December 14, 2015

Hope is a radical virtue.  I never thought much about it before now, but it really takes courage to hope. It takes courage to hope that the best things are in future. It takes courage to hope that God wants the best for you. It takes courage to hope that God will give you the strength to get through another day.  And it takes hope to believe that the desires in your heart will be fulfilled.

This last one is a real struggle - to believe that God will fulfill those desires, whether they are for a religious vocation to be fulfilled, a wife, husband, children, a dream job, the conversion of a loved one, the health of someone we love who is sick, etc.  Whatever the desire may be, the courage to hope that that desire will be fulfilled is a hard thing. 

It’s so much easier to give in to depression, to cynicism and bitterness. It’s easier to believe that the desires or dreams we long for will never come to pass. It’s safer to be the cynic then the dreamer. We risk nothing by not hoping. We risk nothing by believing chastity is impossible and give into the culture of contraception, porn, and abortion. We risk nothing by believing we can’t be better then we are, so why hope?  We risk nothing by hating the person who has hurt us, instead of hoping for our conversion of heart as well as theirs. Hope demands us to change, it demands us to be better, it demands we make a better world around us, it asks us to risk what we have for something supremely better.

Hope is a radical virtue because it takes away all our power, and places it in the hands of a power beyond us. Even if you did not believe in God the virtue of hope is the belief that there is something better, something more beautiful, something absolutely true, something beyond death. Every human heart longs for hope, they long for God even if they don’t know it. Every human heart calls out to a power outside themselves when they hope. Hope answers yes to the question, "Is there something better than the life I am living right now?" 

The most marvelous example of hope is Mama Mary.  She had hope that she would be okay, even when she radically said yes to being an unmarried, pregnant virgin.  She hoped that her Son was okay, even when she lost Him in the temple. She dared to hope that her Son could somehow make wine appear at a wedding, when it seemed impossible.  She had hope that death would not have the final say, even when she held the body of her dead Son in her arms.

Hope places trust in God.  It demands that we admit we don’t know what is best. It demands that we  trust in God’s will for our lives. It demands living a life that is different and demanding, but oh so joyful.  Because hope demands that we believe that there is something better around the corner. 

Living life like this is scary because we could look foolish, we could be wrong.  And yet living with hope changes our hearts, minds, and the people around us. It is a virtue that is always demanding yet rewarding yet rewarding at the same time. 

Hope demands that we wait on God’s timing.  It demands that we believe that tomorrow is not just another day, but that tomorrow is the day that we live a little bit better and change and grow a little bit closer to the person we want to be.  Hope asks us to believe that tomorrow we come a little bit closer to the fulfillment of our longings and desires, and a little bit closer to the One who has put this hope in our hearts. I can’t wait for tomorrow because it’s going to be a beautiful day.


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