Edited by Ononye VC
The Catholic archbishop of Onitsha and metropolitan of the Onitsha ecclesiastical province, the Most Rev. Valerian Maduka Okeke, has identified faith and prayer as two powerful tools needed to succeed in Nigeria.
In an Easter message released at the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, Onitsha, titled “In Faith and Prayers, We Move”, Archbishop Okeke noted that human life on earth, especially for Christians, can be called a journey of faith.
Making reference to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, he defined faith as “man’s response to God, who reveals Himself and gives Himself to man, at the same time bringing man a supernatural light as he searches for the ultimate meaning of his life” (CCC no. 26).
He also recalled the letter to the Hebrews which defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things which for the moment remain unseen” (Heb. 11:1).
Stressing further, Archbishop Okeke noted that in the world today, especially in our country Nigeria where he pointed out that so many things are far from what they are expected to be, one needs faith to move on without stumbling.
“Where there are so many unfulfilled promises, insecurity, lawlessness, joblessness, disregard for due process and many more, one needs faith to draw near to God, believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek him (Heb. 11:6). One needs faith to move on with life without losing hope, without distraction and without losing focus.
“One needs faith to believe and sing with the psalmist, ‘Our God is in Heaven; he does whatever he wills’ (Ps. 115:3).
“We need the faith with which Jesus commanded the wind and there was a great calm on the sea (Mtt. 8:26). The faith which healed the leper who approached Jesus with the request, ‘If you will, I will be clean’ (Mtt. 8:3). The faith that healed the servant of the centurion (Mtt 8:10ff). The faith which healed the blind man Bartimaeus with the words ‘Go, your faith has made you well’ (Mk. 10:52). The faith that healed the woman already sick for 12 years: ‘Have no fear, your faith has saved you’ (Mtt. 9:22). We know that faith is a condition for miracles and faith is nourished by prayer.”
He said that as we walk by faith according to the Apostle Paul (cf. 2 Cor. 5:6), we need to heed the admonition of St James that faith without good work is dead (James 2:17).
“Faith beckons us to do our duties with dedication, with truthfulness and integrity. When we do our duties in faith and follow it up with prayers, God will lift us up beyond human abilities. Jesus Christ assures us that if we have faith, we can move mountains (cf. Mtt. 17:21). Faith shows itself in good works.
“In Nigeria today, we need to walk by faith nourished by prayers and good works. Therefore, I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, let us move in faith and prayers and never lose hope,” he admonished.