The Path of the Saints S/E Lawrence Ibikunle Olayinka Annual memorial Lecture V
Delivered by ASE Joseph Olorunnisola Pre 2004 Harvest of the Redeemed Activities.
My Lord’s Spiritual, my Lord’s tempora, our highly beloved mother – widow of S/E Olayinka, the wonderful children of blessing, distinguished ladies and gentlemen.
We are today once again listening to the 5th Annual lecture instituted in honor of our departed father, benefactor, spiritual role model and anointed minister of God who lived for the righteousness of God and died a martyr on February 19, 2000. The book of Psalms 112 says that “Blessed is the man that feared the Lord, that delighted greatly in His commandments. His seeds shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Surely, he shall not be moved forever: The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance”. So shall it be with our beloved father and the wonderful family left behind. Today we are discussing the Path of the Saints.
But what is a Saint? Anyone who is in paradise. A holy person or anyone who is in heaven. But a saint with a capital S in the catholic and Orthodox tradition is someone whose life so exemplifies holiness and virtue that the church has officially declared him to be in heaven.
The lengthy process by which a person is named a capital S Saint is called canonization. If a person displays great holiness in life, he or she may be called ‘Venerable’ after death. This step in the saint making process indicates the person may be honored. The next step is beatification. After more investigation and indisputable evidence of miracles worked through the person’s intercession, a ‘Venerable’ may be named ‘Blessed’ and assigned an official feast day- usually the day of death. (Their birthday into heaven.) Then after more investigation and more miracles, a ‘Blessed’ may finally be canonized and declared an official capital ‘S’ Saint.
The only exception to the process is a martyr, a person who is killed for the faith. Our father – S/E Lawrence Olayinka falls under the two categories.
So what are the Saints like? All too often we think of them as heavenly Goody who did nothing except pray, perform good deeds and make everyone else feel guilty for not living up to their examples. While some of the saints did spend most of their time praying and doing good deeds, the majority were real people – with all the foibles, eccentricities and charm of real people. That is what makes the saints so appealing – they are ordinary people with one extraordinary difference, they have been so inflamed with the love of God that their entire lives were a celebration of God’s love and goodness. They were so passionately in love with God while they were living, they are now believed to be permanently with God for all eternity in heaven. The Saints were never plaster statues on a heavenly assembly line. They made mistakes in everything from schooling to their professional lives, their marriages e.t.c. They suffered the same heartaches, illnesses, agonies and sorrow that we suffer. And they experienced all the joys of everyday life. They didn’t become saints because they were perfect; they became saints because they allowed God to transform their imperfections.
This memorial lecture is designed to lead you into a discovery channel of the love the saints had for God and the enormous love God has for each one of us. In this paper I intend to mirror our departed father through the following seven saints.
Titus Brandsma who lived 1881-1942: Father Titus Brandsma was a journalist and author. As the spiritual advisor to the Dutch Catholic Journalists, he declared that catholic publications could not print Nazi propaganda ads and still remain catholic. Father Titus knew when he made his declaration against the Nazis that he would be arrested. He also knew that an arrest would probably mean death. He was willing to take the risk because his conscience would not let him cooperate with evil. He could not let his silence make him a contributor to a cause he knew was wrong. It was because of this proclamation that he was arrested and imprisoned at the infamous concentration camp at Dachau. On July 26, 1942, an assigned nurse injected Father Titus with poison and he died within minutes.
So also was our S/E Lawrence Olayinka. Because of his uncompromising stand against anything evil and his unrelenting cry of denunciation at unrighteousness, like father Titus, he was also poisoned. Both personal revelation before his death and after the demise confirmed this.
St. Matthew was one of those despised tax collectors. Then he met Jesus and everything changed. Jesus said, “follow me”, and Matthew did. He left his job, his wealth, and his friends. The annals of Saints say that, this apostle of Jesus and writer of the first synoptic gospel became a saint by being killed – dying as a martyr in Ethiopia. What about the celebrant of this presentation, he left all, carried public address system and turned his marketing Van of Biode Pharmaceutical Company to an evangelical trawler – a fisher of men and Christ-warrior day and night to harvest souls unto Christ only to be terminated pre-maturely.
Cosmas and Damien have been venerated and converted to saints because of their free service to mankind. Their names are recorded in the Eucharistic Prayer of the Mass and Legend holds they were twin brothers who practiced medicine in Syria and were called moneyless physicians because they were not charging for their services. Record shows that our departed father in the Lord had been a soldier of Christ since he joined the Celestial fold in the late sixties, battling with forces of darkness and negativity in the wilderness, at streams, at the beach and within houses of the Lord to save the lives of many who were shackled by Satan without taking a dime. Even when he became a shepherd of the Lord in the late eighties until his transition on Feb. 19, 2000, record shows that, like Saints Cosmas and Damien, he was giving a free service to the Lord without any pay or monetary compensation from the church or any member.
St. Ignatius of Antioch St. Ignatius, the bishop of Antioch was condemned to death by Emperor Trajan, for preaching the gospel and defending the laws and ordinances of God. As he was hauled to Rome in a cart where he would be thrown to the lions alive, one would normally think that St. Ignatius would feel miserable, dejected and sorrowful on his long journey to Rome where he would be executed by the Lions, but instead he used the time to defend the beliefs that got him condemned. As he traveled, he wrote seven letters, which are still in existence encouraging and exhorting other Christians not to lose their faith despite persecution. He got to Rome and he was executed – thrown alive to the lions because of his belief.
