moral musings, Nigeria, dear native land!

Why I am tearing-up my Green Card

This is quintessentially Wole Soyinka, a true Nigerian in values and decisions.

There has been a flurry of media-hype on his decision to give a red card to the American green card given the then impending Trumpianism. Now that it is no longer impending but real, the Nobel Laureate in this succinct article bares his mind on why he is doing this. It is long but worth the time. Enjoy.

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RED CARD, GREEN CARD – Notes Towards The Management Of 
Hysteria -  By Wole Soyinka

I shall begin on a morbid note. One of the horror stories that emerged from the Daesh (Isis) controlled parts of Iraq was the gruesome tale of the mother who had a daughter affected by wanderlust, even in that endangered zone. One day, when she looked for her to attend to some home chores, she found that she had gone missing yet again. As she searched, she shouted in frustration:  ”As Allah is my witness, I’ll kill that girl when I catch up with her”. A neighbor overheard and reported her to the Hisbah. The mother was summoned by the mullahs who ordered her to put the child to death, since she had sworn by Allah. She refused, so they took the child by the legs and smashed her head against a wall. End of story. True or false? It certainly was published as true testimony. That is all I have to say to the ”literalists” who obsess over a time scheme of their own assessment. Thus, failure to have torn my Green Card ”the moment” that I learnt that Mr. Donald Trump had won the presidential elections of the USA. It did not matter what I was doing at the time – teaching, eating, swimming, praying, under the shower or whatever. Or a family member saying, ”Wait for me!” – speculatively please, no such disturbance ever took place. If it did however, I am supposed to contact the Nigerian media – to whom I have never spoken, and who never contacted me – except one – to beg permission to pursue a realistic definition of ”the moment”. Media fascism is however a subject for another day,

For now, that moment having passed, I must be culpable of breaking a solemn promise. By the way, since we are on the terrain of literalism, has anyone attempted to ”tear” or rip apart a Green Card? Even a Credit Card? For the average hands, that would take some doing! I have actually considered garden shears for a dramatic resolution, this being closer to my real profession.

I have been asked several times – interestingly only by the foreign media, with the exception of THE INTERVIEW – whether indeed I did make such a statement at any time, and whether I still intended to carry it out, and the answer remains a categorical ’Yes’.  Not recently, mind you, nor, in the inaccurate blazing  PUNCH headline of Thursday Nov. 16 , but in the accurate wording that is contained in the actual story on page 9. So, where and when did I first notably make that declaration. Answer: Addressing a group of students at Oxford University and fielding questions. It was NOT a public lecture. I have never summoned a press conference on the issue. The organizers did not invite the (unregistered) Association of Nigerian Internet habituees.  It was the accustomed student seminar format that moved from the light-hearted to the serious, the ridiculous and (hopefully) the profound and back again. I even used the encounter to compare my threat with the public antics of a former president  – unnamed, I assure you – who tore up his party membership card of a moribund ruling party. Whatever my failings, I do not lack originality, and I was not about to be find myself indebted to that contumacious general!

Nonetheless, did I mean what I said – that is, ’exiting’ the USA? Absolutely, and that is the very theme of this address. It will not attempt to deal with the notion of an exit time-table as conceived by others, as if even the incumbent US president and his replacement are not even permitted over two months to pack their bags and prepare to move in and out of the White House, but must exchange positions the very moment that a winner was proclaimed. Anyone would think that the Brexit Vote made it imperative for the Brits to plunge into the English Channel instantly, instead of negotiating two years for an orderly withdrawal. Plebians like me of course need far less time, nevertheless they do not uproot overnight. Any other proposition speaks of a permanent agenda, of frustration and hidden histories – such as opportunities to rehabilitate themselves in the public eye. There is also recession in the land, and I can understand the psychology of impotence and thus, transferred aggression. Let it be understood – before I move even one word further – that I interrupted my present commitment in the United States  solely for an  urgent meeting with the Ooni of Ife on an ongoing project. I am obliged to return to the US in a matter of two or three days to complete my interrupted mission. Fortunately, that mision is guaranteed to end long before the United States becomes Trumpland Real Estate.

