Tales from the desert...Part 3

"One of the things that I really appreciate about being in the desert and away from the city is that I have a lot of time to read.

If you are looking for something to read this summer and want a book that will grab your attention and inspire you, may I suggest a book called, "Three Cups of Tea." It's a true story about an American named Greg Mortenson who, after failing to climb the K2 mountain in Pakistan, gets lost on his way down the mountain and stumbles into a village wherein he realizes that the children of the village have no school. The kids sit on the cold ground outside in the winter and learn from a teacher who only comes three days a week. Seeing that the children deserve more, Mortenson, with no money and no idea how he will actually build one, promises the village chief that he will come back and build the village a school. And so it begins.

I don't recommend it for very young children and would encourage adult parents to read it first as there are a couple of things in the book that are inappropriate for young children, but I think you may find the book inspiring and a testimony to the generosity, providence and protection of God.

Another thing that was brought to my attention was the story of Chinese Cardinal Kung. Cardinal Kung was a Bishop for the Diocese of Shanghai when he was arrested by the government in 1955 and put into prison for, get this, 30 years. By the time he was released in 1985, there was a Polish Pope and a new Vatican Council had already begun and ended! But Cardinal Kung remained faithful to the Church throughout his ordeal and was actually named a Cardinal by John Paul II "in pectore" (in the heart of the Pope, not made public) during his incarceration.

At 87 years of age, Cardinal Kung was released from jail and came to America. Thereupon he went to Rome and greeted the Holy Father. Here's an excerpt of his being made Cardinal from the website of the Cardinal Kung Foundation:"When Pope John Paul II presented Cardinal Kung with his red hat in ceremonies on June 28, 1991, at the Consistory in the Vatican, the wheelchair-bound, ailing Kung raised himself up from the wheelchair, threw aside his cane and walked up the steps to kneel at the foot of the Pontiff. Visibly touched, the Holy Father lifted him up, gave him his cardinal's hat, then stood patiently as Cardinal Kung returned to his wheelchair to the sounds of an unprecedented seven-minute standing ovation."

I find that idea of perseverance quite amazing. We get bent out of shape if the line at the grocery store is too long, imagine being imprisoned in China for 30 years! Imagine being imprisoned, not for something that you did that was wrong, but for believing in Christ. Things like this still happen in the world today, lest we be ignorant of that fact.

The Holy Father released a letter today to all Chinese Catholics which you can read here.
In it he addressed many important issues and it is no coincidence that the letter comes at a time in history when China's economy and world status are rising and that Beijing is scheduled to host the 2008 Summer Olympics. So you might want to read it.

Our Blessed Mother is appearing on earth more now than ever in the history of time. It seems like she speaks the same message to many different people, probably because we aren't listening to what she is saying. She continues to urge us to turn away from sin, pray, go to Mass and receive the Eucharist, fast and return to Her Son. As our Mother, she knows what is best for us and it must grieve her heart to see so many people living beneath their dignity.

Let us pray to Her for help, wisdom and perseverance.

Til then..."


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