Advent 2007: We Wait in Joyful Hope
Hope requires trust. Hope is built on faith. Hope expresses itself out of love. Hope keeps possibilities opens rather closing doors. Hope invites us to surrender to God's will. Hope calls us to be present to one another, accompanying each other as tangible witnesses to
The second week of Advent brought us the celebration of Mary's Immaculate Conception. In calling Mary forth to life in the womb of Ann, God also breathed into her soul the endowment of hope which later in life enabled her in faith to offer her "fiat" at the Annunciation.
The third week enabled us to examine hope from the perspective of the call to "Rejoice unceasingly," a challenge in particular when we are faced with sorrows, struggles, and sadnesses. Yet, as with hope, we are called to understand the virtue more deeply so that from the soul we are able to have hope even when the world around us seems to be crumbling and life as we know it is shaken (challenges) or perhaps even shattered (losses). Now, on the fourth Sunday of Advent, we have before us a reminder of Mary's fiat in which with all the faith of her human being she expressed the fullness of hope, "I am the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to Your Word."
And now, we are on the brink of the feast of the Incarnation, the birth of Emmanuel, God-is-with-us! While I do not claim to have this relationship with hope perfected, I realize that my Advent gift has been a new understanding of hope, a recognition of hope as a tangible and dynamic dimension of Christian life and the journey to holiness. I have not yet read Pope Benedict's Spe Salvi , but I am looking forward to engaging with and coming to understand and live more deeply the recognition that we are "saved by hope" and the call "to live in joyful hope."