If you watch enough news, read the Oregonian, or browse your favorite news websites you almost have to steel yourself. I always joke that the first 8-10 pages of the Oregonian are always bad news. Having lived in East Africa, I became a fan of the BBC because I like it’s global perspective. But too often the global perspective is also depressing and downright frightening.
All of this gets added to our daily challenges that are cause enough for anxiety. Parents never stop worrying about their children no matter their age. Some families are dealing with serious health concerns of a chronic nature. And there are always financial pressures to worry about. Add to this the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a job, and life threatens to overwhelm us at times.
As Roman Catholics, the Church has been our refuge and our rock of safety, but it has been shaken to its foundations by a crisis that has gone on for decades now. We all know someone who has lost hope in the Church and have chosen to look elsewhere for answers.
We are invited to find hope in our life situation which isn’t always easy. We sometimes confuse it with optimism, the power of positive thinking, or the American “can-do” attitude. Hope isn’t a mental attitude but a theological virtue that God happily gives to believers. St. Paul defined it this way: “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”
Blessed Father Basil Moreau, the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, gave us a beautiful motto: “Hail the Cross, our only Hope!” He once underwent a dark night of the soul when Holy Cross faced financial ruin by the malfeasance of a steward and he was being challenged by detractors on all sides. He was tormented by a dread that seemed to indicate the total ruin of Holy Cross. Suddenly, out of the blue, a woman who was a dear friend sent him a letter. She simply wrote, “I see you in the same state as Peter sinking into the waters.” And with that, the dark night lifted.
Whatever challenges, fears, or doubts we face, let us accept them but always with the hope that every cross in our life has deep meaning, even if we can’t detect it at the time. And may we be people of hope for others during their own dark night of the soul. In the end, all will turn out well for those who place their hope and trust in God.
Yours in Christ,