If we didn’t have hope, what would we do? Without hope many would despair. We don’t have to look very far to realize that so many live without much hope. When I think of hope, I recall the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love which we ask for on our first three Hail Mary beads of our rosaries. Hope becomes ours for the asking. Amazing! We have to remember to ask.
St. Clement of Alexandria wrote, “If you do not hope, you will not find what is beyond your hopes.” Hope makes me also think about trust and surrender, which go hand and hand with our belief and love of God. When we have hope in our hearts we will be putting our trust in Our Lord and will be able to put one foot in front of the other each day, serving Our Lord in the people He surrounds us with. To do this, we surrender our lives to God through prayer so that we grow closer to Him and deeper in holiness.
As we light our first Advent candle very soon, a flickering flame will represent hope. Let us pray that we can focus on preparing our hearts to open wider for Our Lord this Advent season. Let’s hope that we can do our best to turn to prayer at every opportunity during a great season of hope and promise.
Perhaps the craziness of the advertising frenzy that flashes around us is too distracting, and we feel that we cannot find peace to pray during a season that is meant to be quiet so that we can prepare our hearts for the Christ Child. The Liturgy of Advent emphasizes quiet, penance, prayer, but also hope, light, joy, and surrender. Let’s strive to find those things. Let’s delve deeper than the surface and also realize that God is in control of everything. We can find quiet even amid the hustle and bustle, by lifting our hearts to God with a great hope and faith that He hears us – that He knows our hearts – that He loves us more than we can imagine!
An awful lot can be accomplished if we allow God to work through us to sanctify our actions and prayers when we offer it all to Him in full surrender. Our Lord calls us to surrender our lives to Him – everything! Surrendering can be as simple as accepting our circumstances, whether it be our living conditions, our state in life, both little and big annoyances, sickness and suffering, being misunderstood, being criticized and belittled for our Christianity. God’s hand is mystically in it all. He knows what‘s going on.
Will we surrender to Him and allow Him to work through us and around us? He wants us to surrender our wills to Him and respond in love to all who are in our midst. Yes, even to love the one who has just stolen “your” parking space or the one who is constantly criticizing you. It’s not always going to be easy. Jesus never said it would be. However, they all need our love; a healing love that will give others hope.
Mother Teresa had said that “Calcutta is all over the world for those who have eyes to see.” Let’s open our eyes so we can minister to the needs of the people that because of God’s divine providence are near us in some way – our family, co-workers, friends and parishioners. Is there someone who needs our love?
When we learn to surrender our lives over to Our Lord, we will have lasting and true peace, and joy of heart. This joy and peace will radiate as a healing balm to others around us; offering them hope for their journeys. Let’s be that ray of hope by giving our hearts to God and allowing Him to work through us during this upcoming wonderful hopeful season of Advent and beyond!
(My article on hope just appeared at Barry Michael's Festival of Hope Yesterday. You can see my post below regarding the festival and winners of my books)