I hope that as I strive to do your will – to reverence, praise, and serve you- that this pleases you. As long as I do this you will guide me, protect me, and provide for me and in the end everything will turn out for my advantage and your greater glory.
The concept of hope was perhaps a little different as a child. ‘I hope I get an A on the math quiz.’ ‘I hope my parents let me sleepover at my best friend’s house tonight.’ Sure, it was superficial. Now, after considerable experience in this life I have a greater appreciation for the virtue of hope. I often recall the poem by Emily Dickenson,
“Hope is the thing with feathers-
That perches in the soul-
And sings the tune without the words-
And never stops-
And never stops at all.”
Hope can feel nebulous. Helplessness and negative emotions can lead us even further off our chosen path. Yet, the real question may be: how often do we keep hope alive in our hearts in our daily life? Does hope win out over the daily goals we have before us that aren’t seemingly coming to fruition – desire for a new job, that we find our soul mate, that a direction for our lives will be revealed. Hope pulls us through when it feels like resistance surrounds us. “Hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man…it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude” (1818 CC).
Perhaps one of the most beautiful examples of hope is the Annunciation, when our Mother, Mary, said “yes” to God’s request that she be the Mother of our Lord. She spent over thirty years in faithful service to God, raising Jesus, and watching how the world treated her Son. But she consistently had Hope in what the Lord had promised, even when Jesus was laid in the tomb. Three days later, the hope she held fast to was glorified in His resurrection. The beauty behind the virtue of hope is that nothing is ever lost or unobtainable. That is the delicate balance of hope. God is all powerful and all loving. His hope and desire for us is that we follow Him because ultimately God knows how we will achieve His will.
As Pope Benedict wrote, “Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey”(1, Spe Salvi).