Hope allows us to enter into the darkness of an uncertain future to journey in the light. – Pope Francis
As I searched through my to-be-read pile of books to find one to read and review this month, I wanted to find something that would be relevant for the days we are living through. When my eyes fell on Beautiful Hope: Finding Hope Every Day in a Broken World, I knew I had found what I needed.
Beautiful Hope is a collection of essays by both professional authors and everyday Catholics musing on the topic of hope. The essays are organized around four themes: Choosing Hope, Hope in the Church, Hope in Action: and Becoming Hope. There is much inspirational encouragement in these pages.
In the Introduction, Pope Francis states:
Each one of us can say, ‘I hope, I have hope, because God walks with me.’ He walks and he holds my hand. God does not leave us to ourselves . . . Evil will not triumph forever; there is an end to suffering. Despair is defeated because God is among us.
Fr. J. Michael Sparough, SJ reflects on the two types of hope. “Proximate hopes are connected to our everyday thoughts and dreams. Ultimate hope is a theological virtue and is directly connected to the meaning of our life.” On the road of life, proximate hopes often get dashed which can be very painful. At those times, we need to root ourselves in ultimate hope. Fr. Sparough continues,
Ultimate hope is accepting what is beyond our control and believing that God will use the circumstances of our lives to help us grow in holiness. When the words “Jesus, I trust in you” become more than a prayer, but instead a way of living, we are on our way to embracing the theological virtue of ultimate hope. The saints are those who walk the path of hope.
Within the pages of Beautiful Hope are several stories of God working in the midst of desperate situations. As Derek Gazal points out, “This hope is that God’s divine love is leading us through the unexpected twists and turns of life to a joy that is beyond our wildest, craziest imaginings.” Hope is trusting that God can take whatever muck we are going through and bring something good out of it.
In these dark days when so many are hurting physically, emotionally, and economically we need to hold on to the theological virtue of hope. Beautiful Hope offers much to reflect on and take comfort in as we make our way through this difficult time.