Despair descends when we feel helpless and trapped in a dire situation. When hope breaks ground, we feel empowered. It propels us into tomorrow even though the situation remains the same. I think of those with life-threatening diseases who valiantly face the day. Despair descends when meaning disappears and our lives become flat and directionless. When hope is awakened, we recalibrate our lives and rediscover meaning and purpose. Hope returns the sparkle to life. I think of those in broken relationships who remain open to friendship and love. Despair descends when a loved one dies, leaving us feeling abandoned and forsaken. When hope is offered and received, we begin to celebrate the life of our beloved and grow in the awareness of one day being with the deceased again for all eternity. I think of those left behind by suicide who live with peace of mind. Hope empowers, enlightens, gives confidence and a sure footing, and blesses us with meaning and purpose. Though the Peace Prayer has us praying to sow the seeds of hope among those who despair, we know that is humanly impossible. As instruments of God, all we can do is train our souls and the souls of others to be open and receptive as we till the soil and await another experience of the gratuity of grace.
—from the book Soul Training with the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis
by Albert Haase, OFM