Perhaps it's the springtime feeling of new life and new hope or perhaps, as my dear husband put it in an email to a priest friend (no, REALLY to a PRIEST!!) who asked how I was doing, 'She's doing pretty good right now. There's certain times of the month when hope springs eternal'. Excuse me again for the TMI, but yes, this is true. Depending on my hormonal fluctuations and what did or didn't happen at certain times in a month, definitely either dampens my spirit of hopefulness or encourages it! Nonetheless, I've been renewed with Hope!
I was re-reading in My Way of Life the other day and found the section regarding Hope. It talked about happiness of heart, faith and hope. Truly, no accident that my blog title is what it is! I was struck by the part that mentioned the importance of both faith and hope and how they correspond to one another:
Faith is the beginning of happiness in the mind. Because faith proposes to man the possibility of attaining the vision of God, it gives man the beginning of happiness in his heart. Faith then lays the foundation of hope in the heart of man. it is obvious that faith precedes hope. It is faith which tells man that God is ready to assist him to attain true happiness. In this way it is faith which opens the door for hope in the human heart. Faith makes us cling to God as the source of knowledge. Hope makes us cling to God as the source of our happiness, the goodness and power from which we hope to receive happiness.
How true this is! One thing that I have maintained as we've journeyed through our secondary infertility diagnosis is that I have tried to remain full of hope and I have trusted in my faith to help me and guide me. I have mentioned numerous times that I didn't know what I would have done had I not had BOTH of these! Truly, my faith has opened the door for hope in my heart.
Recently as I was contemplating the gift of faith and faithfulness, I recalled a homily once spoken while I was single and searching deeply for God's revelation of my vocation in life. I was filled with despair and anxiety as I felt that God's voice in my life had barely become audible any more. The priest spoke of faithfulness to Christ and His call in our lives. I only remember the line he spoke frequently through that homily: Sometimes faithfulness feels a lot like unfaithfulness. As I recalled this last week, I felt how true that is. My faithfulness and determination to follow Christ and the Catholic Church's teachings has sometimes indeed felt like unfaithfulness when I have felt that I have not been rewarded. I have felt like I have tried my hardest and done all that I could do to be faithful and yet felt grief, despair and anxiety as I wallowed in a feeling of unfaithfulness.
But it is our faith that truly opens our heart to hope. We cling to God as our true source of happiness and fulfillment. Faith really does lay the foundation in our heart. How blessed are we to have faith and fulfillment in our heart in order to bring about true hope!
Hope continues to reign in my heart and in abundance these days. Is it any wonder that this morning, hubby mentioned the short Lenten reflection he had just read? It talked about the patience of Abraham and Sarah. Ok, this is relevant for a number of reasons, but the obvious would be that my name is Sarah and we too are waiting for a child! The reflection talked about how when we are waiting for something we wait with eager expectation and anticipation. When we have to wait for something we really want that it can become distressing, especially if we are uncertain if or when it will happen. We grow restless, anxious and doubtful, or feel trapped and impatient. How true that has been! Truth is, waiting on the Lord isn't supposed to be an exercise in frustration: it's an opportunity to exercise our faith! Did you see that? It mentioned FAITH. Waiting for God's answer and His timing is enhancing our faith and therefore our hopeful hearts! What a blessing that waiting on the Lord is supposed to be, but do I always see it that way? Not hardly. Patient waiting is tough don't you know.
Can you tell that HOPE has been like a resounding gong in my head lately? As if that is not enough, I've been getting reacquainted with Our Lady of Hope (sometimes referred to as Our Lady of Pontmain). Have you heard of her?
Our Lady appeared in the French village of Pontmain in 1871. She revealed herself as the "Madonna of the Crucifix" and gave the world her message of "Hope through Prayer and the Cross." The basilica built at Pontmain by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate is one of the great French pilgrimage places, noted for its miracles of grace. The Oblate Fathers introduced the devotion to America in 1952.
I received a prayer pamphlet to Our Lady of Hope ironically at the Women's Conference I attended in January. I had heard about her a number of years ago, but had kind of forgotten about her. You can find novena prayers to her at EWTN's site here.
Hope and Faith. Truly two helpful virtues on our journey through life. God bless my hopeful heart!
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
~ Hebrews 11:1~
Our Lady of Hope, Pray For Us!