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A conversation with Father General Adolfo Nicolás SJ

Now and then you see that without any theological training, without any formal education, some people have a depth of contact with God; it can be surprising, really surprising. I would say to myself: I wish I had this familiarity, this ease in relating to God. This is something that the Japanese Catholic community always finds challenging: when a Japanese coming from a tradition of Buddhism or Confucianism goes to the sacred space, he becomes formal. You try to be clean and pure. You come there with a certain seriousness. In fact, the Japanese Church has a very serious face.

Then you see Filipinos coming to church. They enter the building as if it was an extension of their homes. They talk with each other and they are happy before God. They sing and dance; little children dance and run around. It is a shock for many Japanese; but then they begin to reflect. They see that these people who have so many difficulties find in church a moment of joy, a moment of hope. So this is really an eye-opener for them. And I think it is not only for the ordinary Japanese, but for all of us. Where do we find our joys? Sometimes we have very expensive joys, while these people find very simple joys and get new energy. This is always a reality test that is very helpful for our spirituality of prayer, to make it more real, more concrete, more down to earth.

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