April 3, 2018
CONQUEST, COLONIZATION, OR CHRIST-IFICATION
For so many decades, for so many centuries, missionaries from European Christendom alloyed their Christian evangelism with their European culture. Either by way of the Christian conquistadors or the Christian colonialists, the indigenous populations were as much converted to a European culture as they were to Christian Way. And as a Jesuit … I must confess that even Jesuit missionaries were blind to this alloy of European culture with Christian Gospel. But of late, some of us including myself have repented of our past insensitive and arrogant ways … and now seek to be about thee work of Christ-ification.
By Christ-ification I mean the allowing of Christ and the Spirit to be at work in the indigenous culture. To tell the Story and allow that particular culture to be transformed as if Christ were directly speaking to them. This holds true not only with ethnic cultures but also with socio-economic sub-cultures and even subcultures formed in the flow of Time. You could add that the Church itself must learn to be a missionary in changing times and circumstances.
As I journey further and further into the Sacred Hills of Jade, into cultures that were not the same as my own origin’s place and time, I pray that those who listen to the story of the Christ and accept Christ’s invitation offered to them will create by way of the Spirit a music and liturgy, ecclesial forms and practices, that are natural expressions of the Christ within their culture.
As a Jesuit missionary into these hills of jade, I go neither to conquer nor colonize … but to bring them the Story of Christ.
Always in His Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz