Christmas Novena to the Infant Jesus

16 12 2009

This is from December 16 to the 24.  If you dont think of an intention I suggest that one day Christmas day be a national holiday in Japan.

O Christ, our Lord and King, come for the sake of your Church, your people that by her strength and unity of love she may proclaim to all the world the glory an djoy of your kingdom.  In bond of union draw mankind to yoru reign of gentleness, of mercy and of truth. Help each of us to build up your kingdom, to prepare our hearts in love as your Christmas light shines clear.  Sweet Infant Jesus bless us.  Amen.


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19 12 2009
George Steven

                      J.M.J.
Hey,
   Peace of Christ,
Wow, thanks for your blog, keep it up, you’re doing a great job! I found your blog when I typed “catholic japan expat” on google, providence! I’ve been really interested in Japanese Catholicism ever since I heard Fr Emmanuel McCarthy talk about the Japanese Martyrs and a little of the history of Japanese Catholicism (if you’re interested to find out more his audio tapes can be found on the net at http://www.centreforchristiannonviolence.org/resources ).
  Like yourself, I’m of the generation of young Catholics who have re-found the beauty of Catholic Tradition. Being based in England I’m blessed to be able to get to Tridentine rite masses (even my Spiritual Director celebrates the Old Rite!), where women wearing mantillas is the norm. There is something magically reverential, loving and beautiful about that, something that says “I’m here for You, Lord”. You shouldn’t worry about not knowing Latin, I don’t know Latin (yet) but my Daily Missal (look up Baronius Press) has the English translation. I was taught that the Tridentine Mass offers you the opportunity to offer up the Mass yourself, instead of having it said at you. So in the silence I pray the Mass with the priest using the English translation. All I can say is, “Thank You God!” We’re also very fortunate to have Tridentine Rite Pilgrimages there is an especially big one from Paris to Chartres every year at Pentacost with people coming from all over the world (google Chartre Pilgrimage). And more than that all this above is totally part of the Church thanks to, well, firstly England was blessed after the Second Vatican Council to be the only country (I think in the world) permitted an indult allowing priest to continue saying the old rite, secondly the document Ecclesia Dei and lastly, praise God, the Moto Proprio. So no we’re not SSPX! Pray for them that they may come home! 
  The Pro-life movement is very active here, but I’ll be honest in saying that the government doesn’t listen. It was quite shocking to hear about the level of suicides over there, wow. But the idea on suicide prevention patrols and ads on tv I found quite inspiring. That is an area we need to work on.
  From what I read of your blog (everything…) it sounds like you have an easier time than what we do here in England. Here is rampant agnostic bordering anarchistic secularism, there are some who try “preaching” to the masses, but it tends to be rather pitiful. Apart from Fr Benedict Groeschels Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, they have had some success but even they were shocked at the “I don’t give a …” attitude of the gentry.
   The most inspiring thing I have personally seen has been the work of the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa), who really live by a maxim which I try to live by “Preach always… Use words only when necessary” St. Francis of Assisi. I think it’s something we can all learn from, to strive to conform our lives to Christ, before trying to convince others. The words of St. Paul come to mind, “If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 1-2 (www.drbo.org the Douay-Rhiems bible online, which is THE authoratative Catholic bible, though it is Old English, oh and read charity (caritas) as love). Incidentally you might find the book Communion of Love by Matthew the Poor (look on Amazon) extremely helpful not only in your “apostolic” lay life, nor only in your spiritual life, but also in your current discernment. I am in a similar place and following Spiritual Directors orders to pray for light to know The Truth and strength to do the Good.
  It was quite a coincidence that you mentioned John Pridmore, not only have I met him, or that I’ve worked with him, or the fact he’s facebook mate of mine, but I met him six years ago on a formation course for Youth2000 (a charismatic youth group the Novos Ordo version of Juventutem which is the Traditional youth movement), I wasn’t even Catholic back then, he cried at my story and we’ve been close ever since! No such thing as coincidence only God-incidents.
   I have rambled on for so long! Wow there’s so much I want to say and ask! Right, business! Question time! (though just a quick clarification on my use of the word “Japanese” which I will use to refer to long-standing natives, as opposed to non-native Japanese citizens)
1. Of the Japanese Catholics you know, what percentage are converts (or come from a recent family conversion background) and what percentage are long-running Catholic bloodlines? (Ha! Bet you never expected that one lol)

2. a. Do you know any Japanese Catholic families?
    b. Could you describe their home life?
    c. how many children do they generally have?

3. a. How “orthodox” (meaning faithful) are Japanese Catholics to the Teaching of the Church?
    b. What is the general position regarding contraception in the laity?
    c. What about Natural Family Planning (NFP), have you ever heard much about that in Church or amongst the laity?

4. Cardinal Arinze is probably a modern day Faulton Sheen, an amazing man. Cardinal Arinze speaking on local practices such as liturgical dance ect. is permitted where the tradition exists (see the YouTube Arinze podcasts for more info) and obviously not in places where different local traditions exist (like the Brompton Oratory London lol) so my question is…
  a. Do you know any Japanese Catholics that observe Japanese traditions such as, tea ceremonies, dress (kimono ect), flower arranging, music, ettiquette and other traditions practiced at home?
  b. What do Japanese Catholics do for recreation? (do they practice traditional Japanese pass-times, which I’m sure you know better than I do what they are!)

5. What about Catholic Schools in Japan, are they “orthodox” or are they just “Catholic” by name?

6. Yeah you mentioned very early on in your blog about people not showing outward signs of intimacy (apart from perhaps some of the younger generation), but some old geezer reading dodgy manga. This was quite shocking for me, the whole thing around the Japanese sense of sexuality, explicicity and cartoons. I am really interested to hear what your experience is, what the fruits are (I imagine there are a lot of sex crimes?), yeah and this whole thing about cartoons. I was shocked to hear when speaking to a South Korean friend who had spent 7 years in Japan, that everyone reads manga. Shock. Even old people! What?! Is that true? I mean, like, do you read manga? Do Catholics read manga or is there Catholic manga (lol!)? What about the priests, do they read manga? What do they say about it?! Oh and what’s with the whole sailor outfit molarkey? I mean from my end of the stick I can only conclude that Japans really lost the plot and is a breeding ground for sex offenders and adult children cartoon addicts…

 6. I’m also glad that you mentioned Alcholics Anonymous at one point, I really respect AA, they get a lot of flak but one cannot deny the fruits are very good, does what it says on the tin, so to speak. Is there much of a problem with alcohol or substance abuse out there?

  7. That brings me on to my final run of questions, I understand that you want to keep your blog anonymous, to protect your vocation and identity. But I would really like to hear a bit about your story, why on earth are you in Japan? I mean it would be quite nice to also hear your personal stand point on the questions I asked regarding the Japanese. I am genuinely interested to hear more from you, I don’t know if you get my email when I submit this form, but you can find me on Facebook George Steven I’m from Bournemouth. God bless you and your discernment!
   Yours Faithfully in Christ Jesus,
     George Steven    

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