Saturday, October 15, 2016
A Good Book for Tough Times
It seems likely that in the immediate and probably indefinite future, faithful Catholics in America, and their institutions (schools, hospitals, parishes) are going to find themselves under a fair amount of social and judicial pressure. I think we can safely expect an onslaught of legislative and juridical attempts within the next eighteen months to force Catholic institutions to comply with the new sexual/gender ideology or else close their doors. It's been a few generations in America since faithful Catholics have faced pressure to this extent, and so it would be good to prepare spiritually. I recommend a good book for tough times, The Road of Hope: A Gospel from Prison by Francis Xavier Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan. Cardinal Van Thuan was made coadjutor Bishop of Saigon in 1975, just a few months before the city fell to hostile Communist forces. He was imprisoned by the leftist regime for thirteen years, during which time he scribbled notes to his flock on scraps of paper which were smuggled out of the prison camp. These notes were collected into The Road of Hope. In spirituality and style, it is very much like the writings of St. Josemaria Escriva, who likewise spent many years living under leftist persecution of the Church (during the Spanish Civil War). In any event, The Road of Hope is both bracing and consoling, helping the reader to focus his or her thoughts and spirit on things above, even in the midst of a world that can seem so dark. Cardinal Van Thuan reminds us how to maintain joy and hope even under profound distress.