Pavens fasterefleksjoner

Love Enemies

- ZENIT: To love your enemies is another topic you have chosen for the Papal Spiritual Exercises.

- Archbishop Nguyên Van Thuân: A particular characteristic of Christian love is love for our enemies, often incomprehensible for the non-believer. One day, one of the prison guards asked me: "Do you love us?"

I answered: "Yes, I love you."

"We have kept you shut in for so many years and you love us? I don't believe it..."

I then reminded him: "I have spent many years with you. You have seen it and know it is true..."

The guard asked me: "When you are freed, will you send your faithful to burn our homes and kill our relatives?"

"No, although you might want to kill me, I love you."

"Why?" he insisted.

"Because Jesus has taught me to love everyone, even my enemies. If I don't do this, I am not worthy to bear the name Christian. Jesus said: 'love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.' "

"This is very beautiful, but hard to understand," the guard replied.

- ZENIT: The same thing happens with forgiveness: many invoke it but few practice it...

- Archbishop Nguyên Van Thuân: The Scribes and Pharisees were scandalized because Jesus forgave sins. Only God can forgive sins. Merciful love resurrects the dead, physically and spiritually. Jesus always forgave everyone. He forgave every sin, no matter how serious it was. With his forgiveness he gave new life to many persons to the point that they became instruments of his merciful love. He made Peter, who denied him three times, his first Vicar on earth; and Paul, persecutor of Christians, he made Apostle to the Gentiles, messenger of his mercy, for, as he said, "where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more."

- ZENIT: Paraphrasing Martin Luther King Jr., what are the "dreams" of a man as full of hope as Archbishop Nguyên Van Thuân?

- Archbishop Nguyên Van Thuân: I have a dream of a Church that is a Holy Door, which embraces everyone, which is full of compassion and understanding for all the sufferings of humanity. I have a dream of a Church that is bread, Eucharist, that wishes to be a gift and allows itself to be consumed by all, so that the world will have life in abundance. I have a dream of a Church that carries in its heart the fire of the Holy Spirit, and where the Spirit is, there is liberty, sincere dialogue with the world, discernment of the signs of our times. The social doctrine of the Church, instrument of evangelization, helps us to make this discernment in today's social changes.

In his book, "The Road of Hope," Archbishop Nguyên Van Thuân writes about his experiences and reflections following 13 years of imprisonment in Vietnam. The book is available at:

Federation of Vietnamese Catholics in the U.S.A.
4827 N. Kenmore Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60640
Tel: +1 (321) 784-1932

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