technical skills, like carpentry, electronics and mechanic, the girls are equipped with catering, fashion and dress making. The brighter children go on to college and higher education and many have become medical doctors, engineers and lawyers.

He could have used his hard earned money to build fantastic houses. He could have deposited his money in the bank, earning generous interests. Rather, he chose to lead the way by his example so that others can follow his footsteps helping and stop attributing their misfortune to laziness.

Though Mully isn’t Catholic, he would understand well the teaching of the Church on the universal destination of good, that every person should regard the external things that they legitimately possesses not only as their own destined to benefit not only themselves and their family but also all others.

Feed the people dying of hunger, because if you do not feed them you are killing them,” above all by giving them aid which will enable them to help and develop themselves. (Gaudium et Spes 68)

It is true that not everyone can be as courageous and generous as Charles Mully, but like Mother Theresa of Calcutta said, if you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed one.

Chinwuba Iyizoba





Even Cardi B’s Dirty Past Can be Forgiven

30 03 2019

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

carddi

Cardi B

This year’s Grammy best rap winner, singer and songwriter,  Cardi B may soon be in deep waters. A video in which she claimed that she used to drug and rob men to survive, has surfaced.

Many are clamoring for her to be held accountable, especially in the wake of the women take down of many men by the famous #MeToo movement

Accused of sexual assault that happened years ago, super celebrity like Bill Cosby is doing time and R.Kelly’s fate hangs on the edge. Why should we forgive Cardi B?

“Is there any chance at all that a man could admit to drugging and robbing women and still keep his career?”  Some ask.

While critics are calling for her head, as the only fair way to deal with the revelation, her fans argue that she committed the crime out of desperation, unlike other celebrities who allegedly committed their crimes at the height of fame and fortune abusing their privileges

She admits she isn’t proud of that ‘dirty past’ and no longer tows that path.

And a dirty past it is. She became a gang member at 16 and a stripper at 19 when she was fired from the supermarket where she was working, and yet she is Catholic and claims a “strong relationship” with God in interviews, often saying that she directly communicates with God.

But as the saying goes, “Behind very dark clouds, there is sometimes a silver lining”, in age where celebrities daily celebrate their disdain for marriage and having babies, Cardi B surprised everyone by doing both.

She secretly married her friend and confidant, Offset, in their bedroom in September 2017 and when the rumors broke, she confirmed it on social media.

They have a daughter and have been together for 3 yrs a now are rare feat in music industry today. Her husband even accompanied her to the stage to receive her Grammy.

cardi and baby

Cardi B with her Husband, Offset and their daughter

“All I can do now is be a better me for myself my family and my future,” the mother of one said on Instagram.

While it is true that it is never right to do evil so that good may come and her rise to the top will never justify her criminal actions and that she may probably go to jail for soon, yet, her dirty past can be forgiven, wiped clean by God, through the sacrament of confession if she is truly contrite and has sincerely repented of her past life.

Confession is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, in which the faithful obtain absolution for the sins committed against God and neighbour and are reconciled with the community of the Church. By this sacrament Catholics believe they are freed from sins committed after baptism. The sacrament of Penance is considered the normal way to be absolved from mortal sin, by which one would otherwise possibly condemn oneself to Hell ( click here for a complete guide to confession)

 

No matter how black our sins are God always forgives

“I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; I desire that the wicked turn back from his way and live.” Says Holy Scriptures, and as Pope Francis said, “There are people who are afraid to go to confession, forgetting that they will not encounter a severe judge there, but the immensely merciful Father.”

In human tribunal we can only expect justice, in Divine tribunal we only expect mercy

“In itself, mercy is the greatest of the virtues, since all the others revolve around it and, more than this, it makes up for their deficiencies…..it is proper to God to have mercy, through which his omnipotence is manifested to the greatest degree”. (Apostolic exhortation, Gauduim et spes)

The problem is that there is a great loss of sense of sin today, a loss which originated in Hollywood in the 60’s and have spread everywhere via movies and many today do not feel they need forgiveness.

Yet sin multiplies daily in the world and we all need forgiveness

Catholics distinguish between two types of sin. Mortal sins are a “grave violation of God’s law” that “turns man away from God”. Acts like murder and robbery are good examples, but still are specks in a wide spectrum of sin men are capable of.

Someone who is aware of having committed mortal sins must repent of having done so and then confess them in order to benefit from the sacrament. Venial sins, the kind that “does not set us in direct opposition to the will and friendship of God”, can be remitted by contrition and reception of other sacraments but they too, “constituting a moral disorder and are rightly and usefully declared in confession”.

