The Gospel, a compass to weather the storms

You who seek happiness. The Gospel, a resource to get through crises

by Xavier de Verchere

Salvator, 166 pages, €17

An antidote collection in the form of meditations, to return to the essentials of our lives and to rediscover hope itself. “before the dark book of human crises”. In his latest book, the Salesian priest Xavier de Verchère, Chaplain General of the Scouts and Guides of France (SGDF) since September 2020, delivers a series of resolutely optimistic advice for achieving a “deep and lasting happiness”plunging back into a finely and beautifully deciphered reading of the Gospels.

Informed decisions

What can the Beatitudes inspire us in our current society? What lessons can be drawn from the crisis situations that Christ himself was confronted with during his public life? Referring to emblematic biblical stories (the meeting with the blind Bartimaeus in Jericho, the appeased storm, the deliverance of the daughter of a Canaanite woman, or, among many others still, death on the cross…), the he author shows how the attitude of Jesus, soothing and confident, can guide us towards enlightened decision-making in an era painfully tested by wars, health, societal, economic, political, environmental crises, or even abuses in the world. ‘Church.

→ PORTRAIT. Father de Verchère, Chaplain General of the Scouts and Guides of France

“The crisis is not bad in itself, it is even essential because peace and happiness are at this price, and you have to go through many storms to mature”he insists in this sense, not without conceding that happiness is hardly transmitted by “great speeches”. Because, he continues, “True happiness can only be contagious in essence. It is through our committed enthusiasm, carrying the future of societies and the challenges of history, that others will feel this vital energy that drives us, this wisdom that reveals meaning”.

Without thus proposing ready-made solutions and without lapsing into Manichaeism, this little book tinged with humour, which will appeal to young and old alike, offers an original approach to the Gospels. Steeped in eclectic references – from Gandhi to the comedian Bourvil, from the Salesian theologian Xavier Thévenot to Pope Francis, from the death row inmate Jacques Fesch in 1957 to the young Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, passing through many other contemporary faces, some of whom less known… – it broadens the horizon of the biblical framework, and urges us to let ourselves be won over by hope against all odds.


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