Teaching and Finding Peace

Andy comes from a family in Hong Kong that is well known for its mastery of martial arts. He is a Catholic priest who serves as a chaplain in one of the largest prisons in the United States. Even though his faith teaches him peace, he was struggling with the anger he felt about an incident with his father just before he left his homeland.

Andy’s father taught him everything he knew about the martial art his family practiced. But a serious conflict came up between father and son, and the two masters of the art of war found themselves in the family courtyard, ready for mortal combat. As they took their stances, hands raised in position, Andy’s father suddenly dropped his arm, signaling that he was withdrawing. For Andy, this action was even worse than the tragedy that he was fighting with his father and mentor. He felt rejected, judged unworthy to receive anything from his father, even death. Andy was so hurt that he left his homeland and his family immediately after this incident. He came to the United States, where he succeeded in several occupations before entering his religious calling. For years he gnawed on his anger: Why had his father refused to fight him? What was the message?

This crucial moment with a riddle is the center of Andy’s legend. When he looked at it with new eyes, as a metaphor that had the power to move him forward, he suddenly understood the meaning of his father’s act. He wasn’t trying to humiliate him or spare his feelings. He had acted from love. His message was that you don’t need to use violence to solve your problems. Andy realized that this was precisely the direction he had followed with his life. He had become a teacher of peace for suffering, imprisoned souls. Preaching peace, and finally finding it for himself.