It has been a year since I came to Taiwan. I remember that after having just gotten off the plane, I went out with Fr. Pablo to know the mission field. It was the first time that I walked around in the area of the Parish of Dayuan. We did not know a word of Chinese, except for hello, but still we entered a pagan temple and there we met a Chinese named Li, who showed us the idols one by one. He took us up to the third floor of that place. Much of our communication was by signs because his English was minimal and our Chinese was zero. Part of the dialogue was through gestures and the rest was through sign language, but as St. Paul teaches us, God likes to use our weakness to work good.
After the “guided tour” of this local temple, we invited Li to come to the parish. He agreed to come; once there, he genuflected as we told him to, and then imitating us, he bowed to the Blessed Virgin Mary. We then invited him to pray kneeling in front of the tabernacle. He spent a few moments praying.
Only God knows what happened in his soul as he was praying before the Blessed Sacrament, but we are witnesses of the external events that were very evident. Let me explain. As soon as he finished praying, he told us: “I’m happy”. Then he asked us where to place his offering and then he left us his card. We called him several times but there was always an answering machine.
For one year, we had no news of Li. But then something happened. After a year without news of him, today – the Chinese New Year day – he came to Mass, and with great joy asked to enter the Catechumenate. He reminded us that two foreign priests had invited him a year ago. It was us! At first, I did not recognize him and then I remembered who he was.
This case is very interesting because all that we had done was to invite him to pray before the tabernacle, but something happened in his soul … Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament wrought something big in Li’s soul during those 40 seconds when Li was praying on his knees. Something so big which made him say that he was happy and which led him to come to the church a year later – precisely on the very day of Chinese New Year, which is here the most important day. Something so big that it made him attend the entire Mass – even though I forgot seven characters! – and to ask to enter the Catechumenate. Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament worked something great in him! It is with reason that Bl. Manuel Gonzalez wrote that “the Heart of Jesus in the tabernacle is neither silent nor idle”. Even more, the Bl. Gonzalez used to say that, “Nowhere on earth does Jesus speak more and better and works more actively and fruitfully” than in the Tabernacle. Today we have had an experience of what we knew all along: the greatest Missionary is Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
I conclude with a brief reflection: it is very important to invite pagans to the Church! Sometimes we do not see the fruits, but at other times we do (even if a year later, as in this case). Our task is to work and to pray for the conversion of the poor unbelievers. God is in charge of the rest! And how well does God work!
Missionary in the Far East