In praise of Norwegian missionary Marie Monsen, mother of China House Church Movement, and in praise of Father Giuseppe Girotti, WWII Priest Martyred For Sheltering Jews, Beatified In Italy

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Marie Monsen 1878-1962

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+marie+monsen&qpvt=images+marie+monsen&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=CCB63B682B204B57D596322FB5EC415BDA5C63DC&selectedIndex=0
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http://makinghistorynow.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/mothering-the-churches-the-courage-of-marie-monsen/

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Marie Monsen (1878-1962) is a name held in high honour among Christians in China, yet she is barely known in the West, even in her native Norway.

In 1900, a nationalist uprising in China, the ‘Boxer Rebellion,’  had seen many foreign missionaries slaughtered. Suspicion and fear were everywhere. Even so, Monsen travelled alone to Henan province in September 1901, to work for the Lutheran China Mission Association.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_China_Inland_Mission_missionaries_in_China#Other_Protestant_agencies

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant_missions_in_China_1807%E2%80%931953#Boxer_Rebellion_.281900.29

Soon after her arrival, a bad fall left her unconscious and concussed for a number of days. Then came bouts of malaria and doctors thought she would die, but God spared her for 31 years of fruitful service.

Two things marked out her ministry as different from most other missionaries. First, her devotional life. She had an uncanny sense that the Lord was directing her, speaking clearly in words that seemed almost audible. She sensed that God intended to move powerfully in China, and she prayed fervently for 20 years until it began – a revival that is still continuing and is being called ‘the biggest revival in history.’  In order to serve her Lord better, she remained a lifelong celibate. She also endured severe trials with fortitude and trust.

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Then, courage. She was fearless, traveling hundreds of miles through bandit-infested territory to share the gospel. Once, the ship she was on was captured by pirates. She was no respecter of persons: she would tell church leaders to their face that they were hypocrites! A present-day house church leader writes: ‘She didn’t speak smooth words to impress the people. Instead, she brought fire from the altar of God.’ She took the emphasis off the human wisdom so prized by Chinese, and showed each person they were individually responsible before God for their own inner spiritual life. For this she was greatly loved, and church leaders saw her as ‘mother in Christ’.

Monsen was bold enough to say no to prospective baptism candidates on occasions. She discouraged ‘cultural’ emotion (Chinese weep easily). She cared nothing for numbers, but wanted to be sure each soul had left the way of destruction and truly encountered God. Don’t gather unripe fruit was a maxim of hers.

In his best-selling book The Heavenly Man, Brother Yun tells of how Chinese believers were incredulous to find that Marie Monsen’s grave in Norway was unmarked.

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http://asiaharvest.org/wp-content/themes/asia/docs/newsletters/65-March2002-HenanProvince%28Part1%29.pdf

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In 1999 a

Chinese house church leader, Brother Yun,

happened to be speaking in the city of Bergen,

Norway. His hosts asked him if he would like

to visit the grave of Marie Monsen. Yun was

excited to have a chance to thank God on

behalf of Henan’s Christians for the blessing

this small woman had been to them.

Their car pulled up at the graveyard, and

they walked around for a few minutes, hoping

to see her name on one of several hundred

tombstones. Not being able to locate Monsen’s

grave, they strolled to the office for help. After

flicking through records the graveyard

administrator told them, “Marie Monsen was

indeed buried here in 1962. But her grave was

left untended for many years, so today it is just

an empty lot with no headstone.”

Yun couldn’t understand how a woman so

loved and respected thousands of miles away

in China be treated so shamefully in her

hometown?

Brother Yun said, “In Chinese culture the

memory of people who did great things is

cherished for generations to come, so I never

imagined that such a thing could happen. The

local believers explained that Marie Monsen

was still held in high regard and that they had

honoured her memory in different ways, such

as the publication of her biography decades

after she had died. But to me her unmarked

grave was an insult that had to be made right.”

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With a heavy heart Brother Yun sternly told

the Norwegian Christians, “You must honor

this woman of God! I will give you two years

to construct a new grave and headstone in

memory of Marie Monsen. If you fail to do

this, I will personally arrange for some

Christian brothers to walk all the way from

China to Norway to build one!”

