“The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life” (Pope Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi,2). These words from Pope Benedict XVI not only strengthen us in this “new normal” but also show why hope is the antidote to acedia. In fact, the theological virtue of hope is precisely what we should nurture during this time of unrest and uncertainty.
Every baptized Christian has received the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity at Baptism. Hope is rooted in these truths:
- Our Creator loved us into being — God first loved us (1 John 4:19)
- He continually sustains us by His love — God is love (1 John 4:8)
- By His death and resurrection we have been saved and restored to God’s friendship — For God so loved the world (John 3:16-17)
In the face of this divine love, hope gives us the confidence, freedom, and joy to live anchored in God. Our eyes are fixed on eternity as we desire to live in friendship with Him forever. Granted the fear of death, suffering, and a certain clinging to this world are struggles we all have to encounter. But it is important to realize that God never intended for us to die and suffer, as we were originally created to live in friendship with Him. Spend a few moments reading Ephesians 1:3-10 and select a verse that speaks to your heart. Let the Word of God sustain you during this time—let Him be God and place your trust in Him. It may sound trite—but He truly ‘”has the whole world in His hands.”
In conclusion, St. Thomas Aquinas connected the beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” to the virtue of hope. As you are spending extra time at home, perhaps you can use this Lectio on the beatitude to nurture the virtue of hope in your personal life. The one who has hope lives differently because their lives are anchored in God and they do indeed yearn for the kingdom of heaven.