Two Kingdoms — Day 26

Wednesday, Sept. 20, 1978

The pope’s remarks in today’s General Audience spoke on the virtue of Christian hope, the hope which is ours because we are attached to three truths:

God is almighty, God loves me immensely, God is faithful to promises.

Even our distressing sins should not deprive us of our hope. Echoing St. Francis de Sales, John Paul said:

God detests failings because they are failings. On the other hand, however, in a certain sense he loves failings since they give to him an opportunity to show his mercy and to us an opportunity to remain humble and to understand and to sympathize with our neighbor’s failings.

Does Christian hope in heaven cause a blameworthy passivity towards the problems on earth? John Paul noted the Second Vatican Council’s teaching that “the Christian message, far from deterring men from the task of building up the world … binds them, rather, to all this by a still more stringent obligation.” Yet he also observed that the “healthy, pure joys, which we meet on our way” in this world “must not be absolutized” :

They are something, not everything; they serve as a means, they are not the supreme purpose; they do not last for ever, but only for a short time. Christians, St. Paul wrote, “deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the form of this world is passing away.” Christ had already said: “Seek first of all the kingdom of God.”

The pope then critiqued the allegedly Christian hope promised by communism:

It is wrong, on the other hand, to state that political, economic and social liberation coincides with salvation in Jesus Christ, that the Regnum Dei [Kingdom of God] is identified with the Regnum hominis [Kingdom of man,] that Ubi Lenin ibi Jerusalem [Where Lenin is there is Jerusalem.]

In other papal news, His Holiness sent a letter to the bishops of Argentina and Chile urging them to promote peace between their nations. These two military-led countries are threatening war in border dispute over possession of strategically-located islands south of Tierra del Fuego:

Without going into technical aspects, which are outside of our intent, we exhort you, with all the moral force at your disposal, to work for peace, encouraging all, rulers and ruled, toward goals of mutual understanding and generous comprehension with those who, though full of national barriers, are brothers in humanity, children of the same Father, united by the same religious ties.

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