What is hope and why do we need it?
During this year, we want to grow in hope. Hope is a gift from God by which we trust in Jesus Christ, that He will keep His promises and help us through difficulties on our journey to Heaven. The virtue of hope responds to the desire for happiness which God has placed in the heart of every person. Hope, which is not merely optimism, never disappoints. Let’s take a closer look.
What is hope?
“Hope is a theological virtue which means that this gift comes from God and leads us back to God. We receive the gift of hope from God in Baptism. Hope allows the possibility for Christians to trust in God, especially with things that seem difficult or impossible to receive, such as salvation. (See John 11:25-26)
The theological virtue of hope is the power by which we desire the Kingdom of Heaven as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the grace of the Holy Spirit. Jesus will give us the graces that we need for the journey to Heaven.
Why do we need the supernatural virtue of hope?
The virtue of hope sustains us at all times with the truth that Jesus will always remain with us, even when all reason for hope seems absent. Hope keeps us from discouragement. The gift of hope leads us to persevere in prayer. Hope offers to us joy and courage, and sustains us in times of trial. Hope allows us to live, grow and persevere in faith. The anchor is the symbol of hope and contains the image of the Cross. As an anchor safely holds a ship securely, so Christ is our anchor because He is our hope of salvation.
God is almighty, merciful and good. The gift of hope helps us to open our heart to His mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to receive forgiveness and healing.
Lifted up by hope, we are preserved from turning inward in selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from focusing outward toward others and living with charity toward our neighbor, especially helping those in need.
How do we nourish and renew hope?
When we need the gift of hope to be increased, the most important thing we can do is ask for it. Further, we can make simple acts of hope by saying quietly, “Jesus, I trust in You.” We can post the following Scripture verses on a mirror, and repeat them each day. “For You O Lord are my Hope…my trust is in You” (Psalm 146:5). “I know well the plans I have in mind for you says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for woe so as to give you a future of hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
“Hope is expressed and nourished in prayer, especially in the Our Father, the summary of everything that hope leads us to desire” (Catechism, paragraph 1820). With confidence let us pray the Act of Hope: O my God, relying on Your almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Your grace, and life everlasting through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer. Amen.
Let us trust in Jesus Christ for He is trustworthy. It is through the merits of His Passion, Death, and Resurrection that God keeps us in the “hope that does not disappoint” (Romans 5:5).