And now we move from absurd, frankly idiotic distractions to Substance. Why, in any case, am I pulling out of the United States? Why – as demanded of me by some of my genuinely concerned and sober interlocutors around the world – why such an extreme reaction? Why the terminal response to the elections of another land? Also, and perhaps most crucially, why am I left virtually mouth agape at the furore my stance has engendered? I simply fail to understand why this has gone beyond a flurry of public commentary and hilarious cartoons, and turned into a masturbatory for some, a vomitory for others, and an epilleptic sanatorium for a self-reproducing number? Why, in genuine bafflement, do I experience astonishment? Why do people find this commonplace, accessible-to-all act so extraordinary?

The answers to all the forgeoing can be summed up in a familiar expression: a life of environmental sanitation, or call it – sanity.  My temperament requires a certain minimum level of environmental health to function properly. I use the word ’temperament’ as a historical fact, a personality development that first manifested itself all the way back to student days, and has remained consistent all my life. Nowhere is perfect, certainly not all the time. Nonetheless, every human being has this need, however approximate, some perhaps with objective awareness, others intuitively, some more acutely and intensely than others, especially when defined by their professions, occupations, social and other involvements. The craving is common to all humanity – if I am wrong, then I must have dropped from Mars.

Here now is a potted history of the choices made by this contributor over the years in pursuit of this need, all the way from student days. Read carefully and learn!

As a student in Leeds University, one of whose subjects was Spanish, I steadily refused to accompany other students on long vacation job opportunities in Spain, designed to make us master the spoken part of the language. Apart from the Isle of Man, I went to France and Holland instead, whose languages were not part of my studies. And yet I had already fallen in love with flamenco music – played for us from records by our Spanish lecturer, and was dying to watch flamenco dancing in the flesh. Language study however involves, as we all know, the study of a people´s history and culture. I had encountered the history of the Spanish Civil War, the violent overthrow of a legitimate Republican government, and the ’white terror’ of the Falangist leader, General Franco. I identified with the volunteer soldiers of the International Brigade. Spain was under boycott in parts of Europe, so there was a choice to be made. I refused to step into Spain until years after I had graduated and returned home, and General Franco was certified dead and buried. A personal choice.

Australia: It is now some twelve to fifteen years since I issued a Red Card to Australia, unannounced. That Red Card subsists till today. The occasion was a conference of PEN International, and I had made the usual visa application. When the forms arrived, I found  the requirements for applicants over 70 years (I think) so obnoxious, intrusive, and degrading that I refused to fill them. Negotiations with the Australian government by Australian PEN led to an exception being made for me. When it was communicated, I wrote back: Absolutely Not. I refused to be the token geriatric. That application document was highly disrespectful of age and I wondered what kind of mentality had crafted it, wondered if the Australians themselves knew what image was being projected in their name. I said to our go-betweens: Not for a moment am I equating myself with Desmond Tutu or Nelson Mandela, but they are older. Does it mean that, if they decide to visit Australia, you would subject them to this form of degradation?

Till today, I have routinely declined any invitation to Australia, a country I had visited years earlier to sumptuous hospitality. I learnt some time ago that the obnoxious requirements have been removed but have not bothered to check. The reason was this follow-up: a journalist heard about my absence from the PEN conference and made enquiries. He interviewed me and I told him the cause. After visiting the Australian embassy for their side of the story, he reported back that the diplomat in charge responded to his questions with the comment that the embassy was too busy with more important matters. did not make a fuss. My position was based on principle but, basically, it was a personal affair between me and Australia. It remains so till today.

