Saturday, November 14, 2009

Weekend Reflection: Boldness of Hope

Readings for Sunday

As priest, I have personally as well as in the lives of others experienced the need to see through the eyes of hope solutions to moments of suffering and collapse. These are the moments when my spiritual life is challenged by laziness or succumbing to distractions; moments when God's care is questioned; moments when a personal kingdom has collapsed.

Where do we turn? Some turn to alcohol, tobacco. Others get hooked on narcotics. There are those who turn to bitterness or anger. Unfortunately some just give up. Yet, there are countless expressions and examples in both the Old and New Testaments that provide the way to relief, the escape from the heavy cross of frustration. The message is both simple and, at the same time, so terribly demanding: trust in God! If you turn away from this answer, you might be admitting it truly is "terribly demanding."

Throughout the same Scriptures there are many descriptions of pain and anguish. Often times the pangs of giving birth are used by Jesus, the Evangelists and others who have authored Letters or Books in the Bible. Whether we turn to these authors, only a portion of the world has ever experienced giving birth to a child ... the wonderful mothers among us. My paternal grandmother in the course of her life, delivered two children whose heads were crushed during the delivery process. One boy was 18 pounds and another delivery, a girl, was 17 pounds. You mothers surely grimaced when you read those weights! Nonetheless, the birth of a child with all of its preliminary pregnancy discomforts as well as the serious pain during delivery becomes insignificant as soon as a nurse or doctor place the newborn in the loving cradle of Mom's arm.

From every experience of collapse or pain, we are given a gift It is a new beginning, a new horizon. It is the promise and experience of such an advent that reassures us that God is present for us. This is why we hope. This is why we are called to believe that there are times when we cannot resolve the collapse, the anguish, the loss without trust in God.

For human nature to hope beyond all else is truly boldness. Int he very act of hope, I surrender. There is in the profession of hope a surrendering to a power greater than the self. To hope in moments of economic loss, during days of conflict and battle or within the painful anguish of personal failure, to hope in these moments is a genuinely audacious act. There should not be surprise in finding hope always incorporated with two other virtues, faith and love. Why? To stand before the act of believing, the act of loving, the act of hoping we are standing at the threshold of surrender! We are brought before the God who created in need of his care. Is this not the reason we light a candle when there is need in any kind of darkness?

"Lord ... you it is who hold fast my lot."
(Psalm 16:5)