It happens almost every week that there’s a moment when I approach the brink of despair over having nothing interesting to write about for the bulletin. But then, suddenly and somehow, I come across something to share with you. You’d think I’d learn by now! In any case, this past week, I came across an excerpt of Charles Peguy’s 1911 poem, “The Portal to the Mystery of Hope.”
The kind of faith that I prefer, says God, is Hope. Faith, that does not surprise me. It is not surprising, I am so visible in my creation. But Hope, says God, that surprises me. That is surprising. Everything these poor children see and how everything happens and they still believe that tomorrow things will improve, that they see how things happen today and that they believe it will be better tomorrow. That is surprising, and it is the greatest wonder of our grace and I myself am surprised by it. In fact, my grace must be an unbelievable force and it must come from a source that resembles an inexhaustible river. A little hope emerges between its two big sisters, and we do not even pay attention. On the road of salvation, on this earthly route, on the even route of salvation, on the unending road, on the road between the two big sisters, a little hope emerges. It is this little one who sets everything into motion, because faith only sees what is, but hope sees what will be. Charity only loves what is, but hope sees what will be. Faith sees what is in time and eternity, but Hope sees what will be in time and eternity, So to speak, in the future of eternity itself.
Peguy describes Hope as the little sister of the “two big sisters” of Faith and Charity. And like every small child in December, this little sister Hope is filled with excitement about what lies ahead. Her excitement at the wondrous gift of existence enlivens all around her, those whose longer experience of life has made them wary of believing and loving, which bring with them the possibility of heartbreak and disappointment. Somehow the little sister Hope, in her blessed fragility, gives us strength to withstand the weight of the burdens that we carry along the wearisome road of life. And this, in Peguy’s musings on the divine, both surprises and delights the Lord Himself, who marvels at the power of His grace to sustain Hope in the souls of His children who live in a world shrouded in darkness. Peguy’s words are quite moving, because I think there are many who find themselves looking around and struggling to see what we believe in, and struggling to feel the Presence of God’s love. But we must remember that little sister Hope. After all, it is in the darkest time of the year that we prepare for the coming of the Christ Child.
4 thoughts on “A Little Hope ”
In Joyful Hope, always.
Always, In Joyful Hope!
Dear Father John, I don’t know how you are able to quote such interesting stories on e-mail. I read them all and am amazed that you have so much knowledge and you are sharing it with us. Thank you, Father, and good health to you. Lucy Monteleone
Love this! Thank you Father. Marie Barker