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Sunday, 5 July 2015

The Soul of The Apostolate, Part Eight

Some years ago when I was in Japan I was astonished and deeply moved when I had the happiness to come in contact with some members of the numerous Christian families which were discovered years ago near Nagasaki. I have never heard anything so amazing! Surrounded by pagans, forced to conceal their religion, deprived of priests for three centuries, these Christians of staunch courage received from their parents not only faith but fervor. Where are we to find the moving power strong enough to explain the strength and duration of this extraordinary heritage? The answer is easy. Their ancestors had been trained by a superb director of “shock troops,” St. Francis Xavier.

These are the last words I am putting on the blog for now from The Soul of The Apostolate. The book contains many more priceless paragraphs, but today, I want to emphasize the necessity, again, for the personal, adult appropriation of the Faith.

The Jesuits trained people, in the lands to which they went, to do examinations twice daily-one in the morning and one at night. This daily examen kept those in hiding in a state of holiness, as they prayed to God, as some of us do in the Divine Office, the see our hidden sins and to be freed of those. Save me from the faults I do not see. Save your servant from pride.

The daily examen focuses on both exterior and interior sins and imperfections. 

Here is an example of the Examen. This is an excellent way to learn contemplative prayer. If God grants me the House of Prayer, those who join would be asked to do this type of examen daily. It fits in nicely with the time of lectio divina asked for by St. Benedict. How wonderful that the Cistercian way, the Benedictine way, and the Ignatian way overlap in teaching contemplative prayer.

I wrote almost two years ago on these hidden Christians. Now is the time to consider their courage. Below are two pertinent re-posts, especially for my new readers.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

The Kakure Kirishitan And The One Thing Necessary

Thanks to wikipedia for Japanese Blessed Virgin
With all the chaos and sharp decline of democracy in Great Britain, Ireland and America, I have pondered on the one thing necessary at this time. But, I have come up with two. The first is obvious in St. Alphonsus Ligouri's prayer. We all must be dedicated to becoming saints . But, I add a second thing which is also of primary importance. We, you and I, not priests, or bishops, or cardinals, or nuns, we the laity must pass on the Faith to the next generations. This is our duty, stemming from our baptismal promises. We have no choice. To pass on the heritage and all the cultural trappings of Catholicism, the doctrines, the dogmas, the liturgical rites as far as we can, such as the Liturgy of the Hours, is our duty. We shall have no one to blame but ourselves if the faith continues to dwindle and disappear from some areas here, and in other countries.  This is our Faith. Pass it on.

Pius IX  declared it a miracle when the missionaries came back to Japan and found the  隠れキリシタンthe hidden Christians,Kakure Kirishitan laity who had kept the Faith without a priest for about 250 years. Bishop Bernard Thadee Petitjean,  the first missionary priest back to Japan after 1853, and the first Vicar Apostolic of Japan, discovered these hidden Christians. They had passed on the Faith through  a 100 generations. Are we strong enough and intelligent enough about our Faith to do this?

Here are two pages from one of the first modern Catholic Catechisms in Japan, 1865. The very first came out in 1860.  From 1614 until 1860, the laity had to be responsible for their own faith and Catholicity. I assume they baptised their children and converts, prayed, honoured Mary (there were statues of Mary found), and keeping customs. Could we do this? In 2010, there were almost seven billion people in the world and 118,990 major seminarians. Who do you think is going to keep the Faith in the not-so-distant future? You, I.....

A Prayer of Saint Alphonsus Liguori

O my God, help me to remember - 
That time is short, eternity is long.
What good is all the greatness of this world at the hour of death?
To love You, my God, and save my soul is the one thing necessary.
Without You, there is no peace, no joy.
My God, I need fear nothing but sin.
For to lose You, my God, is to lose all.
O my God, help me to remember - 
That to gain all I must leave all,
That in loving You I have all good things: the infinite riches of Christ
and His Church, the motherly protection of Mary,
peace beyond understanding, joy unspeakable!

Eternal Father, your Son has promised that whatever we ask in His Name will be given to us. In His Name I pray: give me a burning faith, a joyful hope, a holy love for Jesus Christ. Give me the grace of perseverance in doing Your will in all things. Do with me what You will. I repent of having offended You. Grant, O Lord, that I may love You always and never let me be separated from You.
O my God and my All, make me a saint!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Lost Souls because.....

I know for a fact that young men are saying no to God regarding becoming priests.

St. Francis, according to Fr. Minelli, was asked by a leader of a Japanese tribe, a man who had heard of God's love for the Japanese, this question: " How come God, if He is so good, as you say he is, has waited so long before making Christianity known to us?" "Do you want to know?" replied the Saint with sadness. "Here is why: God had inspired many Christians to come and announce to you the Good  News, but many of the have not wanted to heed His call."

No priests, no sacraments, no Mass, no Eucharist, no absolution of sins, no communities...

The great sin of men who are refusing the call is one of sloth. It is too easy to just be single, go with the flow, live a completely self-centered life.

Those who are answering the call understand that the day of the comfortable cleric is over.

We are fast entering the new Age of the Martyrs.

Where are the real men who will answer God's call?

They have been pampered from birth by misguided parents. They only want to feed their own needs and they do not love God or His Bride, the Church.

Too many are saying no and souls will be lost.....

Yesterday, a priest and I discussed the love of the Church which should be in the hearts of priests.

Where is this bridal love? It is a gift for anyone who wants it. It is Christ's Own Love for all of us.