乔治·哥伦布神父强调在亚洲宣讲基督积极迎接世界的明天
作者 Georges Colomb*
迫切需要以鲜明的方式宣讲耶稣基督,不能再以分享“价值观”一概而论了;在局势艰难国家的新福传;迫切需要传教士;许多青年为传教圣召所吸引。刚刚当选为巴黎外方传教会总会长的乔治·哥伦布神父向亚洲新闻通讯社作出阐述

巴黎(亚洲新闻)—刚刚当选为巴黎外方传教会总会长的乔治·哥伦布神父,向亚洲新闻通讯社介绍了个人以及修会的未来工作。指出,“明天的世界,将受到亚洲势力和亚洲各国的影响。显然,象中国和印度这样的大国将在重建国际新秩序中发挥重大作用。教会怎么能忘记这一挑战呢”?!

       文中,新当选的巴黎外方传教会总会长向亚洲新闻通讯社揭示了当今世界的传教挑战。呼吁整个教会积极致力于向外邦人传教的事业,而且不仅仅局限于泛泛的全体基督信徒的使命,而是迫切需要完全献身在亚洲人民中积极宣讲耶稣基督的人和修会团体。

       哥伦布神父指出,传教所迫切需要的是超越地理疆域的限制去唤醒冷却的见证信仰的激情。同时,还应克服各种困难以及前往国家的封闭。“许多亚洲国家因政治原因或者激进势力或者宗教不宽容而对传教士封闭,我们不能坐等进入上述国家的许可从天而降。传教事业迫在眉睫”!

       可以预见的是,爱德事业有助于传教士们研究和探索在局势艰难国家中开展工作的新方式。此外,哥伦布神父本人便是这一新形式的见证:他多年在中国以“外籍专家”身份工作,在中国的语言大学教法语和法国文化。其严谨的教学风格和高水平,深受师生们的好评。

       一九五三年六月十五日,乔治·哥伦布神父出生在法国克莱蒙教区,曾学习法律、经济与社会管理;曾在里昂和楠泰尔的邮局工作五年。二十九岁时,进入加尔默罗会修修道院,并巴黎天主教大学获得神学硕士学位。但是,一九八七年被祝圣为巴黎外方传教会会士。他强调,“传教士是投入活跃传教工作的默观生活者”。

晋铎后,他先后在台湾和中国积累经验。一九九八年,应修会召叫返回巴黎,当选为总会长助理。二OO四年全体大会期间,当选为巴黎外方传教会副总会长。

       刚刚当选后接受《亚洲天主教会》采访时,哥伦布神父强调了青年在亚洲从事志愿工作积累经验的重要性。例如,去发现其它世界、亲身接触和感受传教圣召。哥伦布神父表示,“除发现亚洲外,志愿人员还感受到了强烈的灵修经验、接触到了崭新的人文和教会情况……。随同巴黎外方传教会传教士前往亚洲和印度洋的青年人发现了当今传教事业面临的挑战:与其它大宗教的对话——确切地说是这种对话的缺乏。在个别国家,要在集权制度下宣讲福音;贫困的挑战,这不仅仅是亚洲的问题,而是世界性的经济秩序混乱的结果”。

       近年来,28名曾经做过志愿人员的青年在巴黎外方传教会修道院修道、35人进入法国教区修道院。此外,还有许多女青年选择了修会生活或者默观生活。

以下为哥伦布神父向亚洲新闻通讯社阐述的今日传教所面临的挑战英文版:

The mission means announcing Jesus Christ. Indeed, the Church was created for the mission. Missionaries are contemplatives in action (see John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, ch 8, n.49). This premise shows us the way, the family and the means of mission. The mission is announcing Jesus Christ, strongly asserting, proclaiming and calling him. We cannot just make the best by being present in the great market of religions (only) offering values, culture, and knowledge like others. We believe in and want to share our faith. “Jesus Christ is the saviour of men, the only way to salvation”. We know that believers of other faiths do not share our faith and we respect them, but we cannot hide what we assert as the truth. For us, Christ is the truth!

