Thursday, April 16, 2015
Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi Emptying Himself
Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi died on August 22, 2012 in Taipei Taiwan at the age of 90 and left us an account of his experience recopied in the Pastoral Bulletin. His account of the trials and embarrassment he endured is even difficult to copy. The article did skip some of the most difficult aspects of his last days.
" In Taipei, I could not defecate for two days so the doctor gave me some laxatives. They started to work around midnight. I woke up the male nurse to help me get to the washroom. Before we got all the way, my bowels emptied; the feces dropped out of me, fell to the floor and the nurse stepped in them. He was not happy. While he washed his slippers and the floor, he muttered words that I could not understand. He then took off my soiled pajamas, sat me on the toilet bowl naked and, while he washed the shit off my legs, scolded me like an adult scolds a child."
“Just two or three steps from the toilet and you couldn’t hold on. It gives me so much trouble. You have to tell me earlier next time,” was the bawling out he got from the male nurse.
"I felt like a one-year-old kid. Every sentence was like a sharp knife, cutting away all the esteem, honor, titles, status, authority and dignity of my past 90 years. After cleaning me up, he laid me on my bed and quickly went back to sleep.
"I was prescribed with a strong diuretic to expel the fluid in my lungs – but I wasn’t told about it. The medication took effect during Mass. By the time I got to the readings, I had to go to the toilet. On the way, I wet myself so badly my urine left a trail on the floor. Since my ordination 57 years ago, that had never happened during Mass. I lost my dignity. I felt I had no place to hide in front of the nuns, doctors and nurses. This is how God started to cure my vanity.
These experiences made me realize two important spiritual facts--One: If you want to get close to Jesus, you must depend on God’s assistance to empty yourself. Two: When our loving God plays tricks on us, making us embarrassed, chronic problems of our heart and mind can be healed; obstacles on our spiritual path will be removed.
That embarrassment brought rejuvenation to a nonagenarian suffering from terminal illness."
In just days, it took him back to the innocence he had in his childhood and expelled unhelpful habits that had accumulated for years.
“For God everything is possible.” (Matthew 19:26)