Saved in Hope
by Fr. Benedict Solomon, O.Praem.
The theological virtue of hope is infused in us by Baptism. Hope enables us, with perfect confidence in God’s help, to wait for and obtain eternal happiness, and the means to attain it. When we lose hope, we despair and no longer believe God will help us with His grace. Or else we are guilty of presumption, where we continue sinning without any real intention of changing.
We can gradually lose hope by not looking toward our final end with God. And we distract ourselves from that end by being immersed in material things. Sloth makes us lose hope because we stop taking advantage of the means of getting to heaven. Lust makes us lose hope by completely distracting us from spiritual things by causing us to delight in physical pleasures, and we stop desiring heaven. By presumption, we stop making resolutions not to sin.
Our Lord is the mustard seed, buried in the tomb, and He has become the tree overshadowing all creation. When we sow the seed of Christ in the garden of our hearts by a lively faith and faithfulness to daily spiritual reading and prayer, the grace of good works flourishes, and others are able to find rest in the branches of our faith, which elevates them and points out to them the happiness of heaven. And like yeast in the measures of dough, Christ’s presence in our souls makes us inflamed with heavenly wisdom, so that in hope we can endure the trials of this life as though they were nothing—which they are.
Illness, poverty, intellectual or emotional deficiencies, having a dysfunctional family or not having a family at all, not having good looks or wealth or possessions—with a strong hope in and desire for heaven, these things mean absolutely nothing. Or rather, they turn into means of reaching our goal of heaven and the highest place possible in it.
“We groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved.”
“We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.” This complaint from people our Lord says He doesn’t know suggests that, in fact, they considered themselves somewhat close to our Lord—at least at one time.
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