Book Review: A Christian Samurai: The Trials of Baba Bunkō

A Christian Samurai: The Trials of Baba Bunkō by William J. Farge, SJ. (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2016),  xxv +300 pages. In Tokugawa Japan, Christianity had become outlawed. While it appeared that Christianity had died out, and many historians therefore have ignored its historical presence in Japan during this era, it is now apparent that Christianity went underground. Christians hid themselves from the government, and they might have had access to the best catechetical material so their... Read more

The Resurrection And Ascension Of Jesus Leads To The Dormition And Assumption of Mary

In giving birth thou didst preserve thy virginity; in falling asleep thou didst not forsake the world, O Theotokos. Thou wast translated to life, O Mother of Life, and by your prayers you deliver our souls from death (Troparion of the Dormition). Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. This is how God the Son, the Logos, chose to dwell among us: he truly became man, and this was done in and through Mary. Her body was the source and... Read more

Denounce Racism and Sexism So We Can Work to Bring the World Together as One

Christians are called to be imitators of Christ, indeed, to be christs in Christ. They are called to be salt of the earth, to purify and protect the good within creation. They are to take the accomplishment of Christ as high priest and take it to the world, so not only do they purify and protect creation, but they work with grace to restore it to its natural integral unity. What sin has caused to be torn asunder, they are... Read more

St. Maximos And The Incarnation

Soon after soon after being tortured, having his tongue and right hand cut off, and then being sent into exile, the elderly St. Maximos died. Born around 580, he would fall asleep in the Lord on August 13, 662.He was one of the great intellects and spiritual masters of the Christian East, recognized as such during his life, which is why when he took a stand on an important and divisive theological issue, what he said would be noticed by... Read more

The One And Us

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD“ (Deut. 6:4 RSV). Despite some confusion various Christians and non-Christians have concerning the Trinity, this truth is one of the basic tenets of Christian doctrine: God is one. Indeed, God is the One. Various philosophical and theological discussions can and do ensue from this fact. While the transcendence of God makes even what it means for us to say he is one impossible for us to comprehend, we can nonetheless... Read more

Fear And The Love For God

He also said, “Always have the fear of God before your eyes. Remember him who gives death and life. Hate the world and all that is in it. Hate all peace that comes from the flesh. Renounce this life, so that you may be alive to God. Remember what you have promised God, for it will be required of you on the day of judgment. Suffer hunger, thirst, nakedness, be watchful and sorrowful; weep, and groan in your heart; test... Read more

Join In With The Light: A Reflection On The Transfiguration

Thou wast transfigured on the mount, O Christ God,/ revealing Thy glory to Thy disciples as far as they could bear it./ Let Thine everlasting light shine upon us sinners/ through the prayers of the Theotokos, O Giver of Light, glory to Thee (Troparion for the Transfiguration) The light of truth which transcends the darkness of our minds requires us to be patient until we have found ourselves adjusted to the light. In that patience, we must still our thoughts... Read more

Sacraments of Initiation

Baptism, Chrismation (confirmation), and communion, when considered together, have been called the sacraments of initiation. Historically, the three would be received at the same time. That is, when someone converted to the Christian faith, they would be baptized, chrismated, and receive their first communion at the same service. Due to the way chrismation was mostly administered by a bishop in the West, chrismation and baptism slowly became separated and administered at different times. For missionaries, as well as parishes which... Read more

Those Who Love God Will Never Disrespect His Creation

In traditional Japanese beliefs and practices, there is a belief in a sacred power, kami, which inhabits all things. This kami is also established and formed particular kami or deities which are believed to reside in sacred places and things.  As the book Japanese Religions: A Survey By The Agency For Cultural Affairs explained, kami, the sacred powers which be, can be found in anything and or even in anyone, so that sacred ancestors also became associated with the kami:... Read more

Humility Allows Us To Learn From Others

He also said, “Nine monks fell away after many labors and were obsessed with spiritual pride, for they put their trust in their own works and being deceived they did not give due heed to the commandment that says, ‘Ask your father and he will tell you.'” (Deut. 32.7)[1] Monasticism is often confused as a works-based spirituality because of the way various ascetic struggles of famous saintly monks have been portrayed. Extraordinary feats of strength and endurance are put forth... Read more