Hope

20 May

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Even in the most troubled times, the believer has hope.

A devout and funny lady in our parish said that in such stressful times, faith is evident in the hope people have in God. They trust God that everything will eventually be all right.

And, indeed, there are many stressful things happening today, for example, just four observations:

  • Government leaders seem incapable of coming together for the sake of the common good, inappreciative of what the other person is offering;
  • The entertainment industry has gone wild – “Pregnant and Dating” and “Dancing with the Stars” or maybe better named “Modern Mating Rites”  – are a slap in the face of marriage, family and the dignity of motherhood;
  • Germany (and maybe the U.S.) are trying to deny the rights and duties of parents to educate their children according to Christian values;
  • Rampant sexism – no, not against women alone, but against men as well – note the sitcoms and commercials: Men are dumb oxen who need their noses wiped and can’t function without the “genius” of a woman;
  • The brash treatment of sex and contraception in radio and TV commercials and magazine advertisements; sexual pleasure seems to be considered the epitome of being alive; it is to be enjoyed by all – married or single, kids and adults, homosexual or heterosexual.

This wild abandon of common sense and dignity are, in my opinion, clear signs of hopelessness.

Hope “is a desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment” (Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary).

That speaks of faith, of a degree of certainty. It speaks of trust in something or Someone totally reliable.

The Hebrews of the Old Testament trusted God’s word that he would always be with them. Even when they sinned, they still trusted God because God is true to his promises. They expected God to rescue them from their folly – and he did. God can be trusted for God never lies (Nm 23:19).

For the Christian, St. Paul’s embrace of hope is exemplary. He also insists that God does not lie (Ti 1:2). God’s word is trustworthy and guarantees the future: If God says we can receive eternal life in Christ, then we can, in faith, believe it. “Faith,” says the Apostle, “is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen (Heb 11:1 – and read on).

So what’s the antidote to widespread hopelessness, to lack of faith, to this setting aside of God and the entire reality of right and wrong and the reality of objective truth?

On May 11, the online version of the National Catholic Register featured an excellent article, “Protestant South Becoming a New Catholic Stronghold.” Here are a few points made in the article:

  • Catholics in the South are growing in number.
  • Living among Protestants and Evangelicals, Catholics find a social atmosphere in which discussions about faith are commonplace and valued. Also, because of living closely with other Christians, Catholics are motivated to learn more about their faith – to share it and, if needed, to defend it.
  • Small dioceses in the South are producing, per capita, more vocations to the priesthood than larger dioceses in the North. This is attributed to the fervor of Catholics and their desire to share their faith, as well as the healthy impact of smaller secular communities.

Deacon Sean Smith, chancellor of the Diocese of Knoxville, was featured in this article and also on Gus Lloyd’s program, “Seize the Day,” Sirius Radio 129. Deacon Smith spoke of the need for Catholics to rediscover the truths of our faith and to develop the ability to articulate what we believe and why we believe it. He pointed to the scriptural roots of our faith.

Hope does not disappoint the believer, insists St. Paul, “because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us “(See Rom 5:1-5).

To bring hope back into the world, to increase our appreciation of human dignity and of God, the source of life and happiness, we need to bring faith back into the world.

Catholics, indeed all Christians, must rediscover the joy of faith, the solid truth in revelation and the courage to share that faith, in love, with zeal, confidence and competence.

 

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3 Responses to “Hope”

  1. Doris Long May 20, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    This may as well be a commentary on Irish society now. Abortion legislation is being argued in our parliament at the moment and will be brought into law soon. It won’t be as liberal as some countries, but what comfort is that? As soon as one foot comes through the door, it’s only a matter of time.before the other one slips in behind it.

    • Henry Libersat May 20, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

      Now is the time for strong Christian witness. The Church militant must wake up.

      Good to hear from you, Doris.

      Henry

    • Henry Libersat August 8, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

      Doris, there is a lot of darkness in our world — but we know that the Light of Christ will win.

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