"I never thought it would happen in my lifetime. I hoped it would happen, I prayed it would happen, but I never really thought I would see the day communism fell in Czechoslovakia. "
“Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but, rather an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed. The more unpropitious the situation in which we demonstrate hope, the deeper that hope is. Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless how it turns out. In short, I think that the deepest and most important form of hope, the only one that can keep us above water and urge us to do good works, and the only true source of breathtaking dimension of the human spirit and its efforts, is something we get, as it were, from “elsewhere.” It is also this hope, above all, which gives us the strength to live and continually to try new things, even in conditions that seem as hopeless as ours do, here and now.”
Havel’s words were uttered in 1986 after his many years of struggle with communism that included time in prison. Yet Havel did not lose hope that one day he would see his country liberated from the iron grasp of totalitarianism. Astonishingly, three years later, his audacious hope was realized and enshrined in history. Havel will always remain a symbol of hopeful resistance and one of the great examples of practitioners of hope.
The waves of optimism that swept Czechoslovakia in 1989 have long receded. Many think that the current situation in Slovakia does not offer many reasons for optimism, while others maintain that the measure of pessimism in Slovak society is disproportionately high.
Havel met Pope Benedict XVI during the pope's trip to Prague in 2009. He met Blessed John Paul II at least five times, three of them in Prague, and Havel attended the late pope's funeral at the Vatican in 2005. The two men admired one another and saw each other as participants in the same battle for freedom, human rights, human dignity and respect for the cultures of Eastern Europe.
Pope Francis urges Slovak Jesuits in their work to draw closer to God and His people, during his Apostolic Visit to Slovakia
With Maria and Jozef on the Way to Jesus
We were not put here just to make do, but to make something of our lives”, said the Pope. He urged the young people to be heroic and to “dream fearlessly”. “Please, don’t let your lives just pass by”, added the Pope.
New York Times op-ed: When Dictators Find God, by David Brooks:
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Over at Print, R.E. Hawley writes about a book cover design trend you may have noticed: Behold, the Book Blob.