Rev. Peter Vu

Rev. Peter G. Vu has been a Catholic priest of the Diocese of Grand Rapids, Michigan for twenty years. Born in Saigon City (currently Ho Chi Minh City), Viet Nam, he was a young boy when the Viet Nam war ended. “I witnessed the War,” he says, “and the end of it with great horror and deep appreciation for peace.”

What helped him growing up under an oppressive government, experiencing hardships was his faith and prayers. This developed into a love for prayers and meditations, some he learned from his Buddhist friends. After coming to the United States, finishing high school, college, and seminary, Peter discerned a call to ministry. Since then he has been in ministry at six different churches over the last twenty years. As someone trained in Clinical Pastoral Care, he has served as a chaplain in hospitals and at a home for veterans.

It could have been all of the years of listening to people and giving good counsel that led Peter to write his new book Inspiration Coffee & Wisdom Tea: Daily Delights at the Divine Coffeehouse. He takes seriously the task of being a spiritual advisor and counselor, which is evident in Inspiration Coffee & Wisdom Tea. Peter offers his advice and counsel based on two thought-provoking quotes for each day of the year. You think of it has your morning coffee and your afternoon tea. I had a chance to ask Peter five questions about his book.

1. Where did the idea for this book come from? 

Most of us cannot remember everything in school, a seminar, or a play. But, we can recall a memorable saying from it. Some of those sayings could be a source of guidance in our daily life while others might become our life-long philosophy. That is why we see some have put a saying below their signatures to express their life philosophy or belief. Others enjoy opening up a fortune cookie after a delicious meal at an Asian restaurant & see what karma wants to tell them. Realizing the desire of all human souls for wisdom, I want to find a way to make it appealing and easy to embrace in our daily life. If we drink coffee or tea to give us energy boost every day, I can come up with a book to inspire us spiritually and give us wisdom to deal with our daily duties. That is how I brainstormed and put together this book. 

2. You write in the introduction that this book is “designed simply to give us a quick spiritual boost.” Why do you find that a “spiritual boost” is essential today?

We might live in a fast-paced and busy world, but westill need nourishment for our body. Many companies have come up with energy drink and power snack bars to give our body strength without taking too much time. This book is like a wisdom boost drink or a spiritual snack bar to give our spirit its necessary daily nourishment. It gives us reasons to wake up every morning and purpose to live our life to the fullest. It also helps us make right decisions throughout the day. Some of us might have to face tough decisions every day while others might encounter a hopeless situation and want to contemplate suicide. This book helps uplift your spirit and give you a ray of sunshine to smile each morning.  

3. You use a wide range of quotes and sayings, including the sacred texts and famous influencers. How did you decide which quotes to use?

I have used not only sacred texts but also memorable sayings from a variety of influential people. For I believe that wisdom comes from all human cultures and traditions. It transcends time and religions. No religion or culture can claim wisdom as its exclusive right. I cast a wide net during my research for this book. But, I gradually narrowed down to the quotes and sayings that are short and memorable. In the end, I chose only quotes that are realistic and beneficial to our daily life.

4. Why was it important for you to use such a wide range of quotes and sayings from various sources? 

We are living in a period that is so divisive and suspicious of people who might not share the same beliefs or points of views with us. That negative feeling tears our human family apart along religion, political affiliation, ethnic background, social class, and so on. As someone who has my feet in both worlds of the West and the East as well as Christianity and Buddhism, I have written this book from all those perspectives and hope that it will help bring everyone together and see something good in one another. For I believe that wisdom transcends human traditions and religions. Our world will be like heaven if everyone would learn to appreciate one another’s backgrounds and treat one’s neighbors with love and respect. 

5. What advice do you have for those who are striving to achieve a more wisdom filled life? 

I thank God for those who desire for a more wisdom filled life. My advice for them is to be open to embrace other cultures and life experiences. I also encourage them to keep searching for that way of life. It will bring them joy and fulfillment. Most importantly, it will put an end to all bigotry and hatred in our world. When we stop searching and think that we already knew everything, we allow ignorance and bigotry to take over our heart and soul. The result is that hatred and fighting will be the routine of our life.