Here at last we behold the end of this war, which, during almost six years, has held Europe in the grip of the most atrocious suffering and most bitter sorrow
A cry of humble and ardent gratitude arises from the very depths of our heart to "the Father of Mercies and the God of All Consolation."
But our canticle of thanksgiving is accompanied with the suppliant prayer to implore also of divine omnipotence and goodness the termination, in accord with justice, of the sanguinary warfare in the Far East.
On our knees in spirit before the tombs, before the ravines disturbed and reddened by blood, where repose the innumerable corpses of those who have fallen, victims of the fighting or of inhuman massacres, of hunger or of misery, we recommend them all in our prayers, and especially in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice, to the merciful love of Jesus Christ, their Saviour and their judge.
And it seems to us that they, the fallen, are giving warning to the survivors of this cruel scourge and are saying to them: Let there arise from the earth, wherein we have been placed as grains of wheat, the molders and builders of a new and better Europe, of a new and better universe, founded on the filial fear of God, on fidelity to His Holy Commandments, on respect for human dignity, on the sacred principle of equality of the rights of all peoples and all states, large and small, weak and strong.
The war has created on all sides chaotic ruin, both material and moral, such as mankind has never known in the entire course of human history. The task of this hour is to rebuild the world.
As the first element of this restoration, we long to see, after so long a period of waiting, the prompt and speedy return, in so far as circumstances permit, of the prisoners, of the interned, combatants and civilians, to their homes and to their wives, children and the noble works of peace.
To all them we say: Let not your energy flag nor your courage fail; dedicate yourselves ardently to the work of reconstruction, sustained by a strong faith in divine providence. Apply yourselves to labor, each one at his post, resolute and determined, with a heart animated by a generous, indestructible love of one's fellow-man.
It is difficult, certainly, but it is also a holy undertaking that awaits you in repairing the immediate and disastrous consequences of the war. We refer to the decay of public order, misery and hunger, the relaxing and brutalizing of customs and usages, the lack of discipline among the youth.
By so doing, little by little, you will prepare for your cities and your villages, for your provinces and your fatherlands, a lot more acceptable and renewed vigor to your blood.
With the threat of death lying in wait driven from the earth, from the sea and from the sky, the lives of men, creatures of God, and that which remains to them of their private and common possession henceforth assured by the laying down of arms, men can now set free their minds and spirits to the building of the peace.
If we limit ourselves to consideration of Europe, we find ourselves face to face now with gigantic problems and difficulties which we must overcome if we wish to plan the way to a true peace, the only one that can be lasting.
Peace, indeed, cannot flower and prosper except in an atmosphere of secure justice and of perfect fidelity, joined with reciprocal trust, mutual understanding and benevolence.
The war has aroused everywhere discord, suspicion and hatred. If, therefore the world wishes to regain peace, it is necessary that falsehood and rancor should vanish and in their stead that sovereign truth and charity should reign.
Above all, however, in our daily prayers, we should beseech God constantly to fulfill his promise made by the mouth of the Prophet Ezekiel, "And I will give them one heart, and will put a new spirit in their bowels; and I will take away the stony heart out of their flesh: that they may walk in my commandments, and keep my judgments, and do them: and that they may be my people, and I may be their God."
May the Lord God deign to create this new spirit, His spirit, in peoples, and particularly in the hearts of those to whom he has entrusted the responsibility of establishing the future peace.
Then and only then will the reborn world avoid the return of the thunderous scourge of war and there will reign a true, stable and universal brotherhood, and that peace guaranteed by Christ even on earth to those who are willing to believe and trust in His law of love.