Posted December 5, 2006
Book: Prayers of Hope: Words of Courage
Author: Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan
Pauline Books & Media, Boston, MA. 2002. Pp. 129
An Excerpt from the Jacket:
This little book of prayers was written in prison. Though I was alone and seemed to have nothing at all, I had the love of faithful friends who were praying for me. And I had the love of Christ in my heart.
In gratitude for that love, I wrote these prayers on scraps of paper the prison guards gave me. They are a remembrance of that time when I seemed poor, but when I was actually very rich — for love can do all things.
An Excerpt from the Book:
The Power of Witness
A sign attracts attention; the more luminous, the more it stands out and the greater its impact. Such is a lighthouse shining in the darkness of night in the midst of the ocean, a red lamp at the top of a high tower or antennae, traffic lights on our city streets, flashing lights on an air field . . .
A sign’s power lies in its “difference”: a distinct color, the brilliance of a light beam, a particular sound, etc. Without this, these signals would not attract attention.
If I am not different in some way or am afraid to be, I will not be a recognizable sign. No one will pay attention to me. I will not be able to transmit any message to those who are always in a hurry and focused on so many other things.
A sign is a witness. The Lord asks me to be a sign showing the Father in heaven to all people. Perhaps it may happen that to be a witness I must scream like an ambulance siren . . .But most of the time, a sign is silent. Often it is sufficient to be present — constantly, obstinately, courageously present — and never leave one’s post.
Examples from Table of Contents:
1. Mary my Mother
6. Do unto others
14. Authentic Christianity
19. Ordinary tasks
29. Value the ordinary
42. The most splendid revolution
45. The use of this world’s goods
58. The mystery of grace
67. Let go of the past
71. Serving with all our strength
79. What is a saint?
88. God works in silence