Thursday, August 6, 2009
Cardinal Van Thuan- author "Five Loaves and Two Fish" and oh so much more!
My Spiritual Director recently mentioned to me that God might be calling me to contemplate 'hope'. He suggested Cardinal Van Thuan's works to me. The man has lots to say on hope: ( 'The Road of Hope', 'Testimony of Hope', etc.) He was in a prison in Vietnam for thirteen years because of his role as a priest in a communist country and emerged to one day lead Spiritual Exercises for JP2.
To piggy-back off of my last entry on 'Five Loaves and Two Fish' I wanted to share this excerpt I just read in the intro of that particular book about Cardinal Van Thuan:
'Soon after his release from prison...Thuan was casually recounting [to me] his thirteen year experience as a prisoner...He looked into my eyes and, shaken by sudden emotion, said, 'my morale was at its lowest. I was almost in despair. In the darkness of my cell, cut off from my diocese, could not do a thing for anyone; I could not even talk to anyone. I felt completely useless. I prayed, but God did not seem to hear. Then all of a sudden I saw, as if in a vision, Christ on the cross, crucified and dying. He was completely helpless...certainly worse off than me in my prison cell. Then I heard a voice- was it his voice?- saying: 'At this precise moment on the cross, I redeemed all the sins of the world.' (Five Loaves and Two Fish, foreward)
Whoa. Point taken. Redemptive Suffering! There's something to be said for it! Using the times we are at our lowest for good gives us something to live for- hope for ourselves and others.
The author of the foreward goes onto say:
'The man who sat in that dark cell understood God's message. He gave his all to the Lord, and the Lord turned the littleness of what he offered into a new fountain of hope for many people around the world'.
The five loaves and two fish! Offering what little we have for the good of all. Brilliant. Amazing. So hard to do! Cardinal Van Thuan, interceed for us!
It seems that many holy men and women- like the Cardinal, St. Therese, St. Paul of course comes to mind- understand their so-called 'uselessness' and embrace it. Hmmmm...
Their frailty, their imperfections, restrictions, etc....they embrace their current state and offer it to Jesus. This is what Christ did on the cross. This is the secret!
Why oh why does it take us so many things like this to see?? Oh the humanity! (Literally). But thank you, Jesus, for your (so many) examples. May we have eyes to see and ears to hear!