ASIA/JAPAN - Cardinal Filoni in Nagasaki: in mission, the essential work is carried out by Grace

Tuesday, 19 September 2017 missionaries   evangelization  


Nagasaki (Agenzia Fides) - In Japan it is necessary to "resume missio for non-Christians". There is a need for priests, religious men and women and lay people "who put in the eyes of non-Christians the identity of Jesus through their lives, approaching them all with patience and friendship", and to experience with gratitude that in such apostolic work "the essential work is accomplished by Grace, that is, from God". Thus, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, outlined the urgencies and the implications of the mission to which the Church is called in the Japanese archipelago at this stage of the Country's life. This is what Cardinal Filoni said in his speech Tuesday, September 29, to priests, religious men and women, consecrated faithful and lay people of the Archdiocese of Nagasaki, whom he met on the third day of his visit to Japan.
In his speech, Cardinal Filoni, quoting St. Paul, began by recalling that the sui generis identity of Christians consists in being "covered in Christ" through baptism, and seems incomparable to the identities that proceed from social, ethnic belongings. Even in Japan, as the persecutions of the past witness, "living this identity of grace became a tough challenge in a few years, because this was not always in tune with a culture that enhances the concept of "harmonic uniformism". Similar reactions - noted the Prefect of Propaganda Fide - were also "in Jerusalem, as well as in Rome and Greece at the time of the Apostles, and not only in the early centuries of the Church", because "faith in Christ has always been considered, in every traditional society, as a "revolution". But apostolic work has never been arrested or intimidated by the oppositions of those who perceive Christianity as "an alien element that threatens the harmony of society". The missionary aspect - said the Cardinal - "is a passion, it is like an overwhelming love. You cannot control it, it marks your whole life. There is no rationality, which calms and kills the ardor"
The authentic apostolic dynamism - Cardinal Filoni suggested in his speech - embraces and always enhances the positive features of every culture and every human tradition: "I think", the Cardinal added, referring to the local situation "of the seriousness of the commitment when a Japanese takes on a task, pride of belonging as an identity aspect, love for nature and respect, the nobility of some traditional moral values". But this attitude of sympathy and appreciation for the treasures of wisdom of individual peoples does not in itself deplete the amplitude and richness of the missionary adventure to which all Christians are called: Even in Japan - noted the Prefect - it is necessary to "resume the missio for non-Christians", which has as timeless paradigm "the peregrination of Jesus, which started in Galilee, continued in the regions of Tire, Sidon and Decapoli, pagan lands, and concluded in Judea". In this hopeful missionary recovery in the Japanese archipelago - Cardinal Filoni added - "the present difficulties will not disappear magically in the near future, given the acceleration of secularization of society. However, you must not resign yourself to the immensity of problems. Because the essential work is accomplished by Grace, that is, from God. God loves the Japanese and knows the problems and anguish of this people". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 19/9/2017)