VRNs (22.11.2011) – The Feast of Christ the King, November 20th, 2011

My dear confreres;

A liturgical year has come to an end, and the coming Advent invites us to direct ourselves to the last judgment, when our Lord Jesus Christ comes again (1 Thessalonians 5:23) and all of us meet one another beside and in our Lord, and belong to Him thoroughly. That day will certainly come to us and to those who are determined to look for unity, love and attempts to build the peace.

Dear confreres;

We are living in difficulties; and the obstacles caused by the world are challenging our consistent faith and our vocation to evangelize the poor, especially the most abandoned (Constitutions 5). Our confreres and the community of our Lord’s people in Thai Ha are now suffering from the injustice and the brutal trample on their human dignity. In other places, our confreres are bearing the same sufferings. In many places, the injustice and the brutal trample on our human dignity are caused by those who are supposed to protect the justice and the truth. I would like to share with you the Gospel: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.” (Matthew 5:11-12)

The days when we confront these evils remind me of our past journeys. In the Acta of our Provincial Chapter in 2009, I figure the activities of the Holy Spirit in our Provincial Chapter when we meditated on our vocation, on our national situation, when we referred to the mission we had accepted, all the members of our Chapter were determined to vote 100% for our priorities to devote ourselves to the poor, the most abandoned in the Vietnamese society. We together decided to raise our voice for the justice and the human beings (The Decisions made by our Provincial Chapter 2009). Since then, we have been standing side by side with our prayers, sacrifice, practical contributions and fraternal shares; you have not hesitated to sacrifice and to suffer from the risks when you show your loyalty to the mission and the vocation of our Congregation.

The members of the Provincial Chapter 2009

In the remote places, our confreres studying abroad and our confreres participating in the ministry of our whole Congregation have been directing toward Vietnam, toward their beloved Mother Province to communicate, share and make their positive contributions. Their writings, letters and persistent activities have been added to our common work. We are sincerely grateful to our Lord for everything He has given to us: love, communication and agreement. Let’s conserve and maintain these noble values.

“Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1Peter 5:8-9a). The power of evil will not ignore us. The nature of evil is sowing division, causing feud and destroying communication in various ways, even hiding itself behind sacred words and appealing activities. Anyway, its nature is still sowing division, colluding with the powers, the luxury and the deceit of the profane world around. We should be cautious so as not to be trapped by those powers: “Resist him, standing firm in the faith” (1Peter 5:9a). More than ever, the call for being alert of the Gospel is now becoming active to each of us. We must have had lamps, but we should reserve the oil of alert all the time so as to prepare for the day when we meet the Redeemer, Who we have followed all our life (Matthew 25:1-13)

On these days, the figures of our Redemptorist confreres who have gone before us in the mission of our Congregation, particularly the Blessed Martyrs in East Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, are becoming lively and active to us. Especially, the excellent examples we should follow are the holy hearts, the undauntedness and the loyalty of Brother Marcel Van and Brother Clement Dat from Thai Ha monastery (being appropriated to use as Dong Da hospital). They were arrested and completed their life in prison. The experience of Poland Province with sufferings and difficulties not only coming from the government, helps us to choose the living ways.

Dear confreres,

Once again, we should remind one another: let’s trust in God completely, let’s believe that He always protects and directs those who belong to Him. “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.” (John 17:15). Let’s come to our Virgin Mary, our Mother of Perpetual Help to implore Her: “Our Mother of Perpetual Help, protect all those who belong to me…” (Prayer to Our Mother of Perpetual Help). May Saint Alphonsus and the Saints in our Congregation always support us.

In our Jesus Christ, Redeemer.

Rev. Vincent Pham Trung Thanh, CSsR.