Thursday, December 22, 2011

From the Priest-in-Charge


The kind of hope I often think about is, I believe, a state of mind, not a state of the world. Either we have hope within us or we don't. Hope is not a prognostication—it's an orientation of the spirit. Each of us must find real, fundamental hope within himself. You can't delegate that to anyone else. Hope in this deep and powerful sense is not the same as joy when things are going well, headed for early success, but rather an ability to work for something to succeed. Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It's not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. It is this hope, above all, that gives us strength to live and to continually try new things, even in conditions that seem as hopeless as ours do, here and now. In the face of this absurdity, life is too precious a thing to permit its devaluation by living pointlessly, emptily, without meaning, without love, and finally, without hope.
—Vaclov Havel

God reveals as never before in such particularity as the one on our side! God with us. Not before or behind us. Not hovering around or even supporting us underneath. God with us is the human face of the divine, living in earthly years. Most of all, God reveals the power now available in all of us. Vaclov Havel, the author of this piece on hope, died this week right before Christmas. In my life, Havel was a contemporary incarnation of “hope.” In the midst of turmoil and conflict, internment and revolution, he gathered people together underground, built hope in those small groups, created a critical mass and rose up against the evil force. He saved a country, and lived to teach and write to help others do the same thing. I am eternally grateful for the words he spoke when he said “hope is an orientation of the spirit.” It is a phrase I have repeated to myself many times. With the birth of Jesus, the ancient world learned that in the midst of pagan influences and Gods who ruled but never included the human form, there was a power that celebrated the uniqueness of each person as the human reflection of the Creator. It’s time to give thanks for the Mother of Jesus who risked ridicule to live to Her belief, to Jesus and to the Vaclov Havels of our day – the bearers of hope!

Tanya V. Beck

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