China: I did not, could not visit China for years after Tienanman Square. I was dying to visit that remarkable nation of culture and history, itching to go with every invitation. The Chinese ambassador in Nigeria tried to win me over after the ousting of the Gang of Four. I declined, but accepted the books he had told me did not exist while the Thought of Chairman Mao ruled the waves.  Even when, years later,  one of the top American travel agents organized a visit of Nobel laureates with mouth watering honoraria, I could not bring myself to join others. Constantly swimming before my eyes was the image of armored trucks and tanks running over students encamped in Tienanmen Square, leaving behind rivulets of blood.  Before I eventually accepted an invitation from the University of Beijing, I checked with some of the dissident poets – was it a decent time to visit? Had sufficient time passed for the average survivor of that carnage to obtain closure?  Until they gave me the green light, I refused all invitations.  Again I did not fuss. I did not call an international press conference in the interim.

Back home to our continent  – this time,  post-Apartheid South Africa. How many of these hysterical purveyors of Internet obscenities – including some printed media – are aware that for nearly two years, I handed South Africa the Red Card? And why? Because of her then astonishing display of xenophobia, most  notably against Nigerians. I was a personal recipient of that treatment which took place – of all occasions imaginable – on the occasion of my visit to deliver a three-part memorial lecture in honour of the late Nelson Mandela. Undoubtedly, on that very occasion, there had been a misunderstanding over visa issuance. Nonetheless,  taken in the context of the rampant humiliation of Nigerians at the hands of South African authorities, and the South African civic pockets also, I went to the final lecture with my luggage. The moment I concluded the last of  my lectures, I insisted on being driven to the airport, silently shaking off the South African dust off my feet for ever. It was only to my hosts that I uttered the declaration that they were seeing me in their nation for the last time. Until I withdrew the Red Card, I did not summon the Press.

Now, how did that boycott end? It is a remarkable story which deserves its place in the narratives of sheer serendipity. It involved Dennis Brutus, the South African poet, an enlightened Head of Nigerian Immigration and, indirectly, Archishop Desmond Tutu and Albie Sachs, former chairman of the South African Constitutional Court. Also, retrospectively, the role played by Nelson Mandela’s widow, Graca Machel, during my ordeal at the airport. While the boycott lasted however, I declined between seven to nine invitations to South Africa, including a UNESCO event that was however billed to take place there. The ending of that boycott, like the beginning, was ultimately my private and personal decision.

Shall we take Cuba, that revolutionary island where I was personally decorated by Fidel Castro with the Felix Valera medal of honour?  Despite all efforts by the then Cuban ambassador to Nigeria, and very valued friends and colleagues in Cuba, I issued her my usual silent card some years ago. I found the execution of those ill-fated adventurers who tried to escape on a raft excessive, not forgetting the shooting down of a hi-jacked plane. Were their acts condemnable? Indisputably! Did the punishment fit the crime however? My answer is obvious – No.  Jose Saramago, the late Portuguese Nobelist had apparently taken the same position, as I found out when we both met at a subsequent event in Cuba when our Cuban boycotts eventually ended. Were we wrong or right? That is immaterial. The point is that neither called a press conference or publicised our individual decisions. They were personal decisions, made independently.

And so on, and on, and on….brief to prolonged, reluctant to instant boycotts of places of normally congenial roosting, for a variety of reasons, and dictated by individual temperaments. And so we come finally to Donald Trump, and the sometimes travesty of collective choice.

I was in New York during the run-up to elections. I watched this face, its body language, listened to his uncouth, racist language, his imbecillic harangues, the insults to other peoples, other races, especially the Hispanics, Africans and Afro-Americans, even citing once – I was told – Nigeria as an instance of the burdensome occupation of global space. I watched and listened, disbelievingly, since this was America, supposedly now freed to a large extent – as we like to believe and have a right to expect – from its lamentable history of racism. But I saw, not only this would-be president but – enthusing followers on populist a populist roll at the expense of minorities! I followed the fluctuating poll statistics. I began to warn my colleagues, friends, my family: listen, this thing is happening right before our very eyes. This is how it begins, how humanity ends up with Cambodia, with Rwanda, with Da’esh. We are watching a Hitlerite phenomenon. We are witnessing history in reverse, unravelling before a complacent world. I said to them, if this man wins, I am relocating. It had gone beyond a joke. They all said, it will never happen. Even a day to elections, some Nigerians, with whom I had a meeting in New York,  waved off the possibility. The entire world goofed – T.B. Joshua and other pundits, charlatans and experts alike.  A colleague at Harvard mentioned the celebrations that would follow the election, but shortly after, confessed his concerns, cursing the FBI man who had chosen to intervene at an unprecedented stage in the elections.

