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A Monastic Journal of Love, 2008 Br Aidan, OSB olive

If we say a bad word to another, we say it to Christ.
If we say a good word to another, we say it to Christ.
If we verbally offend another, we verbally offend Christ.
If we apoligize to another, we apologize to Christ.
If we give joy to another, we give joy to Christ.
If we praise another, we give praise to Christ.
If we tell another "I love you", we tell Christ "I love you."
Christ is Love, let us be love.
And the world will be a better place.

The meaning of a Redemptorist missionary in Japan today

To be a Redemptorist missionary in Japan today means first of all being called by HIM - a spiritual reality – to make HIM known to the Japanese society by being open to the signs of time here in Japan and through making an earnest effort to respond to these signs in an authentic way.
Today’s secular Japanese society is a spiritually deprived society, a ‘spiritually third world country’. The public education does not foster the inner life, i.e., the life of heart and soul of its clientele. Especially after World War 2nd competition not cooperation is the number one virtue taught and fostered. As its consequence personal success in the official public school system, to make it to the top of the educational hierarchy is the number one goal set for its youth and thus for Japan’s future. The means to get to the top are memorizing the materials taught rather than individual thinking and reflecting. The main subjects taught are Japanese language, Japanese history and World history, English and mathematics. Let it be said, these content of these subjects is regulated by the government. As its consequence the youth is indoctrinated by the ideas what the country considers as being important. Today’s educational authority, however, does not seem to see the importance of fostering the inner, spiritual life of its people, i.e. persons. Thus loss of meaning of life is only one natural consequence.
The high suicide rate of today’s Japan ~even primary school children ① ~ is just one specific outcome of that policy. Since 1998 more than 30,000 persons took their life yearly. This totals for the last 9 years to the sum of 270,000 – 285,000 persons. The high rate of drop-outs from the public education system, the number of mostly young persons “neither in education, nor in employment or training (NEET)”, the high number of “Hikikomori (persons withdrawn from society by enclosing themselves in their private rooms)“ are signs not to be overseen.
On the other hand Japan has the world’s longest longevity. But what does/can longevity without the growth of the inner person actually mean?
It goes without saying that fostering of the inner, spiritual life of Japanese persons is of the utmost urgency and need to be seen and responded to. Consequently the mission of a Redemptorist is to respond to this need, i.e. to redeem the Japanese (society) from being cut off from their inner life and its needs; to hear the outcry of the Japanese heart and soul; to stir the public to foster and heal these overseen and neglected dimension(s).
Jesus came to give life in fullness. “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” ② This means in concrete terms:
- Rather than to look after the most abandoned Catholics③ the number one task is to care for the spiritually abandoned (Japanese) society as such.
- To witness Jesus as a person “alive”, who makes persons alive. (Japan is perceived
as a rather dead, faceless society)
- To proclaim Jesus through a life-giving teaching based on a sound theology “made in
Japan” rather than “a merely memorized theology mirroring the thoughts and/or
understanding of mainly or only the Western hemisphere
- To celebrate a life-giving-liturgy “made in Japan”
- To foster and to stir up a genuine Japanese prayer life (for example with implementing
genuine Japanese art, poetry, music, dance, Zen meditation, etc.)

In order to do so a redeeming missionary has to be
- a inner person with a deep personal spiritual life; a person in a living contact with
Jesus which is the opposite of a person parroting learned outward behavior and
teaching.
- a person to be willing to be “always ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks
(him) for a reason for (his) hope”. ⑤ ;
- an authentic, real and genuine person who is prepared to become an outsider even
within his religious community, the Church and the society at large. In other words a
missionary of Jesus Christ tries to be like Jesus who lived an authentic and genuine
life-giving and life-enhancing life by standing up for his convictions and beliefs even
until execution, i.e., being thrown out of society.


footnotes
1. In 2006, 14 primary school pupils, 81 junior high school students and 220 high school
students took their own lives.
2. John 10:10
3. In terms of the proportion of one priest per believer the Japanese Church is perhaps one of
the best staffed Churches within the Roman Catholic Church. Thus the possibility of a
Japanese Catholic to reach a priest, to have a (personal) contact with a priest or to be visited
by a priest, especially while in hospital is extremely high.
4. 1 Peter 3,15

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