The Mission of Catholic Berakah Ministries (CBM) is to form the minds and hearts of African Catholics and people of goodwill in the Hebrew Berakah Spirituality, worship tradition and lifestyle as lived by Jesus and passed on to the Church at the last supper in obedience to the Father’s will.
The Hebrew word Berakah, which was later translated in Greek as “Eucharist” (thanksgiving) has three distinct meanings often used interchangeable. It means to praise, to thank or to bless. Berakah summarises the foundations of all Hebrew faith in God: an abiding sense of appreciation, gratitude and Joyful praise. God had given so much to them, done so much for them, stood by them so consistently, that the only possible response was Berakah! – we praise you, we thank you, we bless you for all that you have done for us. The truly pious Jew was encouraged to exclaim or recite Berakah one hundred times each day as a conscious attempt to notice life’s goodness and to acknowledge God as the source of it all. The scriptures recount that Jesus had grown into such an appreciation of God’s goodness and loyalty that he himself could not give up even at the cost of his life. The abiding sense of maturing appreciation (contained in the word Berakah) is nowhere more clearly portrayed than in the different accounts of both the Last Supper and the Feeding stories of the Gospels.
There can be no Berakah if we do not fully understand in our lives, the awesomeness of God’s goodness. The Hebrew talk of God’s Hesed (love in the sense of loving-kindness, mercy, tenderness or compassion) and Emet, a word which means true or faithful. When paired with Hesed, it is translated as faithful love. It speaks of the truthfulness of God’s commitment to us, a loyalty that will never waiver. It speaks of blood that is “poured out for you”. Accordingly, Berakah calls us to experience as Jesus did, a relationship with God that is worth trusting with one’s life. And after having received this graciousness from God, we are now capable of being just as gracious, appreciative and joyful to others. This is how the Berakah community is born.
This spirituality based on gratitude, appreciation and joyful praise carefully articulated by Rev. Fr. Georges Nkeze President/Pro-chancellor of CUIB, is rooted on the fact that the Catholic Church today is going through hard and challenging times. The scenario on the African Continent is disturbing. Despite the vitality of the “faith” and huge church attendance, the underlying reality is shocking and frightening – Catholics are looking for wherever they can “experience” God and find “salvation”. How can it be that the bulk of otherwise faithful Catholics are deserting the Sunday Eucharist in a subtle way or attending it with a divided mind? How can we explain that the same Catholics constantly remain bitter, resentful, envious, and negative instead of living lives of gratitude, appreciation and joyful praise to God, core outcomes of Eucharistic people? How can we explain the fact that the same Catholics participate in the Eucharist and then, surprisingly, switch immediately to attend almost all day Sunday and weekly prayer services carried out by “mega prophets and prophetesses” “apostles” healers, diviners, soothsayers, teller of fortune givers of oracles, “the unseen serpent” promoters, witch doctors and “miracle workers”? How can we explain the paralyzing fear that often plagues the lives of the same Catholics whenever they encounter evil and witchcraft when the entire Bible assures them of God’s constant love and protection for them? How do we explain the fact that a bulk of Catholics prefers to spend millions of francs CFA to get appointment to meet “special men and women of God” to receive answers for their problems they today many find the celebration which is at the heart of the Christian mystery merely routine – or even meaningless? And more important what can we do about it?
These questions are appropriately answered in the book: BERAKAH: An Authentic African Eucharist Spirituality, by Rev. Fr. George J. Nkeze. In the book, Fr. George addresses these questions head-on, exploring how the Eucharist can come alive for Africans, how it can lead them to experience God’s covenant love in a practical, intelligent, and concrete way. He is emphatic that unless African Catholics recover the living richness of Berakah spirituality as understood, lived by to the fullest by Jesus, it will be challenging and near impossible for them to grasp the dimensions of meanings, and the powerful, supernatural drama that takes place every time there is a gathering at the table of the new and eternal Berakah covenant meal, the Marriage Supper of the lamb where “God Himself… will away every tear” (Rev.21:3-4). This covenant, ritual meal, is the Biblical faith in action, not just as a series of isolated texts, but as the sacramental expression of the mystery that all the bible texts point to: and “the mystery is Christ among you, the hope of glory” (Col.1:27) we therefore urge you to join the Catholic Berakah Ministries and enjoy a life of Divine Blessings, Protection, Gratitude, Joyful Praise and a Positive Mindset.