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. – Saint Teresa of Avila
“Everything is going to be ok.” These words have comforted me more times than I can remember. In times of darkness and uncertainty, God always finds a way to remind me of this truth. It is usually through my husband who, as a constant witness to my ups and downs, knows when I need some encouragement. And I do the same for him. We need each other, but we can only help pull someone out of the darkness if we are securely anchored ourselves. It is in the Eucharist that we find the hope that anchors our soul (Heb 6:19).
We need to look outside of ourselves and see the needs of our neighbor. “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (Mt 12:7). Through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy we bring hope to the hopeless and Christ to the world. Sometimes something as simple as a smile can bring someone hope. It can remind them that someone cares. Your simple act of kindness can be the dew that softens a hardened heart and opens them to receive the mercy of God.
The virtue of hope “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” (ccc 1818). It is charity that moves us to bring this same hope to those around us. Securely anchored in God’s love, we venture out into the storm and encourage our brothers and sisters to persevere in their difficulties and remain “buoyed up by hope.”
The word ‘hope’ in Spanish is translated to ‘esperanza’, which literally means to wait in expectation. As the quote above from St. Teresa of Avila reminds us, it is our impatience that “makes doubtful what is certain.” It is at those times that we need to “hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy” (Heb 10:23). Before we receive the Eucharist, we confess: “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed.” And today I add: Imprint your Love in my soul, so that in times of darkness I remember to Whom I belong.