If there is any message of hope in the modern world for the followers of the Christ, it is this: there is a limit, and this limit has to do with the mercy of God. There is a limit imposed upon evil in the world, in history, wrote Pope John Paul II as he recalled his youth in Poland under Russian domination. In secret he studied to become a priest.
Despite all our fears, of the human capacity for evil and wickedness, or the confusion of our own hearts, we need not be afraid for God loves. Indeed God is love itself. In Christianity there is the great teaching, the revelation that a being, a creator existed for love, in love with all that was created; this being was Gospel, the 'good news.' In a largely joyless, suffering world of oppression and hatred, the future Pope found joy. In the community of Christians, he felt joy so large that he felt compelled to share; this brought him to his vocation as a priest. He went forth to share this good news. Joylessness turned to hopefulness for the young priest from Poland.
In the modern, industrialized West, threats to human happiness take subtler forms than for those who suffer unjust governments. They threaten the Spirit, the Community no less than overt acts of evil.
And yet there is the Christ, whose message is taken up by followers throughout the world, all parts of the world, not only in the West. It is a universal message of hope, of peace, of love, faithful love.
Saint John, the disciple, writes of the radiant, burning love made visible in the incarnation of the Christ. The Holy Spirit comes down from above to kindle the hearts of ordinary men so that this love is made visible, tangible and real.
This love is the ordinary love of the Creator. It is not the love of hearts and candy, romantic and fickle. "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life..." 1John1:1