Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Season of Septuagesima - Preparation for Lent

Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan (17 April 1928 – 16 September 2002) Photo source:Wikipedia

Can you believe it is the season of Septuagesima?  The season that prepares us for Lent.  No long ago we held the Christ Child in our arms at Christmas and now here we prepare to follow Him to Calvary.  Part of me says 'don't leave Christ Child, stay, stay always this sweet baby' and the other part understands.  Follow the path!  Go in search of Him!

I have been spending this last week finishing up a total cleaning of our house ready for the new school year.  Amongst the boxes of paper I sorted I came across an article I had cut out and kept from many, many years ago from a magazine (the name of which is long lost to my memory) about the recently deceased, as he was then, Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan.  I would like to share it here.

A Living Martyrdom

One-time possible tip as next pope, Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan died recently.

Thirteen years he spent imprisoned for his opposition to Communism - nine of them in a cell without windows, so hot and humid that mushrooms grew on his bed.

There was a hole under one wall to let water out.  He would lie on the floor with his nose to the hole to breathe the cooler air.  When it rained, water entered the hole bringing spiders, millipedes, and worms.

He taught himself not to "wait" for release - but to "live the present moment, filling it to the brim with love".  All day he walked back and forth across his room to prevent joint stiffness, saying his prayers.

One such prayer was: "Lord, I am content to accept everything from your hands, all the sadness, the anguish, even my death.  I am happy in this cell because you want me to live here with you.  I am not afraid, I have understood.  I am following you in your Passion and your Resurrection."