Walking as people of faith and hope

By: Rev. Fr. Fredrick Chege

A story is told of a little girl who was very beautiful. Unfortunately, she was captured by a witch, who knew that if she wanted to hold on to the little girl, she had to convince her that she was ugly. If the girl walked in consciousness of her beauty she would elope with the many young men who came to consult the witch. If, however the girl remained convinced that she was ugly she would remain afraid of being seen by them and therefore hide whenever they came around. So, the witch convinced the young girl that she was horribly ugly. At the sight of any man she would therefore hide in shame. This way the witch kept her in her shackles. But one day as she was combing her hair in her room, she saw someone looking at her through the window. Instinctively she looked up. Her eyes locked with the eyes of the young man who was gazing at her. This was the turning point of her life. In the eyes of the young man the girl saw her own beauty. Gradually as she grew in consciousness of her beauty, her shame and fear were replaced with confidence and sense of pride which resounded the joyful acclamations in her life. Like a hatched chick she now bounced into the beauty and joy of life. She was born from the tomb of self-hate and the feelings of rejection. Today we find most of our young people mired in a hopelessness and despondency that leads them to the tombs of failure and self-hate. The movement of their lives is from bad to worse. Faced by little failures in life, challenges in the families, personal limitations, disease, unemployment, rejection, political upheavals and doubts in life, they find themselves entrapped in helplessness and hopelessness. As a result, many seek refuge in drugs and sexual destructive behaviors which brings them even deeper to “the black hole”. Victor Frankl spent three years during the second world war living in unspeakable circumstances in several of the most notorious Nazi concentration camps. From his analysis what matters is not what happens to a man, losing a dear one, lack of a job, falling ill, or being jailed but rather how he/she perceives and therefore responds to it. He therefore avers that, “every thing can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms- to choose ones’ attitude in any given circumstances, to choose ones’ own way.” He continues to infer, fundamentally therefore, any man can, even under the worst of circumstances, decide what shall become of him/her mentally and spiritually. He may retain his dignity even in a concentration camp. This brings me to the purpose of this article which is to inspire hope and thus revive the spirit and zeal of life. No matter what any one of us is facing in life we have been given the spirit/ power of c o u r a g e that surmounts everything. As St. Paul says, “…in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us…” (Rom.8:37). It’s true you may be jobless, sick, addicted, rejected, imprisoned, or within unpleasant circumstances but, that does not mean you are doomed or there is no future for you. Look up in hope for better days lie ahead. Do not listen to the witch within or without listen rather to the spirit of God. Habakkuk, one of the Old Testament prophets lived within a period of devastation and was greatly grieved by the evils during his time. But looking up in faith he said, Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the fold and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. (Habakkuk 3:17-19) Let us walk as people of faith and thus a hopeful people. No matter the circumstances of life do not give ear to the voices of the witch who breaks down your hopes. St. Paul has the characteristic phrase “brothers let us encourage one another.” This is a task that each of us should do, that we may build each other in all goodness. May the angel of the Lord encamp around you and save you.

The writer is the Liturgy Chaplain and Assistant Priest of Holy Family Minor Basilica