 Again, I said to him, I shall relocate if Trump wins. He said, I’m coming with you, echoing numerous other colleagues to whom I had sounded the same alert. I promised them all political asylum! So, it was nothing new, the Oxford comment.

Whatever language I used is my familiar language, not the language of Da’esh or its local impotent surrogates.

Finally, here is something very personal, but I have to answer the question of my genuine interlocutors in matching sincerity.

Our US base and family home in California – Abacha instigated – faces a rock hill known as Mount Baldy. It has survived the menace of fires, so close to disaster that we were placed on evacuation alert a number of times and were once actually bundled out by the police for over forty-eight hours. A fireball overflew the house on one occasion, landed some distance from ours and consumed that unlucky home. Not too far away, an escaping family took a wrong turn and lost their lives in the flames. Nothing of such menacing interludes ever brought to the fore the remotest consideration of relocating! However – and let this be stressed to all those who are strangers to the world of images – for this individual called Wole Soyinka, the superimposition of the Trumpian face on those bare mountain slabs began to take on reality, a reality that probably became even three-dimensional, like the massive faces of those former US presidents that remain gouged into the peaks of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, visited by millions. My environment, albeit a substitute one for our authentic home in the forests of Ijegba – had become compromised. That is all I shall write on the reality of superimposition – the notion of waking up every day of habitation and seeing on that mountain slab the face of Donald Trump on my borrowed preserve, where, from upstairs, I sometimes stood in bouts of  contemplation, especially whenever the house was empty.

For me, something is gone. Again, I speak for myself, not for my family who are, in any case, also American citizens, an acquisition that I have declined I cannot recall how often. Let me repeat, even that portion of empathy that comes from intimate occupancy and usage over the years, and where the products of my ”extra mileage” were born, has become violated. It is still home, second home, but one individual named Donald Trump – and his cohorts – have ruined its hard-earned  companionship and serenity, built up over the years. As I keep repeating, these issues are personal.

And so, back from our quick excursions to Asia and the Antipodes, what is so special about America that an agenda of abandonment creates such hysteria? I am incapable of double standards in these matters. Why do individuals feel threatened? I have never invited anyone to join me in my purely personal odyssey, begun before most of these sniveling upstarts were born. Is it the Green Card that sets America apart? Then perhaps it iis time to repay the compliment with a Red card, as in soccer. I am not aware that the world’s oxygen storage tanks are located in the US of A, so that we cannot breathe away from it. I shall always compliment the American success story on many fronts, including the fact that millions of migrants derive their very living – including crucial send-home remittances – from her generosity. Many of us will always be grateful to her government at the time for sheltering both our persons and our mission during the Abacha years. However, we are also individuals, with specific needs, different sensibilities, and definitions of productive environments and thus, up to this moment, my Wolexit stands.

It is a personal thing. Perhaps it will help even further if I remind you of what I wrote in my memoirs: YOU MUST SET FORTH AT DAWN. There I confessed that my greatest – and irrational – fear in exile was that if I died outside Nigeria, my well-meaning family, colleagues and friends, would bring my body home. I took firm steps. The thought of resting within that earth while it was trampled over by a despotic monster whom I thoroughly despised, was the absurd but all-consuming fear that I had all through that deadly struggle. Obviously that fear has been eliminated, but then, having watched this American Wonder rise to power through a contemptible denigration of my sector of humanity, through mockery and jeers of my origin, I no longer find that environment congenial either for work or leisure, and I have signaled my unambiguous intent to exit. No one else is invited.

