Friday, May 11, 2007

Faith, Hope & Prayer – Do We Have It ? Are We Teaching It ?

Has our system of Ifa, become a system of making demands and not practicing patience ? has the powerful knowledge to affect change in life made faith absent in our consciousness ?

Egotism replaces Humility!

The struggle of Tangible vs. Intangible, the opposing forces within a Religious context.

These are pertinent questions we who worship Ifa (word of Olodumare) as a philosophy and incorporate the cultural aspects of Ifa as major aspects of our religious doctrine. In the past, based on the way the religion was preserved and spread through most of the world via the Cubans, the issue of rituals and making our wants be heard and accepted became the order, and most were met.
But for many, the issue of destiny, patience and FAITH are often times left behind or forgotten, perhaps because out of conceit, we get results far to often or quickly (arrogance breeds overconfidence, void of humility), so we start to believe that faith is only for Christians or others that have nothing else but faith to hold onto. However true that may be….

Why is it (apart from sincere ignorance) that Christians can be hopeful, prayerful and patient for several years or longer WITHOUT losing faith and still believing, I have met Christians praying and allowing “divine” destiny to manifest for not months but years and sometimes decades, yet having full & absolute confidence (FAITH) that it will come their way. Interestingly sometimes those very Christians or other converts who would then embrace Ifa and almost as a matter of due course become impatient, demand amazingly fast results and near miracles, WITHOUT the efforts of before, and we as the Priest allow this behavior? Why would we condone this ongoing opinion, which is counter to the very teachings of Ifa?

Sadly this behavior is prevalent even within the recent flux of people going to West Africa to perform Itefa ceremony or any Orisa ritual, (same said for both sides of Atlantic) out of need to solve many life problems then returning and expecting 30-40+ years of their life’s issues to instantly disappear without doing the personal behavioral changes needed.
Then blame the very Irunmole or officiating Priest, if they have not seen the results fast enough in their lives, tell those very people to take back Jesus – they can learn something about hope and faith, then when they have attained patience from praying for several years come back to worship Ifa, since they clearly lack the good character needed.

The real question is are we doing this to people or are they doing this to themselves? We as Priest, who are in the course of moving closer towards the philosophical teachings of Ifa and incorporating this into our daily lives as a personal connection to Divine, and not just worshipping or practicing Ifa/Orisa as ritual only and a place to solve ones problems. We need to take a critical look at the issue of Faith, Hope and Prayer, and not simply at functionality within ritual context.

This point is stated within the stanza of Ifa, pointing to how Olodumare wanted us to live our lives, and enjoy lifes blessings to the fullest, without securing one in lieu of another,
Odu Ifa – OseWori

Baba of Destiny (faith)
Baba of Purity (hopefulness)
Baba of Supplication (prayer)
Owner of Coolness (contentment)
Master of Deliverance (relief)
Destiny the praise name of Ori, cast Ifa divination for Ori
Hope-fullness the praise name of Osanla, cast Ifa divination for Osanla
Supplication the praise name of Orunmila, cast Ifa divination for Orunmila
Coolness the off-spring of Osun, cast Ifa divination for Osun
Deliverance the praise name of Osain, cast Ifa divination for Osain
When they were seeking after the good place in life called perfect Ire, but while staying in different places not knowing why things have not changed to their liking
Why is it that I have Ire, but still feel this emptiness inside ? they asked Olodumare
Patience the offspring of Olodumare,
Cast Ifa divination for the five of them and told them to combine and be always working together in the same place together and the feeling of fullness and content will be theirs, enough so that it will engulf the world over, (all existence)
They were told to make ebo, large enough that as long as any person who deploys all your attributes with earnest in the world will enjoy the fruits of your efforts,
They heard the ebo and performed it fully
They were since praising their Babalawo, who would then praise Ifa, and Ifa will justly be singing the daily praises to Olodumare
Come and meet us in complete satisfaction, it is in complete satisfaction that one is normally found at the feet of King of the Orisa

In this Odu, Ifa is laying the emphasis on attaining Ire, but not just ordinary Ire, but true Ire Alaafia, which is the important aspects of total and complete well being or a sense of comfort and satisfaction in ones life. Our lives can be filled with certain pleasures that come and go, but sometimes we still have a feeling of emptiness.
Ifa says if one incorporates these aspects of faith, hope, prayer, contentment, relief and patience, we will enjoy a life of sweetness and easy.
The Tangible (able to be touched or perceived through the sense of touch) items we give as offerings, should be augmented with the intangible (difficult to define or describe clearly, but nonetheless perceived or known) concepts of true Faith, Hope & Prayer.

The greatest and most profound change occurs first within Self and emanates around ones Being. Not just the superficial and circumstantial change based on a system of ritualism, making demands using tangible sacrificial items.
Ifa is more than that, now is the time to bring our religious worship to the next level.

Awoyinfa Ifaloju