Yet, for my money, there is more to contrition and confession than just the act. When you rob someone of his money, you need to give it back. The Catholic Church teaches that the penitents practice restitution, returning of stolen goods and prayerful reparations to those whom our sins have wounded.

Cardi B needs to examine her conscience and ask God for a soul sensitive to sin because without interior repentance, confession is useless. She needs to make attempts to repair her past misdeeds.

One area she could work on is her music dance videos. While some are brilliant, most cuts too close to sexual immorality and sexually suggestive moves could lead her millions of teeming fans to temptation and sin from which she cannot be exonerated.

Again, her use of four letter words, wide currency in modern music, is scandalously out of control, and contributes to the corruption of her young fans. “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea,” says sacred scripture.

Unfortunately, her spiking fame and fortune will make her battle to come clean tougher, for it’s harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, than for a camel to pass through the eyes of the needle. Yet all things are possible with God.

 

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

 

 





The Girl Who Looked Death in the Eye and Smiled

8 03 2019

#InternationalWomensDay

by Chinwuba Iyizoba

People the world over flee illness and suffering and despise death as an evil that must be avoided at all cost. They feel themselves most unfortunate, even unlucky if ever one or the other should overcome them. Yet, there was a young girl who did not despise and fly from suffering and pain, but even looked death in the eye with a smile, accepting and embracing it as a gentle caress full of affection from a God who loved her so much.

Who was this girl and how did she come to have such uncommon attitude in the face of pain, suffering, even death. What gave her mind to understand that acceptance rather than hatred and rejection are the most effective antibiotics against infecting the soul with bitterness. What were the outcome of these her radical ideas?

Her name was Maria Montse Grases, a young Spaniard who lived in Barcelona. She was only 17 in 1957 when she was diagnosed with a rare and painful bone cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma. In the 50’s   Ewing’s sarcoma was a death sentence.


Maria Montse Grases

 Montse loved life and had an infectious smile straight from the heart. Her eyes shown like diamonds, tall and strong, it seems there was almost always a perpetual smile on her face, a smile that came straight from the heart. Her eyes were kind, friendly and filled with playful mischief.  She was neat and tidy and her clothes reflected style and taste. She especially liked a green plaid skirt that reached her ankles

  She liked sport and music as well as traditional local dances. She was a good athlete, playing basketball, tennis, and ping-pong. But her favorite recreation was outings with friends.

In many sense she was like any other girl; yet, she was unlike many other girls because she radiated an inner charm and her virtues and character made her attractive to all who met her. 

She almost never worried about herself but busied herself taking care of others, she showered love and attention on the needy and suffering; and took her friends to visit poor families and sick people, and she regularly gave religions classes to the local children in parishes, and would sometimes bring them toys and sweets.

 She took great care of her spiritual life of prayers because she loved God with a personal love that was both intimate and filled with reverence.  To her, God was a friend with whom she could share everything, the deepest secrets of her soul, she laid bare to him daily in prayer and anything that worried her.

Like every young woman, she had her personal shortcomings.  Impulsive and brusque at times, she however never compromised with her personal defects, wrestling resolutely against them and struggling to control her occasional ill temper, and be friendly and jovial with everyone.

This greatness of heart shone like a brilliant star when she demonstrated a rare capacity to dedicate herself to something greater than herself. 

When she was 11, her parents came in contact with Opus Dei an institution in the Catholic Church that shows ordinary people how to be holy in the ordinary circumstances of each day. They readily understood the message of Opus Dei and within two years both had joined Opus Dei.

Montse’s parents thought her how to deal with Jesus with confidence, they strove to make her stable companion of Jesus sparing no effort to make it happen.  It was her mother who first suggested she visited a center of Opus Dei, where Christian and human formation is give to young girls. In attending the means of formation given in the center of Opus Dei, she perceived one day God was calling her to serve him as a celibate member of Opus Dei. She was sixteen

After meditating, praying, and seeking advice, she asked to be admitted to Opus Dei. From then on she struggled decisively and with constancy to seek holiness in her daily life. She struggled to be in constant conversation with God, to discover the will of God in the fulfillment of her duties and in caring for little details out of love, and to make life pleasant for those around her. She was able to transmit to many of her relatives and friends the peace that comes from living close to God.

Her brother George soon took notice that Montse had changed. Though externally, she was the same, same dress, she still attended classes on cooking and arts, but her brothers noticed that she was no longer arguing with him, and was more affectionate and tactful. She seemed to have suddenly grown up.

