Notice that practicing hope is only possible through having a relationship with God. Hope is God’s gift, and together with faith and charity make us more like God and allow us to participate in His own life.
Hope is rooted in faith, where we entrust ourselves to another. When we have faith in God it means we’ve entrusted ourselves to Him. Faith isn’t a set of propositions or an agreement; it’s a relationship. Hope is this trust extended into the future. So as I look forward into life; into the end of life, I’m not just optimistic about how things will turn out. What I’m doing is living that relationship and saying, “As I look forward into life, this relationship I have with, You, God, will be the thing that bears me up.” This relationship with God is going to be what is with me forever. That’s the great thing about hope for us Christians: it doesn’t have to be rooted in things going well for us; there’s something bigger than things going well for us. It’s this relationship of trust in God. He has not failed us, He is not failing us, and He will not fail us. This doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen to us, but it does mean that as we journey through life God will be with us at our side.
A few words of caution on some extremes to avoid:
- Presumption: “I don’t really need God. I can do it on my own.” “God doesn’t really mind what I do.” These examples are not expressions of hope because they are not relational. Being presumptuous means we say we don’t need God.
- Despair: “I don’t have God.” “God is not there.” “God doesn’t want me.” Despair means I don’t entrust myself to God because I don’t believe He will journey with me through life.
Let us make an act of hope:
O Lord our God, relying on Your infinite goodness and promises, we hope to obtain the forgiveness of our sins, the help of Your Grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.
David J. Conrad