“Many brothers in China are skilled

stonecutters because of their years in prison

labor camps for the sake of the Gospel. If you

don’t care enough, they will be more than

willing to do it!”

On September 1, 2001, exactly 100 years

to the day since Marie Monsen had first

arrived in China, more than 200 Norwegian

Christians gathered at the graveyard in

Bergen. They held a memorial service and

thanked God for the life of Marie Monsen.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Monsen#Monument_in_Bergen.2C_Norway

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brother_Yun#The_Heavenly_Man

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Liu Zhenying nka Brother Yun born 1958  in exile from China, devotee of Marie Monsen & Scot Oswald Chambers (author of heralded devotional My Utmost for His Highest)

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oswald_Chambers

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Utmost_for_His_Highest

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Oswald Chambers of Scotland 1874-1917

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+oswald+chambers&qpvt=images+oswald+chambers&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=A7F19361EC78C77A8D4CDB67AE99679F2CBD3D69&selectedIndex=3
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Chambers and Monsen saw the ascended messiah Christ as the ladder (stairway to Heaven) between heaven and earth, in that Christ bridges the gap between Heaven and Earth.   Jesus presents Himself as the reality to which the ladder points.   As Jacob saw in a dream the reunion of Heaven and Earth ( Genesis 28:10-19 )  –  Jesus brought this reunion, metaphorically the ladder, into reality.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob%27s_Ladder#Christianity

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Jacob’s stairway to heaven

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob%27s_ladder

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Once you have a meditative life you start to see that the world is really far different than what it appears to be,   e.g.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob%27s_Ladder_(film)#Production

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A person must have an “inner citadel” to which one can retreat. Living from this inner place of peace and equanimity — a place which no person or external event can penetrate — gives one the freedom to shape one’s life by responding to events from a rational, calm headspace.    Find your inner citadel.

http://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/to-love-and-to-be-loved-are-mystical-desires-a-la-carl-jungs-archetypes-jungs-forebearers-were-mystics-plato-apostle-paul-augustine/

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/16/this-ancient-blueprint-fo_n_5312209.html?utm_hp_ref=gps-for-the-soul&ir=GPS+for+the+Soul

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/steven-kalas/making-peace-worst-case-scenario-provides-clarity

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Let’s say you’re in a terrible fight with a loved one — friend, family, mate. You’re not on speaking terms. It feels right to shun the loved one. It feels like justice, not to mention self-protection. So, imagine: The last conversation you had with this person is the last one you’ll ever have. See how a clarity of values suddenly sharpens focus? However painful is this conflict, would it be worth that? It better be, because forever is a long, long time.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/08/father-giuseppe-girotti-beatified_n_5274176.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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Father Giuseppe Girotti, an Italian priest who died in a Nazi concentration camp for assisting Jews during the Holocaust, was beatified on April 26 in a ceremony overshadowed by the double canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II the following day.

giuseppe girotti

Cardinal Severino Poletto conducted the martyred priest’s beatification in Alba, Italy where Girotti was born.

His beatification comes roughly a year after Pope Francis authorized a decree recognizing Girotti as a martyr who was killed “in hatred of the faith.”

giuseppe girotti

A frier and scriptural scholar, Father Girotti was living in a Dominican convent in Santa Maria delle Rose during World War II when he began building a network of contacts in support of the persecuted Jews. The Gestapo arrested him on August 29, 1944 and eventually sent him to the Dachau concentration camp.

giuseppe girotti

On Easter 1945 Father Girotti was reportedly killed by lethal injection, according to L’Osservatore Romano. His prison mate carved “St Giuseppe Girotti” on the side of his bed after his death.

In his homily during the beatification, Cardinal Poletto said that Father Girotti “learned to love and be charitable to his brothers, especially the poor, the sick and those persecuted in particular for reasons of race.”