Well now, a remarkable development.  I stated earlier that the issue is not just one individual called Donald Trump, but the human environment that he and his ilk have spawned, one that contributes to a toxic environment across the globe, with the rise of ultra-nationalism and exclusionist politics. That environment is however engendering counter aspects to that created by Trump’s lowest common denominator in followership. Spontaneous protests have sprung up across the country. Too late, I’m afraid, and ineffectual, since Democracy has the last word, and its rituals have been concluded. The law of the land will prevail. However, I have been considerably cheered by the spontaneous manifestation of this rejection of the shame and horror that a ”majority” has imposed on the totality.  Americans will have to live with it, but there is hope. Even  before the street protests, something rather strange had taken place.

On the very morning of the conclusion of elections when I switched away from one news channel to the next, the screen went suddenly blank. Then came a scrolled message that called for a quiet, peaceful revolution. It went on and on, without voice or images, and it was non-partisan, since it rejected not only Trump but Clinton as befitting candidates but declared American democracy a sham. It went on to complicate matters by identifying an individual – Bernie Saunders – by name as an acceptable leader of a new movement.  It excoriated past governance policies, dismissed even Obamacare as a failure – I disagree by the way – and urged viewers again and again to LET’S TALK ABOUT IT. LET’S MEET ON THE INTERNET. LET A PEACEFUL REVOLUTION BEGIN etc. etc. It could have been Channel 33 or 34, I am no longer sure.  A serious, viable movement? Maybe not sustainable under the present system, but it goes into that multi-faceted network that leads to the eventual sanitization of any socio-political environment. And then, latest of the latest, the state of California has mounted a referendum for secession, within her constitutional rights. Quite an unpredictable prospect but, much as I am predisposed to upheavals by vox populi, I prefer to be out of the environment, being a non-citizen.

Let me end with a Red Card to those noisome creatures, the nattering nit-wits of Internet: maybe Trumpland is not as despicable as the Naijaland you impose on our reality from your secure cesspits of anonymity. Go back to school. Your problem is ignorance, ignorance of whatever subject you so readily comment upon. Learn to study your subject before opening up on issues beyond your grasp. Sometimes you make one feel like swapping one green for another, out of embarrassment for occupying the same national space as you.  But don’t get nervous, or start jumping for joy too soon – the Nigerian passport is just as tough to rip, physically, as is the Green Card, so I’ll stay put in my private Green Belt – the one I have named the Autonomous Republic of Ijegba. I negotiate my relations with both peoples and nations from its internal protocols – yes, that is indeed arrogance for you, but an arrogance of several decades’ principled growth. I carry that patch of green with me, everywhere, in a secure, invisible, and inaccessible pouch! It is that warehouse of ingrained sensibilities that engendered my decision.

WOLEXIT stands – I coined that deliberately, to signify repossession of my space of legitimate decisions. The media can nitpick over details – that is your profession. At long last, totally oblivious of the ongoing cacophony that had sprung up in my absence, I finally did receive for the first time a brief questionnaire from a Nigerian journal, The INTERVIEW, and one other. I responded. My exit time schema applies, not yours. If it even becomes convenient to bring it forward, I intend to do so, but please don’t come at me with plaints of time imprecision. ! never discussed it with you, nor invited you to a private decision whose execution was already in the making. Do not try to browbeat me. It’s a waste of time – all you have to do is  immerse yourselves in my antecedents.

Wole SOYINKA

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Nigeria, dear native land!

A new ambassadorial list

Image result for nigeria embassyA lot of political spanners are in the works these days. One of them is the new ambassadorial list that the President has just sent to the Senate for scrutiny and confirmation. It is a highpoint among political appointments that have to be made and, even though it has taken this long, it has finally come.

The immediate thoughts that sprang up in my mind at the news of this list is my first-hand experience of one of our embassies in Europe. I had gone to this embassy to get some service for the first time. Right from the entrance one could sense that ‘anything-goes-here’ sort of feeling.

