“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” (CCC 1817).
This past Sunday we were invited to look up to the heavens as Jesus ascended to the Father. This feast builds on the virtue of hope as follows:
- “You are my witnesses.” We each have a story to tell of our own encounter with divine love, with the mercy and providence of God. Does your story of faith include hope?
- “I am sending you the promise of my Father upon you.” This is the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit speaks peace to our hearts, is our advocate against the lies of satan, and constantly reminds us of Christ’s teaching.
- Jesus then raises his hands and blesses his followers. To bless means, literally, “to say good things.” Can you recall a moment of blessing, perhaps by a parent who put their hands on your shoulder and prayed good things over you? Have you had the experience of doing this for others? This is when heart speaks to heart: when we offer words of blessing to others. And this is what the Spirit of the Son does continuously over us: reminds that we are the cherished and honored children of a merciful God.
We need to hear God’s words of goodness; without the Holy Spirit we are dead in the water; and we each have a story to tell. The story does not end here in this life, but finds its fulfillment in heaven where Jesus awaits. As our gaze returns to earth form the heavens, the Lord’s Spirit will inspires us to go out and share our story. As we do so, the virtue of hope takes root and inspires us to press forward towards the full joy of heaven.
Fr. Tim Nolt, YCP Austin Chaplain