Is there Hope in Today’s World:
Sometimes hope in our world seems lost. You don’t need me to remind you just how unbelievably depressing current affairs can be these days. The endless news of terror and violence is certainly not helpful. As we enter a new Church year, Christ reminds us not to be people of despair. Even when there are ‘wars and rumors of wars, plagues, and famines’ etc.
Advent calls us to hope – that supernatural virtue of looking forward in faith and trust. A realistic hope that is rooted in the present moment of the everyday. This doesn’t mean we walk around like Pollyanna’s pretending that there is nothing to worry about. Nor does it mean, we give in to that dreadful temptation and despair. This despair leads to despondency, which in turn leads to inaction. In addition, there’s little or no point moaning and groaning about the state of the Church either. The revolution of love, beauty, truth, and goodness is so desperately needed in the world, through the divine mission of the Church, has to begin with me.
How Does it Begin with Me?
And as always, this must start with prayer. Prayer is where we truly re-charge our batteries. Karl Barth once said; “To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.” What amazing and wise words we hear from such an honest disciple.
“Whoever despairs of the Church, risks – by curious paradox – despairing sooner or later of Man” wrote George Bernanos. “It is a fact of experience that nothing can be reformed in the Church by ordinary means”, he continues. “One can only reform the Church by suffering for her; one can only reform the visible Church by suffering for the invisible Church (especially the Holy Souls who are our very special and much forgotten friends in the Mystical Body of Christ). One cannot reform the Church’s vices except by pouring out the example of the most heroic virtue.”
How Do I Bring Hope:
And in these seemingly bleak days of depressing news, we must look for the glimmers of goodness and truth, and beauty, nobility and dignity. These glimpses are are, in truth, all around us every day. Sadly, they just don’t grab the headlines! But they are there! As we enter this great penitential season of Advent, we should all become a headline on earth amongst the angels in heaven. As Jesus says, the angels in heaven rejoice over one repentant sinner!
Last week I was hugely edified by the sight of a mother and father with all of their children, queuing up outside the confessional. This family came to be absolved and to become one again with God and each other. I thank God for their witness to hope and personification of humility. If the angels do rejoice at every act of true repentance, then that families guardian angels must have been ecstatic. What a state of beatitude in all its doMESStic cacophony!
So when we are tempted to feel somewhat worn down by, or overwhelmed in our spirit, by the ‘piecemeal’ third world war going on all around us, let us seize upon this holy season of Advent. Let us embrace the Lord’s continuous offer of Divine Mercy by making a good confession so that this ‘piecemeal’ war is turned into our next family ‘meal at peace.’