January 2022


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,
garabandal.it Team


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