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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
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AN ALTAR OF PRAISE

Schoenstatt Fathers, Ibadan

ALTAR IS A SACRED place. It is a place of prayer, sacrifice and thanksgiving. There are many instances recorded in the Scripture, whereby an altar was either erected or destroyed. In the olden days, virgins were been sacrificed on the altars. Animals (Goat, dogs, and fowl), food stuffs, and clothing’s were offered to the gods on the altar. People also engage in blood, family and generational binding covenants on the altar. They also take oath and promises which binds not only them, but that of children yet unborn.

Today, many families, states and villages are in bondage as a result of the altar they or their ancestors erected. I was in a village in Anambra State recently.  It happened that members of that village; both those living at home and Diaspora were not progressing. Their neighboring towns and its member were far ahead of them in development. After much inquiry, they came to the realization that the problem they were having was as a result of the altar at the village square. This altar in question is as old as the village itself. It was erected by their fore fathers and at the curse of history, it always had somebody who stand as the chief-priest. According to some elders, “the gods of the altar are angry because people no longer pay homage as it should or bring sacrifices as required.” They went further saying that the gods will soon demand for their lives, which was already happening slowly.

However, the villagers were not ready to worship the god again, because it always demands the lives of their children. Not only that, this god had rendered some members of the families useless. The village heads, together with some Christians swap into action. They invited a Catholic Priest who started his deliverance by telling them that “the Most-High-God is a jealous God who will not like His creature to bow down to another god (Exodus 34:14). In the book of Revelation, He said, “either you are cold or you are hot (Rev. 3:16).” In the Gospel of Matthew He said, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon (Matt. 6:24).”

The Priest advised them to individually choose the god that they will serve. All of them voluntary chose to serve the living God all the days of their life. They renewed their baptismal vows by denouncing Satan, his works and empty promises. The villagers did as directed and were liberated instantly. They then vowed never to bring in foreign gods again. Today, as I speak to you, there is a mighty Church under construction at that village square. Few months after their deliverance, the Federal government mapped out their town to be used for the building of an airport. Today, most of the villagers can be found in all sectors of the economy; both home and abroad. One of their son emerged as one of the contestant of the 2017 Anambra State Gubernatorial election. They now have seminarians studying for the Catholic Priesthood, of which one will be ordained a deacon next month; December.

According to this prospective deacon, “People who come to God’s altar receive bountiful grace, mercy, love and protection. They receive all these freely and unconditional, which are incomparable with the gifts given by demi-gods.” I recently watched a Nigerian movie title, “Occult Brothers.” The members of this evil society receive power, gifts and protection from their evil altar, yet they still thirst for more. They are neither happy, fulfilled nor complete. With their protection, they still sleeps with their two eyes open, even after eating from Shoprite and Mr.Bigs, they still go out unsatisfied, they are restricted to enter certain places. They are never at peace after performing rituals on their evil altar. However, these experiences of the Occult Brothers are not the same with that of true Christians, who always come out of the Church smiling and with songs on their lips. Who walk freely, sleep soundly, eat everything, and enters everywhere without been hurt.

However, true Christians will testify that the altar of the Most High God is a place of liberty, restoration and undeniable testimony. People with sorrow always come out with complete joy. People are lightened of their heavy burden on the altar. The sick go back dancing, the blind see and the lame also walk. In this altar, Christ offered Himself in an unbloody manner through the ministry of His priests(CCC). That is the altar where I worship. That is why I call it, “An altar of praise”, because you and I join the celestial choirs of Angel in praising an all loving, merciful and benevolent God. A God that does not demand anything in return for His act of benevolence, a God that does not kill those who serve Him, a God that does not desire human blood and sacrifices, but only demands their praise and thanksgiving. The Scripture recorded that even stones will rise to praise Him. 

Ask yourself: Which altar do I belong? Which master am I serving? Am I for God or against Him? Dear reader, if you do not have an altar in your home, family house or villages please call a Catholic Priest to erect one for you. Stand now on your feet with faith as a child of God to denounce and disassociate yourself from any altar in your home or village which is not of God. Nevertheless, give the Most-High-God a space in your heart, and He will enter. The Gospel of Mattew.7:7-8 assures that whoever asks of Him receives, whoever seeks finds Him, and whoever knocks will find an open door. Harden not your hearts.

-PASCHAL CHISOM OBI


 


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