Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and then imprisoned, losing at least ten of the best years of his life (Gn 37:1ff). Yet he never wavered in his hope, and God restored him far beyond what he could have imagined. Abraham, Joshua, Caleb, and Ruth also suffered for years in "the generations long past...[They] hoped in the Lord" and were not disappointed (Sir 2:10).
"Hope is the confident expectation of divine blessing" (Catechism, 2090). When divine blessing seems withheld for a long time, it could be a time of trial (Sir 2:1), adversity (Sir 2:2), or testing (Sir 2:5) meant to strengthen and purify us. If this trial lasts months or even years, we can become heartsick (Prv 13:12) and be tempted to lose hope. Since hope is also "the fear of offending God's love and of incurring punishment" (Catechism, 2090), as we lose hope, we become less afraid of God and more susceptible to sin. But then, as sin increases, hope decreases. Sin can drain our hope. Therefore, repent! "Make straight your ways and hope in Him" (Sir 2:6). "Happy the man whose conscience does not reproach him, who has not lost hope" (Sir 14:2).
Ask the Lord for a great increase in your hope. "None who hope in Him shall fail in strength" (1 Mc 2:61). God says: "Those who hope in Me shall never be disappointed" (Is 49:23).
"This hope will not leave us disappointed, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us" (Rm 5:5).
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from April 1, 2005 through May 31, 2005.
†Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 12, 2004.