A letter from Aiud (29 January 1946), Valeriu sent to his family.
“Life is something other than what people imagine. Man himself is something other than what he imagines himself to be. The Truth is something other than what the human mind imagines. I want to be sincere and open, down to the deepest fibers of my soul. From the very moment in which I first set foot in prison, I wondered why I was locked up. In the realm of social life, regarding my relations with the world in which I lived, I was always considered to be someone very good, an example of moral conduct. If I entered into conflict with anyone, it was only for the sake of Truth. After much struggle and unrest, after much pain, when the cup of suffering had filled up, there came a holy day, in June 1943, when I fell to the ground, on my knees, my forehead to the floor, my heart crushed, in an outburst of tears. I asked God to grant me light. On that day, I had lost all confidence in Man. I realized perfectly well that I was in truth, so why then was I suffering? In all my soul full of spirited self-assurance there had remained only love. No one understood me.
In my prolonged weeping I started to do prostrations. And suddenly – O, Lord! How great art Thou, O Lord! – I saw my entire soul filled with sins. I found within myself the root of all human sins. Oh, so many sins, and the eyes of my soul hardened by pride had not seen them! How great is God! Seeing all my sins, I felt the need to shout them out loud, to cast them away from me. And a deep peace, a deep wave of light and love poured into my heart. As soon as the door opened, I left my cell and I went to those whom I knew loved me the most and to those who hated me and had sinned the most against me and I confessed to them openly and plainly, “I am the most sinful man. I don’t deserve the trust of even the lowliest of men. I am blessed!” Everyone was dumbfounded. Some of them looked at me with contempt, others with indifference, and some looked at me with a love that they themselves would not have been able to explain. Only one single person said to me, “You deserve to be kissed!” But I fled back quickly to my cell, buried my head in my pillow and continued weeping while thanking and glorifying God.
On that day, I began a conscientious struggle with sin. If you could only know how difficult the war with sin is! I want you to know that I struggled very much with sin not only here, but also when I was free. [Here he testifies that, although he was tempted physically, he did not fall, but remained pure.] In prison, I examined my soul and I realized that, even though I had not sinned in deed, I had sinned in word and especially in thought. After a deep examination of conscience, I went to a priest and confessed. My confession unburdened me. And I carry on a continuous struggle. The struggle does not cease with death. Without repentance no one can take even one step forward. Anyone who flees from the reality of his own soul is a liar. What is life? It is a gift from God that is given to us in order to purify our souls from sin and to prepare ourselves, through Christ, to receive eternal life. What is Man? A being created through the limitless love of God and to whom God gave the choice between holiness and death. Be very careful! In social life, people regard each other and judge each other not according to what they are in essence, but according to what they seem to be in form. Have no illusions about Man – anyone who does will suffer bitterly – but love Him. Only one is perfect, only one is good, only one is pure: Christ-God! And now: What is the Truth? The Truth is Christ, the Word of God. Seek to draw near to Christ sincerely and leave the world and its sins in peace!”
From the book “The Saint of the Prison”
A Letter of Saint Valeriu Gafencu To His Mother.
7 March 1946
And, my beloved mother, I want you to know that I have suffered much. The first winter I would wake up at night from my sleep, and the loneliness of my incarceration, cold and hungry, I would look into the darkness and whispering low, so that I only heard myself, but loud enough for God to hear: "Mom, I'm cold, hungry!"
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