Photos courtesy of the Order of Preachers

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giuseppe_Girotti

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Blessed Giuseppe Girotti, O.P. (19 July 1905-1 April 1945  age 39), born Alba, Cuneo, Italy. A Dominican priest, opponent of the Italian Fascist Government of Benito Mussolini, and protector of Jews from the Nazi Holocaust he died at Dachau Concentration Camp in 1945.

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He was declared Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 1995

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and recognized as a Catholic martyr and declared Venerable by Pope Francis in March 2013.

After his ordination in 1930 Girotti studied Sacred Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum in Rome and the École Biblique in Jerusalem under the guidance of Marie-Joseph Lagrange.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Girotti worked as a theology professor at the Saint Maria della Rose Dominican Seminary in Turin. Following the Nazi occupation of Italy in 1943, he saved many Jews by arranging safe hideouts and escape routes from Italy. Caught in the act of assisting a wounded Jewish person, Girotti was arrested on 29 August 1944, and sent to Dachau. He died at the camp on 1 April 1945.

Girotti was beatified on 26 April 2014 by Cardinal Angelo Amato. His memorial feast day was assigned on 1 April, the day of his death.

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Lutheran Marie Monsen would empathize with author Marilynne Robinson on Calvin’s understated ethic  –

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/12/marilynne-robinson-christianity_n_5310407.html?utm_hp_ref=books&ir=Books

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Calvin has a strange reputation that is based very solidly on the fact that nobody reads him. I found that he’s a beautiful theologian. I was, and continue to be, struck by the power of the metaphysics and the visionary quality of his theology, which no one seems to have any awareness of.

Q: Can you explain what in Calvinist theology was so profound to you?

A: One of them certainly was the importance of human consciousness. He’s also a humanist; he’s terrifically admiring of what the human mind does. He says we have completely fallen away from the glory of God, and look what we are, and then he describes this glorious creature. The implication is that if we were to be in our un-fallen condition we would be spectacular. He allows for the reality of great evil. He was living in the 16th century, which was a brutal period. He was ready to grant the dark side of reality, and completely lyrical about what is splendid about it, including the stars and including human consciousness, human presence, most profoundly.

Marilynne RobinsonMarilynne Robinson

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The Bible as wondrous positive encouragement    -

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2014/07/jacob-l-wright-on-the-bibles-prehistoy-purpose-and-political-future-video/

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The thesis of Wright’s course is that the Hebrew Bible is “a pedagogical project of peoplehood.” Its authors worked in response to the defeat of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. They collected earlier writings and shaped them into a “road map” for a new form of political community, one that could survive without statehood and territorial sovereignty.

The Bible is, according to Wright, best understood not as religious scriptures but rather as an educational curriculum that creates, shapes, and molds a people in the aftermath of defeat. This suggestion seeks to come to terms with the diversity of the biblical writings: its historical narratives, laws, songs, laments, poetry, and wisdom collections.

This quote from the video below illustrates Wright’s position:

Perhaps what we need in our societies is a bible. Not the Bible, but a canon of shared texts, a body of writings that represents our diversity, a corpus of narrative, poetry, and songs that we and our children and future generations can internalize and draw upon as they engage in public discourse. Today there is widespread opposition to the notion of canon and national narratives, as they have historically tended to be discriminatory and prejudicial. But canons need not be closed, just as a narrative need not be simple, linear, or singular. The advantage they afford is they bring deeper historical dimensions to our societal debates and they allow us to appeal to a common set of texts. To be effective these new bibles must approximate the richness, complexity, and diversity of the Bible that we studied together, including story and song, law and wisdom. They must include diverse traditions. Above all they must stimulate reflection on what it means to be a people and inspire a sense of kinship, solidarity, and love for neighbor.

 

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One Response to In praise of Norwegian missionary Marie Monsen, mother of China House Church Movement, and in praise of Father Giuseppe Girotti, WWII Priest Martyred For Sheltering Jews, Beatified In Italy

  1. Pingback: Jesus’ earthiness, and in praise of Jesus’ wondrous disciples Amos Kaua, & Bruce & Isa (pronounced “Eesa”) Sakamoto | Curtis Narimatsu

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