Fr. Stan Chu Ilo, author of Catholic Register Book’s latest publication, Discover Your Divine Investment. Photo by Michael Swan

Fr. Stan Chu Ilo and finding the path to spiritual joy

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  • November 3, 2012

TORONTO - The greatest challenge for Christians today is forgiveness, says Fr. Stan Chu Ilo.

“The more you forgive, the freer you become, and the more you forgive, the healthier you become spiritually, physically and otherwise,” he said.

Ilo’s healthy habits of spiritual joy not only include forgiveness, but also involve being patient with ourselves, others and God.

Ilo is author of Discover Your Divine Investment: The path to spiritual joy, which he says will surprise readers with the fact that God is not done with them. There are stories in his book that he promises will draw people out of the ordinary human experience.

Ilo has purposely stepped away from the more heavy, speculative and abstract style of his past works to what he calls “theology of the marketplace.”

The challenge facing the Church today, said Ilo, is “communicating God’s word and communicating the truth about what we believe and what we hope for and what we celebrate (and) how we live. We need to find a good way of communicating God’s work.”

Ilo says Discover Your Divine Investment, published by Catholic Register Books, is intended to start a conversation with and be more accessible to the average Catholic or Christian. By book’s end, he hopes readers will walk away happy to be alive, happy God has kept them going and hopeful for the future.

“God speaks to us within the very ark of our humanity,” said Ilo. “Being attuned to this divine harmony is what this book is trying to tell people.”

While some look to palm readings and astrology for answers, Ilo urges readers to be introspective. “Shakespeare said the fault is not in our stars; the fault is in us,” said Ilo.

He promotes a more “reflective practice that attunes our daily actions and choices to the deepest hunger of our souls.” Ilo believes that if people do this on a consistent basis, they will find a pattern to what makes them happiest.

“That which makes me happiest and promotes the joy, happiness and fulfilment of people around me, if I do that on a consistent basis, is the purpose of my life,” he said.

For the author, “life is play,” and he would like people “to strike a balance between playfulness and seriousness” in their own lives.

“God invested in the cosmos, invested in every human being,” so Ilo wants each individual reader to grasp that not only does God love him or her, but that everyone’s life, happiness and self-actualization is important to Him.

“You are a treasure of inestimable value, no matter your age, no matter your sex, your sexuality, your race, no matter your history, no matter your past,” he said.

Ilo, originally from the Ebo ethnic group in eastern Nigeria, arrived in Canada 10 years ago after studying in Rome.

He had planned on a temporary stay before heading back to Europe, but three months into his visit, Ellen Mary MacAdam, to whom the book is dedicated, convinced him to stay. Ilo calls MacAdam, 91, his second mother.

“She said to me, you come from Africa, life must be hard and lonely for you, so I thought to invite you to have a meal and to assure you that there are people like us who will be here for you in case you need someone to talk to.”

He credits her with helping him discover the treasure within himself through Catholic education. MacAdam sponsored his graduate studies in Canada. He went on to doctoral studies and now teaches at the Faculty of Theology at the University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto.

“She represents, to some extent, what I consider an ideal way of living, how through love we can cross borders of race, of religion, of creed, of social or economic class.”

To order Discover Your Divine Investment, at $14.99, call (416) 934-3410 or visit www.catholicregister.org.

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