Monday, October 6, 2014
Until the Day we Separate
In the Kyeong Hyang Magazine an author and essayist writes about her experience in making a Lenten Retreat. The retreat master gave all the retreatants a book: Until the Day We Separate: letters between a Japanese priest in Rome, Masayuki Shirieda, and a well known Catholic author in Japan, Ayako Sono. The woman author was in danger of losing her sight and the letters have to do with life and despair, accepting of pain and the trust and love of God.
The essayist spent the night reading the book and was moved deeply. Each chapter has a title: 'After losing everything, I see God.' 'Suffering saves us.' 'What are my expectations?' 'God finds humans.' 'Death is the finishing of the unfinished.' These and similar chapter titles are divided into smaller topics which go into greater detail, making clearer their ideas.
Ayako Sono is a famous author who explains her faith and sufferings. She has done much to help others, met many people, and in her writings made God known to many of her readers.
The priest in the third chapter talks about his vocation to the priesthood." I don't remember my father. I was five years old when he died on the battle field. War took everything away from me.The house in which I was born and grew up, was destroyed by an air raid. The dream that I had to follow my father as a soldier disappeared. First of all, I wanted to rebuild the house that was destroyed.
One day I went into a new church that was being built and stole a nail. I quickly put it in my bag when a foreigner grabbed me by the collar. He didn't bawl me out, but put more nails in my bag and told me to come back if I needed more.
The night I didn't get any sleep. I couldn't forget the foreigner. That morning I found my goal in life. I ran four kilometers to the church to meet the foreigner. I no longer wanted to be an army general but to be like him. 'Teach me'. I asked. I didn't want to be a Catholic, no thought about religion, all I wanted to be was like the priest.
I was baptized. I didn't know the teaching all I knew was that Catholicism taught love, and I wanted to give myself to the Jesus who was on the Cross. That was clear to me." This was the motivation for him to become Catholic and become a priest.
The writer mentioned she came across the book in her middle fifties. She was a cradle Catholic and proud of this, but lukewarm in her practice and lifeless.
One day on a visit to a church she had a spiritual awaking and became conscious of God's love for her. She began to study the Scriptures, go to retreats and follow others in volunteer work. She still felt lonely and it was at this time that she read the book: Until the Day We Separate. A quiet road to God.
When the priest left to go to Rome the mother: "When will I see you again?" "In about four years." he answered. "That's a long time." She wanted to die in the arms of her son. The four years turned into ten years and her wish of dying in the arms of her son, happened.
The book is not a catechism, but a book talking about the problems that we face in life. The priest ends the book with the words on a tomb stone of an unknown soldier in Turin. "I wanted from God everything that would make me happy, and received nothing that I desired, but everything that God wanted for me."