Thursday, April 18, 2013

Retirement in a Mission Station

"I eat, play and  live well. I like the quiet life, and  this mission station  is perfect for me"--words of Bishop Chang Ik, retired from the Chunchon diocese in 2010 and now living in a small village mission station taking care of the spiritual needs of the community.

His life as bishop was very satisfying, he explained during a recent interview by the Peace Weekly, but said he was always pressed for time; now he has the time to reflect and see the world through refreshed eyes, and regrets that so many do not have the same leisure time he has to fully appreciate their  lives. In the old days getting information was difficult, he said; today it is at your finger tips. But we still have seen, he said, a drop in the number of readers which comes as a  surprise to him.

Our young people, especially today, are living on the fast track because of the demands of the digital world they live in. But fruits do not ripen quickly, he reminds us, and we can't make rice grow any quicker by pulling at the rice stock. Desiring a faster lifestyle, he warns, is just going to bring us more problems.

The bishop laments  the loss  of our value for truth and the acceptance of relativism. With each person having a different take on what is happening, there is less opportunity to sympathize with another person's opinion, and our understanding of universal truth is quickly disappearing. Because the majority thinks one way, he added, does not necessarily  mean that is the correct way.

When asked what can the Church do when relativism is so wide spread, he recommends that all of us in the Church follow the example of  Pope Francis, who took upon himself the role of a servant and is preaching by example. The bishop believes that is what we all should do.

He told the interviewer he was reading Smell the Mother Three Hours Each Day, which surprised the interviewer who felt that the book, judging by its title, did not match his serious demeanor; the bishop admitted he learned about the book from a radio broadcast.

He recommends that parents read the book, especially parents. There are too many children today who live separated from their mothers, he said. Up to the age of three, children should spend at least 3 hours with their mother to ensure emotional health. The book also lays out the basic reasons young people are having problems adjusting to our society. That bit of information alone should make the book a valuable contribution to our efforts toward solving our many societal problems. 

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