Home Commentary Tiananmen: 'It’s that time of year…'

Tiananmen: ‘It’s that time of year…’

We are very close to that time of year again. I would like to say something that conveys the sadness and hope that coexist in the event that destroyed life 35 years ago in the capital.

As much as some want this event to be archived, for many, it remains a source of suffering. The human psyche is complex and has its own will, it does not always promptly follow external requests.

Perhaps it is precisely this that makes us human beings who are not always predictable, but deeply interesting with unknown potential.

What happened 35 years ago has left a deep wound in parts of our psyche, even as it has been buried and healed. However, a sore spot remains that requires adequate attention for healing.

And I’m praying for this healing to happen. Having said that, I understand that we must not stop, but move forward. A healthy life shouldn’t be stuck in a dark space of endless pain and resentment.

This does not mean, however, that I can forget what I saw and felt so deeply that night and in the weeks that followed. Even though my memories are no longer vivid, my heart has feelings that remain alive, especially this time of year.

My faith, however, compels me to forgive anyone and anything. Perhaps it is through forgiveness that different parties can move beyond finger-pointing and the painful “I will never forgive” mentality.

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If we are open to forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing have a better chance of becoming a reality.

Ours is a God of unconditional love. His forgiveness is always available to those who need it but do not yet have the courage to ask for it.

God’s unconditional love for us is expressed in an overwhelming way through the Passion and death of his only Son, even when we live in a state of sin that we do not confess.

Fortunately, it is through this self-sacrificial act of love that we are aware of our need for God’s forgiveness.

And with the resurrection of the Son, we can enjoy a new beginning. Precisely because God’s forgiveness does not require our repentance, we can also learn to forgive proactively.

Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, but it offers a precondition for our inner freedom and a brighter future for all.

Before I conclude my reflection on this fateful time of year, allow me to share a prayer with you. If you also feel inspired, I would be honored if you would join me in this prayer.

“Oh, Lord of history,
in prayer I have walked with the victims and their families for the last 35 years;
I have not failed to accompany them with moments of reflection and a fluctuating sadness that sometimes seems infinite.
At the same time, however, I maintain my hope in the risen Lord who passed through this same death.
Now, I come before you in prayer.
With faith and hope, Lord, I entrust to you the democratic development of the country.
You who are always just and wise.
Let me wear your yoke and learn from you.
May I glimpse, through your goodness and humility, the eternal desire for life.
Advancing in love, and supporting each other in facing our contradictions, we enjoy the beauty of Trinitarian communion.
Oh Lord, guide us! Walk with us, people of China!

Reflections of Cardinal Stephen Chow Sau-yan of Hong Kong on the 35 years of the Tiananmen Square massacre. This was first published in the diocesan weekly Sunday Examiner on May 30.  

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