by Rev. John Vayalilkarottu OFMConv from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Springvale
Philosophers, theologians, psychologists, medical experts, sociologists, and all those interested and involved in human flourishing have all examined the idea of hope.
People from diverse fields have discovered that the word ‘hope’ has a variety of meanings, concepts, and interpretations from different perspectives.
The virtue of hope helps us to overcome situations of despair, suffering and hopelessness.
During this time of pandemic, hope will fill our hearts with the idea that this pandemic will come to an end.
And that we can overcome it by cooperating with the guidance of health experts and government regulations.
Most of the religious founders and great men and women of history confirm through their teachings and lived examples that one can overcome trials in life through perseverance.
The very foundation of Christian faith, for example, is that it is through suffering that we participate in the glory of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Jesus shows us that there is no victory without suffering and the cross.
Victor Frankl (1905–1997), an Austrian psychiatrist, showed the world how to triumph over hopeless situations.
Frankl, who was a survivor of Nazi concentration camps, founded the psychological system of Logotherapy, which promotes striving and struggling to achieve a greater goal even when surrounded by hopeless situations.
According to Frankl, what is required is not the immediate release of tension, but the summoning of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled.
The Peace Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi is a beautiful prayer that can help us persevere in the face of hopelessness.
This powerful prayer, a synthesis of Christian spirituality, can help us to grow in optimism, increase our personal satisfaction and offer support to others.
The prayer reads:
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.