“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church… must take up.” Karol Cardinal Wotyla (Sept. 1976)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Cardinal Ignatius Kung: A Good Friday Reflection

In 1955, the Roman Catholic bishop of Shanghai was arrested by the Communist Chinese Government an imprisoned.

A few months after that arrest, the bishop was brought -wearing nothing more than pajamas- to a capacity-filled sport stadium in handcuffs to denounce his Faith and allegiance to Rome publicly on stage. When brought to the microphone, he responded in front of the sold-out crowd what he must have thought were his last public words, "Long Live Christ the King! Long Live the Pope!" [Blogger note: These words were the inspiration for the name of this blog.]

As a result of his unwavering Faith, Ignatius Kung spent over thirty years in solitary confinement in a Communist prison and was named a Cardinal in Pope John Paul II's heart. During his imprisonment, His Eminence wrote a short reflection on the crucifixion on a small piece of rice paper that was smuggled out of the prison. Please read and reflect on this holy man's words now that you understand the conditions and background story in which it was written. It is a perfect Good Friday reflection.

"Our Lord Jesus is on the Cross. His whole body is covered with wounds, His hands and feet are nailed to the Cross; His head is crowned with thorns; for His drink, only vinegar and bitter gall. Although He suffered so much, He knows that many will remain indifferent. This mental anguish is even more painful than His physical torment.

God suffered so much for me. Why am I not willing to give up some worldly pleasure and accept some suffering in this life? I know well that Jesus suffered in reparation for my sins and yet I still go against His will and commit sin. How can I reject His grace and increase His sorrow?

Jesus accepted suffering inflicted by every kind of person. The apostles betrayed Him, the Jews made accusations against Him, the Gentiles cursed Him, and high priests, officials, soldiers and other people all determined to kill Him. Because Jesus suffered in order to save all classes of people, so He accepted sufferings caused by all kinds of people, including all of us. Are we not increasing His suffering by our lack of faith, committing sin and not loving His Sacred Heart?

Where was our Blessed Mother at that time? She was weeping beside the Cross, watching Her Son suffer. This was not just the human love between mother and son. She united her love of Jesus with her love for all mankind, offering [her suffering at the foot of the cross] in sacrifice to God the Father for the salvation of the whole world. Our Lady is indeed the Mother of our salvation.

Each and every one of us should imitate Our Blessed Lady, contemplating Jesus on the Cross. We should offer our sufferings in reparation for our sins and those of others, asking for mercy and forgiveness and not fail to respond to the graces Jesus obtained for us through His Passion."

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