Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
We are witnessing a huge cataclysm in Japan, country that is far from Poland, embraces hundreds of islands; it takes several hours to get there by plane and now it is a country from which tragic news come. The television is showing us pictures of the disaster: cars flowing like boxes of matches; a ship drawn by the whirlpool, a vanishing train, thousands of dead bodies lying on beaches, ruins of houses. We learn about shortages of electricity, food and water, about people trapped in skyscrapers because lifts are out of order. Moreover, there is the problem of the nuclear power plant and radioactive contamination. The Japanese are aware of the danger because they experienced the outbreak of the atomic bomb in 1945. Rich and ordered Japan – aim of dreams and unequalled example for many world economies, including the Polish one. All these things become nothing in one moment; it does not have any value. We are watching the pictures of these ruins and destruction. We are also watching people and it is most important. What people are affected by this big disaster? As far as religion is concerned it is an area of prevailing Shintoism connected with Buddhism. One should state that Japan is not a too sensitive country; the reference to personal God is very small. The Franciscan Fathers can tell us more about the religiousness in Japan since St Maximilian Maria Kolbe founded his mission there before World War II. The Polish Niepokalanow (Mugenzai no Sono) was founded there. The Japanese version of ‘The Knight of Immaculata’ (Seibo no Kishi) has been published there, too. In Japan there are also the Franciscan Sisters of the Militia of the Immaculata. They embraced both Polish and Japanese nuns. Therefore, we have certain religious connections although they are not very strong or impressive but still these are links between Poles and the Japanese.
One should pay attention to the fact that disaster is affecting those who are based on families, high technology, own magnificent culture. But why do we hear that there have been numerous suicides in this country? Certainly, things will not be the same in Japan from now on. We will surely witness a big economic and technological restoration, safety devices of nuclear power plants and minimisation of the effects of possible future earthquakes. New strategies in case of tsunami will be worked out. But despite all these things it seems that if there is a big earthquake – 9 degrees in Richter scale – or a big typhoon moving at 900 kilometres per hour the wisest of the world are simple helpless. On the one hand, we cannot ignore the huge earthquake, which resembles the end of the world, and on the other hand, we must admit humbly that we are unable to cope with such forces; we must admit that there is some power that shapes the reality in accordance with its will and ruling. Certainly, there arises the question about God’s will and the aim of such ruling of the world. But we can also see the contemporary ‘humility’ of the world that boasts of its power, its precision of technological and cultural achievements as well as profound scientific research. Therefore, it seems that we should confess with a contrite heart, ‘God, I – your creation – belong to you; my life is in your hands and depends on your Divine Providence. Let it rule over us and the world.’ Since it is God, the Creator, that is worthy of the highest respect, honour and love. It is him that is immortal and knows the limits of the creation. Moreover, as the Medieval philosopher said, ‘Conservatio mundi est continua creatio’ – the conservation of the world is continuous creation. God as the Creator of the world keeps the world in order by his wisdom and omnipotence. That’s why when people reject God in their pride and conceit we cannot ignore his power and might that make man simply a speck of dust and nothing. Perhaps we should bow our knees and confess to God that we are drawing conclusions from this dramatic Japanese lesson…