The Bible and Saints on Hope and the Confidence it brings

January 16, 2022 • 5 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 173
By Venerable Louis of Granada

“Hope,” says St. Gregory, “fixes our hearts so steadfastly upon the joys of Heaven that we are insensible to the miseries of this life.”

“The hope of future glory,” Origen tells us, “sustains the just under the trials of life, as the hope of victory supports the soldier during battle.”

“If the furious tempests of the sea,” says St. Chrysostom, “cannot daunt the sailor; if hard frosts and withering blight cannot discourage the farmer; if neither wounds nor death itself affright the soldier; if neither falls nor blows dishearten the wrestler, because of the fleeting recompense they hope from their labors, how much greater should be the courage of a Christian, who is toiling for an eternal reward! Therefore, consider not the roughness of the path of virtue, but rather the end to which it leads; look not upon the pleasures which strew the path of vice, but rather upon the precipice to which it is hurrying you.”

Who is so foolish as willingly to pursue a path, though strewn with flowers, if it lead to destruction? Who, on the contrary, would not choose a rugged and difficult path, if it lead to life and happiness?

Holy Scripture is full of commendations of this blessed hope.

“The eyes of the Lord,” the prophet Hanani tells King Asa, “behold all the earth, and give strength to them that with a perfect heart trust in Him.” [2 Par. xvi. 9.]

“The Lord is good to them that hope in Him, and to the soul that seeketh Him.” [Lam. iii. 25.]

“The Lord is good, and giveth strength in the day of trouble, and knoweth them that hope in Him.” [Nahum i. 7.]

“If you return and be quiet, you shall be saved; in silence and in hope shall your strength be.” [Isaias xxx. 15.] By silence the prophet here signifies that interior calm and sweet peace experienced by the soul amid all her troubles, and which is the result of that hope in God’s mercy which expels all fear.

“Ye that fear the Lord, hope in Him, and mercy shall come to you for your delight. My children, behold the generations of men, and know ye that no one hath hoped in the Lord and hath been confounded.” [Ecclus. ii. 9, 11.]

“Mercy shall encompass him that hopeth in the Lord.” [Ps. xxxi. 10.] Mark the strength of this word encompass, by which the prophet teaches us that a virtuous man is shielded by God’s protection, as a king surrounded by his guards. Read the Psalms, and you will see how beautifully David speaks of the power and merit of divine hope.

In one of his sermons St. Bernard dwells at some length on this virtue, and concludes by saying: “Faith teaches us that God has inestimable rewards reserved for His faithful servants. Hope answers, ‘It is for me that they are prepared’; and Charity, inspired by Hope, cries out, ‘I will hasten to possess them.’”

Behold, then, the happy fruits of hope! It is a port of refuge from the storms of life; it is a buckler against the attacks of the world; it is a storehouse to supply us in the time of famine; it is the shade and tent of which Isaias spoke, to protect us from the heat of summer and the frosts of winter; in fine, it is a remedy for all our evils, for there is no doubt that all we confidently and justly hope from God will be granted to us, if for our welfare.

Hence St. Cyprian says that God’s mercy is a healing fountain, and hope a vessel into which its waters flow. Therefore, the larger the vessel the more abundantly will we receive of these waters.

God told the children of Israel that every place upon which they set their feet should be theirs. So every salutary blessing upon which man fixes his hope will be granted to him. Hope, then, for all blessings, and you will obtain them.

Thus we see that this virtue is an imitation of the divine power; for, says St. Bernard, nothing so manifests the power of God as the omnipotence with which He invests those who hope in Him. Witness Josue, at whose command the sun stood still; or Ezechiel, who bade King Ezechias choose whether he would have the sun advance or go backward in his course, as a sign from God.

Latest book snippets

Search | Random | 909 total | 50h 1m