What made her so readily generous with God?  Some people attribute it to her parent’s generosity with God in having a large family. Montse was the second of nine children.

“Me and my wife agreed in everything, ready to start a Christian family, accepting all children God wanted to send.” Her father said.

Ewing’s sarcoma

One day on June 1958, Montse went skiing with friends and injured her leg. The pain was excruciating and won’t go away; her parents took her to a clinic. After lengthy investigations, the doctor took her parent aside, and told them she had a rare kind of bone cancer, causing the great pain she had been experiencing. But worse, it was incurable. She was going to die.

Devastated, her parents wept inconsolably, unable to speak or break the news to her.

Finally, they told her.

“Would it help if they cut the bad leg?” she asked.

“I am afraid my daughter, that will not help.” her sad father said.

To her parents surprise she brightened up and began singing a Mexican song and that night, as her mother recalled slept soundly.

Little by little, her illness got worse though, and she spent many a sleepless night squirming in pain; the treatment made her suffer a lot. Her pain increased to the point of being almost unbearable. From February 16th on, her leg was so swollen up to the hip that her skin began to crack.

Treating the leg was terribly painful. But instead of complaining, she hummed a song. She always had an affectionate word for those who treated her leg, even though they couldn’t help hurting her.

She couldn’t eat. To take anything was a real torture. Since she couldn’t swallow anything, she sucked on a piece of ice for refreshment. She usually commented that she was a coward because she was afraid the suffering would come.  

Jesus was afraid to die?

At first, she naturally was afraid to die. One day she said to a friend: “I’m afraid of dying, because I’m afraid to be alone.”

Her friend tried to encourage her by mentioning the scene of Jesus in Gethsemane was afraid to die.

“Jesus was afraid to die?” She exclaimed, astonished that she hadn’t thought about that before. Joy flooded into her heart.

“What joy to find myself afraid together with Jesus,” Montse exclaimed ecstatically clasping her hands, her face radiant with peace and joy.

 “Together with Jesus I will face death happily!”

The end drew to a close rapidly however.  At the beginning of March they had to call the doctor quickly because. Montse had such a weak pulse that it was hardly noticeable.

The doctor, when he took her pulse couldn’t hide his concern that was noticed by all. Montse broke the anguished silence by picking up the doctor’s bag from the bed and saying: “Mama, have you seen this strange bag?”

This made everyone smile.

She grew much worse. They thought the moment had arrived to give her the Blessing of the Sick. She also thought it would be good to have it as soon as possible. A priest of Opus Dei administered this sacrament. Montse followed the ritual with great devotion, showing no sadness. Every once in a while she smiled at her mother who knelt at the foot of the bed.

On March 18, eve of the feast of St. Joseph, it seemed that the hour of her death had arrived. Montse was very happy.

“How do I look,” she asked those who were staying with her.

 “All right,” someone answered. Montse wanted them to say, “Worse.” And when asked, “How do you feel?” she answered unenthusiastically, “Me? Fine; just look.” The clock struck eleven, and she asked, “What time is it? Am I still here?”

At twelve she was asked, “Montse, do you want to pray?”

 They said the Angelus. At that moment she was more awake, and she said: “Do you know what I think? I’m not going to worry any more. When God wants, he’ll take me.”

Soon to Heaven

St. Joseph’s day passed, and her general condition improved somewhat. The doctor came to see her and Montse asked later: “What did he say? What’s happening? Aren’t I going?”

“He said you might go at any moment,” they answered.

 “Can you imagine? Soon to Heaven, soon to Heaven! Will you let me go?” she exclaimed happily, hugging the person who had told her the doctor’s comment.

Little by little she weakened. The nights were the worst. A continuous sweat left her exhausted. She became very thirsty and felt suffocated. The night before her death, Montse wanted to say something. But in spite of the effort she made no one could understand her. Early in the morning of that Holy Thursday, March 26, 1959, the directress of the Opus Dei house that she attended was close to her bed, and Montse asked her to say aspirations since she herself couldn’t talk anymore. About ten o’clock she tried to sit up to see the picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary that she had in front of her bed.

She whispered: “How much I love you. When are you coming to take me?” These were her last words. Her life ebbed away little by little.

At noon, those who were with her prayed the Angelus. She must have followed it with her heart. It was her last glance toward the One she loved so much, and to whom she had said so many things during her lifetime. Those who were with her began to say the Rosary in a soft voice, and they had just finished the first mystery when Montse died

Montserrat Graces, an 18 year old girl when she died on March 25, 1959 and was recently declared venerable by Pope Francis. She is a model for all women on women’s day. 








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