‘But let us, who are of the day, be sober, having on the breast plate of faith and charity and, for a helmet, the hope of salvation.’ [nos autem qui diei sumus sobrii simus induti loricam fidei et caritatis et galeam spem salutis]
– – 1st EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE THESSALONIANS: Chapter 5 Verse 8 – –
What is this thing called ‘Hope’?
‘Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit.’
– – Catholic Catechism; #1817 – –
Consider these words on ‘hope’ from a Catholic Apologist:
‘… we have to understand Hope.
The Scriptures tell us that ‘we hope for salvation,’ but
what does ‘hope’ mean?
It doesn’t mean doubt…
It doesn’t mean fear…
It means, ‘that I fully expect [since] I want to be in heaven for all eternity, with you and with God [and] I am confident that is going to happen.’
I trust God…
I trust His grace…
I trust that He wants me to be saved more than I even want it…
So, I trust that it’s going to happen but it hasn’t happened yet.
So, I can still shipwreck my faith, as the Scriptures say.
I can still choose with my free-will, to abandon this calling [to obey His Commandments, to grow in Faith, Hope and Charity and to align our will with the will of God and to always do the best we can in our station in life] that God has placed on us.
So, for me to say, ‘Oh I already have it [salvation]!’ That’s presumptuous and ‘hope’ protects us from despair and it protects us from being presumptuous [that no matter what I do I will always be in God’s grace].
The above explanation of ‘Hope’ is a transcript of a portion of an interview between Chris Zajdzinski of virtuouslifeministries.org with Marcus Grodi on the EWTN show: The Journey Home that aired on or about 3 December 2012 A.D.
The Act Of Hope
O my God,
Relying on Thy almighty power and infinite mercy and promises,
I hope to obtain pardon of my sins,
The help of Thy grace,
And life everlasting,
Through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.
The Catholic Catechism defines hope as follows:
1817 Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit.
‘Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.’
‘The Holy Spirit . . . he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.’
1818 The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man;
it takes up the hopes that inspire men’s activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven;
it keeps man from discouragement;
it sustains him during times of abandonment;
it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude.
Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity.
1819 Christian hope takes up and fulfills the hope of the chosen people which has its origin and model in the hope of Abraham, who was blessed abundantly by the promises of God fulfilled in Isaac, and who was purified by the test of the sacrifice.
‘Hoping against hope, he believed, and thus became the father of many nations.’
1820 Christian hope unfolds from the beginning of Jesus’ preaching in the proclamation of the beatitudes. the beatitudes raise our hope toward heaven as the new Promised Land; they trace the path that leads through the trials that await the disciples of Jesus.
But through the merits of Jesus Christ and of his Passion, God keeps us in the ‘hope that does not disappoint.’
Hope is the “sure and steadfast anchor of the soul . . . that enters . . . where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf.’
Hope is also a weapon that protects us in the struggle of salvation: ‘Let us . . . put on the breastplate of faith and charity, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.’
It affords us joy even under trial: ‘Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation.’
Hope is expressed and nourished in prayer, especially in the Our Father, the summary of everything that hope leads us to desire.
1821 We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will.
In every circumstance, each one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere ‘to the end’ and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God’s eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ.
In hope, the Church prays for ‘all men to be saved.’
She longs to be united with Christ, her Bridegroom, in the glory of heaven:
Hope, O my soul, hope.
You know neither the day nor the hour.
Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short time into a long one.
Dream that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end.