Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaFriday, February 14, 2014
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went into a duplicating office and registered my presence for a service. I stood on the queue. When it was my turn to be attended to, the attendant, a beautiful lady created on a Monday smiled at me and asked me, "Father, what can we do for you?" I smiled back and replied, "Please I want to duplicate my life." She starred with confusion at me and went in to see their manager. After her interaction with him, she came out laughing at me. But I displayed a serious face because I was not joking. I was even more confused by her laughter. I gazed seriously at her and asked, "My dear lady, why are you laughing at me? Is it because of my ugly face?" She wiped the tears running down her cheeks as a result of the laughter and gave me a sharp response. "My dear Reverend Father, life has no duplicate!" She advised me to try elsewhere. I left with speculations in my mind.

I asked myself, "What next?" A thought came into me. I went into a Printer's Workshop to print my life so that I can have a spare. I lied down on the printer machine. Instead of printing me, the printer broke down completely. The owner charged me for wilful damage and for trying the impossibility. I was forced to pay for the cost of the damage. I paid and then left angrily.

Another idea came into my mind. I entered a photocopying workshop. The attendant asked me to bring out the documents to be photocopied. I told her to open the photocopying machine as I bring out the documents. Before she could look up, I have already stretched myself flat on the machine. I made it clear to her that I am the living document to be photocopied. As the machine was turning, my ears got trapped in the machine. The lady proprietor started shouting and screaming. The customers and passers-by surrounded me in a semi-circle with their hands on their heads. I overheard this comment from one of them, "What a foolishness!" I managed to retort, "Who are you calling a fool? I am here to photocopy my life so that I can have a spare." They all shouted as in a choir, "Father, life has no spare!" An engineer was called in. With the assistance of some tools he was able to let my ears go. I stood up and gazed around like a rat whose head was hit on the ground. I rushed out of the workshop like a ghost and jumped into my car. I drove home straight with the ears paining me.

At home I went into contemplation. I asked myself, "What is human life? Why has it no duplicate, no spare, no copy?" The copy the photographer gave me is lifeless. My mind was bombarded with different ideas. My brain was boiling like hot water on fire. I got up and washed my face. "Am I dreaming?" I soliloquised.

When my temperature was normalised, I began to reason reasonably. Yes, life has no duplicate. Human life is a precious gift of God. This gift belongs to the Creator. We are only caretakers. We must render account of this gift of life when time comes.

What is the origin of this precious gift of life? Apart from the already known story of creation, we have the biological and spiritual accounts. God mandated husbands and wives to increase and multiply. Human life begins at the infusion of the egg from the woman and the sperm from the man. The infusion gives rise to the foetus which is implanted by the unseen hands of God in the woman's womb. It is also during the infusion that God implants the spiritual soul. Hence, man is made of soul and body. The body is immortal while the soul is immortal.

The foetus develops gradually in the womb for nine months. Then comes the time for birth. A baby boy or girl is born. It sucks the mother's breasts for some months. He or she begins to eat liquid foods and gradually tries solid foods. The child sits, craws, stands, walks and runs. It attains the age of reason earlier now, between 5 and 7 years, due to the computer and indomie age. From the age of reason till death, the person is responsible for his or her actions.

As life has no duplicate, it must be taken care of right from conception till death. We ought to look after the soul and the body. The two elements are important and none should be looked down. But the Catechism of the Church advises that we should care more for the soul which is immortal. How do care for the soul which is a spirit? At Baptism the soul is purified from the guilt of the Original Sin inherited from Adam and Eve. The soul becomes from then very sacred. It can only be soiled again through personal sins. Therefore, to look after the soul we must avoid sins and also repent where we have fallen. Through the Sacrament of Penance we are washed again by God's grace. This Sacrament should be received frequently since no one is perfect. But one must make serious effort to avoid falling again. Participating in the Holy Mass and devoting time for communal and personal prayers are also very essential for the good of the soul. Jesus Christ as Man and God prayed from time to time. As his followers, we must pray ardently, because the soul is willing but the body is weak. An imperfect soul can never enter the Kingdom of God. Hence we must struggle daily to do good and avoid evil. We should approach our spiritual directors for spiritual check-up from time to time.

On the other hand, the body must also be taken care of. Cleanliness is next to godliness. Dirtiness can do a lot of havoc to the body. Our mode of eating and drinking must be controlled. It is said that those who smoke are liable to die young. It is better to be late than the late. Careless living can result in careless death. It is recommendable that we go for medical check-up, at least once a year.

Self medication is as dangerous as going to hell on foot. When we are sick, we should approach medical experts for diagnosis and medication. The Bible emphasises this in these words: "Treat the doctor with the honour that is his due in consideration of his services; for he too has been created by the Lord. Healing itself comes from the Most High, like a gift received from a king. The doctor's learning keeps his head high and the great regard him with awe. The Lord brought forth medicinal herbs from the ground, and no one sensible will despise them" (Sirach 38:1 - 4). So, when we are sick we should go to recognised hospitals for medical attention.

Prayer is also very essential during sickness. Prayer + medication = healing, if God wills. Thus the Bible tells us: "Anyone of you who is ill should send for the elders (priests) of the Church, and they must anoint the sick person with oil in the name of the Lord and pray over him. The prayer of faith will save the sick person and the Lord will raise him up again; and if he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven" (James 5:14 - 15). This act is what the Church refers to as "Sick-call." It is most efficient when the sick person is still conscious of himself. He or she may recover after the prayers. But if death comes, the sick person dies in God's hands and will be escorted into Paradise by the Angels of God.