HAPPY PENTECOST FROM SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA!
I PRAYED SPECIALLY FOR YOU
Today again, I asked God’s blessings upon you all from the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, where hundreds of pilgrims from America, Europe and Asia have just concluded the Mass in honour of Mary the Mother of the Church. As I saw no African in the very crowded congregation, I offered myself to represent you. More so, I presided over the Mass after which I was led to pray at the tomb of St. James the Apostle. Knowing that the 29th of May is a special day in Nigeria, I asked God to take control of all the events in Nigeria, in His own way and as He wills.
May the Holy Spirit transform each and everyone of us into a new creation; give us the strength and courage to go on despite the rough and tough times.
May the Holy Spirit bring to Nigeria and Nigerians a new spirit, style, behavior, attitude, and destroy the spirit of condescending perception we have of one another; engender the spirit of other-centredness rather than self-centredness ; purify especially our government officials of corrupt tendencies; enable court judges to be influenced only by truth and justice and not by who has greater influence or resources.
We pray also for the positive transformation of heart of our spiritual and traditional leaders and all those in positions of leadership.
May the Holy Sprit give the ordinary Nigerian citizens the grace to live well; that irrespective of bad and corrupt governance and tough times, they will remain faithful to their conscience before God.
May the Holy Spirit help us to do away with very strong and damaging religious prejudices; ethnic conflicts that lead to untold destruction to lives and property; may He blow away the ill wind of acrimonious politics and reckless use of resources meant to develop and prosper the ordinary Nigerians.
After the international forum for Bishops in Portugal, I took two weeks out of my annual one-month break to rest, to reflect and to pray. At Fatima, I asked our Blessed Mother for her powerful intercession for the Archdiocese of Abuja, the priests, laity, religious, the Bishops, and indeed, the Catholic Church in Nigeria.
I headed to nearby Spain in Santiago de Compostela, where according to tradition, the Apostle James is buried in the interior of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. It is one of the busiest areas of the cathedral, visited by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every year. Pilgrims from different countries trek long distances to reach Santiago. Pope John Paul II visited in 1989.
The inauguration of political leaders at different levels in Nigeria will hold tomorrow, 29th May. We pray that all will go smoothly in accordance with the constitutional requirements.
But we all know that various court cases are pending. It would have been much better to conclude the courts cases about the elections first before the inauguration, but the law being the “ass” that it is, sometimes allows things that are perplexing.
While Nigerians fervently pray and hope for objective outcomes of the various election petitions, judges must remember that God is the Supreme Judge, and we shall all stand before His tribunal where there is no appeal.
Justice must be seen to be done for those sworn in, and also for those who may have genuine grievances and believe they have incontestable facts and evidence that would be in their favour. Our courts must provide a very strong hope for all Nigerians, not the “last hope” as people often say, (because God is our last hope).
Let us join the league of nations with mature democracy by calling what is wrong by its name and what is an aberration or controversial, what it is without fear or favour.
Let justice and truth prevail at all times and in all places so that our nation will be the better for it, namely, that we all act justly, love tenderly and walk in humble fellowship with God (cf. Micah 6:8).
St. James the Apostle, from whose tomb in Santiago de Compostela I offer these prayers, please intercede for Nigeria and for all Nigerians.