Kálvária-hegy (Hármashatár-hegy), Budapest
Despite the liberties enjoyed by most of us living in democratic societies, the struggle for preserving our freedom against encroaching censorship, authoritarianism, or aggressive corporate interests is an ongoing effort. Celebrating Easter, the greatest holiday in the Christian calendar, let us remember the message of Good Friday: atonement and deliverance, with one of the most inspirational Hungarian personalities of the 20th century.
Cardinal Mindszenty a day after his release from communist captivity. Photo: Wikipedia
Cardinal József Mindszenty delivered his prayer of gratitude on the night of October 30, 1956, after he was freed from captivity in the Northern town of Felsőpetény by the Home Guards of a nearby town, Rétság. He was held captive by the communist secret service (AVH), but eventually abandoned in the chateau where he was housed at the news of the 1956 anti-communist uprising. On his release, Cardinal Mindszenty delivered the following prayer:
“The Lord has thrown away my prisoner’s clothes, He has led me out into the wide field. He has been my refuge for eight years in captivity: let my lips sing the psalm!
How good are you, my Lord and my God! Thy providence is great! How many afflictions and troubles hast thou shown me, and hast brought me to life by turning unto me: and hast led me back from the whirlpools of earthly life, and hast comforted me.
It is true that it was the blood sacrifice of the freedom fighters in the capital and the brave Rétság armored unit that opened the door for me, leading from the crypt to life. But God’s hand had instruments. The hand of God plays – through human actions and deeds – on the endless organ of world history. He is the one who unlocks even the handcuffs of prisoners. He is the one who does wondrous things among the sons of men.
The Lord has sent his instruments and snatched me, like the apostle from the hand of Herod, out of my lifelong captivity. And the expectation of my enemies has become null and void.
The Lord has loosened my prisoner’s garment, leading me out into the open field. He has been my refuge for eight years in captivity: let my lips sing a psalm of thanksgiving.”
(October 30, 1956 in József Mindszenty: My Memoirs, pp. 417 and 420)
Featured Photo: Hungary Today