||[19 May 2008|10:18am]
Sometimes I didn't hate being a priest. I did get to say things like this. It was considered radical by that Abbot Brunhardt. But what did he know?
One of the three core virtues of Christian life, hope usually comes a poor third behind faith and love. Paul tells us that love is the greatest and when we consider the Proverbs, it is faith that moves mountains and love which overcomes all.
But as for hope, we have ‘fond hopes’ meaning something would be nice but it’s highly improbable or ‘hope springs eternal’ meaning some people never give up, even when any reasonable person could see a matter is entirely without promise.
These conceptions of hope reflect its relationship to Spes, the Greek goddess of the last option, who was turned to when everything of any substance was gone.
From a Christian perspective, rather than desperation, hope is a core understanding about how we look into the future, a future as yet unmade. Hope is openness to change, to movement and to that which is so different we may not be able to conceive of its possibility.
Someone once asked me why I describe myself, not as an optimist but as hopeful. My reply was that whereas optimism is 'wish without ground', hope is the serious recognition and affirmation that our futures are not closed and the possibilities of what we are, are not fixed and finalised. Hope is commitment to the creation of an open and spacious life for all persons.
It’s difficult to see how hope could exist without the authenticity of love and the radical status and implications of faith. Equally, it’s impossible to see how, without the full participation of hope, love and faith could be more than simply proverbs.
I know it's recycling a sermon, but don't consider it me preaching at you. Simply reminding you that hope still exists. And it's something we dearly need at all times, but especially when it seems that things are at their darkest.