We all face moments of discouragement, doubt and anxiety when life presents challenges that seem overwhelming. Unfortunately, at such times, the virtue of hope can be misunderstood and greatly underestimated. Some believe it is merely a positive attitude or being optimistic. The secular world suggests that hope is found in the things of this world thinking that they will bring happiness.
Pope Francis reminded the Church that true hope is not built on human words or assurances but on God’s Word and His promise of salvation and eternal life. In his General Audience of February 1, 2017, he defined Christian hope as “… having the certainty that I am walking toward something that is, not something that I hope may be. Christian hope is the expectation of something that has already been fulfilled and which will certainly be fulfilled for each one of us.”
Hope is the unshakable trust that the promises of God will be fulfilled. This unshakeable hope is what the Church must rediscover now, hope in what God has done for us in His Son Jesus Christ, through His life, death, resurrection and ascension. Like the faith received and lived in the Church, hope is not a human attitude, but it is a gift of the Holy Spirit, a gift of grace.
In the Letter to the Ephesians St. Paul prays, “… that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, …” (Ephesians 1: 17-18)
May this prayer echo in the Church in these most challenging of times to inspire us to place our hope in the noblest and beautiful truths of our Faith. Through the Holy Spirit, may we trust His purification and renewal by embracing Christ more faithfully and living in hope.
Most Reverend William T. McGrattan, D.D. Bishop of Calgary