‘I hope you are well’. ‘I hope you will have a wonderful time’. ‘I hope to have a bigger house one day’. ‘I hope to have more children’. ‘I hope one day I could be a stay at home mum’. I hope, I hope and hope…
Is this the sort of hope that as Christians we are called to have? A mere desire, a wish that things, perhaps, will get better one day?
Christian hope is much more than a simple longing for something good… Christian hope comes from faith. Christian hope comes from the risen Christ.
For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Rm 8:24-25
Christ is our hope.
In Him we find the happiness we desire, in Him the shelter we need, in Him the strength we require, in Him we find the meaning we are looking for, in Him we find the true love which is the motor of our life.
As I write… I am here disarmed by my own words… I know all this and yet, at times, it is so easy for despair to overcome one’s life, to stamp one’s feet and rebel against difficulties… to forget about the events we celebrated not even two weeks ago, that Christ died so that we, you and I, could have eternal life, so that you and I in all our human imperfection may be able to give our life completely for the other, for our husband, for our children, for the family, for the neighbour, for the enemy.
John Paul II once described himself as the ‘Witness of Hope’ and he truly was a great example for us all. He was a man full of beam, a man who had suffered a great deal in his life without ever becoming bitter or cynical.
With hope comes love and because from a very early age he had entrusted himself to Christ and accepted the Virgin Mary as his mother he discovered the beauty and freedom of that self-giving love.
He hoped in the Lord and found love. His life spoke of TRUE love and that appealed to us, his young people. His coherence, his integrity, his kindness, his wisdom clearly came from God and we were all attracted by these heavenly qualities and truly discovered what hope was through his selfless life.
“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” This is one the many things that he said that accompany me when I am a bit lost in my sinful ways…
Hope is the recognition that God is Love, that He is in control, that in His will there is happiness and that thanks to His son we will one day have a share of the Kingdom. That our hardships on earth have a meaning and that if we live with the hope of the resurrection we will experience fullness of life and His light will be very visible to the people around us just like it was in John Paul II.
On optimism and hope.
It’s difficult to be optimistic in the world in which we live. Society is moving so fast and so far from God’s plan for the human person with the redefinition of marriage, with ever greater pressures to support ideologies that we are fundamentally at odds with (something we’re experiencing with our children’s school and which we’ll blog about in due course) that only a foolish optimist could think that things are likely to get better any time soon.
Optimism, it seems to me, exists in the shortish term and deals with small things which are within the realms of possibility. It’s an earthbound sentiment that finds its natural home with rose-tinted predictions about the weather tomorrow, the performance of your preferred sports team this year or your medium term business prospects.
Hope on the other hand deals with great things that seem impossible. What problem is greater than death and what solution is more improbable than its defeat? Yet we live in the sure hope of that victory and if we know one thing it is that this victory is already ours. As Christians we are in it for the long haul and our goal is the only one that counts, so we may not be optimistic but we are full of hope.