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The commitment for a future worthy of man

Catechesis by Pope John Paul II on the History of Salvation
General Audience, Wednesday 24 January 2001 - also in French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"1. If we cast a glance at the world and its history, at first sight the banner of war, of violence, oppression, injustice and moral decay seems to dominate. As in the vision of chapter 6 of the Apocalypse, it seems to us that horsemen are riding through the wasteands of the earth, holding/bearing now the crown of triumphant power, now the sword of violence, now the balance/scales of poverty and of famine, now the scythe sharpened by death (cf Apoc 6, 1-8).

In the face of/Faced with the tragedies of history and rampant immorality, the question which the prophet Jeremiah addresses to God is being repeated, giving voice to so many suffering and oppressed people:  "Righteous are you, O Lord, when I complain to you; yet I would plead my case before you. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive?" (Jer 12, 1). Unlike Moses who contemplates the promised land from the top of Mount Nebo (cf Dt 34, 1), we look out over a troubled world, in which the Kingdom of God is struggling to make its way/headway.

2. St Irenaeus in the second century identified an explanation in the freedom of man who, instead of following the divine plan of peaceful cohabitation/coexistence/living together (cf Gn 2), tears apart the/his relationship with God, with man and with the world. The Bishop of Lyons wrote thus:  "It is not God's art, which is capable of raising children to/of Abraham from stones, that is at fault, but it is the one who does not follow it that is cause of his own failed perfection. Indeed it is not the light that is missing through the fault of those who have blinded themselves/been blinded, but those who have blinded themselves/been blinded remain in the darkness through their own fault, while the light continues to shine. The light does not subdue anyone by force, nor does God constrain anyone to accept his art" (Adversus Haereses IV, 39, 3).

A continuous effort of conversion is thus necessary/needed to straighten the course of humanity, so that it may freely choose to follow "God's art", that is, his plan of peace and love, of truth and justice. It is this art that is fully revealed in Christ, and which the convert Paulinus of Nola made his own with this touching programme of life:  "My only art is faith and the music is Christ" (Carme XX, 32).

3. With faith the Holy Spirit also plants in man's heart the seed of hope. Faith is in fact, as the Letter to the Hebrews says, "foundation/assurance of things hoped for and proof of things not seen" (Heb 11, 1). In/Against a horizon often marked by discouragement, by pessimism, by choices of death, by inertia and superficiality, the Christian must open himself/be open to the hope that springs from faith. This is portrayed in the Gospel scene of the storm that broke out on the lake:  "Master, Master, we are perishing!", the disciples cry. And Christ asks them:  "Where is your faith?" (Lk 8, 24-25). With faith in Christ and in the Kingdom of God one is never lost, and the hope of serene calm reappears on the horizon. For a future worthy of man it is also necessary to revive/reinvigorate the active faith that generates hope. A French poet wrote about this:  "Hope is the eager expectation of the good sower, it is the longing of those who run for eternity. Hope is the infinity of love" (Charles Péguy, Le porche du mystère de la deuxième vertu).

4. Love for humanity, for its material and spiritual well-being, for an authentic progress, must animate all believers. Each act accomplished/done to create a better future, a more habitable land/earth and a more fraternal society participates, even if in an indirect way, in the building up of the Kingdom of God. Precisely in the perspective of this Kingdom, "man, living man, constitutes the first and fundamental way for the Church" (Evangelium vitae, 2; cf Redemptor hominis, 14). It is the way that Christ himself followed, making himself at the same time the "way" of man (cf Jn 14, 6).

On this way we are called above all to erase/dispel the fear of the future. It often grips the younger generations, leading them to react with indifference, with resignation in the face of life's obligations/commitments/demands, with self-brutalization/destruction through drugs, violence, (and) apathy. Then it is necessary to make joy emerge for every child that is born (cf Jn 16, 21), so that he may be welcomed with love and be prepared for the possibility of growing/given the chance to grrow in body and spirit. In this way one/we cooperate/s in the very work of Christ, who defined his mission in this way: "I came that they may have life and have it in abundance" (Jn 10, 10).

5. At the opening (of this audience) we heard the message that the apostle John addresses to fathers and sons/children, to the elders and the young, so that they may continue
together to struggle and to hope, in the certainty that it is possible to conquer evil and the Devil, in the force/strength of the efficacious presence of the heavenly Father'. To point to hope is a fundamental task of the Church. The Second Vatican Council has left us this illuminating consideration about it:  "One can legitimately think that the future of humanity is placed/lies in the hands of those who are capable of transmitting reasons for life/living and hope/hoping to the generations of tomorrow" (Gaudium et spes, 31). In this perspective, I would like to propose to you again the appeal to trust that I made in the speech to the UN in 1995:  "We must not be afraid of the future.... We have in us the capacity of/for wisdom and virtue. With such/these gifts, and with the help of God's grace, we can build in the century that is about to come and for the next millennium a civilization worthy of the human person, a true culture of freedom. We can and must do so! And, in doing so, we will be able to render account/realise that the tears of this century have prepared the ground for a new springtime of the human spirit" (Insegnamenti XVIII/2 [1995], p. 744).""