Whereas in many other embassies in the same country, a curt and official-like security officer would welcome and put you through the necessary security necessities, in our embassy there was this unruly, oddly-dressed ruffian  doing his own thing and giving a truly-worrying but wrong first impression of Nigeria to anybody from that part of the world. Or “is it indeed a wrong impression?”, someone might ask.

Whereas in this said European country just like many other in the occidental world, you simply pick a tally or press a simple machine for a ticket so as to order services and prevent unnecessary chaos, in our own embassy there were people in the crowded office shouting “give me number”, “na me be next person!”. It was an utter spectacle of an unorganized people.

Whereas in several countries, including the European country in context, a number of the issues one needed to come to the embassy for could be resolved easily via online enquiries, my country’s embassy had a most unresponsive and non-dependable website. Again someone might even say “thank God there was a website at all”.

Maybe nothing paints the picture of our average embassy better than the experience of a Nun who was also present in the embassy I visited that fateful day for a visa. This Nun, a Westerner, was all huddled up in one extreme space of the embassy watching, apparently with incredulity, the whole commotion in a national office which was indeed meant to be representative of the country she was about to visit. It was so embarrassing. I am sure she must have wondered to herself what sort of life attended her in Nigeria.

Now take all the aforesaid information in and let’s get back to the incipience of this article: a new ambassadorial list is in the making. With the other forty seven career ambassador designates submitted by the President to the Senate for confirmation in June this year, the present list of forty six non-career ambassador designates brings the whole list to ninety three. The most interesting thing about that whole list is the sort of eminent people it features. There are many unknown names included yes, but most of those on that list are real eminent, accomplished persons you may add.

The fearful question that comes to mind therefore is “what really used to happen after these eminent and accomplished persons are finally appointed?” How come these apparently decent and very savvy people end up running embassies that look like shackles of some tag-rags which the smallest of any organization will be so ashamed to own?  And that is our country’s embassy?

Well, it is time to speak to the conscience of the Senate which now has the duty to confirm such appointments to go beyond the disgusting test of “recite the national Anthem” and the likes, and approach such confirmation with the reality painted above in mind. We cannot afford to vividly present our country as a nation of unordered people and yet when it comes to talking about the nation, present same country as some ideal nation. It is very contradictory and actions, they say, speak better than words.

There is no better time to embark on a proper sanitization of our embassies worldwide via a choice of capable Ambassadors of the country who would indeed be true Ambassadors and showcase the country in better light with decent embassies. The eventual Ambassadors have no better means to key into the change-begins-with-me moral campaign of the government than with their new mandate with which they could make a difference.

It is about time we ended that schizophrenic division between a choice of apparently capable and exposed Ambassadors on the one hand, and an eventual shoddy job of managing our several embassies abroad by these same people on the other hand.

This is another reason why the clarion-call for strengthening all our institutions, one of them being ambassadorial position, is a major test of our other rather loud albeit necessary war on corruption.

Read from the Punch: Image result for punch nigeria

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Let's pray some, Nigeria, dear native land!

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THE MASS AND THE SCRIPTURES

To put it nicely, the Mass is the only place where we read more passages at a time! Call you best prayer warrior, ask Him (or her) to pray for 24 hours and quote as many scripture passages as they can possibly remember and they still wouldn’t have quoted more passages than a simple Catholic who “casually” goes for Mass on a weekday. The following is a simple structure of the Mass and the scriptural references to what the priest and the congregation says.

