Celebrate and Pray with and for US as We have been Called into God’s Service Vol.4 No. 26

I wish to first and foremost thank immensely our Heavenly Father who has called us out of our relatives and friends in order to raise us to the order of deacons. For the past fifteen years that I have been in the seminary, I have never changed my intention to seek for God’s will in my life. This is because I believe in the principle that life has no meaning except in the service of God, either as married or as cleric. And today, God has destined the later for us. For making it a reality, it is therefore nothing but his will. And so, I thank him for answering my prayers, which is not necessarily to become a cleric but for the actualization of his will in my life. I am more grateful because, this is also what my spirit desires.
Dear friends, God’s will notwithstanding, human free will, which could be influenced by our weaknesses could still be deceptive. I therefore beckon on you to pray for and with us as we exercise this gracious ministry in spite of our human limitations. Meanwhile, in order to know the nature of the prayer and support that I request from you, it therefore becomes necessary to consider carefully the ministry to which we have been promoted.
God has given us a new strength from the gift of the Holy Spirit. A strength with which to help our bishop, Most Rev. Godfrey Igwebuike Onah and his body of priests as ministers of the word, of the altar, and of charity. By extension, we are servants to all. As ministers of the Word, to proclaim the Gospel, as ministers of the altar, to prepare the sacrifice, and give the Lord’s body and blood to the community of believers, and as ministers of charity, to put smiles on the faces of all as much as we can.
Moreso, at the Bishop’s discretion, we are to bring God’s word to believer and unbeliever alike, to preside over public prayer, to baptize, to assist at marriages and bless them, to give viaticum to the dying, and to lead the rites of burial. God has consecrated us by the laying on of hands that comes to the Bishop from the apostles and we are bound more closely to the altar of the Lord. We are to perform works of charity in the name of the Bishop. In fact, we are described as the ear, mouth, heart, and soul of the Bishop. Through us, the Bishop is able to serve the whole people of God.
Therefore, as we acclaim the dignity of deacons, it’s also good to extol the spiritual qualities and virtues required for the carrying out of that ministry, namely, fidelity to Christ, moral integrity, and obedience to the Bishop. St. Ignatius of Antioch was not mincing words when he declared that the office of the deacon is none other than the ministry of Jesus Christ, not servers of food and drinks but ministers of the Church of God. And St Polycarp of Smyrna exhorts us to be disciplined in all things, merciful, diligently walking according to the truth of the Lord, who became the servant of all.
Far more importantly, by our own free choice, we shall exercise this ministry in the celibate state. Celibacy is both a sign and a motive of pastoral charity, and a special source of spiritual fruitfulness in the world. By living in this state with total dedication, moved by a sincere love for Christ the Lord, we are consecrated to him in a new and special way. This is to enable us adhere to Christ with undivided heart and be wholeheartedly committed in serving you with love and joy. That we may look upon all unchastity and avarice as worship of false gods, for no man can serve two masters. In spite of our human imperfections, we are confident that God will graciously work on our nature, and bless our good intentions.
Against this backdrop therefore, from the way we shall go about these duties, we request you to pray for us that you, people of God, may recognize us as disciples of Jesus who came to serve, not to be served. Pray that we may do God’s will generously. That we may not be pulled down by the past years when pride ruled our will. And that God’s Spirit may guide us in ways that are level and smooth. Like the men the apostles chose for works of charity, may we be men of good reputation, filled with wisdom and the Holy Spirit. A true minister of Christ and of God’s mysteries, men firmly rooted in faith.
Beloved brothers and sisters, we sincerely need your spiritual and moral support for we are also humans but God’s grace will be sufficient for us to conquer. Spiritual support by your prayers, and moral support by your good will. Do not celebrate or mock our failures, but kindly pray and encourage us never to turn away from the hope which the gospel offers. And to hold the mystery of faith with a clear conscience. Beckon on God to grant us the grace to express in action what we proclaim by word of mouth. And that we may never at any point in time, abandon him who has called us, for whenever God is near, temptations will loose their power. Let us therefore feel his presence in all we do and say.
Furthermore, pray that God may encourage us to live above sorrow, depression and despair, guide us with his glory and escort our actions with his mercy and integrity so that our loving service may further his loving purpose of redemption. We need your prayers for God to strengthen in our hearts, the faith he has given us, so that no trial may quench the fire his spirit has kindled within us. May you ask God to sow life in the waste of our being and form us as sons in the Son. Pray God to turn our eyes from ill sights and close our ears from vanities. May he keep our inmost conscience pure, secure our souls from folly, bid us to check the pride of sense with due and holy abstinence, and may no sordid desires darken our minds.
One thing providentially significant that offers me confidence in this awesome journey is the assurance of Jn 15:16, Christ confides in us that we did not choose him, rather he chose us and sent us to bear much fruit, fruit that will last. And that anything that we ask of the father in his name, he will grant us. Similarly, St. Paul also empowered us in ICor 1:9 that the faithful God will not fail us after calling us to this fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ. Having exclaimed with his Son, “Father into thy hands I commend my spirit as in Lk.23:46, Psalm 125:1 summed it all, that those who put their trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion that is unshakable and stands forever!
Above all dear friends, I stand tall to express the concern that as official men of prayer in the Church, we shall not sit on our laurels in praying fervently for God’s choicest blessings upon you. I also wish to express the Faith that on the last day, when we go to meet the Lord with you all, we shall hear him say: “Well done, good and faithful servants, enter into the joy of your Lord”. Thanks and God bless you all abundantly, as we prayerfully anticipate your maximum cooperation and solidarity with us in prayer and good work!!!

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