Pavens fasterefleksjoner

Hope in God

Second Reflections of Papal Spiritual Exercises

Windowless Cell

"During my long tribulation of 9 years of isolation in a windowless cell, at times illuminated by electric light for entire days, or in the dark for weeks, I felt I was suffocating because of the heat and humidity. I was on the verge of madness. I was then a young bishop with 8 years of pastoral experience. I couldn't sleep. I was tormented by the thought of having to forsake the diocese, to let all the work I had done for God be lost. I felt a kind of revolt inside me," the Vietnamese Archbishop said.

Only God

"One night, in the depth of my heart, I heard a voice that said to me: 'Why do you torment yourself this way? You must discern between God and God's works. All that you did and would like to continue to do: pastoral visits, formation of seminarians, men and women religious, laity, youth, construction of schools, missions for evangelization of non-Christians..., all this is excellent work, but these are God's works, not God. If God wants you to leave all these works and entrust yourself into his hands, do it immediately and have confidence in Him. He will give your work to others, who are much more competent than you. You have chosen God, not his works,' " related the Vietnamese Archbishop.

"This light gave me new strength, which has completely changed my way of thinking, and it has helped me overcome moments that physically seemed unbearable. Since that time, a new peace filled my heart and stayed with me during 13 years of imprisonment. I felt human weakness, but I would renew my decision in face of difficult situations, and I never lacked peace. To choose God, and not God's works. This is the foundation of Christian life, at all times," Archbishop Nguyën Van Thuän explained.

Thus, the preacher continued to say, "I understand that, at all times, my life is a series of decisions between God and the works of God. An always new decision that becomes a conversion. The temptation of the people of God always consisted in not fully trusting God, in trying to find support and security in another place. This is the experience suffered by figures as glorious as Moses, David, Solomon...".

The Bible does not mince matters. According to Archbishop Nguyën Van Thuän, "this was the experience of the Patriarchs, Prophets, and first Christians, referred to in chapter 11 of the Letter to the Hebrews, in which the expression 'by faith' appears 18 times and the expression 'with faith' once." This is also the key to reading the lives of so many men and women who over 2000 years of Christianity, have given their life even to the point of martyrdom. Among all these examples, the Archbishop highlighted Mary, the woman "who chose God, forgetting her plans, without fully understanding the mystery that was taking place in her body and her destiny."

Response to Today's World

"To choose God and not God's works: this is the most genuine response to today's world, the road for God's plan to be fulfilled in us, in the Church, in today's humanity," concluded Archbishop Nguyên Van Thuân. "It is possible that those who choose God will have to go through tribulations, but they joyfully accept to lose their goods, because they know they have greater goods, that no one will be able to take from them."

Forrige Innhold Neste

av Webmaster publisert 31.03.2006, sist endret 31.03.2006 - 18:18