Pedro Arrupe In Japan

Pedro-Arrupe-at-prayer11I read a brief biography of Pedro Arrupe in Ronald Modras’ book Ignatian Humanism (reviewed here). His experiences in 1940’s Japan have always moved me when I’ve read, re-read, or pondered them.

Father Arrupe was arrested under suspicion of espionage shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. (Though he was from the Basque region of Spain, he completed doctoral studies in the United States.) Outside his jail cell, he heard people assembling. The man wondered if execution was immanent.

Suddenly, above the murmur that was reaching me, there arose a soft, sweet, consoling Christmas carol, one of the songs which I had myself taught to my Christians. I was unable to contain myself. I burst into tears. They were my Christians who, heedless of the danger of being themselves imprisoned, had come to console me. (Pedro Arrupe: Essential Writings, Kevin Burke, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books 2004, p. 57)

At the last link, Jim Campbell wrote:

After the few minutes of song, Arrupe reflected in the presence of Jesus, who would soon descend onto the altar during the Christmas celebration: “I felt that he also descended into my heart, and that night I made the best spiritual communion of all my life.” (Ibid. p. 58)

This exemplifies the great wisdom of Ignatian spirituality in a few significant ways. First the openness to consolation–that experience of tears. Second, the experience of the Lord in the most humble and surprising of circumstances. For many of us, the tears would be shed upon release from unjust imprisonment. To the best of Fr Arrupe’s knowledge, he would be executed and his friends would be in serious trouble for attempting to communicate with him.

And third, just the gratitude.

Image credit: the Ignatian Spirituality site, linked above.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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