October 28, 2010

Francis Xavier Nguyen Thuan - Road to Hope

Cardinal Thuan was just declared venerable on October 22. A priest of Vietnam, he was into police custody in 1975 only months after being named the coadjutor archbishop in Saigon. Thirteen years later, nine of those in solitary confinement, he was released from prison into house arrest and then expelled from his native land in 1991. He served the Church in Rome until his death in 2002. While in prison, anxious for his flock, he found a way to sneak messages to those entrusted to his care. Many of them are challenging:


"Is your life merely a continuous chain of events with time for sleeping, for rising, for eating, for study, for work, for relaxation, watching television, or reading newspapers? If there is not unifying element to your life, it will be meaningless. That element is the love of God. With it your life will change and all your actions will testify to God's presence within you."

And even more poignant:

"If you do not advance along the Road to Hope or aim at holiness, you belong to neither the younger nor the older generation, but to the generation of the dead. How wonderful and attractive it would be if, in this age of weakness, there should arise a generation of saints! God desires this, and you should desire it for your own life."

The Road to Hope, Boston: Pauline Books and Media, 2001. p. 152-153