I welcome the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, especially the Asahikawa Choir from Japan, the choir and orchestra of Muskegon School, Michigan, and the students from Australia and the United States of America. Upon all of you and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Je salue cordialement les francophones présents à cette audience, en particulier les jeunes du lycée Notre-Dame des Dunes, de Dunkerque. Que votre pèlerinage sur la tombe de l’Apôtre saint Pierre ravive votre foi et fasse de vous des artisans de paix au milieu de vos frères ! À tous, je donne de grand cœur la Bénédiction apostolique.

Mit diesen Gedanken grüße ich die Pilger und Besucher, die aus den Ländern deutscher Sprache nach Rom gekommen sind. Ich lade Euch alle ein, in dieser Woche besonders für die Einheit der Christen zu beten. Euch, Euren Angehörigen daheim und allen, die mit uns über Radio Vatikan und das Fernsehen verbunden sind, erteile ich gern den Apostolischen Segen.

Com votos cordiais de graça, paz, saúde e alegria, saúdo quantos me ouvís, de língua portuguesa e peço ao Senhor que a todos faça crescer na fé e na adesão prática a Jesus Cristo, nosso Salvador. Na perspectiva da Festa da Conversão de S. Paulo, rogo que rezem pela unidade da fé, para que todos os cristãos professem, com renovada alegria, que Cristo é o único Salvador do mundo «ontem, hoje e sempre».

Saludo a los peregrinos de lengua española presentes hoy en esta audiencia y les animo a ser siempre y en todas partes sembradores de la esperanza que brota de la victoria de Cristo sobre el mal y la muerte.

Sveikinu piligrimus lietuvius! Kartu su Banycia visus jus kvieciu nukreipti savo pagrindine vilt Krist, vienintel ms Išganytoja. Kiekviename ingsnyje jus telydi ir teveda Marija, nauj ami vaigde. Linkedamas viso kas geriausia, iš širdies laiminu jus ir visus, kas jums yra brangs. Garbe Jezui Kristui!

Srdecne pozdravujem pútnikov zo Slovenska - pracovníkov Charitného domu vo Vrícku. Drahí bratia a sestry, zajtra sa konci Oktáva modlitieb za jednotu krest’anov. Modlime sa aj nad’alej za plné spolocenstvo veriacich v Krista. Rád ehnám Vás i Vašich drahých vo vlasti. Pochválený bud’Jeiš Kristus!


Rivolgo un cordiale saluto ai pellegrini di lingua italiana. In particolare, alle Suore Domenicane dello Spirito Santo, che in questi giorni compiono la ricognizione canonica dei resti mortali del Fondatore, Monsignor Pio Del Corona. Auguro che questo evento sia loro di stimolo per un rinnovato fervore nella totale consacrazione al Signore. Saluto i membri dell'Associazione Amici di Raoul Follereau, venuti in occasione della Giornata Mondiale dei malati di lebbra. Possa questa ricorrenza, che da diversi anni si rinnova, favorire il moltiplicarsi di progetti di ricerca scientifica e di generose iniziative a favore di quanti sono colpiti da questa malattia.

Oggi, festa di San Francesco di Sales, Patrono della stampa, ho firmato il Messaggio per la trentacinquesima Giornata Mondiale delle Comunicazioni Sociali, dal titolo: "Predicatelo dai tetti": il Vangelo nell'Era della Comunicazione Globale. Il testo viene oggi diffuso a cura del Pontificio Consiglio delle Comunicazioni Sociali. Auspico che la prossima Giornata per le Comunicazioni Sociali, che avrà luogo il 27 maggio 2001, costituisca per tutti un'occasione preziosa di riflessione sul ruolo e l'importanza dei mass media nell'ambito della nuova evangelizzazione. Preghiamo perché gli operatori della comunicazione sociale utilizzino questi strumenti per una sempre più concreta opportunità di conoscenza, di dialogo, di ricerca del senso della vita e di incontro con la Verità del Vangelo. San Francesco di Sales, anticipando il Concilio Vaticano II, indicò la via della santità come una chiamata rivolta ad ogni stato di vita. Accogliete questo invito voi, cari giovani, e non arrendetevi alle lusinghe di una vita facile e banale, ma rispondete generosamente a Cristo che vi chiama a fare del Vangelo la vostra regola di vita. Il Signore offre a voi, cari ammalati, una via privilegiata per camminare in conformità alla sua volontà: sappiate cogliere tutte le occasioni di grazia della vostra particolare condizione. E voi, cari sposi novelli, seguendo gli insegnamenti di San Francesco di Sales, sappiate costruire ogni giorno la vostra adesione al Vangelo nella reciproca fedeltà e nell'amore."


"The news from Colombia regarding an alarming increase in violence can only prompt me to ask everyone to rediscover the supreme value of life:  "There can be no peace when this most basic good is not protected" (Message for the World Day of Peace 2001, n. 19).

I would also invite all parties to promote an effective and honest dialogue, as I plead for an end to the kidnappings, acts of terrorism, attempts on life and the scourge of drug-trafficking.

It is time to return to the Lord of Life, so that he may move the hearts of all Colombians and make them understand that they are one great family."