Saint Dominic’s European Lay Fraternities are celebrating the 800-year Jubilee of the Order with a chain of Preachers of Hope. Below you will find the contribution from the Vicariate of Hungary, where 4 short stories were collected: how Christian hope is alive and witnessed by the fraternity members.
’May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.’ (2 Tess, 2, 16-17)
Our disaster started eight years ago. We fell into a serious trouble, when my wife, Marta, had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor after having an illness occurred by an uncertain reason. Not only our human suffering began, but at the same time also the huge growth of our confidence in God.
Certainly, it is not a coincidence that we had a pilgrimage to Transylvania with our friends during this time, where in Csíksomlyó we visited the famous Sanctuary of Virgin Mary.
There, in this shrine, in front of Virgin Mary we made a promise together with Marta (who was also a Lay Dominican) that we will accept God’s will in each difficult situation coming in connection with her illness with cancer. We asked only one in exchange: we would like to be able to accept the future; and present it to our family, to our neighbors and to others in such a way that it may serve God’s glory.
After that, we tried to see everything in our lives that ‘where God can give more, He never gives less!’
On 21st March, on the first day of spring, when Light finally overcomes darkness, humanly speaking, there were clear signs of the end. It was Lent time. Marta was in hospital. On that morning, I was sitting by her bedside there. She was unable to react, but it was clear that she was aware of everything happening around her. I told her to pray and walk with Jesus the way of the cross. When we reached the 12th station, “Jesus dies on the cross,” she breathed the last and arrived home.
Meanwhile praying, our children arrived into the hospital, and sitting at her bed, all of us could actually experience the consolation of the Holy Spirit. On one hand, certainly from human side the loss of my wife and the children’s mother – it was very painful, but on the other hand this was her heavenly birthday, where and when she arrived into the Heavenly Father’s arms and her life was finally fulfilled.
The devil wants to deprive us from this kind of good news and joyful situations, as he tries to show us death as something terrible. We were able to tell and witness our hope for a huge number of people, and we are sure that this was our Heavenly Father’s will.
Thanks be to God!
My mother did not lose her hope that I will be healed when I had a serious illness. I was in coma for weeks after a brain tumor surgery, and my condition did not change. My doctors considered that this is a serious situation. One night at 8 p.m. my mother received a phone call that I will die. I got brain edema and my kidneys have stopped working. My mother asked a friend to take care of my young baby, and she came to the clinic in Szeged to visit me.
In that part of the hospital where I was, there are people who normally do not survive, but they die there.
When my mother came to me, she saw the Virgin Mary above my head. She knew I will survive this illness. She returned home and she prayed during the whole night.
In the morning I was much better, my kidneys started to work again. I awaked from the coma, and I opened my eyes. I said to the nurse that I saw that a very kind nurse was sitting on my bed during the whole night, holding my hand and was taking care of my infusion. I was told that nobody was there. I knew she was my guardian angel. After spending a long time in the hospital finally I could go home. Unfortunately, despite of having better health, I still did not convert or repent.
Father Lajos, our priest did not give up the hope, and he regularly visited me. Many years passed, and once, on Easter’s vigil in 2010, after a long spiritual struggling, one of our great saints took me into the church. From that moment, I felt a spiritual calmness. I became a very different person, I converted. My favorite quotation since that time is: ‘My soul finds rest in God; my hope comes from him.’
I work in a nursing home, where I have the opportunity to see elderly people’s lives. I respect and admire their life-power that is sourced from their faith. It gave them energy during the 2nd world war and during the persecutions. I can see the same life-power in them during their everyday struggles.
There is a 94 years old lady, who gave birth to her baby in a foreign country during the 2nd world war. She told the story and mentioned that her baby lost a lot of his weight from his new born weight during travelling home when they had the possiblity to escape to come home to Hungary. Some people thought that her baby has already died. But she told to those skeptical ones: ’my baby not only does live, but he will survive and will leave!’ This old lady is one of the most open-minded elderly people who live in our nursing home. She has a good sense of humour that helps her even in difficult situations.
I am formed by the experiences received from these old people. Sometimes we have very different situations, when we need to start walking the way with them from very-very deep.
Once another person thought that she stops eating at all, if her daughter will not take her out from the nursing home. I had to join her on her way struggling with despondency. I started to search together with her what can be a goal, what can make sense to her life each and every day. We are together during the meals, and sometimes we can laugh together. I cannot tell how it is possible to give hope to someone. I think the only way is to hand over the hope that is living inside ourselves; so to let all of those things become clear that are not in harmony with true hope.
Saint Paul’s wish can be born in our true compassion: ’May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the holy Spirit.’ (Rom 15,13)
Ildikó Mónika Tapodi
Some weeks ago Széchenyi Friendship Society invited a scientist, member of the Hungarian Academy od Sciences, who is researching the history and the theology of Islamic religion. We held this event in the hall of Ottokár Prohászka Secondary School in Budakeszi with full house.
The scientist was asked to introduce us into the way of life and way of thinking of Muslim believers. The lecture was excellent and startling at the same time. Nowadays the situation and the possibilities of Christianity are woeful and it seems to us, that we do not have any more opportunities.
The future tendencies of all that we have heard became clear. The lecture raised automatically the main issue in all of us: is our situation entirely hopeless?
At that point I had the opportunity to ’open the door’ of our Christian hope and I started to speak about it to the crowd. I talked about hope which – if it is linked with love – may move hills, and its guarantee is God, our Creator and Savior.
There were many non-Christian people present and many wobbler or indifferent to Christianity. They were listening with open mind and open heart for the solace, and the atmosphere became placid and it resulted a kind of consensus (unity).
’Hope is never dying, if each last straw comes from THAT MANGER.’ (from Gáspár Nagy’s poem)
Hilda Kőrösiné Merkl dr.
Each Province/Vicariate is invited to share their stories and/or pictures with a next Province/Vicariate, if possible with a meeting. That Province/Vicariate invites the next Province/Vicariate, etc. For the Chain there is a route with a time table, which can be used. If every Province/Vicariate also sends their stories and pictures to the ECLDF website, we will create, in this way, a real chain of preachers of hope throughout Europe until the next Assembly October 2017 in Fatima.
Here you will find the announcement of the Chain and also an overview of all the contributions.