Selfishness, self-preservation, quest for independence, greed, desire to be greatest, envy, jealousy and pride frame humanity the outcome of the present day. It engulfs humanity strongly like the fibres covering the shell and shell enclosing the nut. Each of us live with these instinctive characters running like threads in the fabrics of our lives. They constitute the clay of which we are made. We pitiably seek for ourselves alone, placing others at the mercy of our ambitions. We fill the world with the remains of our ugly acts; remains which are suffered by the disposables of the society. Alas! What we have made ourselves to be. Alas! The ugly side of our clayey nature. Worst we pretend blind and insensitive to all these.
Amidst all these, the beautiful dream came. The dream that is ending the long nights of darkness and mares. Not a double- tongued mouth nor that of a two- sided palm. A candle well dressed with rays in a vast ocean of darkness, a rock which the storms tries to beat but ends up bathing. It is the picture of a man who has broken the clay to reveal the treasures within. The man peeled and encourages us to peel the ugly fibres of vices to reveal the shell and break the shell to bring forth the real beauty of our human nature. An embodiment of selflessness, kindness, love for others, and all other good values one can ever imagine. Risen above the living to live for others.
The society today filled with debris and shackles of men’s evils. Then amidst that unfavourable world, he spreads his tentacles to show the true way. In the spiritual realm, a grand master next to heart of God and our Blessed Virgin Mary, always presenting to them the intentions of the people he serves. Consecrated with blessings, grace abounds wherever he steps, his hands dew-like for those in chains. The words proclaimed by his mouth express the beauty of the heavenly paradise, miracles and manifestations occur at the opening of his mouth. His actions permeate that very part of man where love and goodness is held captive, to release and make them shower like fountains which they are meant for. He is a light to those who dwell in age long darkness and breath of good healthy live to the dead lungs. Thus, comes the caption of his ministry “THAT THEY MAY HAVE LIFE”.
In human relationship, a book of wisdom through whose page’s sages flip with heard turning like windmills. He knows the best time to act, speak, listen and most importantly to be silent. Those who might have spent time with could but adore faith, love and hope at its peak. It could be the greatest mistake of the century if I should rest my pen without remarking that he is primarily a pastor ready to shepherd his flock. A champion in every field of apostolate, feeding the hungry flock with heavenly manner, his preaching and teachings waters the heart like the rain on dry land, his pastoral letters are fuels that powers the engine of his flocks. The periodic pastoral visits to his flock are all means and source of great faith for the people.
Nevertheless, he has dealt with other areas of his apostolate asides spiritual upbringing; many he has provided their social and economic needs, many he gave scholarship, many underway bodies[ AVOSCO , AVOMA to mention but a few], all to help youths and seconadary school children to become the best of who they will be.
Archbishop Valerian Maduka Okeke, indeed is a man of grace. Nothing expects grace can lead you to the right part talk more of attaining that great height which grace has done for him today. Like he will always say “Gratitude Gratitude Gratitude” only applies where grace abounds. Indeed, I see in manifestation 1Cor.15:10- “but by the grace of God I am what I am”
40 years of grace-filled and grace-led priestly anniversary gives is strong feeling and state.
We ask the question “Are these years of what may come” Feeling so strong and hunger of your pastoral work. Indeed, we see that is just all by the grace of the one whom we give account of our lives.
Gratitude we express to him on his 40th priestly anniversary. God’s blessings upon him. May God’s anointing and grace continue to overpower him. As gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues but the parents of others, May God always give you the special grace to be continue to be grateful. Continue be the Christ walking the earth amongst us.