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Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful Hebrews 10:23

On this the third Sunday of Lent, we continue our reflections on the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love. We will transition to the virtue of hope for two weeks. You can read the first two reflections on faith here and here.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines hope 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).

Charles Péguy, a noted French poet and essayist, in his book The Portal of the Mystery of Hope says: “The faith that I love best, says God, is hope.” Fr. Jacques Philippe calls hope “the most Christian virtue of all.”[1] Continuing, Fr. Philippe says…

Hope plays a key role in the spiritual life. It is based on faith-faith in God’s fidelity to his promises, and faith in Christ’s victory-and it enables charity to flourish. Faith and hope are like the wings of love; they give love the power to launch out ever further, to take flight unceasingly, without getting exhausted or discouraged. When hope dwindles, love also dies down; the heart is invaded by uneasiness and worry, which stifle charity. Hope keeps the heart free to love, and to give itself.[2]

“The theological virtue of hope orientates our desire toward God,” says Fr. Philippe, “and protects it against any temptation to discouragement.”[3] God, by His grace, gives us hope so that we can respond to His calling on our lives. It is not through “our qualities, virtues, or successes”[4] that we accomplish God’s will for our lives but through God grace alone. True hope is “the hope that no longer relies on anything human, but only on God and his infinite mercy.”[5]

“It is in persevering, humble, loving practice of that hope,” says Fr. Philippe, that we will obtain “from God all that we need in order to follow our Christian vocation to the full.”[6]

St. Paul in his letter to the Romans, says that through enduring our sufferings, we obtain hope…

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5

May God give you the grace of hope as you seek to do His will.

[1] Various authors, Beautiful Hope: Finding Hope Every Day in a Broken World, Chapter entitled “Expect the Impossible,” (North Palm Beach: Beacon Publishing, 2017), 28.

[2] Ibid., 29.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 30.

[5] Ibid., 31.

[6] Ibid., 32.