Virtue of the Month
The Virtue of the month for Challenge and Conquest in the month of February is Hope. Hope is something hard to describe but once get it we can understand why it changes the life of a Christian. The definition of hope is described as the desire of something together with the expectation of obtaining it. So basically you can hope for something and know you will get it. For a Christian, that is heaven and being with God. Hope is the foundation for our confidence in God and in ourselves. As the omnipotence of God is infinite, nothing is impossible to Him; as His wisdom is infinite, nothing is difficult to Him; as His goodness is immeasurable, He has an infinite desire for our well-being. Now, should this not be enough to make us repose all our confidence in Him? Padre Pio once said “Pray, Hope, and Don’t Worry.”
Jesus explains that the reason we have hope in God is because we believe in God and know him. We believe God is good and all powerful, therefore we can hope that he will be there for us and provide for us in our time of need. Faith and hope go hand in hand. You can’t hope in someone that you do not know. Knowledge and hope are connected. If I fall down a well in my back yard, I would have hope to be pulled out if I know certain things. For example, if I know that people come to the back yard often or that they are strong enough to pull me out. My hope is based on my knowledge of other people – not on my own strength. Hope in God is based on our knowledge of God’s love and kindness, as well as the promise of heaven. If God is good, we should believe in his promises. Good people don’t trick you. These promises include heaven and the reward for a life well lived. He is telling us to be generous and forgiving. If we live a virtuous life we can be confident in God’s generosity.
St Padre Pio’s Prayer for Trust
“O Lord, we ask for a boundless confidence and trust in your divine mercy, and the courage to accept the crosses and sufferings which bring immense goodness to our souls and that of your church. Help us to love you with a pure and contrite heart, and to humble ourselves beneath your cross, as we climb the mountain of holiness, carrying our cross that leads to heavenly glory.”
The Catechism number of the month is all about Integrity. It is number 989 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
“We firmly believe, and hence we hope that, just as Christ is truly risen from the dead and lives forever, so after death the righteous will live forever with the risen Christ and he will raise them up on the last day.”
The Catholic teaching on hope is summarized in the Catechism:
- Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit.
- The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men’s activities and purifies them so as to order them to the kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity.
- Christian hope unfolds from the beginning of Jesus’ preaching in the proclamation of the beatitudes. The beatitudes raise our hope toward heaven as the new Promised Land; they trace the path that leads through the trials that await the disciples of Jesus. But through the merits of Jesus Christ and of his Passion, God keeps us in the “hope that does not disappoint. “
- Hope is also a weapon that protects us in the struggle of salvation. It affords us joy even under trial. Hope is expressed and nourished in prayer, especially in the Our Father, the summary of everything that hope leads us to desire.
- We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will.