What is our hope?

“Do not depend on the hope of results … In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.”

These are the profound words of wisdom from Thomas Merton to his friend, the peace campaigner Jim Forest, in Letter to a Young Activist in 1966.

For those who want to linger here a little longer:

“Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on … you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. And there, too, a great deal has to be gone through, as gradually you struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. The range tends to narrow down, but it gets much more real. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything.”