As we approach the end of the Easter season when we celebrate the truth of our faith that Christ is alive and has gained victory over sin and death, we are reminded of the presence and crucial role of the Holy Spirit who continues Christ’s presence and redemptive work in us till the end of time.
“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father,” Christ said, “he will testify to me.” (Jn 15,26) With these words, Christ was reassuring his apostles, and us, that he would continue to be with us, despite his death, resurrection and ascension into heaven.
Later on, he warned his apostles, and us, that we should not worry even as we continue to have troubles and suffering in this world, since as long as we are with him, everything would be taken care of.
“I have told you this so that you may not fall away,” he said. “They will expel you from the synagogues. In fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God.” (Jn 16,1-2)
Given the fact that our condition on earth is that of a pilgrim, we should be strong in this virtue of hope that would enable us to be always on the move toward our ultimate, spiritual and supernatural goal without unnecessarily getting entangled with our human and temporal affairs, let alone, our unavoidable troubles here on earth.
Hope is first of all not just a virtue that we produce, cultivate or keep ourselves. It is first of all a gift from God, given to us in abundance. It is the gift of Christ himself who, by the Holy Spirit, is made present in us through his words, his sacraments, his Church. All we have to do is to correspond to this wonderful reality as vigorously as possible.
That is why we need to be most mindful of the truths of our faith, giving time to meditate on them and to make them sink in our very consciousness. We have to be wary of our tendency to be carried away by our earthly concerns, no matter how legitimate they are. For again, as the gospel would say, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mk 8,36)
It’s important that just like in that management style called MBO (Management by objective), we have to have a clear vision of our ultimate goal and make it the strongest desire of our life, so that we avoid getting entangled unnecessarily with the ups and downs and the drama of life.
This, of course, will require some significant effort, because especially nowadays people are getting too hooked in their earthly, temporal affairs. Hope gives one the conviction that God has the last word, goodness has the last say. It reassures everyone that it is all worthwhile to suffer a little or a lot in life as long as one does not lose sight of his eternal goal.
Hope gives one a deep sense of peace and joy, and an abiding sense of confidence, regardless of how things play out in one’s life, since life always has more to offer than what we can expect or handle.
When we seem to be overwhelmed by trials, challenges, tasks, pressures that can come anytime, I believe the attitude to have and the reaction to make is to be calm, pray hard, and while we do all we can, we have to learn to live a certain sense of abandonment in the hands of God.*