Just like St. Ignatius of Antioch, Senior Evangelist Lawrence Olayinka, at a critical moment of the most important decision in his life – to succumb to the demands of the power of darkness and stay alive or uphold his faith in Christ and die, showed us that even when our bodies are being held by forces outside our control, our minds and spirits can never be enslaved; he chose to uphold his faith and die. May this courageous soul continue to rejoice in the perpetual glory of heavens.
St. Luke, the third synoptic gospeler, great disciple of Jesus, follower of St. Paul apostle and a great physician believed that medicine is an art and science. He believed that for a physician to be effective, they not only have to know anatomy and diseases, they also have to understand the human heart. The best known doctors look at their patients not just as sick bodies but also as hurting people. They treat not only the disease, but also the individual. Just like St. Luke, S/E Olayinka would not only assist you mightily with prayer, he would also back it up with personal interest and physical follow-up until the problem is resolved. Paul apostle was beheaded with a sword in Rome and St Luke disappeared from the radar.
Mary Magdalene was established through her generosity and love. The most expensive possession in her house, she gave out to adorn the Lord and throughout the earthly ministration of our Lord; Mary, Joanna and Susanna were always providing out of their substances to maintain the ministry of Christ.
Much as I am not in a position to have an accurate record of those sponsored an maintained by the Olayinkas, my limited information is re-assuring that a number of lives have been touched and lifted from misery and hopelessness to a lofty height of success by the family. Even my personal initial contact and over 30 months of initial close relationship benefited from the family’s generosity. One thing I have established about this family – the family strongly believes that the essence and joy of life is not in the amount of wealth we have but in sharing out generously whatever is available and making other people feel good. They are never possessed by their possessions.
Distinguished audience, just like Jonadab the son of Rechab ( the Rechabites) Senior Evangelist Lawrence Olayinka loved, cherished and maintained an inseparable relationship with her God given wife, Mummy Abosede Olayinka during his lifetime. They were always in and out together like fork and knife. He protected her with all his might and faith in Christ from the prowling menace of outer family members. He remained totally faithful to his family and left a strong legacy of discipline, respect, hard work, godliness and spirit of faithful worship to the four God-fearing children left behind. A faithful and totally committed Celestian to the core. May the good Lord continue to remain the stronghold, fortress, shield and buckler of the family. Amen.
The Path of the Saints is clearly a difficult path. When you are on this path you will be rejected, humiliated, hated with passion, isolated and targeted from all fronts by the arrows of the wicked ones. It is an earthly path of severe torture and indignation but the surest path into the eternal kingdom of glories. Only the courageous, the strong in faith the upright and the humble are found on this way. It was the path chosen for John the Baptist who was beheaded in his thirties, the path chosen by apostle James that was also executed before he was forty, Stephen was stoned to dead, Paul was thrown to the lion at Ephesus but he overcame and was subsequently beheaded in Rome while St. Irenaeus had his head cut off at his wish before being thrown to the sharks. A number were roasted alive in fire and drums of heated oil while a good number, even, in modern day China, Iraq, Somalia, Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria etc are either gazed, have their tongues sliced, their eyes plucked or the entire body mutilated (Heb. 11:33-40) because of their passion for the righteousness of Christ. Their lives are cut short because they were living in a world that is dark and evil. A world that can not tolerate co-existence with light and truth.
It seems to me that the number of people that would die this gruesome and horrifying death as martyrs have been pre-determined before the foundation of the world and it seems also that the fulfillment of the fullness of the number would spell the end of time and the commencement of the dreadful and consuming judgment of God Revelation 6:9-12 “And behold when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”
Is God unable to defend the righteous from the hands of the earthly villain? Yes, the mighty and holy One of Israel is able. I think that the Lord has deliberately closed his eyes as he did over the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I think that the Martyrs and saints have been earmarked before the foundation of the world to inherit places of greater honor in heaven; their lives and blood are therefore an atonement, a sacrifice or an evidence in the hand of the righteous God to convict and condemn this evil and adulterous generations of vipers. Matth. 23:34-36. This is still very much part of the un-searchable mystery of God.
Finally, brethren, it is evident from the lives of the few saints examined that the qualities of sainthood consist of: bowels of mercy, kindness, humility of mind, meekness, long-suffering, unwavering faith, forbearing one another, forgiving one another, fear of God, thankfulness to God always, keeping God’s commandments and ordinances, purity of mind and above all these, love and charity which are the bond of perfection. All the known saints share these virtues in various degrees and combination.
S/E Lawrence Olayinka left shortly before his 60 reminding us that ‘Time is not our own; we will have to give strict account of it”. Today I urge you to review your ways and the way you spend your time during this pilgrimage into the world appreciating the fact that growth, spiritually and otherwise, begins with recognizing the need for change.
As we celebrate the 5th birthday into Sainthood of Senior Evangelist Lawrence Ibikunle Olayinka, once again this year, we pray that the soul of this faithful servant of God will continue to rejoice in the glories and beauties of eternal life, and that all the possessions he left behind will continue to remain precious in the sight of God Almighty and his son Jesus Christ.
At the resurrection of the righteous, may we all be found rejoicing and shinning like the sun together in the eternal kingdom of glory.
“The righteous perished, and no man layeth it to heart, and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come”.
I thank you all for listening.
ASE Joseph Olorunnisola August 14, 2004.
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