INDEED! Given the way things and many people are today, hope has become an urgent need. There are just too many signs that many people today, especially the young ones, are trapped and entangled in worldly things. They have forgotten or do not even know that all of us are meant for another world, another life, one that is eternal and is our real home with God our Creator and Father.
Because of that entanglement, many are simply chasing illusions, if not delusions. If they get some degree of success, they are happy, of course. But it is of the type that certainly will not last long, and one that would not know how to cope with difficulties and trials, let alone, failures and disasters which are always possible in this life.
And when they are not successful, they unavoidably fall into sadness and depression, their verve for life all but lost. Their world would become gloomy and they would feel as if it already is the end of the world. Pessimism and despair then become a logical result.
We need to more consciously develop this virtue especially these days when we can get easily mesmerized of the many developments that would pin us on the here and now and forget about the future and the life hereafter.
As defined in the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, hope “is the theological virtue by which we desire and await from God eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit to merit it and to persevere to the end of our earthly life.” (387)
That it is, first of all, a theological virtue can only mean that the first thing we have to do is to ask for it, often kneeling and begging God our Father not only to grant it to us, which he actually does unstintingly, but also to increase it all the time.
When we truly have hope we will trust God always and believe in his promises, regardless of what happens. We know that God will always be true to his promises and that he has done everything so that his will and designs for us, that is, our salvation, our eternal life with him in heaven, can really take place. That is, if we have hope.
As St. Paul said, “Hope does not disappoint, because the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Rom 5, 5) It is the Holy Spirit who is already given to us that assures us beyond doubt that we are going to receive, if we continue to hope, what Christ has promised us. We may not yet receive these promises now, but we are already assured of them by the Holy Spirit no less.
It’s good that we immerse ourselves in this truth so that we can be ready when all sorts of earthly trials assail us. With strong faith, we can even exploit these trials to let our hope grow even more.
To develop this virtue of hope we need to relate everything to God. We have to give spiritual or religious meaning to all our acts, including the most menial acts we do. That way, we will always be with God, always feeling reassured especially in our trying moments, and not giving an opening to the enemies of God and of our soul to bother us.
Let’s try our best to be men and women of hope, of real, great and abiding hope, which means that we have a clear vision of our ultimate goal in life and are confident that with God’s grace and our effort we can reach it. Let’s beam with hope and not just keep it inside, if only to give our present troubled world some real glow./PN