Hope. We are here just after Easter, and one of the things I have always felt about Easter is the feeling of Hope. I was watching a lecture on YouTube recently delivered at Boston College by Fr. Ronald Rolheiser. During the lecture, he raised several points about Hope that helped me with my personal confusion on the matter of Hope.
I guess because so often we, or others, use the word Hope in a non-theological sense. Fr. Rolheiser used the example of someone using the word Hope to express their “hope” to win the lottery. This example is not hoping at all. It purely expresses desire—our need for something. We could replace the word Hope in this sentence and change it to “want to win the lottery.” It represents a personal desire that has little to do with God or the kingdom of Heaven.
Another misuse of the word Hope is the case of optimism. I am “hopeful” that this will turn out well. Again Fr. Ronald puts us right. Being optimistic may have nothing to do with the theological virtue of Hope.
So then, what is Hope? Hope is the confidence and knowledge that God will provide the solution we need. We do not need our agenda to press God for Hope. In fact, we can have the confidence that God delivers on His promises, particularly after Easter. The resurrection should be the only proof we need of promise-keeping. Ever!
Hope is there in scripture in both the Old and New Testaments. In Hebrew, the word means expectation—and it also means cord or rope, which comes from a root word that means to bind or to wait for or upon. I love this explanation. We expect, in confidence, that we will ultimately be in union with God in Heaven. The word also means rope ties us firmly, so we are not just aimlessly drifting when we accept this gift.
Perhaps that’s is the key for me; if we accept the gift of Hope, then we remove some of our own needs and desires from it. Instead, we leave it to God to give the gift to us: all we have to do is accept it.
How do you view Hope in your life?
A Perspective of Hope
Hope is an unseen rope,
Tying us invisibly to the one we are connected,
Or want to me.
Unseen, the will cannot force hope,
Turning it only to desire,
Or some outward fakeness,
Better known as optimism.
Tying us in the final days of a spiritual journey,
Hope IS the connection we need,
Unwritten agendas of worldly desires are cast off.
Leaving only, union with God,
Who is the One pulling us effortlessly home.