I’M NOT PERFECT. Sometimes I make mistake. As difficult as it may be, I tried to put aside all negative influences, thoughts and perspectives off my minds and always see the positive point of view. My Rector; Rev. Fr. Reginald Ibe once said, “We can learn a lot from our mistakes. So, let us not be afraid of mistakes.” He went further saying,”Instead of covering our mistakes with a wrapper, let us seek for detergents or help so as to learn from them and to avoid similar occurrences.”

He made this statement during the first Seminary recollection of the year 2017. This statement informed my 2017 New Year resolution. It increased my Spiritual life. It fanned to flame my determination of developing myself. I became passionate in my writing skills. Above all, I became humble, patient and open minded. I set standards for myself. As I walked in the light of achieving these personal ideals, I found out that I’ve to totally removed my old self so as to wear a new self. It was not easy, I received criticism of which most times are constructive. I desired and still desire to be a new man, but sometimes I see myself going back to the things I do not want to do (Rom.15-20).

According to Archbishop Fulton Sheen, there are seven-headed monsters that each one of us has to fight. A critical assessment of my daily life reveled that am guilty of one or two of them. These seven-headed monsters are: Pride, Covetousness, Lust, Anger, Envy, Gluttony and Sloth. Fulton Sheen also calls them “the seven pall-bearers of the soul” and gives them the following names: self-love, inordinate love of money, illicit sex, hate, jealousy, over-indulgence and laziness. I made out time to re-evaluate my life so that it will reflect on the personality of Christ our Divine Master. It wasn’t easy for me to adjust. I lost some friends and partners in the process. Some of my friends turned to worse enemies. Some of them challenged me saying,”It’s a New Year garagara, very soon you will still come back where you belong.”

I stood my ground despite all odds. Some became afraid of me, some were thinking that am pretending, while some were still waiting for my down fall. Last year, an incidence occurred in a little social gathering of friends; it happened that, I was challenged by a friend, who looked into my eyes and said,”If you are Paschal Obi show them the stuff you are made of?” I was not only moved by this statement, my ego was also touched. But at a second thought, I recalled that power, supremacy and sovereignty were the same trick Devil used when he tempted Jesus (Matt.4:8-10). I acted and spoke just like Christ did. Most of my friends marveled at my response. At the end of the gathering, I was able to win few souls for Christ.

Since that day, I became more strengthened. Today, am not afraid of going out with smokers, drinkers, womanizers, trouble makers and gossipers. The reasons were that it is not what goes into a man that defiles him, but what comes out of him. It is an act of living in the world, but not corrupted by the world. It is the act of being the light shinning in the midst of darkness. It is the imitation of Christ who came for the sinner and not for the righteous (Lk.5:32). It is the ability not hating the sinner, but hating the sin.

Owing to the fact that no man can be the best judge of himself. I developed a strong relationship with my spiritual director whom I often meet monthly for Spiritual direction and evaluation. In one of my monthly interactive sessions with him, he said,”Perfection is not what one achieves in a day, it is a gradual process.” He went further saying,”I’m still developing and perfecting myself despite my age, status, and life experiences. With the help of Rev. Fr. Nichodemus, Isch; my Spiritual director, I was able to understand that Determination, Sincerity and Sacrifice matter a lot in the attainment of any desirable goal and height. These three master keys aided my daily striving towards the accomplishment of my 2017 resolutions.

I was opportuned to meet a psychologist at the beginning of the year 2017. After a psychological test with him, I discovered more about myself. I therefore made a determination of developing myself. No wonder why Socrates gave the injunction: “Man know thyself!” Man’s happiness, success and greatness consist in the knowledge of himself. Thus, I discovered a talent (Writing Skill) which I was highly encouraged to build. With humility, patience and open mind I walked towards developing it, following the three keys I got from my Spiritual director.

My Rector was highly impressed with me after reading one of my articles on ’Sounds in Silence.’ I was determined to write more, I made a sincere effort and research and I denied myself night rest just to make sure I had my works completed. My sense of corrigibility also made my write-ups a master piece. The comments I got from social media, classmates, friends and formators increased the fire of my writing skills. Today, I’m a journalist and I publish in the weekly-Newspapers of 8 Catholic Dioceses in Nigeria. By God’s grace, in the year 2018, I’ll publish my first book,”Uwana-emeNtughari.”

In a table discussion with Rev. Fr. Victor Ogunyemi, I was meant to understand that it is only by God’s grace that we are saved. It is only His grace that gives success to the work of our hands. It is through His grace that we can overcome sin. He narrated how grace elevated him to greater and unmerited heights. And I believe that it is by His grace that I became a graduate of Philosophy this year. It is also by His grace that I was able to achieve my 2017 resolutions and it is by His grace that I’m alive to see the light of 2018.

Dear reader, evidence has shown that an unexamined life is not worth living. Thus, I’ve done an examination of conscience and evaluation of the year 2017. All I have to say is,”Thank you Lord, for the great things He has done.” I’ve already listed two unselfish resolutions for the year 2018. I’ll not disclose it to you, it’s between me and my God. I beckon on you to do the same.

A famous Latin dictum says: “Tempus fugit memento mortis” (As time flies, remember death). Procrastination is the thief of time. You may delay, but time will not. I do not feel like doing it right now often becomes its undoing. Beloved, start now to maximize your life, for it is not how far one lived, but how well.


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