Spirituality for Today – Apirl 2008 – Volume 12, Issue 9


By Rev. Mark Connolly

Photo of Pope BenedictThere is no question that at any given moment our lives can change – a sudden illness, a shocking discovery, a broken promise. Just in a single instant our lives are torn, our universe is turned upside down and we find ourselves in the midst of upheaval and confusion. Our psyche is affected. We cannot make decisions. We do not know what to do.

These circumstances have affected every one of us in one way or another at a certain time of our life. It is at that moment we all grasp for that most treasured virtue – hope. Our thoughts become torrents of prayer and supplication to our Creator to help us to not abandon us we cling to that quality of hope that will bring us through no matter what. Hope gives us the certainty of a positive outcome in one's life. Hope is one of the theological virtues. It promises us that one day a person who has hope knows he will achieve eternal happiness in Heaven.

In his beautiful encyclical on hope, "Spe Salvi", Pope Benedict gives us historical examples to highlight the quality of hope in our daily lives. Cardinal Van Thuan who survived solitary confinement in China for nine years, Josephine Bakhita an African slave who found hope, converted to Catholicism and spent the rest of her life preaching the Gospel.

We, too, can experience the same transformation during times of distress in our life. If we open our hearts to that quality of hope which enables us to surpass no matter what obstacles we encounter.

Hope is the contrary of despair. Having hope is to know that no matter what burden or circumstances surround us, God will never abandon us. Just like after Good Friday we celebrate Easter, hope will enable us to change our distress and achieve inner peace knowing God never abandons his children.

Emily Dickenson wrote, "'Hope' is the thing with feathers – that perches in the soul – and sings the tune without words – and never stops – at all."

May it ever be present in our lives.