Cameroonian Priest’s New Book Suggests Ways to Find Self-Acceptance “from within”

Cover page of the new book titled “The Spiritual Perfection of the Human Being” written by Fr. Fredrick Njumferghai Bohtila/ Credit: Paulines Publications Africa

The rise in suicide cases and mental challenges stem from a lack of self-acceptance and the nature of human beings to search for happiness in the wrong places, a Cameroonian Catholic Priest has said.

Fr. Fredrick Njumferghai Bohtila says that the more the world develops technologically with people amassing more material wealth, the more they continue to search for happiness which they hardly ever find. When this happens, individuals find life meaningless, the Priest says.

“Suicide cases are on the rise all over the world because people are not happy. Many feel deceived even in relationships. This is because they are questing for joy in wrong places and never find it,” Fr. Bohtila told ACI Africa in an interview Monday, June 14.

The Franciscan Friar of the Capuchin Priest who is based in Zambia has authored a book, “The Spiritual Perfection of the Human Being” which he says is an invitation to find happiness from within.

The book draws teachings from St. Augustine of Hippo’s book, Confessions, which bears one of the Saint’s most popular invocations, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”


According to Fr. Bohtila, St. Augustine of Hippo is the model for people looking for internal peace, those who wish to know about themselves and to realize that they were created in the image of God who makes their joy complete.

“A human being today is always out of himself, is always distracted,” the 45-year-old Cameroonian Priest tells ACI Africa ahead of his book launch slated for June 22.

He adds, “Most of the time we are absent minded. We are far, we are pulled by the fascinating world around us and we don't have that self-acceptance.”

The 100-page book published by the Pauline Publications Africa is divided into three chapters. In the first chapter, the Priest talks about the human being created in the image of God as a call to perfection.

“The perfection we are talking about is coming back to ourselves and discovering who we are,” Fr. Bohtila says, and adds, “Human beings have ventured far and even travelled to the moon. But we believe that the most important journey for a man is when he goes back to himself and realizes who he really is. Only then do we discover the greatness of our mind and the greatness of God in us.”

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“Through travelling back to ourselves, we come to discover that the God or the greatness we are searching for is still within us,” the Priest says.

The second chapter addresses the consequences of sin and goes back to the fall of Adam and Even. The Capuchin Priest says that the two who wanted to be like God provide lessons for the society today where not many people are satisfied with who they are.

“Adam and Eve wanted to rejoice in a power that was greater than their own. They wanted to become like God. A creature cannot take the place of God,” the Priest says, adding that the conduct of Adam and Eve is “a fundamental problem today.”

“Most of the time, the human being doesn't accept himself the way he is. We want to become someone else. And that's where our sadness begins,” he says.


He further says that his book is aimed at helping people to arrive at self-acceptance, and to know their rightful place in creation so as to live fulfilled lives.

The book also addresses the issue of the divided will and the challenges that people encounter as they make life choices. This, according to the Cameroonian Priest, is the struggle that St. Augustine experienced when he talks about being “divided in himself.”

Fr. Bohtila says that many times, people are divided and that in making choices, many are “prompted by egoistic motives and distorted emotions.”

“We have distorted desires. And so that one blurs our reasoning faculty and our intellectual faculty,” he says, and adds, “We need to be clear in our rationality, in what we are choosing. But now because we are moved by emotions, passions, sometimes our choices are wrong. And those wrong choices don’t help us to grow.”

In the third chapter, the Priest author talks about the healing power of the grace of God. It is this power that St. Augustine of Hippo discovers when he realizes that “he has been moving out of himself and leaving all the good inside.”

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Fr. Bohtila says that the world, especially today, needs the message of St. Augustine of Hippo who is honored as a great doctor of the Church.

The Saint is described as one of the Latin Fathers of the Church “and perhaps the most significant Christian thinker after St. Paul.”

The contribution of St. Augustine of Hippo to Christian teaching has been said to have created a theological system of great power and lasting influence.

His numerous written works, the most important of which are Confessions and The City of God are said to have helped lay the foundation for much of medieval and modern Christian thought.

Fr. Bohtila says that he has always looked up to St. Augustine of Hippo and started writing the book that is pegged on the Saint while he undertook his research in Rome.

“I think that the human heart today, despite all the things that we possess even in the advancement of material things in technology, that human being keeps searching for happiness somewhere,” the Priest says.

He adds, “The more we possess things, the more we want more things, which means that the human heart is not satisfied by the things we possess. This is what St. Augustine implies when he says that our hearts will remain restless, until they come to rest in God.”

Fr. Bohtila says that the fundamental relationship stressed upon in the book that will be going for Sh.500 (US$5.00) is to come back to oneself and to realize that the true meaning of life is found within.