Hope for a better tomorrow
I start every day with prayer and like usual I pray for situations in my life to become better than they currently are and I pray for family and friends to find the peace and happiness they deserve. I am hopeful that my prayers will be answered. Without hope our spirit struggles to find peace and happiness. Hope is more than just optimism, it is rooted in the reality that life has meaning and purpose and that our goals and aspirations in life will be achieved.
In my blog postings these past two months I have been reflecting on the virtues and sharing how I see them being lived in our daily life, especially during this unprecedented times of conflict and confusion. A virtue, as defined by the Catechism, is a habitual and firm disposition to do the good. (CCC 1833) The three theological virtues are faith, hope and love. These virtues dispose us to live in a relationship with the Holy Trinity. We have God for our origin (faith), our motive (hope) and our object (love). [See CCC 1840] Hope is defined as the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 1817)
But how would you define Hope? Do you see Hope as the virtue that draws you toward happiness? God has written in our hearts from the moment of our conception the desire to know Him. Only in God will we find the truth and happiness that we are searching for. (CCC 27)
Just like the virtue of Faith we need to practice Hope in order to grow in it. Hope keeps us from discouragement and it sustains us in times of abandonment. But it also “inspires our activities and purifies them toward the Kingdom of heaven” and opens up our hearts to the expectation of eternal beatitude (happiness). [See CCC 1818]. When we find ourselves losing hope it is a sin against the First Commandment: I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods before me. By despair, man ceases to hope for his personal salvation from God… Despair is contrary to God’s goodness, to His justice…and to His mercy. (CCC 2091)
St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans that we have access by Faith to the graces of God through our Lord Jesus Christ and that “we boast in hope of the glory of God….we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that afflictions produce endurance and endurance proven character and proven character, hope and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Rom 5: 2-5)
Our Faith is the foundation that sets us on the right path. As we practice Courage in the face of fear and Self-control to overcome our temptations we can rely on our Hope that will lead us to Eternal Life. On August 15th we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven. It is through her assumption that she shares in Jesus’ Resurrection and so provides us the hope and anticipation of our own resurrection into the Kingdom of Heaven. (CCC 966) With hope in our own resurrection on the Last Day we can look to Mary as our mother and guide on this journey toward our heavenly home.