A coincidence, or the will of the Lord?
In his testimony on Friday at the International Eucharistic Congress, János Áder talked about the impacts of the unexpected events on the human soul. The Hungarian President put up the question: why do all these unexpected events happen to us, and why do they happen alike? Usually 2 answers are given: “it was just a coincidence” or “Lord wanted it”.
The President of Hungary set up his speech on three events, on three personal experiences.
The first one happened in 2013, when he was preparing himself for his visit to the Vatican. They were taking 3 gifts to the Holy Father: a silver cup, the 1953 Hungarian edition of St. Paul’s letters, and a bottle of spring water from the shrine of Mátraverebély-Szentkút. And then came the series of “coincidences” – recalled the President.
Can it be a coincidence that the third gift, the bottle of spring water, was from the very shrine that was about to be restored and further developed, and the news on it reached President Áder on his plane to Rome? Can it be a coincidence that Pope Francis marked the foreheads of the President’s family members with this very spring water? Can it be a coincidence that during their private meeting they had a discussion on the protection of the created world, and that was the time when Pope Francis was about to publish his Encyclical on this same topic? All this was topped by the fact that it was President Áder having the privilege to inform the public on the Encyclical publishing – listed the ‘coincidences’ János Áder. Even more, the cornerstone laying of the shrine was scheduled for the Prime Minister, however on account of a sports injury he could not travel, so President Áder was asked to substitute him.
President Áder quoted the prayer from Pope Francis’ Encyclical “Laudato Si”, “we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.”
The Hungarian President’s second example is linked to his speech training. He and his tutor, Ágnes Vadász were on to collect the Hungarian Divine Poems, entitled “Looking up to the Sky – Presence of God in the Hungarian Poetry.” The volume includes one of Áder’s favourite poems from Attila József: “God was standing behind me”. He evoked that in the year of publication, a reception was held for the ecclesiastical dignitaries serving in Hungary and beyond borders. He quoted to István Szabó, Protestant Bishop the first two lines of this poem: “God is standing behind me/and I passed around the world to find Him.” Then the Protestant Bishop asked him: “And why didn’t you turn around?”
János Áder’s third example started with a subplot on the relation between faith and science. He mentioned here the conclusion of Darwin’s book “The Origin of the species”: Isn’t it a great thing to notice that the Creator originally incorporated life, with all its various abilities, into a small number of forms, or perhaps into one single one? (…) Then from this very simple beginning, so many admirable forms have developed and have been developing further.” Then he called the attention to the book preface, written by Tamás Freund to Francis Collins’s book, the“God’s Alphabet”: “I am of the belief that human brain has become capable of receiving the divine energy, the moral laws, the ability of good and evil, and all the irresistible urge that comes with to get familiar with both the meaning of our existence, and with God, the Creator.”
Áder set in parallel two artists. The painting Christ of Saint John on the Cross from Salvador Dalí and the poem of the Hungarian poet, Sándor Weöres “Cross silhouette”. He is of the belief that Christ’s crucifixion has become cosmic through both artistic masterpieces: the suffering face is invisible, still the horror of the crucifixion, the power of resurrection, and the mystery of Ascension are there in both oeuvres.
János Áder talked about the Covid-19 pandemic as well. He gave information that a foundation has been established with the curatorship of his wife, with the aim to support coronavirus orphans. The Foundation has been named after István Regőczi. The eligibility of the Foundation was underpinned by heart-breaking examples, to be mentioned here the story of a father, whose wife passed away as mother-to-be. However, the baby has been saved, the father was left alone with his baby child and his seven more children. Another heart-breaking story is the 18 year old young guy, living with his mother, but the mother became a Covid victim, while the boy has been admitted to the University. As a student his only income is the orphan allowance. The third case the President mentioned was the life story of the four minors. The parents passed away and all four were taken under the care of their grandparents. Unfortunately even the grandparents have become victims of the pandemic. Finally the children’s aunt has taken care of them, though their living conditions are very poor.
Many questions popped up during the charity activity, for which President Áder reflected to the letter of a pandemic widow, who gave thanks for being able to experience that she was not left alone, God “sent his Angels to her”, who were praying with her, listened her, took her hands and embraced her.
The testimony of the President of the Republic of Hungary was closed with the conclusion that searching for and accepting God needs real activity, it cannot be a passive action. “We all receive our signs, and it is up to us whether we take them as a simple story or a parable. It is up to us to see it as a ‘coincidence’ or God’s action.” Áder János is of the belief that “if we well apply the talents we have been entrusted with, if we are looking for God in our hearts, souls, and actions, then we will surely find Him.”