We had a wonderful two-hour meeting with the archbishop, speaking much about the opposition Faith still faces. He encouraged us with his words of wisdom. “A life without persecution means that the devil does not take you too seriously. We must face difficulties with love and peace, and always try to make peace with others.” Go Forth! Stories of Missions and Resurrection in Albania (Luke Veronis)
In my quest to find something to read on my Kindle in the way of spiritual literature I recently purchased the book Go Forth! Stories of Missions and Resurrection in Albania by (Fr) Luke Veronis. There wasn’t a great deal of science in it’s choosing to be honest, I was tired of searching through Amazon on certain topics and digging through the tomes of Protestant and Catholic Literature for something “more Orthodox”, and I went through the list of eBooks from Conciliar Press looking for one that I didn’t yet own out of their small list of titles (recently they have started to make some titles available electronically, PLEASE MAKE MORE!!!!!).
At first look I wasn’t overly keen on downloading this one. In fact a number of times I had passed over it previously when ordering hardcopy books. I have no real understanding why, maybe my subconscious wasn’t interested in Albania, maybe like many people I have no idea what has happened in the country before and it didn’t spark my attention. As I began to read the realisation on how wrong these feelings were hit me.
The book is presented as a diary of Fr Luke’s mission work in Albania, but much easier to read than many books I have read in this style. In only a few short chapters my eyes were opened and heart shocked at what he walked into and also the challenges and fruit of what it was to become.
“Prior to World War II, Albania was a poor, underdeveloped country. It declared independence from the Ottoman Empire on November 12, 1912, yet found the Italians invading a few decades later. The brutal communist takeover following the Second World War offers a glimpse into one of the most oppressive regimes of the twentieth century. A startling fact for many is the way Albania detached itself from each of its communist benefactors–Yugoslavia (1944–48), Russia (1948–61), and China (1961–78). The Albanian dictator, Enver Hoxha, justified each separation by accusing these communist bulwarks of abandoning the true Marxist-Leninist path. In true Stalinist fashion, Hoxha believed that only Albania represented authentic communism, and thus his country lived in isolation from the rest of the world. Hoxha did claim certain successes during his rule, such as bringing electricity to every village, raising the literacy rate of the population to 95 percent, and making progress in industry and agriculture. The people of Albania lived in such a time warp, though, that many believed the state propaganda and thought they had the highest living standard in all of Europe.”
This context, put the challenges and achievements in a greater perspective as you turn the pages.
I am by no means a book critic of any stature, however recommend this tome very highly. There are gems in this book that give strength and perspective to all aspects of our life particularly struggles, that are worth it irrespective of interest in the topic of evangelism. On that matter however, it brings to bear the incredible need around the world (and no doubt in our own parish’s) of the need to share the Gospel with all.