“In this life, nothing is of value, only God, God
alone is worth all our striving.”

Why Fr. Michael Cyprian Tansi? Why did God choose him
to carry the Good News to the Igbo people, and to Nigerians? The Archdiocese of Onitsha in Tansi’s day had many promising young-men in Aguleri and in the other towns and communities. Why did God not choose any of those? Some came from Christian families and had relatively good education. God could have picked these rather than Fr. Tansi.

God could have equally selected either of Fr. Tansi’s two colleagues – William Obeleagu or Joseph Nwanegbo. The latter was very brilliant and endowed with a great oratorical skill, while Obeleagu was the tallest of the three; indeed built on herculeanlines. He remained very strong and energetic till his death on February 2,1977. So the question continues to be asked. Why Fr. Tansi?
Why did God gift him with heroic holiness? Why has God tapped him for beatification in March 1998?

When we examine God’s work profile, we discover that his ways are and very different from human ways. The credentials that he demands vary so much from those required by the world. He is simply not too good at
choosing the kind of people who could represent him creditably.

God chose Fr. Tansi whereas the human assessment of him sounds as follows: dark complexioned, short statured and quick tempered! By birth he was a commoner not from Umuezearoli of Onitsha but from Aguleri. Even at Aguleri he did not belong to the royal dynasty. His parents were poor farmers and adherents
of the traditional religion. Some people described him as a harsh ascetic while some thought he was fanatical.

Bishop Heerey contrasting him with Fr. Ulogu writes: “The former (Fr. Tansi) is of mediocre intelligence and age is already against him, the latter (Fr. Clement Mark Ulogu) is very intelligent and much younger.” (Heerey to Archbishop David Matthews).

The reality is that God chooses those who are willing to lay down their lives for His Cause. He wants better men and women and not just better methods. To pass God’s interview, to be hired, by Him, you must be ready to live your life in the centre of God’s will. This is the kind of job dossier He keeps for building appropriate work corps. God is always on the look out for people who are single-minded in their dedication to Him. Ordinarily we are turned off by people who are frantically devoted to a single cause, but it is people who are known for their single-minded devotion that God employs.

Fr. Tansi was possessed by a single aim in life – namely to live entirely for God. He was not just being naive, he recognizes the difference between the temporal and the eternal. “In this life, nothing is of value, only God, God
alone is worth all our striving,” he told his protégé Godfrey Okoye. He was right for it does not matter how smart we are, what talents we have and how much material wealth we may possess. God is always looking for something different. It appears that the surest way to fail God’s interview is to be super qualified and to be in the honour’s list, according to this world’s reckoning.

All the people who testified before the Historical and Informative Tribunal for his Canonization Cause, all but one, were unanimous in their testimony that Fr. Tansi is a saint. He is not yet canonized to be sure, but all those
who knew him, spotted in him godliness manifested in heroic self-sacrificing love for the abandoned, the sick, the abject poor and for total service to the underdogs of the society. They call him a holy man. A holy person is one who has “wholesomeness”, one who lures and attracts by the sheer power of his heroic life. Fr. Tansi was a role-model in the Spiritual life. He has great power
to lead us beyond virtue and on to God the source of virtue. He fell in love not with prayer, not even with the priesthood and monastic life as an end but with God Himself. He was typically “un homme ivré de Dieu” – a man made by the love of God.

He is full of the love of God in the same way an alcoholic is cloyed with alcohol, driven by the love of God as alcohol drives and possesses the drunkard. He sought with his entire being to live entirely for God. He loved God and discovered him in His creatures. This drove him
to prayer, fasting, almsgiving, risking his life for the love of God.

Parishioners learnt more about God from his actual life than they did from reading the Gospels. He did more than offer edifying example. People saw in him an aura of sacred power. In spite of his mannerisms and weakness, and perhaps because of them, people conceive him as a source beyond himself.

God can illumine our own lives if we give Him the chance. Fr. Tansi’s life impacts upon a spectrum of
human beings in our society: some were struck by the uncompromising character of his commitment, while others were fascinated by his willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of his priestly vocation and his life ambition to live only for God.

Like celebrities and saints, genuinely holy people do provoke both positive and negative comments and reactions. In fact, certain qualities which people admire in Fr. Tansi today as heroic virtues might have been held up against him as intolerable by his contemporaries. Though he was remarkable for his singleness of purpose, his life also suffers from that ambiguity which makes it difficult to reduce any life to one single meaning and purpose. He is constituted of complementary strengths and weaknesses.

However, when we look at him from a spiritual perspective, it is not his faults, his weaknesses and limitations, but something, perhaps “godliness” that rises to the surface as his essential message and legacy to the modern world. Though by no means a perfect man, he had the gift and the assignment to teach others how to be human because his life was built on higher principles – the lofty human capacity for love, sacrifice and selfless giving. Any life is unimportant except for the impact it makes on other people and on the environment.

Fr. Tansi never called himself nor allowed others to call him a saint. In Nigeria to call anybody “sancta” would suggest that such a person should not be taken seriously, but those who call Fr. Tansi a saint are to be taken very seriously. His central message is that the
Gospel is livable. Everybody can live the gospel and be saved by it.

He built his life on the first two questions of the IGBO Katekisma nke Okwukwe Nzuko Katolik which was adapted from the Tridentine Catechism
and published in 1901 by the Holy Ghost missionary Father Aimé Ganot:
(1) Onye Kelu gi? (Who made you?),
(2) Maka gini Ka Chukwu ji wee kee gi?
(Why did God create you?); and the
(1) Chukwu kelu mu (God created me),
(2) Chukwu kelu mu ka mu malu ya, fu ya na-anya, na efe ya na uwa nkea, ka mu welu binyelu ya na anuli ebebe na uwa ozo (God made me to know, love and serve Him in this life and to live happily and forever with Him in the

He prepared his flock and did his utmost to lead them to God who is man’s happiness. The story of Fr. Tansi is worth telling. As it continues to be told and retold, some intrepid souls are bound to be touched and drawn to heroic holiness.

In conclusion, let’s tell our non-fiction by ourselves because we know who we are more than outsiders who never encountered us could tell. Let’s keep documents about us because they say much to the inspiration of the future generations; the source Life of TANSI was majorly from his contemporaries and those who met him.

With certainty, Blessed CYPRIAN Michael Iwene TANSI will be canonized in our own generation. One of the problem is that we tend always to neglect our own because we act as if a prophet is not known in his homeland. However, we need to spread his devotion, we need to pray through his intercession

Everything about Him and the Tansian devotion is found at the BLESSED IWENE TANSI BOOKSHOP, BASILICA OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY, Onitsha.

Visit the relics of Blessed CYPRIAN Michael Iwene TANSI at the Cathedral Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, Onitsha. There, petitions ascend from the earth while prodigies descend from heaven.

He is OUR OWN.

#As #Edited by Fr. Henry Charles Umelechi

Source: Introduction of the book “Facing Mount Saint Bernard ; Blessed CYPRIAN TANSI o.c.s.o, The life and times of Blessed CYPRIAN Michael Iwene TANSI o.c.s.o” by Fr. Celestine Adizue Obi.

Note: For the book “Facing Mount Saint Bernard ; Blessed CYPRIAN TANSI o.c.s.o, The life and times of Blessed CYPRIAN Michael Iwene TANSI o.c.s.o., visit BLESSED IWENE TANSI MAJOR SEMINARY ONITSHA.

Blessed CYPRIAN Michael Iwene TANSI, pray for us🙏

#share : Help us to spread this devotion by sharing this message ⏩⏩⏩

Fada Henry Charles Umelechi

Truth Series.

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