“And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three,” writes St. Paul, “and the greatest of these is love.”
I sometimes wonder if Paul had a hard time choosing the “greatest” among these three gifts from God. Certainly, I am a big fan of Love! But, after all, without faith we have no foundation. And to that end, without hope we would have no future.
Over forty-five years ago, as A young Deacon, I read something that upended my notion of hope, which until then I had taken for optimism – as in, “Do not worry! It will all work out!” The comment that I read was from Pedro Arrupe, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus from 1965 -1983. He Said: “I am quite happy to be called an optimist, but my optimism is not of the utopian variety. It is based on hope. What is an optimist? I can answer for myself in a very simple fashion: He or she is a person who has the conviction that God knows, can do, and will do what is best.”
In other words, hope is grounded in God. It is not simply having a good attitude, as important as it is. It is based on a relationship with the Source of All Being, who comes to us the Savior whose birth we await during this season of Advent.
Hope is also a gift, something we must pray for. Even in our darkest moments, when it seems like God has forgotten us (which God never does) we are invited to pray for hope. And in that very prayer, we deepen our relationship with God, and again find hope.
Fr. Michael Costanzo