by Catherine Doherty.
As our life unfolds, hope tends to become elusive. We are almost afraid to believe in it, to hold it close, to use it as a compass for our life.
Yes, it dims with the years, and then when we need it most, in times of pain and sickness, sorrow and old age, it seems to vanish.
Perhaps we have even forgotten how to hope as we did as children—with the exciting anticipation of things as yet unseen which, in the simplicity of our hearts, we knew were going to come to us.
But what is hope? It’s a word we often use, but do we really understand what it means? One dictionary defines it as "desire accompanied by expectation of, or belief in, fulfillment."
And as we learned in various kinds of religion classes, it’s a theological virtue that can be described as an act or state whereby man chooses to trust that he will obtain all that God has promised him.
In these strange times, it almost appears as if hope has disappeared from the hearts of men. Perhaps this is because the faith of man is being battered and attacked on all sides.
Sometimes it seems as if the heart of man has become a punching bag for strange boxers to punch in a thousand directions.
Theologians are among these boxers, theologians who contradict each other and spout little heresies and big ones that spring hither and yon to flourish in the sun for a short time and die again to beget more heresies.
Faith is the mother of hope and of love. And love is being battered, too. Now it is reduced to an almost animal level, now raised to an impossible level, now twisted around and seeming strangely to resemble the crucified Christ who is trying to change a little bit the terrible position that nails him on the cross.
Man’s inhumanity to man that punches faith and tortures love is also reducing hope to a tiny pin-point, barely visible.
Across the world, men, women, and children are dying from natural disasters and war. In some countries, they are dying from hunger because those who have will not share with those who have not.
Amongst those who have, avarice and greed and the blatant disregard of one’s brothers and sisters and fellow-citizens is like a devastating epidemic that brings poverty amidst plenty in an ever wider circle. Yes, hope seems to shrink to almost a pin-point in the hearts of men. But it needn’t do so!
For we must remember that faith has been punched before, and love has been imprisoned, beaten down, tortured, and crucified before. But both have risen, risen with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. And so has hope.
Yes, so has hope. Let us who believe in the Resurrection stop being afraid. Let us stop worrying about the tomorrow which seems to shrink our hopes into nothingness.
Tomorrow is ours, as is today. If we fill today with a faith that resurrects hope and explodes love as the resurrection of Christ has truly done, then what is there to fear except our lack of courage?
This is the hour for us to arise and choose hope and to bring it to the hopeless and enkindle faith in those who hear so many voices against it. And above all, this is the hour to allow our hearts to explode with that love that fills the Gospel with its deep, constant invitation.
For into our ordinary hands has been given the answer to hopelessness, to loss of faith, and to loss of love.
This is the hour for the Christian to remember that he is "one who is sent," even as the apostles were.
All we have to do is to implement the words of the Lord—Go forth and preach the Gospel! (Mk 16:15). People are hungry for the Gospel.
They are waiting for it to be preached to them without compromise, so that hope might grow once more in their hearts. They are waiting for it to be preached so that they too might begin to love as Christ wants them to love.
They are waiting for it to be preached so that their faith might grow until it truly rests in God’s heart and hence becomes a totality of surrender to Him.
Tomorrow or the day after, we may perhaps experience the breakdown of our civilization. All kinds of dislocations—social, political, financial—might confront us.
But let us not forget that each one of us, each Christian, is a wedge that has been commissioned to enter into this land of despair and hopelessness that might and probably will darken the minds of men.
It shouldn’t! It can’t! Because Christ is risen, so is hope, so is love, so is faith. Remembering that Jesus is the Master of the impossible, let us then do the seemingly impossible.
Let us become like little children, as God has asked us to be. Let us cry out to him with a loud voice: "Give me the heart of a child and the awesome courage to live it out as an adult." Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen!
—Adapted from Restoration, April 1975.
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