Romano Guardini’s ‘The End of the Modern World’

The End of the Modern World, a 1956 book by Italian-German priest and theologian, Romano Guardini, is not an easy or facile read. That is not to say that Father Guardini does not write well and clearly; he is superb. But what he says is deep, rich, sombre and even dire. It is not an easy book to describe, except to expound briefly upon its title. We in the ‘modern world’ have lived off the values, but not the faith, of the mediaeval world, which integrated the faith of our fathers, and ultimately of Christ.

Up until now, we have gotten along with those values, but we lost sight of why we held them, and so are now letting them go, all couched in comforting terms of tolerance and compassion, but with all the tragic, nihilistic moral relativism and anarchy that entails.

Without Christ, and faith in Him, and in His Church, we are, quite frankly, lost, unmoored, untethered, unhinged, and prey to the forces of evil that swirl around us. This will reach its culmination in that ‘final unleashing of evil’ that is the reign of antichrist.

The solution? Faith, of course, a return to the wisdom of the mediaevals, the Fathers, Scripture and Christ. But beyond this, love – ‘not sentimental love’, as Father Richard Neuhaus says in his foreword to the work, ‘but the harsh and dreadful love of the way of the cross’.

Fear not, for God provides the grace, and such love will provide a joy that the world cannot take away, as Christ Himself promises.

Here, in audio, is the last page or so of the book. It’s not a spoiler, but hopefully offers a taste, for the reader to immerse himself soon.