God’s Love: Reason for Hope | Fr. William P. Clark, O.M.I. | Homiletic & Pastoral Review
His love for man will never rest until he has raised our earthbound nature from glory to glory, and made it one with his own in heaven.- From a sermon by St. Andrew of Crete
In view of all the difficulties we face, both in our personal lives and in the world, sustaining our hope is truly a challenge. When we learn of the wars, the divisions, the suffering of people around the world, our hope for unity and peace among peoples and nations is severely challenged.
Hope is not fostered by a natural reading of history. That reading of history suggests things will never change permanently for the better. That reading of history provides no model of people living together in mutual respect and universal love. In fact, we see just the opposite. The human appetite for violence is enormous. A cynic would say history shows that people love killing each other. Almost 3000 years ago, Homer wrote in the Iliad: “Men grow tired of sleep, love, singing and dancing sooner than war.” One need look no further than the last century for ample evidence in support of that view.
There is also much evidence of decline, even decadence, in our contemporary world. It is not just a question of nostalgia for the “good old days.” That perception of decline is based on reality. The signs are there: a dramatic increase in sexual promiscuity that is widely condoned; an undermining of family values; the killing of millions of innocent children by abortion; and an increase in violence beyond that of warfare.
Reflecting on our own personal condition also presents a challenge to hope. Especially, as we grow older, we encounter fears that tend to sabotage hope: fear of declining mental or physical abilities; fear because of past sins; fear of being unprepared for death. It seems true because of years of hard work bearing no apparent fruit; or when little of desired change is accomplished; or when pursuit of growth in our spiritual life may seem a futile effort. There is a danger of becoming disillusioned, even of losing hope. Often, we may feel we have only enough spiritual bread in our basket for one more day, and we are fearful about tomorrow, and all the tomorrows to come.