Saturday, December 26, 2009
A Cardinal's Hobby
The Cardinal of Seoul Cheong Jin-suk has just published his new book of essays on Catholic teaching: "From the Hill of Pouring Sunshine". The Seoul Cathedral is on a hill, Myong Dong, which over looks the city of Seoul. The Cardinal, besides being the Catholic Ordinary of Seoul, is a scholar and has written and translated many books during his years of priesthood.
He wrote his first book of essays in 1969: "Shepherd's Song", this second book, after 40 years, is to remember his mother's 100th year of birth. He has over the years published his books around his Christian name day, St. Nicholas' feast day, Dec. 6th. He hopes to be of some help to the Christian's spiritual life. In the introduction to the book he writes: "We see the rough outlines of truth as in a deep fog, my heart's wish is to be a friend in words, to help those who are interested in progressing in the search for a better understanding and clarity of these truths."
To those who feel that God is not listening to them in prayer he gives the example of a radio. "If we want to hear God's whispers we have to turn on our heart's radio receiver and raise the volume and be on the right frequency with the message of love being sent."
The Cardinal has been writing and translating since 1955 and turns out one or two books every year. It is one of his hobbies, it is difficult but he finds peace and quite devoting himself to the writing. He often gets up at around 3:30 or 4:00 am and writes before his work day begins.
This year the Cardinal in his Christmas Message wants us to reflect on making material goods the center of our lives. He said: "today our society's greatest single problem is being overcome by the centrality of the material; it is making all the other values powerless. Our life should be directed to the important values of the mind and spirit." This is a message that will be made in one way or another in most parts of the West.
Cardinal Cheong is now 78 years old and his year of retirement has past. By church law one is required to submit his resignation to the Holy Father at 75 but he does not step down until it is accepted by the pope. The Ordinary of a diocese has as his first duty one of teaching and Cardinal Cheong does this not only in the administrating of the Diocese but also in the teaching through books. May he have many more years of publishing before and after retirement.