28 Ways to Renew Your Sense of Hope

It started with a PDF file – a deposition roughly 250 pages long. I read it in the dark on my tiny phone screen, sitting on the bed next to my sleeping son.

This was a bad idea.

Because as everyone knows in the world of adulting, fatigue can be one of your soul’s greatest enemies. So can reading a candid interview about sexual misconduct by religious in my home diocese.

The two didn’t mix well, of course.

I pried myself away from the screen around 9:30 with the intention of going to bed. But instead, I perseverated and seethed and put together puzzle pieces of my own elementary, middle, and high school observations.

Men I trusted. People I idolized. Situations that in hindsight, I now more fully understand.

To be frank, I wish I still didn’t have a clue.

When the news of the current abuse crisis in the church unfolded, I was horrified and angry just like everyone else. My faith, however, remained unshaken. I had put my hope in Christ and the Eucharist. These actions were taken by men.

All of that changed last night, though, after I read through that deposition. Suddenly, the clerical abuse issue wasn’t far away. It was right in the middle of my formative years in Catholic education.

I was lost.

Too much to process.

Not enough charity to forgive.

Sleep came, followed by the morning. I shook the heavy weight of slumber and answered a call from my three-year-old son.

He climbed in my lap, a drowsy sandbag of snuggles.

And that’s when I realized something.

Our world is broken and fallen. Our Church has been infiltrated by an evil that perhaps we have forgotten about. Yes, the battle may be raging, but the war was won on a hill called Calvary.

Our hope – our way forward – lies in that alone.

It is okay if you are feeling hopeless.

It is okay if you are feeling alone.

It is okay if you are feeling emotionally drained and physically weary.

Believe me – there are ways to restore your hope.

28 Ways to Renew Your Sense of Hope

Pray

  • Pray the rosary
  • Go to Adoration
  • Go to Mass
  • Go to confession
  • Pray the Litany of Hope

Serve

  • Donate clothes to the homeless
  • Serve a meal at a local soup kitchen
  • Pet and play with the animals at the animal shelter
  • Visit kids at the children’s hospital
  • Do a random act of kindness for a stranger

Read

  • The Bible 
  • The Confessions of St. Augustine
  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • The Lives of the Saints
  • A biography of Mother Angelica
  • The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity

Get out

  • Go to an art, history, or science museum
  • Wade barefoot in a creek
  • Sit by a body of water
  • Soak in the sunshine
  • Climb to the top of a tall hill or a small mountain
  • Plant some flowers or a tree
  • Go to a playground and swing on a swing

Organize

  • Declutter. Start with a single drawer and move forward.
  • Clean and polish your sink. Really. (Trust me on this one)
  • Throw away that stack of papers that’s been plaguing you for months
  • Invest in a system to organize your desk

Reach out

  • Unplug from social media
  • Visit with a friend you haven’t seen in a long time
  • Call a distant relative
  • Write a letter to someone you’d like to thank

Yes, our world is broken. Our Church has been infiltrated by an evil we tend to brush off. That evil is alive and well, my friends, and he will stop at nothing until he’s ripped the fabric of our faith.

WE CANNOT LET THAT HAPPEN.

Get out there and restore your hope.

 

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