Will what I do during my lifetime make any difference? Maybe in the present, but what about years from now? Will the good fruit of love and justice I have borne really last? Jesus gave us the answer to that question: Yes! If our life is connected by faith, hope, and love, we will bear “fruit that will last” (John 15:16). So, you and I do what we discern to be God’s will for us in each moment; we do our duties as best we can, and we do them as much as possible out of a motive of love for God and others. God not only guarantees good, nourishing fruit from our labors, but fruit that, by his power, will last and nourish others in the years ahead.
Enjoy these reflections on hope!
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, preserve in prayer.”—Romans 12:12
Why do those people with real, genuine faith seem to be people of peace, people with peace? Because faith in God’s unconditional love gives them hope. What is real hope? It’s trust that God is right there, close, involved in our lives. One of the saints wrote: “Faith brings what seems hopeless within our reach, then added, “The person of faith is not one who believes that God can do everything, but the one who believes that he or she can obtain everything from God.”
The Bible reveals the absolute unconditional and irrevocable love God has for his children. This is shown in Christ who both died and rose again for us. St. Paul wrote: “He loved me, and gave himself for me.” Through faith our hearts hold on to that truth and find great trust in God. The more I believe in his love for me, the more I enjoy God’s presence. If you believe in God’s unconditional, personal love for you, then you believe you can obtain everything from God. That’s faith! Faith is the mother of hope, real hope, and from hope peace is born in the human soul.
Prayer: Lord, strengthen my hope in you. Amen.
Hope Brings Life
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”—Jeremiah 29:11
The brilliant French philosopher Gabriel Marcel wrote: “I almost think that hope is for the soul what breathing is for the living organism. Where hope is lacking, the soul dries up and withers.” Hope is a virtue that is critical for survival in life. We don’t last long without it. Without hope we die physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Living involves hope. In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl observed other prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp. He noted that those who had hope in being rescued lived on. Those who gave up died. Be alive! Have hope in something real. And the most real thing is the presence and providential plan of God for you.
Prayer: Lord, help me to grow in belief of your presence and plan for me. Amen.
Love Breeds Hope
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”—John 15:12
We place some of our hope in other people—family members, friends, coworkers, or neighbors. That feeling of hope and expectation brightens our life. And others are also placing some of their hope, trust, or confidence in you and me. Usually we know, or at least sense, what they hope for from us: a listening ear, compassion, a smile, or something we can actually give them. Our response to fulfill their hope is one word: love. Yes, it is love that moves our mind and heart to answer the hope they place in us. And if we can’t totally fulfill their hope, our love itself will fill the gaps. Love and pray for those who place some hope in you. They won’t be disappointed because they will sense your love for them.
Prayer: Lord, inspire me to love so that you can inspire the hope others need. Amen.
Rejoice in Hope
“Happy are they who make the Lord their trust.”—Psalm 40:4
Hope is essential for survival. I knew a Catholic nun who was physically challenged. She told me that she had applied to seventeen religious orders, and the eighteenth accepted her application. She persevered. She had hope based on the call she felt from God. She survived the refusals. She had hope because she prayed to our loving Father in heaven. Prayer strengthens hope in God’s hand when all else seems hopeless. She lived Psalm 71: “For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth. Upon you have I leaned from my birth.” Like that nun, we should persevere in prayer to our loving heavenly Father to reinforce our hope for the future. It’s all in his loving hands.
In the Hebrew Scriptures the Jewish people were called the “People of Hope.” Pick up the Jewish book of prayer, the Psalms, and meditate on the messages of hope found there. For example, “But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time on and forevermore” (Psalm 131:2–3). With prayer comes hope. With hope comes life!
Prayer: Father, help me to truly abandon with the greatest trust every moment of my life into your loving hands. Amen.
The Anchor of Hope
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”—Hebrews 11:1
The writer of the Book of Psalms sums up his reason for hope in Psalm 56:9–11: “This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, … in God I trust; I am not afraid.” There you have it. The person who believes and trusts in God, in my observation, has far less fear because he or she senses God’s presence, care, and protection. In the Scriptures, hope is visualized as an anchor. By hope we are anchored to Christ, so we don’t go adrift. He comes to us spiritually to be our anchor amid the storms of life. Be open to him.
Prayer: Lord, it is so easy for me to drift. Be my anchor. Amen.