Brothers and sisters, we are blessed to welcome to the Oxygen family Julius Otusorochukwu Dike, who was born and baptised Christian and Catholic from the eastern block of Nigeria. After receiving the Sacrament of confirmation, he attended a Catholic post-primary school, Bishop Shanahan College, in Orlu in present day Imo State, Nigeria. This background introduced and imbibed him with the Church’s teachings and practices early in life — a development that has supported and managed his overall outlook as a Christian.
Educated and trained as an engineer and business manager at two Nigerian universities — University of Ibadan, in Mechanical Engineering (1982) and Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, in Business Administration (1999) — he served in the country‘s civil service for 30 years before venturing into social service support for the vulnerable. He is a devout member of the Catholic Church Order of the Knights of St. John International, through which he has continued to serve the Church, and is currently serving in the pastoral team of Holy Family Catholic Cathedral, Sokoto, in the Diocese of Sokoto, Nigeria.
He is a motivational writer and, in 2006 published a book titled: “Terms Catholics Use Inside The Church”, a book which helps local parishioners understand the Church better.
His interest in OXYGEN came in 2015 through online search for knowledge on Catholic websites. Since then, he has been a dedicated reader of OXYGEN articles and reflections; these materials have continued to stimulate and enliven his life and the lives of many Christians sharing them.
The Lord God hath opened my ear, and I do not resist: I have not gone back
For many Christians who are glued to faith, life revolves around hope and the necessity for salvation. The exigency in hope is plumbed on the walls of reality in contending with resistance against faith and lifting of the cross to follow Christ.
For many years, my brother shared some form of strangely blended relationships — working in a central northern state in Nigeria, living within a core Muslim community, far out of consonance with our Christian faith; he was worried because of the too oft agitations of religious conflicts and attacks against Christians. And yet he soldiered on as a dedicated Christian; the indication to that accommodation for confidence — resilience built on a strong, moral concrete base with his ears of faith opened, and listening to the Church teachings on sacrifice and suffering for the sake of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
We are in a trying period in the world today and the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ reminds us that having a share in the sufferings of Christ is a guarantee of relief and happiness when his glory is revealed. The footsteps of Christ through the path of his death, resurrection and glory bring the assurance that any suffering that promotes Christ’s glory is temporary because the fulfilment of the reward is assured.
(Today’s Oxygen by Julius Otusorochukwu Dike)
Prayer: Lord, you own this world; help us to see sufferings and persecutions for Christ’s sake as awaiting rewards of glory that would come at your time of fulfilment. Support us with your faith and confidence. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Dear Lord, you exist everywhere in time and space, thank you for sustaining and helping us to live in hope because we believe in you. Amen.