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Pray for Catholic priests

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Sir: Two priests were murdered by suspected terrorists yet again in Benue State. This time, right in the church while preaching The Lord’s message to Catholic faithful. No need affirming the obvious; the Catholic Church is the last defender of Christian mores in the world at the moment unlike many religious bodies once conformist, promoting traditional Christian virtues but now arrow-heads for quirkiness in the Lord’s temple. Unlike many others, the Church is not for sale to the maximum bidder and the church is the most persecuted by Christians of other denominations as well as non-Christians.

Every man-jack in our day desires to be considered a very important person; royalty. Catholic priests make people feel like royals within the ambit of sacred reasonableness. After all, people don’t care how much and what you know until you care about them or words to that effect. The salvation of little children, as demonstrated by Jesus is taken seriously. Baptism, a necessary rite for Catholics, is carried out for them when they are put on notice, and their parents do not have to be men of influence before these rites are performed. They go a step further to pray for the repose of the souls of Catholics when they meet their eternal reward.

As Catholics, some of us may have had cause to settle accounts with some Catholic priests. Whenever they said Mass, we were inattentive. But as conservative Catholics, we must attend Holy Mass and the chances of seeing priests saying Mass weekly is as certain as catching cold in Iceland. Thereto go our torment. But for how long. Wouldn’t we be fighting causes with the Lord’s anointed and possibly be heaping curses on selves for heaping coyly scorn on gentlemen running his estate? Maybe we should give them the benefit of the doubt as human beings and: willfully pursue learning to find out if they were under some sort of pressure when they offended us. Any even-handed person must know that Priests sacrifice a lot and have given up many things just to serve the Lord and be with us. These Priests aren’t machines they have blood running through their veins and are subject to the same foibles as we do.

Joining issues with them therefore is counter productive. They need our prayers to run the race not condemnation to fall off course. We seem to be at ease with what we think we know, electing not  to learn anything different.  For instance, how many of us can let off sensual activity, legal and illegal for a week? Priests swore it off for all lifetime. How many of us aren’t bothered about philistinism, such that we don’t care about houses, cars and worldly cares? Priests live on prebend only. They gave up owning houses, and many live in hostel-like apartments equivalent to being sequestered in pens. When you consider other folks elsewhere who are spurred on by the mercantile spirit to fleece people in the name of the Lord, then we need must celebrate our priests.

How many of us stop by to help people in need, buy one meal for them when they ask? The Lord is good and it is well we tell them.  Unlike many other places, you do not have to queue, beg and lobby church officials to talk to a priest. You can tell them that your faith is in crisis. Put that way, they would have to respond, wouldn’t they? You could talk about your mother’s illness. Your helplessness … your financial straits and see what they answer as God’s representative.

Their answers most times are timeless and ageless from pre-Biblical times.  Catholic priests do not certainly deserve/need this pain on top of all their troubles. My heart and prayers go out to the families of the murdered priests, parishioners, the people of Benue, all other priests murdered in the course of their work in Northern Nigeria and to all people killed by known criminals without anyone in the family of these criminals rising up to stop these killings the way some consigliere do in the Italy of old when there was no proper government. Is there a proper government in Nigeria, can government help priest and all citizens?
 
We may as well resort to prayers, please spare a minute to pray for Catholic priest.

Simon Abah, Abuja.


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