Venerable Cardinal Francis-Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan spent thirteen years in communist prisons in his home country of Vietnam. A priest of extraordinary faith and courage, he still remained in contact with the faithful under his care by sending out secret messages of encouragement and advice on scraps of paper from his prison cell. His reflections are still published by Pauline Books & Media.
In Five Loaves and Two Fish, a book drawn from his remarks to young people at the 1997 World Youth Day in Paris, Cardinal Van Thuan reflects on his life and his relationship with God and his Church. In the same way that Jesus fed thousands with only five loaves and two fish, Cardinal Van Thuan, with characteristic humility, offers his own life as an example of the great things God can work through his servants. "Like the boy in the Gospel passage, I will recall my experience in seven points: my five loaves and two fish," he offers. "These are nothing, but it is all I have. Jesus will do the rest."
The Cardinal's story of suffering for God and his Church, told in his own words, is extraordinary enough. But it is the spiritual insights and reflections he shares in this book that make it a moving and essential read for any Catholic. Five Loaves and Two Fish is joyful and greatly encouraging, a powerful and contemporary testimony of faith. Like St. Paul, also imprisoned for his faith, Cardinal Van Thuan reminds us that a life devoted to God is the only one worth living, no matter the circumstances.