St Paul tells the Corinthian Christians, "you are a letter from Christ...written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God" (2 Cor. 3:3). There are many variations and translation from the various biblical versions to this timeless text. Our concern this evening is not about the translations and texts but the message that our Lord and His blessed mother wants to give us or communicate to us regarding the significance of this powerful declaration to our individual lives and faith this time. You couldn't be more personal and more direct in your letter writing than St. Paul. I often think that St. Paul was a quintessential and passionate preacher for all times. There is no way that one can read the letters of St. Paul without a feeling that one is directly being addressed.
Perhaps it might be good to ask ourselves, "what is the sentence or the letter in which our lives are written?" Before my priestly ordination in 1999, my classmates and I struggled with choosing what we called "motto" or some inscription and very often biblical texts that describes our spirituality and persons. People chose all sorts of texts which like many other hurriedly chosen ideals, in time goes to the garbage bin, rusted and forgotten. Not sure many priests and sisters ever bother to remember those inscriptions or texts we affixed to our sovenir and mementos, especially after the ecclectic, electric, and euphoric celebrations of the ordinations and professions have all died down or fizzled out. For Paedro Arrupe, it was fiat voluntas tuas, for Joseph Shanahan, it was Lord that I may see; for John Paul II, it was totus tuus -totally yours; for Mary Martins -the founder of the medical missionaries of Mary, it was if God wants the work, he will show the way; Michael Ugwu Eneja lived out in his personal life "no cross no crown; for Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, it was "seeing God in all things; for my hero MSP brother Mgr Godwin Akpan, it was -if you are doing well, do better, if you are doing better, aim at the very best because only the very best is good enough for the Lord; for our Blessed Virgin Mary, her life and ministry is summarized in her fiat, behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done unto me according to thy will. We can go on and on and on.
The best advertisement to attract people is our simple and happy lives. Recently, I started to pray for the grace to live lives made up of "simple joys." I want my life to be a bundle of simple joys. I have learnt that the big things does often satisfy. So, everything I do is ordered to this simple joy, including my ministry, interactions and relationships. I try to avoid sad and unhappy and depressing commitments and involvements as much as possible because when we are happy, we are aflame with the spirit, we are aglow in Christ and we live lives that are infectious or contagious in the most positive sense of the word.