INTRODUCTORY RITES

The Entrance procession occasioned by the Ringing of the Bell (Exod 28:33-35)

Sign of the Cross:

“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt 28:19;  cf. John 14:13-14;  Acts 2:21)

Liturgical Greeting:

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Cor 13:14)

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:2; Eph 1:2)

“The Lord be with you.” (2 Tim 4:22; cf. Matt 1:23; 28:20)

People’s Response:

“And with your spirit” (cf. Gal 6:18; 2 Tim 4:22)

Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling Holy Water (see Ezek 36:25; cf. Num 8:7a)

Penitential Act:

Intro: “Let us acknowledge our sins, and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.” (cf. Ps 51:5)

“I confess to almighty God…” (cf. Lev 5:5; Neh 1:5-9; Dan 9:3-19; James 5:16)

“Have mercy on us, O Lord. / For we have sinned against you. / Show us, O Lord, your mercy. / And grant us your salvation.” (Ps 41:4)

“Lord, Have Mercy” (Matt 15:22;  17:15;  20:30-31; cf. Ps 123:3)

Gloria:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will” (Luke 2:14; cf. Rev 4:11; 5:11-14)

“We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you…” (Cf. Ps 148:13)

“Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son” (cf. Ps 2:7; John 1:14)

“Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, you take away the sins of the world…” (cf. John 1:29)

Prayers concluded by “Amen” (Neh 8:6;  Ps 41:13; Rom 16:27;  Heb 13:20-21; Rev 7:16)

LITURGY OF THE WORD

Introductory/Concluding Dialogues

“A reading from the book/letter of…”

“The Word of the Lord” (1 Peter 1:25) – “Thanks be to God” (Rom 6:17; 2 Cor 9:15)

Acclamations before the Gospel:

“Alleluia” (many Psalms, esp. Ps 146-150;  Rev 19:1-6)

“Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory!” (cf. Ps 24:7-10; 1 Thess 2:12; 2 Tim 4:18)

“Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus Christ!” (cf. Dan 4:34, 37; 1 Peter 1:7)

“Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!” (cf. Phil 1:11)

“A reading from the holy Gospel according to…” – “Glory to you, O Lord”

“The Gospel of the Lord” (Rom 16:25; Mark 1:1) – “Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ”

Profession of Faith

“I believe…” (Mark 9:24; John 11:27; cf. John 14:1; 1 John 5:10)

General Intercessions:

“We pray to the Lord” (Exod 8:29-30; 10:17-18; Jer 42:2-4; Acts 8:22-24)

“Lord, hear our prayer” (2 Kings 20:2-5; Isa 38:2-5)

“Hail Mary” (Lk 1:28,42)

LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST

Preparation of the Gifts

“Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation…” (cf. 1 Chron 29:10; Ps 72:18-19; 119:10; Luke 1:68)

“Blessed be God forever. ” (cf. Gen 14:20; Ps 66:20; 68:35)

 

Eucharistic Acclamations

“Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts…” (Isa 6:3;  Rev 4:8)

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Ps 118:26; Mark 11:9; Matt 21:9; Luke 19:38; John 12:13)

“Hosanna in the highest” (Mark 11:10; Matt 21:9; cf. Luke 19:38)

Words of Institution: (see Mark 14:22-24; Matt 26:26-28; cf. Luke 22:17-20; 1 Cor 11:23-25)

“Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my Body, which will be given up for you” (a combination of Mark 14:22; Matt 26:26; Luke 22:19; 1 Cor 11:24)

“Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (a combination of Mark 14:24; Matt 26:27b-28; cf. Luke 22:17, 20; 1 Cor 11:25)

“Do this in remembrance of me” (only Luke 22:19; 1 Cor 11:24a, 25b)

Memorial Acclamations

1st Acclamation: “We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.” (cf. 1 Cor 16:22)

2nd Acclamation: “When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again.” (cf. 1 Cor 11:26)

3rd Acclamation: “Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.” (cf. Matt 8:25; Luke 4:42; Rom 8:21).

