I hope in Him alone
As we move on in life and in our spiritual life, we see how everything passes. The heart searches for a place, a something that does not pass or end. The Christian heart finds this something in God. God does not pass away; He is eternal and infinite. In Him alone can we truly place our hope. In our daily life, it tires us when we put our hope in something or someone other than God. However, the light of that greater hope cannot be destroyed either by frustrations in small things or by failure in events of historical importance, because in spite of frustrations and adverse or difficult events, this hope tells us that our personal life and history are kept safe by the indestructible power of God's Love. We cannot do anything of our own strength. But what I cannot do, He can. This is our hope. Where my strength and capacity reach their limit, there is his omnipotence that can do everything.
This does not mean that we should move to a purely passive level of "let God do everything." No. We have a task: to open ourselves to Him and place our freedom in His will. The response to revealed love will always be a free response. We do not deserve God's love. It is a gift, and I am free to accept it or not. Hope in God is what should guide our actions. We must base our hope on God's promises. It would do us good to think seriously about the question: "What does the world promise me?" And then think, "And what are God's promises?" We see that God's promises are far greater and more real than anything the world offers. Everything the world can offer is ultimately fleeting. It has an end and limits, but God's promises of eternal life, of eternal bliss is a promise for eternity.
In this school of hope, suffering—from which no one is exempt—comes to have an important role. We all suffer, on a larger or smaller scale, but every person suffers. In suffering we have a beautiful opportunity to encounter God and true hope. Often man strives to remove suffering. We cannot completely remove suffering from the world, simply because we cannot get rid of our limitation. None of us is able to remove the power of evil. Only God can do it, and only a God who, by becoming man, would personally enter history and suffer. Avoiding pain does not fill man but leaves him in loneliness and emptiness. Accepting tribulation heals man, matures, and gives it meaning through union with Christ. Jesus suffered with infinite love and gives sense to all our sufferings transformed by the strength of hope.
Paul Le-Bao-Thin, a Vietnamese martyr from the 16th century, wrote a letter in which he begins explaining the sufferings he endured in his imprisonment. He describes prison as hell, telling of the chains, hatred, and anguish. Then he says, "But the God who once freed the three young men from the fiery furnace is with me always; He has delivered me from these tribulations and made them sweet, for His mercy is for ever. In the midst of these torments, which usually terrify others, I am, by the grace of God, full of joy and gladness, because I am not alone—Christ is with me." He concludes by saying, "Brothers, as you hear all these things may you give endless thanks in joy to God, from whom every good comes... In the midst of this tempest I cast anchor to the throne of God, the living hope of my heart."
In the midst of pain and suffering, the heart of the believer finds hope and a light in God through whom "the darkness is not dark and the night as light as day" (cf. Psalm 138). Suffering with this vision and living in faith becomes, in spite of everything, a song of praise.
Without grace, it is obvious that we are not able to turn suffering into love. That is why we need an encounter with God, Who is love.
The Eucharist is a pledge and source of hope. There He waits for us day and night, as Our Mother told us, in order to give us hope. His presence is faithful because He Himself said that He would be with us until the end of time. We can hope in Him. Visiting the Blessed Sacrament and praying before Him is a way to increase our hope. In this new year that we have begun, a very good resolution would be to visit the Blessed Sacrament every day to make it an essential part of our life, and there, before Him, foster a firm hope in God.
God bless you,
With Advent, we have begun a hope-filled time. Some questions arise: What do you hope for? Who do you place your hope in? Can you truly say, "All my hope is in Thee?" or have you divided your heart's hope with other things that are not our only Hope? It is time to do a review. Examine and act.
Perhaps in today's world and in this specific moment in history, we increasingly discover the need to correctly set the foundation of our hopes because, in the end, all that is finite will pass away.
Advent is a season to learn to place all our hope in God. Where and how can we learn to hope? There are places to learn and prepare for Christmas. One of them is prayer.
Prayer is a true school of hope. In prayer we see that when no one else listens to me and nothing and no one can help me, God listens. When I cannot speak to anyone, I can always speak to God. I will never be alone because God is always there. Prayer is the heart's cry to the only One who can give me hope. Several saints, who have gone before us, have experienced this. When trials come and when human hopes fall through, in prayer we discover the window that leads to a much greater hope. Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan was strengthened through prayer during his thirteen years of imprisonment and his hope increased to such an extent that, when he was set free, he became a light for many other people. His hope was not extinguished despite the dark night and loneliness he experienced. He teaches us to live this hope in our daily life through doing God’s will faithfully: “If you do not remain closely united to God’s will, you will fall moment by moment on your journey of hope. This will happen because your duty will seem devoid of novelty, too unobserved, hidden, and monotonous. The problem is simple: Before doing anything, you ought to think, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ (Acts 22:10). Do God’s will!”
In a homily on the First Letter of St. John, St. Augustine describes the connection between prayer and hope. He defines prayer as an exercise of desire. Man was created for greatness—for God Himself; he was created to be filled by God. But his heart is too small for the greatness to which it is destined. It must be stretched. St. Augustine says, “By delaying [his gift], God strengthens our desire; through desire he enlarges our soul and by expanding it he increases its capacity [for receiving Him].” Then he says to imagine that we are a vessel God wants to fill with his honey [His tenderness and goodness], but if we are full of vinegar, where will we put the honey? Yes, we must empty and purify ourselves of this vinegar, all that is alien to God, the world with its appetites, in order to fill ourselves with God. Prayer is a process of interior purification that makes us capable of God. It is in prayer and in the reading of His Word that we purify our desires and hopes. For prayer to be fruitful it must be personal prayer. You with God, and God with you. God is alive, He speaks to me, looks at me and listens to me. It seems obvious but we forget this so often!
A very good resolution for this Advent would be to spend some time each day in prayer. This can be done by reflecting on the readings at Mass for the day and asking the Holy Spirit to instruct you on them. The Word of God is alive and always has something to say to us. Besides meditating on some reading or mystery of Advent, it is a time for prayer of supplication: Come, Lord Jesus! If during this Advent we strive to keep this simple prayer always on our lips and in our hearts, we will see how it will increase our hope and desire for Him: Come, Lord Jesus! Come into my life and into my heart. Come in the midst of my work and my rest. Come to my family. Come to my home. Come, Lord! Enlighten my heart. Light the light of your truth in my heart, and be my only hope.
Let us pray to Our Lady who teaches us how to hope this Advent.
Maria Herrero de Gallardo was present at more than 30 apparitions in San Sebastián de Garabandal. Here are some of the extraordinary events she witnessed during her first visit.
November begins with a great Solemnity, All Saints' Day. We celebrate in a special way all the anonymous saints who rejoice in God's presence and share in Christ's triumph and glory. It is a day to be glad about God's action in countless souls and to remember that we too have received the call we must answer.
Between November 7-15, 1967, a painter from Santander, Doña Isabel de Daganzo, resident in Barcelona, met with Conchita in Burgos to show her some of her sketches of the Virgin Mary.
We have begun October, a month dedicated especially to the rosary. Some people say that it is a repetitive and boring prayer, but that is absolutely untrue. Praying the rosary is contemplating the life of Christ through the eyes of Mary. In many Marian apparitions, She has insisted that we pray the rosary. In Garabandal, She taught the children to pray the rosary, and to do so slowly.