2cornucopias

Cathedral of the Assumption, Nagasaki

In 08 Book Corner on 2014/08/03 at 12:00 AM

Dr.Nagai’s Funeral Oration for the 8000 Catholic Victims in front of destroyed Nagasaki Cathedral Nagasaki

On August 15…the whole world welcomed a day of peace. This day was also the great feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. It is significant to reflect that Urakami Cathedral was dedicated to her. And we must ask if this convergence of events—the ending of the war and the celebration of her feast—was merely coincidental or if there was here some mysterious providence of God.

Is there not a profound relationship between the destruction of Nagasaki and the end of the war? Nagasaki, the only holy place in all Japan—was it not chosen as a victim, a pure lamb, to be slaughtered and burned on the altar of sacrifice to expiate the sins committed by humanity…

“… we have forgotten that we are children of God; we have believed in idols; we have disobeyed the law of love. Joyfully we have hated one another; joyfully we have killed one another. And now at last we have brought this great and evil war to an end. But in order to restore peace to the world it was not sufficient to repent. We had to obtain Godʼs pardon through the offering of a great sacrifice….

Our church of Nagasaki kept the faith during four hundred years of persecution when religion was proscribed and the blood of martyrs flowed freely….Was it not, then, the one unblemished lamb that had to be offered on the altar of God? Thanks to the sacrifice of this lamb many millions who would otherwise have fallen victim to the ravages of war have been saved….. Eight thousand people, together with their priests, burning with pure smoke, entered into eternal life. All without exception were good people whom we deeply mourn…..

How happy are the pure lambs who rest in the bosom of God! Compared with them how miserable is the fate of us who have survived! Japan is conquered. Urakami is totally destroyed. A waste of ash and rubble lies before our eyes. We have no houses, no food, no clothes. Our fields are devastated. Only a remnant has survived.

Why did we not die with them on that day, at that time, in this house of God? Why must we alone continue this miserable existence? It is because we are sinners. Ah! Now indeed we are forced to see the enormity of our sins! ….

“Blessed are those that mourn for they shall be comforted.” We must walk this way of expiation faithfully and sincerely. And as we walk in hunger and thirst, ridiculed, penalized,scourged, pouring with sweat and covered with blood, let us remember how Jesus Christ carried His cross to the hill of Calvary. He will give us courage “The Lord has given: the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!’ Let us give thanks that Nagasaki was chosen for the sacrifice….

(From The Bells of Nagasaki by Takashi Nagai, Kodansha International, 1984, pp.106-110)

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