Wednesday, January 1, 2020

A New Year and Looking for Hope

2019 was a dark year for we Catholics. In the Western end of the world we have on-going political uncertainties surrounding President Trump and Brexit which have spilled over into personal animadversions between the sides. Even our lives outside the four walls of a church are glib.

Within the Church we have passed the murkiest year of my admittedly brief sojourn on this earth. On April 15—Tax Day in America, the day President Lincoln died, and the day the Titanic sank—the cathedral of Paris, Notre Dame, burned for the entire day. The world watched in muted horror as an enduring monument of Christian civilization helplessly flickered on the Ile St. Louis. In Rome an assembly of left-wing secular humanists masquerading as successors to the Apostles asked Pope Francis to confer the diaconate on women in between sessions of Pansymama worship.

It seemed like a year without refuge and without hope, but we do have hope and always do. One might say the Christian life and the Church herself are personifications of theological hope.

A few years ago an Eastern monk gave the Lenten retreat at my parish and illustrated the three Pauline theological virtues with a familiar image. Hope is what comes after faith in the aspiration of what Love promises. A house or a family are expressions of Hope. An act of Faith might be the act of marriage with the expectation of Love, love for the spouse, love that will transpire between the parents and children that the union produces. The house is the Hope. It has a firm foundation and provides a place for that which is hoped for to come about.

We may be disappointed with 2019, but let us have some hope for 2020. The Church will endure, yet it is not the end in itself. God is. The Church is where what we received at Baptism is lived in the Hope for life everlasting. It is a house, the "porta caeli" of which the psalmist says "Concupiscit, et deficit anima mea in atria domini, cor meum et caro mea exsultaverunt in Deum vivum."

Here is to Hope in 2020.

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