Last week I told you that there are two virtues that we as baptized Catholics have that Jesus neither had nor needed. The first is the virtue of faith. The second is the virtue of hope. Our Lord did not need the virtue of faith because He had the beatific vision. He did not need the virtue of hope because he was already in possession of the heavenly kingdom.
The Modern Catholic Dictionary defines “hope” as follows:
The confident desire of obtaining a future good that is difficult to attain. It is therefore a desire, which implies seeking and pursuing; some future good that is not yet possessed but wanted, unlike fear that shrinks from a future evil. This future good draws out a person’s volition. Hope is confident that what is desired will certainly be attained. It is the opposite of despair. Yet it recognizes that the object wanted is not easily obtained and that it requires effort to overcome whatever obstacles stand in the way.
Christian hope requires faith and desire – faith in God and the desire for everlasting life with Him in heaven. We are driven by what our minds present to us as desirable. Without faith, there can be no desire to reach heaven.
As children, our lives were filled with great hope and anticipation. Unfortunately, as we grow older, the burdens and struggles of life overwhelm us and our youthful hope sometimes turns into discouragement and despair.
Do you ever feel discouraged? If you do, the virtue of hope gives you the power to replace your discouragement with anticipation of the heavenly glory that awaits you.
Do you ever feel alone? If you do, the virtue of hope holds the promise that when you reach heaven, you will share in the eternal companionship of all the angels and saints.
Do you ever feel threatened? If you do, it is the virtue of hope that protects you and promises a time when you will rest for all eternity in the bosom of the Blessed Trinity.
The only alternative to Christian hope is stark pessimism – a pessimism that sees no real value or meaning to life itself and no purpose beyond this life.
“Consult not your fears, but your hopes and dreams. Think not about your
frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with
what you tried and failed in, but with what is still possible for you to do.”
~Pope John XXIII