Foreword

Archbishop Albert K. Obiefuna

 

FOREWORD 

This foreword is quite necessary for the better understanding of this leaflet which I would like to call “Reflections on a Particular Cross in My Life”. When you are faced with any cross, people normally address you with words of encouragement and comfort. However, no matter how much encouragement and comfort you get from the words of others, you know you need to address yourself in your own words of spirituality for the acceptance of your cross, because what people tell you can easily remain on the outside but what you tell yourself will come from the inside and from your deep relationship with God. What I have here in this leaflet therefore are the words of comfort and encouragement coming from my inner spiritual life which I address myself in my present life situation, I do not expect everybody to understand it all because everybody is not in my shoes. Bear with me therefore if you find some parts of this leaflet unacceptable. The Cross often elicits some deep words from the bearer. When Jesus was on the Cross, he spoke and his utterances are what we call the seven words of Christ on the Cross. Archbishop Fulton  Sheen has beautiful commentaries on those words in his “Life of Christ”. What I have in this leaflet are my own words in this particular Cross’ of mine, namely, the attack of cancer on my vocal organs and how it has affected my life, past, present and future. 
 
The write up is principally for my own good. It recalls to me the words that Bishops address the candidates for the priesthood at their ordinations. They are these words; “Imitamini quod tractatis,” i.e. “Show forth in your life the mysteries you handle”. In the same manner what I have written down in this leaflet tells me- “Show forth in your life henceforth, what you have experienced in this your suffering. The word ‘experienced’ is full of meaning for me. God has spoken to me in this suffering; people of various classes have spoken much to me in various ways in this illness. As a man of faith, I must try to show in what remains of my life in this world, what God and people have spoken to me in this illness. The picture of my coat of arms on the front cover of this leaflet speaks much to me. It tells me what I must do when I find it difficult to live up to what I have put down in this write up, The picture reminds me of what St. Peter did at the Sea of Galilee when he was sinking in the face of a storm. When I find the going hard in my present condition, I shall like St. Peter, call upon Christ and pray to Him for help and I trust He will hold me up and prevent me from sinking in the face of the tempests of this earthly existence. 
 
Again, this leaflet with its content will benefit many people who have been praying for me and helping me in various ways. These people, I guess, will be pleased to know what the man they prayed so much for, suffered and the type of treatment he underwent, and why he still carries a number of scars and handicaps. They will also realise how effective their prayers were; prayers that I appreciated very much, 
 
If you, reader, find anything useful in this script, then thank God with me for He is the fountain of all that is holy and good. 
 
Let me conclude with this very striking remark, namely, “If purgatory resembles anything like what I underwent in this battle with cancer, then, during the rest of this my life I had better work hard to reach heaven through the gaining of indulgences, because it is an easier road to heaven. 1 advise you my friends, to do the same, because, from the teaching of the Church and the revelations of some saints, like St. Faustina of Divine Mercy and St. Padre Pio, the pains of purgatory are exceedingly severe and if that means much severer 
than what 1 have undergone in this my illness, then I am dreadfully frightened. 
 
+ Albert K. Obiefuna
Archbishop Emeritus of Onitsha. 

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