October 22, 2010
Never lose hope

Fri, Oct 22, 2010


In celebrating the 31st anniversary of Independence, our nation once more pauses at a milestone in its progress to reflect on its integrity, its core values, and to check its pulse as it looks ahead in forward march. In the past twelve months, the nation spoke on the issue of Constitutional Reform, we ceased to be the major shareholder in the National Commercial Bank, and violence has continued to spiral in our society.{{more}} Yet we continue to show our resilience as a people in making ends meet, in holding on to our faith in God and by surmounting many of the economic and social challenges that we face. We thank God for sparing us from serious devastation and destruction during the hurricane season and for enabling us to safeguard our national pride and integrity. This is altogether a challenging time for nations and those who are called to be leaders.

There is also a further challenge today in remaining faithful to the dreams and aspirations of those who have made great sacrifices in the cause of nation building. Our forefathers and our heroes are to be commended for their faith and dedication. To hold on to one’s faith in God, to be dedicated to one’s mission, to love one’s country, to respect others, to care for and defend the weak and the vulnerable, indeed to be messengers of hope come at a great price. It involves complete selflessness and altruism. The break down of traditional values, the cheapening of human life, the undermining of the family, disrespect for authority, the wave of lawlessness, lack of loyalty and the overall breakdown in moral values make it very difficult to keep alive the vision of those who sacrificed so much for what we enjoy today.

While our social structures collapse from greed, selfishness and corruption, we look afresh at what is at the foundation of nation building. It is very clear that without faith we lose our way. Faith helps us to see in the dark and to build a strong structure on a solid foundation. It was with courage and, guided by faith that our forefathers forged ahead and broke new ground. Faith helped them to make progress for development and it was the foundation of their work. We now see the great cracks emerging in our civilization as a result of a lack of faith and moral values: “Man does not live on bread alone!”(Matthew 4;4). Nations are not built merely on ideas and material prosperity; nations are built on faith in God and the value that we place on each human person.

As we pause to rightfully celebrate the 31st anniversary of our Independence, we need to ask ourselves afresh: What are our national priorities? What pride do we take as a people in preserving and actively implementing these priorities? Are we all in agreement on what these priorities are? And are these the basis for our national pride? Are they common ground for coming together beyond partisan lines and ideologies? What is it that makes us the people that we are? How deep is our sense of our national identity? How do we value the family and the right to work? We need to ask ourselves how we share our faith in God. There are further questions we need to ask about our desire for unity, respect for human life, human rights and our respect for true human development. While our Constitution embodies our socio-political and religious ideals and values we need to articulate these at every level of society on a daily basis.

In pausing to reflect, we leave ourselves open to recognize and sieze the graced-moment of conversion that may come our way not merely at a personal but also at a communal and national level. This is the time for facing the truth about ourselves and our progress as a nation. We need to learn lessons from the past and to adjust to the changes we need to make for the future. This is a time for national conversation and conversion. Each of us must want something better for our nation. In this way we could measure our integrity, the level of our solidarity with each other and our national pride. Providing good example and raising the bar to a higher level is the responsibility of all. Each of us can make a difference. Nation building must be the inclusive responsibility and priority of all.

Our faith, as well as our moral and spiritual values, must radically influence every aspect of nation building. We must place greater emphasis on quality in education, social services, work, production and leadership at all levels. Children and young people need to be taught the value of hard work, sacrifice, discipline, generosity, as well as a responsible way of using the material goods, including money, that are available to them. Adults must be ready and willing to model for the young moral values of commitment, trust, dedicated service, and the joy of living one’s faith in a dynamic and life transforming way in relationship with God.

Having paused and reflected at this milestone, we can move forward full of confidence and hope, courage and faith. May justice, truth, peace and righteousness pave the way ahead of us. We are all in God’s hands. The future of our nation is in God’s hands and we should, therefore, never lose hope.

The Christian council invites all to pray for the Nation as we celebrate our 31st Anniversary as a Nation.

A Happy and Blessed Independence Day to all! God Bless Our Nation!

Fr. Pio Atonio – President
Rt. Rev. C. Leopold Friday – Vice President
Rev. Adrian Odle
Major Pierre Antoine