As an intern at the CCAO, each of us is assigned a few Columban mission countries to monitor. One of my assigned countries is Japan. By now, we have all heard about the horrible effects of the earthquake and tsunami. To date, the death toll has reached 11,620 and 16,464 are still missing.
After reading about and seeing images of the mass destruction, I have been greatly moved. I can’t even imagine what life must be like right now for the Japanese people, especially those who have lost loved ones. Amidst this death and destruction, however, Father Daisuke Narui, director of Caritas Japan, has delivered a more positive message: “This painful event may be an opportunity to spread the values of the Gospel, that is, the fraternity of all men and women, the building of common good, the recognition that every person has the dignity of a child of God and is important in the eyes of God.” What a powerful message. It is easy to forget the injustice and suffering that is happening around the world when it is not a part of our daily lives. But Father Narui’s message served as an important reminder for me. While I feel so distant and unable to relate to what Japan is going through, I know that I am united with each and every victim in the fraternity of man.
This is a message that I have carried through to all of the work that I do with the CCAO. A few weeks ago, I attended a Congressional briefing regarding water and sanitation issues. It was part of an Advocacy Day for World Water Day 2011 on March 22. Many people were gathered from around the world to advocate for access to clean water and sanitation for those who often cannot speak for themselves. As I sat listening to the briefing, bottled water in my hand, I thought of all those who go without clean water. While these people may live thousands of miles from us, we are joined together in the body of Christ, sharing in the same human dignity.
This is what inspires me every day at the CCAO, and what I hope inspires many others so that together we can fulfill our Christian duty to work for the good of all God’s children.