Erenlai - Items filtered by date: Friday, 08 January 2010
Saturday, 09 January 2010 02:36

Laughing through life’s final tour

We all have to leave this world eventually. Here, His Eminence Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-Hsi talks of his final journey.

The Cardinal has two distinct memories that troubled him in his youth in Huabei, China. Firstly after the death of a neighbour’s uncle he wanted to become a doctor so he could save lives. Secondly, having seen numerous casualties and people left homeless in the Yellow river floods he wanted to become hydraulic engineer. He didn’t end up fulfilling either of these two dreams instead his eventual calling was to be a man of the clergy. However, as a Cardinal the principal remained the same, from the start he wanted to be of service to the people, for the happiness of the people.

The principal of life and death is easy to understand in theory but as we come closer and closer how should we prepare to bid farewell to the journey of life?

[dropcap cap="D"]epression, disappointment, cynicism, perplexion are all emotions we may experience as we approach our passing, According to Cardinal Dan being diagnosed with a type of lung cancer allowed him to advance to a new part of his life journey and experience new surroundings. It is tough getting a serious illness, of course; however Cardinal Dan takes it all in his cheerful sense of humour: "God allowed me to personally experience cancer, so that I could share my thoughts. Is that not a good thing?” [/dropcap]So the Cardinal put the doctor in charge of his lung cancer and listened to the doctor’s orders like a good patient, he in turn took control of his own body; donating his corpse to the soil, his possessions to his relatives and his soul to God. Then he set off on his farewell tour, sharing his experiences all over Taiwan. Cardinal Dan thinks that if you don’t know death then you can not know how to live. Taking a closer look at death gave him an extra level of understanding about life.

Chenhao Yang, who took the photo of the Cardinal, says: "The power of love can turn a seed into a tree, just as it can reverse a decline. Cardinal Dan’s love has given bravery and encouragement to people, helping lives blossom and creating spiritual wealth in this world." The Cardinal lived like this because he felt the most important thing for people was to love and to be loved.

Cardinal Dan often says "Don’t take life to seriously. When you’re praying to God, you can also joke with him; you can become a baby kangaroo in the holy pouch of God....because humour also gives you a lighter more positive outlook on the world." He has also mentioned that his medicaments for his lung cancer have given him spots and curly hair but only young people get spots so, in fact, he feels he has been rejuvenated and is returning to youth. "Don’t pray for a miracle for me, because miracles interrupt the natural order of things and destroy God’s intention. One day, we’ll meet again..."

If life is theatre, we put our makeup on and go out on stage to perform the trials and tribulations of our life and our death. How do you want the play to end? And from this play, what lives on forever? From Cardinal Dan’s life performance we can see that what lives on is spirit...and style!

This article is provided by the WeShare Education and Charity Foundation. The content is taken from the Life Education documentary series and the film collection Hugging - Standing up strong in ferocious winds.

WeShare Foundation
Hugging blog

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Photos by Aurelie Kernaleguen and Oliver Yang

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