Category Archives: Capsule for the Day

Capsule for the Day is a daily Catholic devotional that is available for all to consume; for the healing of bodily, spiritual and psychological wounds, for the prevention of these wounds, for strength on life’s journey, and for nourishment to live as God intends us to live.

Only The Free Can Love

No doubt the saying, “I love you” is overrated today. We often say it without actually meaning it. To mean it, and to actually love, we have to be free of ignorance. We have to know what to love means. It means, first to become the best for the other. Second, it means to give or wish the other the best. Third, it means giving without any reason.

We also have to free ourselves from hatred, bitterness, anger, jealousy, envy, any grudges or any unforgiven wrong. Love entails fore-giving, giving before even the other can ask for the gift. It is a cross to say the least. But it is also the joy of the resurrection. However, what we hold against others prevents us from loving them. We have to free ourselves to love.

It is the free, those who hold nothing against the other that can see the good in them and love them. It is the free, those who are comfortable in their own skins that can make others comfortable. It is the free, those who have experienced God’s love that can love truly. It is the free, those who love without counting the cost that can say, Happy Valentine, “I love you”.

Fr. Francis Afu

Join me in Thanking God

“God must be reckless in choosing me to be a priest”, those were the words I uttered four years ago after my ordination. To date, I can’t get my head around the fact I am a priest, carrying this treasure in dirty hands. This is the height of God’s trust. He trusts me enough to allow me to serve Him. This is a privilege. Today, I ask you to thank God for this grace.

Earth is a very important Hebrew word. In fact, Genesis 2: 7 says that “God gathered the dirt and formed man, and then breathed life into him”. Notice how He gathered the dirt, which suggests, His hands were soiled. But that isn’t all, He still forms us day by day out of our own mess. Thank God for the mess and dirt. They are raw materials in God’s hands.

But life isn’t just about what we get out of it. It is also, and very importantly about what we give back. No doubt, this comes at a cost. Often, not many of us are ready to pay the price. Imagine daring to do the impossible, taking the risks and not being ashamed of making mistakes, but trusting in God. Thank God for His image in you. Thank God we are His hands and feet.

Fr. Francis Afu

Cast into the Deep

What deep? Is it God’s mercy? Not a bad attempt! For His mercy is like an ocean. We are to throw in our nets, for a catch of His goodness. Yes, we might have toiled all night and caught nothing. Perhaps, we tried to do it our own way. We felt our expertise, our skills were all we needed to find Him. But there is more – His Grace. He is the One that finds us.

He meets us where we are. Not minding how far away we have strayed from Him. There is enough water to wash us clean… enough fish to feed us… enough to catch and to share with others. See how He goes out of His way, calling us. “Come”, He says, “cast into the deep”. Cast into my heart. Take what you find. Don’t be afraid. There is no harm.

Yes, we are surprised with His kindness. We didn’t expect Him to be so good to us after all we have done. We look at ourselves. We settle for our weakness. But it isn’t all about us. It is about Him too. “Don’t be hard on yourself”, He cries. I came for you. I can see you. I know you. But I can’t remember your actions. Trust me. Let down the net. Catch!

Fr. Francis Afu

Seasons of Love

What else can we say about love? Perhaps, we could say it is a living organism. It lives and grows in seasons. In some seasons, it blossoms with fresh flowers. In other seasons, it is dead dry, with no leaves let alone flowers. In another season it is warm, bright and very charming. And still in another season, Winter, it is cold, wet and miserable.

To expect love to be always charming is to expect all seasons to be Spring, which isn’t reality. So, just as we go through seasons in life, we should be open to the seasons of love. We should prepare for these seasons. In the Autumn of love, we should get ready for Winter. We should get the warm clothes of kindness, listening and communication.

In the Winters, we should develop the patience, the hope that will keep us warm and happy despite the misery of the cold. In the Springs and Summers, we should smile, rejoice and be thankful for the charm, the romance, the special gifts received. In the rains, the storms, we should never forget the shelter of prayer: trusting that they too shall pass away.

Fr. Francis Afu

Love Never Ends

It is a line we hear all the time, especially at weddings. Couples promise each other their undying love. “I will love you and my love for you will never end”. Isn’t that romantic and beautiful? Yes, we mean it when we say, “my love for you will never end”. But I’m tempted to believe not many of us know how to keep love alive and let it stand the test of time.

Our biggest challenge is seeing love as an ideal, as perfection: there ought to be no problems, no opposition nor reaction. But the reality is that love is messy. It isn’t always nice and romantic. However, it is always beautiful and good. The beauty of love is revealed in the very ordinary and basic acts of “fore-giving”; giving the other the good for no reason.

