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Jer 29 11_Shutterstock

On this the fourth Sunday of Lent, we continue our reflections on the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love. This is the second week we will look at the virtue of hope. You can read the first two reflections on faith here and here, and the first reflection on hope here.

Hope is not a feeling or an attitude but a looking to and yearning for a future blessing from God. We (Rose and Dennis) were both widowed. God tested our mettle in the untimely deaths of our spouses. We both were given Jeremiah 29:11 during these trying times, finding encouragement in these words. We stood on this verse, believing deeply in our hearts that God would deliver on His promise.

We met on Ave Maria Single Catholics Online. As part of the profile, members are asked to list their favorite Scripture verse.

After completing the profile and listing Jeremiah 29:11, Dennis began to pray the rosary every day, asking the Blessed Mother to intercede for him to find a godly, faith-filled Catholic woman with whom to share his life. While reading Rose’s profile, he was delighted to learn that her favorite Scripture verse was also Jeremiah 29:11. He quickly composed a short note and sent it off. Within hours, Rose replied.

It was not long before we knew in our hearts that God’s plan for us was marriage. Since we lived nearly six hundred miles apart, we courted the old-fashioned way, through the written word; the only difference was that we could exchange the words rapidly through e-mail messages. We quickly discovered that sharing feelings through writing was an excellent way to get to know each other’s heart.

Two weeks after connecting online, we spoke on the phone. Two months later, we met face to face. Five months later on December 13, 2002 we were married. Our wedding bands are engraved with “JER 29:11.”

If you would like to read more of our story, you can find it here.

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe, according to the working of his great might which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places… Ephesians 1:16-20 (emphasis added)

“He has called you” is an invitation by God to enter into a personal relationship with Him, learning about Him in reading Sacred Scripture. “The hope contained in this invitation is eternal life with God and each other,”[1] says Dr. Peter Williamson in his commentary on Ephesians. As demonstrated in our own lives, this changes our outlook on life, both in the joys and especially in the hardships that are part of life. “Hope…provides for extraordinary courage and joys”[2] in the trials we face in life. “‘Hope’…refers not to a feeling or attitude but to the objective future blessing we await,” in this life and “the second coming of Christ and life with God forever.”[3]

Seize the hope set before us…as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul… Hebrews 6:18-19

Hope is not wishful thinking. “Biblical hope is confident assurance and expectancy based on the absolute trustworthiness of God.”[4] Hope is a “steadfast anchor of the soul,” says the author of the Letter to the Hebrews, keeping us “from drifting away from Christ.”[5] With Christ as our anchor, we can weather any storm that life throws our way.

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

Peace and blessings to you through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

[1] Peter S. Williamson, Catholic Commentary of Sacred Scripture: Ephesians (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009), 48.

[2] Ibid., 49.

[3] Ibid., 111.

[4] Mary Healy, Catholic Commentary of Sacred Scripture: Hebrews (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2016), 127.

[5] Ibid., 128.