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The Spirit's Strength


Infinitely good Lord, you know my heart and my weaknesses.

cardinalthuan32Do not abandon me.  You are infinitely just and ask nothing of me that is beyond my strength.  My happiness knows no limit when I contemplate your infinite righteousness and put all things in your hands.  From experience I know that on my path, covered with innumerable obstacles, in the night of trial without exit, you, the infinitely righteous One, have never abandoned me.

At those moments when I nearly fainted under the weight of evil, you did not abandon me.  When I felt tempted to despair and to give up everything, when the storm raged without and within, when the winds of calumny buffeted against my good intentions and actions, Lord, you did not abandon me.

It was at such moments that the Holy Spirit taught me what I should do and how I should speak.  At such moments the Holy Spirit poured courage and hope into my weakened soul and comforted me.  The Lord will never abandon me to my limitations!

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cardinal van thuanVenerable Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan. "The Spirit's Strength" from Prayers of Hope, Words of Courage (Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media/The Daughters of St. Paul, 2012).

Used with permission from Pauline Books & Media.

The Author

tuanVenerable Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan (1928-2002) was arrested by the Communist government of Vietnam in 1975 and imprisoned for thirteen years, nine of them in solitary confinement, and then finally exiled from Vietnam in 1991. Always reticent about speaking of himself, Cardinal Nguyen slowly began to realize that his prison experience of suffering and hope could help others in their journey of faith. The reflections he prepared for the 1997 World Youth Day in Paris became the framework for Five Loaves & Two Fish. He is also the author of Testimony of Hope: The Spiritual Excercises of John Paul II.

Copyright © 2012 Pauline Books & Media/The Daughters of St. Paul

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