Meditations – All That Remains
You shall love your neighbor as yourself – Matthew 22:39
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13
Christianity is all about God’s revelation of mystery. – Fr. Moriyama during his first catechesis lesson with Dr. Takashi Nagai
We said before we married, and before you went to China the second time, that if our lives are spent for the glory of God, then life and death are beautiful. – Marina Nagai Midori, after her husband told her of his terminal illness
All that Remains, the first English-language movie that depicts the life of Dr. Paul Takashi Nagai, has been released on DVD (click here for a review of the movie). Dr. Nagai was a Christian martyr more than once. He elected to become a radiologist just prior to his baptism at a time when radiology was not well understood and often claimed the lives of its practitioners. During the Second World War a shortage of photographic film and the increase of war causalities led him to spend long hours using a fluoroscope, which gave him a massive cumulative radiation exposure and led to a diagnosis of terminal cancer in June of 1945, at age 37. At the same time the Japanese authorities doubted his patriotism, as they did with all Japanese Christians, and he underwent questioning by the Kenpeitai secret police despite his heroic wartime service. After the war he was defamed by Japanese Communists for his Christian writings.
Dr. Nagai was also a Christian mystic. He had been shaken by a ‘presentment’ of the destruction of Nagasaki on the day his country announced it was at war with the United States. When Hiroshima was destroyed he was sure that a nuclear attack on Nagasaki was imminent, and he sent his children to the countryside. He was almost killed in the attack on Nagasaki, and miraculously recovered thanks to intercessory prayer, but lost his beloved wife Midori in the attack. Dr. Nagai was invited by his bishop after the attack to give a speech in front of the ruined cathedral, and he made controversial remarks to the effect that the Christians of Nagasaki should be honored because they were sacrificed so that millions would not die in a future war. He lived three years beyond that given to him in his June 1945 diagnosis. During that time he lived in a hermitage he built near Ground Zero and called Nyokodo – As Yourself Hall – where he wrote books and essays on Christianity, love, and the mystery of suffering.
The most currently available book on the lives of Dr. Paul Takashi Nagai and Marina Nagai Midori is A Song for Nagasaki by Fr. Paul Glynn. Many scenes from the video below can be found in this book.
Finally, below is a link to the movie trailer. Please be warned that it contains a few moments of the graphic scenes that one would expect in such a film. However, the majority of the trailer, like A Song for Nagasaki, is an inspirational depiction of the conversion of hearts, of the love that people of faith have for one another, and of the application and relevance of the fullness of Christianity in times of great distress. Please watch it with these thoughts in mind.
Meditations – All That Remains