Day 16. # 32 The late Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan, a prisoner for thirteen years, nine of them spent in solitary confinement, has left us a precious little book: Prayers of Hope. During thirteen years in jail, in a situation of seemingly utter hopelessness, the fact that he could listen and speak to God became for him an increasing power of hope, which enabled him, after his release, to become for people all over the world a witness to hope—to that great hope which does not wane even in the nights of solitude.
In prayer we find the hope that otherwise eludes us. Turning to the Lord in prayer, we place ourselves in contact with the one who is always watchful of us. There is the grace we find which will overcome discouragement, give us strength to turn again in penance for our sins, the inner resources to forgive the offenses of another and to seek forgiveness for our own offenses. As Cardinal Van Thuan experienced in the darkness of solitary prison, we can listen to God and hear his voice, even if we are in the surroundings of our world that are sometimes noisy and unruly. In prayer we learn to be more and more realistic in our hope since we become more attuned to God's presence in our lives.