in hope, which seizes the heart like “the most
precious of the devil’s potions”.
Called to ra-
diate light and communicate life, in the end they
are caught up in things that generate only dark-
ness and inner weariness, and slowly consume all
zeal for the apostolate. For all this, I repeat: Let
us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the joy of
No to a sterile pessimism
84. The joy of the Gospel is such that it can-
not be taken away from us by anyone or anything
16:22). The evils of our world – and those
of the Church – must not be excuses for dimin-
ishing our commitment and our fervour. Let us
look upon them as challenges which can help us
to grow. With the eyes of faith, we can see the
light which the Holy Spirit always radiates in the
midst of darkness, never forgetting that “where
sin increased, grace has abounded all the more”
5:20). Our faith is challenged to discern
how wine can come from water and how wheat
can grow in the midst of weeds. Fifty years af-
ter the Second Vatican Council, we are distressed
by the troubles of our age and far from naive
optimism; yet the fact that we are more realis-
tic must not mean that we are any less trusting
in the Spirit or less generous. In this sense, we
can once again listen to the words of Blessed
 G. B
Journal d’un curé de campagne
, Paris, 1974, 135.
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