I stepped inside the cool interior, which was dimly lit and covered on walls and ceiling with paintings of Christ and the Apostles, of biblical figures and heroes from long ago. I took a seat to wait for my spiritual father and looked around. I saw faces of men and women who had known suffering, much more severe than what I had ever experienced, even as rocked as I felt just then. They stood serene around the walls, many holding symbols of victory.
Father George Calciu came out from beside the altar and greeted me. He is a small, resilient man, unusually vigorous for his 76 years. His hair and beard are thick and white, and his face is permanently creased with the marks of indomitable good cheer. Cheerfulness is an unlikely attribute, given his story. In his native Romania Fr. George challenged the communist authorities repeatedly and forcefully, with a courage that defied self-preservation. He was confined in brutal prisons, subjected to brainwashing, and formed a lifelong friendship with a fellow prisoner, Richard Wurmbrand, author of Tortured for Christ.
Today the first thing he asked me was, "Why do you think that happened yesterday?"
I was stumped for a minute. I hadn't thought of exactly that question. I said, "I don't know."
Fr. George said, "It was the punishment of God."
Well, there's something I hadn't thought of. Though I wondered why I hadn't; I've just ...