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The Road of Hope, A Gospel from Prison, by Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan

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Archbishop Van Thuan’s notes from prison are extraordinary. For thirteen years, his writings were smuggled out of his cell and circulated among Christians and non-Christians alike. People shared these handwritten messages of hope in response to Van Thuan’s challenge that the Vietnamese people bring the Church into the world by their love for one another. He wrote, “It would be so wonderful if God required us only to love him. However, he has chosen also to require the difficult obligation to love our neighbor.” Van Thuan calls for a deep examination of conscience. “You proclaim that all you do is for God and for the Church. Very well. But can you stand in his presence and honestly say that you are working completely for him?” And his directives are practical. "Your time of prayer is your period of intimacy with God, who is your Father. It is a time for the heart, not the head. Do not rack your brains or scratch your head as to how you should appear before God." These 1,001 reflections are pearls of great price. If lived out, they will change your life. “Cardinal Van Thuan was a genuine man of God, a worthy brother of Jesus Christ, courageously and openheartedly witnessing to the faith under conditions of appalling anguish and deprivation. These thousand and one short pensées pack an enormous punch. They cheerfully encourage us to translate the Gospel into our lives just as he did.” Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney About the Author: Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan (1928-2002) was born in Phu Cam parish, a suburb of Hue, Vietnam, the eldest of 8 children. He was ordained a priest in 1953, became a bishop in 1967, and was elevated to the rank of Cardinal in 2001. He was imprisoned by the Communist government from 1975 – 1988 and was expelled from Vietnam in 1991. He served on the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace from 1994-2002 and was its president from 1998-2002.