Hope, O my soul, hope.

St. Teresa of Avila

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We often say, or hear someone say that they “hope” for something – like a sunny day, a raise in pay, or the cessation of a problem that they face.  This is merely hope not in something but for something.  It is a meaningless hope -really only an expression of a desire.

The theological virtue of hope is far more than that, far more specific.  A Christian’s hope relies on, and trusts, the promises of Christ and the help of the Holy Spirit and its central object is to realize eternal life.

God places the desire for happiness in all human hearts.  Our hope expresses that desire for happiness, especially the happiness of eternal life.

Our hope inspires us to what is good.  Our hope purifies our actions.  Rises our life above what is common, base, lowly, mundane.  It purifies and gives us a life of meaning, purpose, contentment.

A Christian’s hope wards off discouragement, sustains us when we are abandoned by others, hurt by others, for a Christian’s hope is in God.

A Christian’s hope extinguishes selfishness and opens us to the happiness that flows from love – loving others and life, loving God and being loved by God and others.

In imagining hope, imagine Abraham’s hope  – he who desired a child and yet childless believed God’s promise that he would make of Abraham the father a great people.

In imagining hope think of Jesus, and know that our hope is “the sure and steadfast anchor of the soul … that goes where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf.” (1 Thess 5:8)

A Christian’s hope allows the experience of joy in life’s trial.  Our hope is certain, concrete.  It affords us patience.  It is present in the prayer of the Our Father.

A Christian’s life of hope leads to eternal life.  Yes, a Christian’s hope brings happiness to mortal life as a prelude to it in eternal life.

Shalom.

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