Where Does My Hope Come From
How often do I say "I hope" in a day? I hope Kevin gets overtime; I hope Ian gets home safe; I hope these jeans zip (that last one is probably the most used!). The word 'hope' has become almost as over and misused as 'love'! Though I really do love squirrels, popcorn and lazy Saturday afternoons!
Is hope merely a wish that comes true or a prayer that is answered? According to Pope Francis. “It is not easy to understand what hope is,” he [Pope Francis] reflected, emphasizing that out of the virtues of faith hope and love, hope is often said to be the most humble because it “hides itself in life” (CNA report Oct 29, 2013). While as creatures of this world, it is necessary at times to hope in opportunities for extra income or pants in which I can still breathe - that is not the most important idea of hope I am to have. Our hope is best placed in Christ - but like every other ingredient we've discussed in this summer series - there is that struggle between what my head knows and my heart forgets. My heart likes to worry - she is bff's with anxiety and fret! Placing my hope in the unseen, quite frankly is hard.
The Blessing of Hindsight in Hope
Personally, when I am attempting to hope in Christ, it is hindsight I turn to for encouragement. My memory can be selective when it comes to matters of faith. How does Christ 'build and rebuild; in my life? From childhood difficulties, Jesus has restored me to not only be healed but to forgive those who hurt me. How can I hold a grudge, when I look upon the cross.
“Hope is what Mary, Mother of God, sheltered in her heart during the darkest time of her life: from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning.” “That is hope: she had it. And that hope has renewed everything. May God grant us that grace.” ~ Pope Francis
The relationship that has needed the most rebuilding has been mine with Christ. For years, I went about my life - with starts and stops - letting Him in; and then walking away. Each time, my hope has been restored in the most mystical and amazing ways - and my faith continues to grow stronger.
Hope is definitely the topping on the cake or ice cream - though this gluten/dairy free girl can have neither (but I digress)! Hope is a grace; and each time I allow the hope of Christ to live within me - I experience a deeper conversion. It definitely takes courage to hope in an unseen God; but when I do the JOY is beyond compare! My greatest hope is in the mercy given to me again and again; especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In the confessional, I am healed and renewed; in there I am reminded of the hope being eternal minded gives me.
Now Jesus... about these pants?
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Delight yourself in the LORD;
Delight Yourself in the Lord
What a promise! I am not sure which intrigued me more when I first read it? Wondering how one delights themselves in the Lord or which desire of my heart I longed to have fulfilled?
The first part was easier than I thought to accomplish because the Catholic faith is so rich in ways to encounter Christ in our everyday, ordinary life. I could not imagine my life not filled with prayer, Scripture and the Sacraments. St. Paul exhorted us to pray without ceasing, so whether folding laundry, driving the car or reading a book, I do everything with a prayerful heart. I will say a prayer of thanksgiving for each member of my family as I put their dishes into the dishwasher, say the rosary in the car or taking a walk, or praise the Lord for the talent bestowed an author as I read their book.
Introduction to the Scriptures, while only 10 years ago, has transformed my faith life. Scripture offers me an opportunity to listen to Jesus speak which naturally produces within me a better sense of His voice in my life. Scripture good for all teaching and reproof has become the center of my faith and my hope, not a day goes by I don’t take a moment to ponder a verse or two. For me, I wanted to memorize a few special verses to embrace on tough days when I need encouragement, particularly helpful when writer’s block strikes or my children are teetering on that last nerve!
Lastly, the Sacraments are where I go to dip into God’s well-spring of grace. Grace is that undeserved yet freely given gift of God’s Holy Spirit within us.* That Spirit born from His great love that moves us to deeper faith, obedience, and hope. When I am feeling distant or discouraged, the remedy is always found in participation in and living out the grace found within the Sacraments. Particularly finding additional times during the week for Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, or making a really good (and frequent) Confession. Gifts are best when they are received, opened, and used. I try my best never to waste the grace present, promised, and abundant in the Sacraments!
*That is the simplified “Allison abridged” version of grace – by the way.
The Desires God has Placed upon Your Heart
So, what about the desires of our heart? How do we discover those?
That is where God is the most generous – since He has given us our lives, we can make a reasonable conclusion that those sweet desires placed upon our hearts, came also from Him. If nothing else, He is well aware of them. My worry about which desire I would want the Lord to fulfill was moot. All I am called to do is to focus on delighting myself in the Lord. My fidelity is all He requires.
This article in its entirety (which is not here) first appeared on fiction author, Erin McCole Cupp's website on October 26, 2015. You can read the rest here!
How do you delight yourself in the Lord?