This said we believe in dialogue with the representatives of the other great religious and spiritual traditions, at an academic level, in daily life, in charitable work and social cooperation.

In his Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI writes that volunteer work represents a school of life. The Holy Father speaks about those who dedicate themselves with generosity to humanitarian missions within and without our Church. He is happy about it and congratulates them. Their work builds a culture of life, which the Pope opposes to a culture of death (i.e. drugs, etc.).

Numerous exchanges and meetings occur in academe. Such conferences are very important and useful.

Religions have an important place in the social life of our contemporaries. They are a factor of peace and social harmony if they are not led away from their purpose, which is to connect man and God. Man does not live of bread alone. We know very well that all civilisations are mortal. Man’s quest for meaning and his spiritual thirst have always existed, at all times and in all places. Christianity has shaped Europe the way Buddhism has shaped the Asian continent. To deny such self-evident truths would be nonsense and an anachronism, something that a sound notion of secularism would not justify.

If the mission means announcing Jesus Christ, then we are all missionaries, an assertion that we have often heard. Likewise, we are all contemplatives just because we pray!

There are missionary institutes that specialise in training missionaries and sending them to the mission because, like the monastic vocation, the missionary vocation has its own traits. What are they? Typically, the missionary vocation is based on three pillars:

- ad vitam

- ad gentes

- ad extra

Ad vitam: Missionaries leave on mission for life. They give their life to the Lord and accept, in following Him, a life on the move like that of Jesus, who did not have a stone on which to rest his head. Such a life and such a spirit of missionary adventure are not unique to the founders of the Missions Étrangères in the 17th century like Mgrs François Pallu, Pierre Lambert de la Motte, and Ignace Cotolendi, who died in India on his way to his mission.

In the 21st century, we are called to experience this life and uncertainty. Many Asian nations are closed off to missionaries because of politics, fanaticism or religious intolerance. We cannot wait to have permission to come in, for the mission is urgent!

Ad Gentes: The vast Asian continent is home to 4 billion people, and our Church can claim only 2 or 3 per cent of Asia’s large masses. Except for the Philippines and East Timor, which are Catholic countries, the Church is in the minority everywhere else. It is more so because it is not present in Asia’s media and culture. Unlike in Europe, in Asia, architecture, music, literature, traditions and customs are foreign to Christianity. However, Asia is strongly bound to influence the world of tomorrow. In the concert of nations, it is clear that big nations like China and India will play a major role in creating a new world order. How can our Church overlook this challenge?

Ad extra: The missionary that leaves his country must not export France, Portugal or any other European country. He must make an effort to learn the language and traditions of the countries of Asia (see the Instructions of Pope Alexander VII to the founders of the Missions Étrangères de Paris). The missionary shall wed the country whose language he must learn. In this life, he shall be associated with the joys and sorrows of that country and its inhabitants in order to announce Christ, lay the foundations of a new Church or put himself in the service of an already existing Church. He must make an effort, with humility and joy, to become close to the people to whom he is sent. The missionary does not sign a contract for a fixed time; he is neither an expatriate nor a tourist. He belongs to a body, that of the Church, which has no boundary but the one set by the boldness of its apostles, put under the breath of the Holy Spirit, the lead character in the mission.

In the Year for Priests that just ended, how can we not rejoice of the fact that young people in our country and in our European continent are discovering a vocation to serve the Church; how can we not rejoice for the men who live their vocation as priests and missionaries, far from known shores, who accept the vulnerability that foreign missionaries experience throughout their life; how can we not rejoice when young Catholics leave for Asia as volunteers for our Church and a number of them, serving their fellow men whilst serving the Church, find the meaning that can nourish their life and discover that the secret of happiness lies in giving oneself! You made us for Yourself, Lord, and our hearts shall not rest until they dwell in You.  

* Superior General, Missions Etrangères de Paris

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