 

Lord’s Prayer

“Our Father in heaven…” (Matt 6:9-13; cf. Luke 11:2-4; Mark 14:36; Gal 4:6)

Embolism: “Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil… as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13)

Doxology: “For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours…”

(found only in some biblical manuscripts after Matt 6:13; cf. Rev 4:11; 11:15; 1 Chron 29:11)

Greeting of Peace

“Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles, ‘I leave you peace, my peace I give you’” (John 14:27)

“The peace of the Lord be with you always.” (cf. John 16:33; 20:19, 21, 26)

Breaking of the Bread:

“Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world…” (cf. John 1:29, 36; Rev 5:6-13; 22:1-3)

Preparation before Communion

“Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.” (John 1:29, 36; Rev 19:9)

“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” (Matt 8:8; cf. Luke 7:1-10)

Concluding Rite

Final Blessing (cf. Gen 28:3; Deut 14:29; v 6:23-27; Ps 29:11)

Dismissal:

“Go forth, the Mass is ended.”

“Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.” (cf. Mark 16:15)

“Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.” (cf. Ps 115:1; 1 Cor 10:31; 2 Thess 1:12)

“Go in peace.” (cf. Exod 4:18; Deut 10:11-13; Judg 18:6; 1 Sam 1:17; Mark 5:34; Luke 7:50; 8:48)

Conclusion

Many people either take the Mass for granted or condemn it outright from ignorance. If we take greater interest in knowing the truth, promoting it and cherishing it, we will treasure the Mass as God’s greatest gift to humanity. In the Mass God gives us Himself.

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Nigeria, dear native land!

21 got their freedom!

Considering that over 200 were captured, the news that 21 of the Chibok girls were released yesterday might seem a small one. But we know it is not! After 913 days in captivity, the release of a single one of these girls is a big relief and a welcome news.

Thanks to the political diplomacy that went into bringing this to reality. The task ahead is still enormous. Over 200 young ones stand in captivity,peril and almost-certain further abuse. May the government up its game in doing even  much more to bring them all home.

Here, some memorable pictures that relive the emancipation day of the 21!

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Though harangued, harrassed and tired, we thank God for your eventual safety. Welcome home!

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The wife of the Vice-President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo in a motherly hug with one of the 21. What a sweet-sour moment indeed

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The Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, attending to the girls

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We all feel the calamity you suffered; you were like symbols of our national calamity. But I guess it takes a mother to understand the import of a daughter kidnapped for almost 3 years! That hug…

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moral musings

The Critical Meaning of the Bible

It needs to be underlined that the use of Scripture in doctrinal statements composed by church authorities in a pre-critical period may not be read as the answer to historical-critical problems raised subsequently. It has been affirmed by the Roman Doctrinal Congregation that doctrines enunciated by the magisterium  solve only certain questions and are sometimes phrased in the changeable conceptions of an epoch. That must be remembered when we relate such doctrines to modern biblical questions. Tridentine statements that Christ instituted seven sacraments (DBS 1601) and that the apostles priests (DBS 1752) represent an interpretation of the general thrust of the whole NT for the life of the Church. They do not and will not answer historical-critical questions such as: Did the historical Jesus have a clear idea of sacrament? In his earthly life how many of what we call sacraments did he consciously envision? Before his death did Jesus actually utter the words “Do this in commemoration of me” (missing in Matthew’s and Mark’s account of the Last Supper) or is that a post-resurrectional interpretation of the primitive churches known to Luke (22:19) and Paul (1 Cor. 11:25)? Did the Jesus of the earthly ministry think of any of his followers as cultic priests and did he think of the Eucharist as a sacrifice? These questions are best answered, not by citing church doctrine phrased by people who were neither asking nor answering them, but by studying the Gospels historically and seeking to pierce behind the professions of early faith to the circumstances of Jesus’ ministry and his world view. Even if many of them are answered in the negative, however, this does not mean that the subsequent Roman Catholic Church was wrong at Trent in insisting that its doctrines of seven sacraments, Eucharistic sacrifice, and priestly ordination were a valid interpretation of Scripture – an interpretation of what by symbiosis Scripture had come to mean in church life, but not necessarily an interpretation of what it meant in the mind of those who wrote the pertinent passages.

 Raymond E. Brown, The Critical Meaning of the Bible pp. 40-41

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