In his homily Thursday, Pope Francis spoke on the essential role hope plays in the Christian life, saying that while it is a silent and humble virtue, it is what supports us in difficulty and brings us peace.
“Hope (is) that humble virtue which flows under the water of life, but that bears us up so we don’t drown in so many difficulties, so we do not lose that desire to find God, to find that wonderful face which we will all see one day: hope,” the Pope said March 17.
Pope Francis celebrated Mass in the chapel of the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse, focusing his homily on the figure of Abraham and how Jesus in the day’s Gospel from John tells the Jews that “Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day.”
While Abraham certainly had temptations along “the path of hope,” he still believed and obeyed what the Lord told him, and so began his journey to the Promised Land, the Pope told attendees.
He said that there is a “thread of hope” which unites the entire story of salvation, and which serves as a “font of joy” for Christians.
Francis noted how in the day’s first prayer for the Mass, we ask for God’s grace in keeping us “in the hope of the Church because it does not fail.”
Abraham himself “believed against all hope,” he said, adding that when there is no human hope left in a situation, there is always the supernatural virtue of hope which carries us forward.
The virtue is “humble (and) simple, but it gives a joy, at times a great joy, at (other) times only of peace, but the security that hope does not disappoint: hope doesn’t disappoint.”
Pope Francis said this “thread of hope” begins with Abraham and grows throughout history, ending with Jesus. He admitted that at times hope is hidden, while at other times it is clearly seen.
Citing the example of when John leaps for joy in Elizabeth’s womb as Mary approaches, Francis said that what made John leap was “the joy of the presence of God” who journeys with his people.
“Where there is joy, there is peace,” he said, explaining that the virtue of hope takes us from joy to peace.
Francis noted that while it is common to speak about having faith or charity, speaking about having hope is something that happens far less.
However, he stressed that while hope might not be as commonly spoken about, it is the silent and humble virtue that “bears us up so we don’t drown” in our difficulties.
The Pope encouraged attendees to reflect on how the God who called Abraham, asking him to leave his land without knowing where he was going, is the same God who goes to the Cross, “to fulfil the promise He made.”
“(This) is the same God who, in the fullness of time, ensures that the promise would become a reality for all of us. And what unites that first moment to this last moment is the thread of hope,” Francis noted.
Hope, he said, is what unites our Christian lives to each other, from one moment to the next, so that we can continue moving forward, despite the fact that we are sinners.
“What gives us peace in bad moments, in the darkest moments of life, is hope. Hope doesn’t disappoint: it’s always there: silent, humble, but strong.”