March 12th, 2016 – Fukuoka Retreat
My Seminary Years:
After finishing my philosophy studies, I went into training (novitiate) for a year before going into theology. This was to confirm my decision of giving my life to serving God.
I didn’t have a strong calling, and you could say I was doing it for the wrong reasons since I chose to become a priest because that’s what I wanted to do as I felt attracted to monastic life. Of course I couldn’t write anything about being approached by God like Vassula. It was difficult but I tried really hard to write something.
I could only say that I would be willing to serve in any way and would be even willing to do any miscellaneous or leftover work if they accepted me as a priest.
I started crying and the sound of my cry woke me up. I sat down in my bed, feeling down. I then felt God telling me, “Nobuo, dress yourself with Me rather than with vestments”.
Two months after my ordination, I suddenly had a panic attack. It felt like there was no escape for me and that I was all alone without God. This was mentally agonizing and it was almost like being thrown in hell. I then came to my senses when I realized that God was telling me, “The only thing that can save you is living a life of love”.
Four years later, God allowed me to work with homeless people with a Brother in Kamagasaki.
One time when I was walking around Kamagasaki, I noticed a man being turned away at a shelter because he was drunk. When the Brother saw this, he said, “In this place that we serve, I feel that the 99 sheep in Jesus’ parable represent 99 people who are weak but have friends and are happy. The unhappy lost sheep represents people who live in the misery of isolation with no friends”.
From that time on, we stopped working in shelters and decided to go outside and serve the “one sheep”, the people living in isolation. I started collecting disposed cardboard boxes with a lonesome homeless, pulling a trailer, while the Brother would go and collect old thrown-away furniture. This was how we could earn the friendship of street vendors in the area.
My Spiritual Crisis and Exodus from Kamagasaki:
At that time, I had one problem, and that is not being able to have a personal spiritual director. I could find no spiritual directors around me, among the social activist priests, nor among contemplative prayerful priests who could pour some water into my thirsty soul.
I was so touched by his gentleness that I started to read the messages straightaway and came to feel God’s Holy presence.
In the messages, God was talking directly to me and giving me catechism. I didn’t seriously take all the Sunday school stories, the Sacraments, guardian angels, purgatory, and the teachings of honoring Our Lady when I was a child in Gifu. They were all just stories to me.
Overcoming my crisis:
The Bible was my source of faith; however, my faith was shaken at one point in my seminary years when I read a Bible critique’s comments that claimed that the Bible could give no legitimate foundation for one’s faith.
My level of faith was basically based on the “words of the Apostles” and when I started reading the TLIG messages, I could finally find my true spiritual director in them. All of my anxieties disappeared and I was able to continue my work as a priest.
However, Jesus talks of priests who use the Bible as an excuse to not take any interest in “personal revelations”. He says in the messages, “This is because the Holy Spirit is not working in them”.
My mother’s last words:
I was able to look after my mother when she was dying. I whispered into my mother’s ears, “We will be so sad when you leave us, but I will always live in peace with my brothers”.
Looking back at my life, I see that I have forsaken my parents and have only lived for my own self. However, God has a plan for each one of us from the time when we are created and God patiently waits and looks forward to the day when this plan is fulfilled.
I would now like to say a prayer.
Thank you Lord for being my Spiritual Director, for changing me and helping me find You through the True Life in God messages which You have entrusted to Your apostle, Vassula. I still have a long way to go in my spiritual journey and I ask you Lord to forgive me for all the times I failed you. Please take away all the selfishness in me and pour Your Wisdom into my wretchedness.