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Looking back in the religious life

08 Aug 2016, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Augustinians

Living a religious life can be very interesting; it is sometimes lovely and sometimes frustrating, but that is life in general anyway. It is full of ups and downs, but the journey must continue; he who endures to the end will surely be crowned with glory.Religious and priests

The religious life is not an easy one; I sometimes feel it’s even more challenging than the married life. You may disagree with me, but I strongly feel that way, it is not an easy road to travel, but we are on it with the help of God, who lightens the journey.

I’ve heard people say many a time that life is sweeter and better for the priests and religious. Well, it depends on what they mean. He or she who dedicates his or her life to God should be happy, but if they indirectly say that the priests and religious are not married and have fewer challenges, they are wrong. We are committed as much as they are, if not more. The married vowed to commit themselves to their wives and husbands while the priests and religious vowed to commit themselves to God; we are both committed. We are both tempted to fail in our commitments; we struggle together to keep our vows. Yes, did I hear you say what about the responsibility of training the children in marriage? The priests and the religious have much more to take care of than you do. We are all committed!

The religious life is something I did not initiate; I mean, others have made this journey, they traveled this same road before me, and they arrived safely. Looking back at the life they lived is an inspiration for this generation. The door to the past must be left open to inspire the present to build the future. I strongly agree with Rev. Fr. Van Bavel’s (O.S.A.) conviction. It is my deep, philosophical conviction that past, present, and future are so interwoven amongst each other that together they form the one reality in which we live. They need each other to exist. The past exists only by the grace of the present. Were the present to disappear, the past would automatically disappear. But the same applies to the future, which always builds on something that already exists.

The religious and, indeed, every Christian must learn to look back and be encouraged by the fact that others have traveled the same difficult road they now travel, and many of them arrived safely. Therefore, the door to the past must be left open for inspiration while we let the word of God be the lamp that guilds our steps and sharpens our inspirations.

The religious life is beautiful, a prophetic life to our world devoured by greed and sectionality. The religious life reminds our world of the possibility of living together even with our differences; where you are from does not really matter; we focus on brotherhood which unites people of different tribes and tongues, race, and nationality. Our Christian faith is the one Father of us all should also help us to live as one in Christ Jesus as did our ancestors.