Trust in Him

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hope

Standing on a stone in the midst of the Potomac River Thursday evening,
I saw the light of heaven open it's embrace and descend to kiss the earth.
If only for a moment, my face was illuminated by God's grace;
I saw the dream of hope realized, and took this picture.

Hope is, perhaps, one of the least appreciated virtues. Hope is by definition the confident expectation of obtaining something, theologically expecting that which we can never obtain, and difficult for our human nature to accept. We shortsighted humans often feel our natural hopes disappointed, and dare not allow ourselves greater hopes which could just as easily be destroyed in the end. To hope in those things which our reason tells us must come to be is far easier than hoping in something which we can never understand, and which our guilt tells us could never be true. Yet, if there was no hope, what reason have we to live? If we have no hope, what could motivate us to do good? If we have no hope, how could we believe in God? Hope is just as natural as it is unnatural, and offers just as much security as it does fear. We must allow ourselves this consolation, else we could never be Christian.

Why do we begin to hope in the first place, how do our human minds have knowledge enough to hope in the unfathomable depths of God? Actually, they don't. We hope because God has told us that we should hope, He has made promises to us, and He has already kept many of them. Therefore we hope in heaven, in grace, in love... we somehow believe that the improbable will occur, that a life of poverty will lead to riches, and a life of sacrifice will lead to greater joy. On earth, too, we deign to hope for a good end to our unworthy efforts. We pray with confidence that our words, spoken in the silence of our hearts to God alone, will bring about the salvation of souls. By fasting and mortification we are certain that the events in our own lives will change for the better, and that our discomfort brings future pleasure. This strange contradiction is no contradiction at all... for we do not hope in pain, or empty words, but in the promise of the Almighty God.

When pursuing our vocations hope plays a major part in our discernment. If we did not hope for guidance, and eventual fulfillment, to what purpose would we discern? We know that God calls us each by name, and that He sends His angels to guide us by the hand. We know that He loves and pities us, and that in our weakness, our childlike smallness, He deigns to raise us to the heights of heaven. Therefore, because of this hope that we really do have value through Christ in God's eyes, we seek the greater gifts, the higher virtues. What are we compared to God? We are not even like a grain of sand to His universal immensity. Yet He has called us to higher ways of life, and given to us the power to move His hand and His heart.

If we fail to hope, we can never plan to accomplish anything in our lives, and therefore life is useless. But what of the disappointments? What about when our hope really does come to nothing? So often in our lives we begin to believe something will happen, and then it doesn't. We tend to be afraid of this uncertainty, wondering if perhaps our hope is misplaced, because the end result is painful. But is it not far worse to go through life without ever hoping for anything? If we never hoped that a girl or boy would come to the dance with us, then would we bother to ask? If we never hoped that the Sacraments held grace, would we ever receive them? It takes effort to do anything worthwhile in life, and much of our motivation comes from hope in the result. If we are afraid of disappointment, we must learn to hope in God, to trust that what He allows to happen is for the best, and that in the end our hopes will be realized. Even now we can have faith in the midst of our trials that at least God smiles down on us, and hope that this alone is enough for our happiness.

Let us pray that our hope will always be strong, and sincere, that we may give God the trust that is due Him. Let us pray that we will always pursue the virtue of hope in spite of all our reservations and insecurities, so that we may become the best forms of ourselves and accomplish the greatest works allotted to us. He has promised, and He will do it. Let not your hearts be troubled, for their is a God and He loves humanity.

2 comments:

  1. The picture and the quote beneath it are amazing!

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  2. Thank you :) I visited that spot again this evening... it is so beautiful.

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