From this comes forgiveness. In practical terms this means becoming the best for the other who at a time may be at his or her worst. It means not treating the other based on his or her actions, but seeing the other person as good enough to be loved and affirmed. This is hard and countercultural. But it is what keeps love alive to stand the test of time.

Fr. Francis Afu

Love is Reckless

“I am not quite sure Fr. Francis if that is true”. Perhaps, I used the wrong word Maggie. But what would you say about Christ loving and dying for us, not when we were for Him, but when we were outrightly against Him? There wasn’t any certainty when He died for us that we would love Him in return. Isn’t that recklessness; to act without calculating the consequences?

In the movie Hunter Killer, we find the US Commander Joe Glass being reckless. He loved without counting the cost. For what else could be more reckless than for him to rescue and protect the lives of four Russians including their president to the extent of putting the lives of 105 US crew and the US at risk? Nothing! But that is love, trusting, hoping, taking the risk.

This is what is so confronting about love and makes it difficult for us to love. For all it’s worth, who will risk his or her life to save another man with a gun at his head? It is only someone who is reckless like Christ. One who is able to dare, to hope that love conquers even the hardened of heart. Joe Glass had this hope, at the end, he made friends of his foes.

Fr. Francis Afu

Called to Love

What love? Is it erõs, the love that is self-centered? The love that is appetitive, that is, the love that seeks to derive pleasure or satisfaction for oneself. The love that has the tendency to take advantage, that uses the other without necessarily giving oneself. The love that is erotic. The love that could leave the lover empty, addicted and broken.

Or is it philía, the love that is mutual? The love that exists between friends, family with common interests. The love that is open to the other, that seeks the good of the other provided the other in turn seeks the good of the lover. Is it the love that is calculating? That keeps records, that leaves the lover bitter because he/she hasn’t been loved in return.

Perhaps, it is agapē, the love that is free of the self. The love that seeks the good of the other solely for the other. The love that has the capacity to bear all things, to trust, to hope and to be patient. The love that keeps no records, that readily excuses and that forgives. The love that hangs on the cross, that overcomes all things even death itself.

Fr. Francis Afu

When the Odds are Against You

When the odds are against you, it is very common to conclude that you are the problem. Even your close friends may begin to question your integrity. Why you? Why must it always be you that have to go through the oddities of life, rough patches and ugly experiences? The Biblical Job was caught in this dilemma. The odds were against him.

But what his friends didn’t get was that, “he wasn’t the problem”. And what he too didn’t realise was that God was proud of him. In fact, God bragged about him before Satan. God knew Job too well. He knew He could trust Job with the privilege of going through bitter experiences. At the end, Job didn’t disappoint God. He remained faithful to God.

Come to think of it, the odds aren’t really against you. They are for you, to test and reveal your character. They may cut you back, but they can also set you up for God’s blessings. Job’s story (Job 42:1-17) confirms it. St. James puts this way, “My brothers, you will always have your trials but, when they come, try to treat them as a happy privilege…” (James 1:2-4).

Fr. Francis Afu

God Has A Plan for You

He has a plan for me and you as individuals. He has a plan for us as a family, community, race and nation. He has a plan that is within your reach in terms of your strength to cooperate with Him to bring it to completion. A plan bigger than you in terms of your imagination and His power to do what no eyes have seen, ears heard, nor minds thought, conceived.

It is a plan for your good, for your happiness. In Jeremiah 29:11, God declared – “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your good and not evil, to give you a future and a hope”. So, it is one thing for you to have your own plans and another to know God’s plan for you. And when your plans don’t work out, remember God still has a plan for you.

Perhaps, your failed plan may just be part of God’s bigger plan for you. Who knows? For His plan unfolds in seasons. Most times, His plan comes in packages that doesn’t always seem to be of God. Thus, you have to pray, trust. Ask Him daily to reveal His plan for you. It’s simple: “God what is Your plan for me”. For when your plan coincides with God’s plan, that is miracle.

Fr. Francis Afu

Who Am I?

For many centuries, human beings have struggled with this question, “Who am I?”. We have attempted to answer the question as best as we could with the available resources. But the flipside of the question is, “Who am I not?” St. Thomas calls this, “via negativa”, taking the negative way to unravel the truth of the phenomenon that confronts us.

That is, we come to know a thing or a person after we have eliminated all that it is not. First, man is not God. Second, he is not a mere animal living instinctively. Third, he is not a product of chance evolution. Now, you may ask, why is this question so important? Because, the answer you give or the answer you are given, defines you and how you live.

From a Judeo-Christian background, our answer is the truth that God is Our Father. Thus, we can boldly say, “I am a child of God, the Father, created out of love and for love (origin and destiny). I am a brother of God, the Son, redeemed, that is regained by His own blood (how to live). And I am sealed by the Holy Spirit (the meaning, mission of life)”.

Fr. Francis Afu