“I used to put on airs as I believed that I knew more, and I think I wanted others to respect me. I have turned out to be the most awful fool. It took almost 70 years to feel love not in my head but in my heart,– Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan wrote in his book.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the death of the late cardinal. Born as a potter’s son, he later became cardinal in Korea. He kept in mind that he is a poor person but shares love and wisdom with people, showing a good example of what our time requires us to practice. Standing in the lowest place, he took care of the marginalized all the time. Nevertheless, Cardinal Kim had only himself to blame for his lack of love, calling himself a fool.
Being placed in the lower position, it may be easy to show humidity and humbleness. However, it may not be easy to lower his head and practice love and sharing as a religious leader who earns nation-wide respect and reverence. The man of his word teaches us the power of humidity and humbleness.
As Cardinal Kim said, it took 70 years for the heart of this great leader to feel love although he dedicated his life to sharing true love for several decades. Then, looking back at myself, this writer only imagine that it would take the same time period for ordinary people including me to just speak up love by words, which is felt by the head at first.
Around the time Korea showed a compressed growth rising from the position of one of the poorest countries following the nation’s liberation, Cardinal Kim played a key role in bringing people together by showing his humble love and leading them in the right direction every time Korea was met with critical moments in the history of human rights and democratization.
Many Korean citizens show concerns that the country is in a serious quandary. It is worrisome that we are divided in conflict at a time when only consolidation is the answer to a harsh situation abroad. It is wished that great sages such as the late cardinal, widely loved and respected by the public, existed at this critical moment.