Rome, April 30, 1960

When the world with its superficiality takes our breath away, and life with its burdens and trials prevail, we feel like giving up.
In this moment our hope is born in the One whom “we can hope against all hope”

We do not have to look far to find remedies or solutions for the fumes that infect the air we breathe.
The gospel is eternal well-being. Also today, those who live for the gospel and act in its name, though they may die and disappear — perhaps ignored by all — live.
Because they have loved and forgiven and defended and because they have never given up, they are winners and as such are welcomed into eternal glory.

But the gospel should not only be the model of our dying, it should be the daily bread of our life.
Walking along the streets of traditionally Catholic cities, you are inclined to question the faith of many. In fact, we know how many, even in a Catholic country like Italy, have lost their sense of God.
We see it, we feel it, we know it. It is enough to look at the newspapers, films and the theatre, television and fashion, art and music.
Sometimes certain situations take our breath away and a feeling of discouragement could overwhelm us at seeing not only adults but also innocent children immersed in a world so devoid of Christian values….
But then faith, if it is still alive in our hearts, invokes one of Jesus’ eternal words and suddenly you are convinced and you understand.
Above all you are certain that that word is as relevant today as ever and you are filled with the hope that if nourished on it not only will we be filled with peace, but we will pass from the defensive to the offensive, prepared to take on the evils that surround us for the good of those we love and that we hope to see saved.
“Take courage, I have conquered the world!” (Jn 16:33).
When boredom, listlessness, or a spirit of rebellion threatens to weaken our resolve in carrying out God’s will, we must persevere. With Jesus it is possible for the “new self” to live in us constantly and to dissipate the fumes of the world that stifle our soul.
When feelings of dislike and hatred would have us judge or detest one of our brothers or sisters, we need to let Christ live in us. If we love and do not judge, but forgive, we will win out.
And when situations in the family or at work that drag on for years — of mistrust, jealousy, envy, tyranny — weigh us down, we must play the part of peacemakers.
We can be mediators among opposing sides, re-establishing unity between brothers and sisters in the name of Jesus, who brought this idea on earth as the truth, the precious gem of his gospel.
And if we find ourselves surrounded by a world hardened by passions and worldly ambitions, stripped of ideals, of justice and of hope — as is often seen in politics and government — we should not feel suffocated. We need to trust and above all not abandon our post and our commitment. With the One who has conquered death, we can hope against all hope.

(taken from Essential Writings, New City Press, New York 2007, pp. 169-170)

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