By Chioma Gabriel
It is the vogue. Nigerians like to rush even where angels fear to tread. It is the trend. Miracle seekers. New generation pastors. I-feel-alright ministrations.
Karl Marx called it the opium of the masses and that it is.
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It has its positive sides. It has calmed many frayed nerves and is still doing so. The hope of the good things to come has saved many from high blood pressure and death by suicide. The poor feels hopeful about the future and in many instances that has worked. Prayers work wonders and I know because I have been there.
It started for me from childhood and as a Catholic. I was somewhere at Nsukka; my mother took me along as a toddler to visit a relation a long time ago and we were still there when the news broke at Bishop Shanahan Hospital. They said the Blessed Virgin Mary visited and walked through the wards of the hospital and many patients got healed. The breeze that accompanied her visitation shattered the louvers of the hospital and the Blessed Virgin was there for three days. We didn’t go even though the hospital premises were flooded with all manner of reverend gentlemen and ladies: reverend fathers, reverend sisters, bishops, and the choir of different levels. There was also a top hierarchy of all societies in the Catholic Church. Many who visited the hospital said they saw the Blessed Virgin. Many said they didn’t. My mother and her sister didn’t go even though we were very close to Bishop Shanahan Hospital where it was happening. And we were Catholics. We were at St. Theresa’s Street, a few minutes away from Shanahan Hospital. The children in the compound will huddle together to discuss the mysteries of the Blessed Virgin as we were taught in the Block Rosary. I still remember the face of Brother Ferdinand who taught the Rosary and the mysteries of the Virgin. And here we were close to experiencing that mystery first hand and nobody was taking us. I learnt that the crowd was too much and children could be trampled underfoot.
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So, we left Nsukka and travelled to the village for the New Yam Festival without going to part-take of the Virgin’s visit. But something happened when we got to the village. There, I had the encounter with the Virgin. We had attended the local Catholic Church and the euphoria of the Virgin’s visit to Nsukka was still strong. After the service that Sunday, people were gathered at a spot looking through pieces of broken glasses. We were told the glasses were taken from Nsukka where the Virgin visited. The people gathered were looking through pieces of glasses to see the Virgin but I remembered clearly that she had left Bishop Shanahan Hospital before we left Nsukka.
My aunty that took us to Church veered to the direction where she picked some broken glasses and shared to us to watch. Others saw nothing but I was amongst the few that saw something. No, I didn’t see the Virgin. What I saw were multiple of white crosses that couldn’t be counted. They were tiny white crosses and uncountable. I kept looking and the more I look, the more I saw and the glasses were taken from Bishop Shanahan Hospital when the Virgin visited.
It did something to me. I started seeing. I started seeing people differently. I began to notice that every human being has an aura which is either positive or negative. I noticed a good or bad person on first sight. I notice something about people by just looking at them or being near them. I could hear thoughts clearly as if they were words. I would just look at people to know if they were good or bad people. And it has always been like that for me.
And that was my Blessed Virgin Miracle as a Catholic.
I have since veered into Pentecostalism. I have been encountering pastors and their ministrations. I have been to Churches whose pastors claim to work miracles and who indeed could. I have also seen actors whose claims are false.
And the first time I saw the woman who could manipulate her arm and was using her art in Churches, I knew something was wrong. I showed my sister her stunt when her video at Pastor Chris Okafor’s Church emerged. I told her the last has not been heard of her story and that the true story would soon come up and shortly after, the video of the same woman was seen in many churches pulling the same stunt. It is either the woman manipulating the pastors or the pastors pulling a stunt. Or they are working in tandem with each other.
There are several other pastors in that mold. There‘s one that operates from the axis of Onitsha who pulls his stunt all over social media. He was going to walk on the River Niger and I waited anxiously for the d-day but he didn’t. He denied ever saying so. There’s something about him. He could be real but the truth would come out someday. Just keep watching him because something would happen with him. Perhaps you have read what happened during his visit to Malaysia or is it Indonesia?
But no matter what happens, the search for miracles will never cease and as long as people are poor, hungry and sick, they will remain under the influence of fake miracle-working pastors who manipulate them and brainwash them.
The surge for miracle –working pastors will never cease and the more controversial these pastors seem, the more Nigerians surge for them.