Hope Springs Eternal (Fr. Duffy, Guest Blogger)

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Hope Springs Eternal
by Father Hugh Duffy, PhD, Guest Blogger for “Inspiring Hope” 7-10-16

We cannot live without hope.

Take the case of a little girl, waiting for her Mother to return home. She may be distracted for a while but she will return with hope to the window and silently look out, again and again. A few treats and toys may hold the child’s interest for a moment, but the thought of Mother is much stronger. When Mother returns the child’s face explodes with joy because her hope has been rewarded.

This is like the hope that Christ proclaims for all mankind when He says that He was sent to offer “liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and freedom to the oppressed.” (Luke 4:8). We can be distracted from time to time or misplace our hope in passing things like the lure of money, but we are constantly being pulled back to that permanent window of hope that only God can offer. We are wired from birth to place our hope in God, in something bigger and better than ourselves, and our hearts will be restless until we do so.

The most terrifying thing that can happen to a human being is to see hope die.

Without hope, life loses its enthusiasm and bounce. It is reduced to a drab sameness, a nagging repetition of the same old thing or things, without the freedom to visualize a better tomorrow. This disinterested condition leads to a sense of helplessness and depression. It is called despair… and sometimes leads to suicide.

The crucial point I’m making here is that life is more than mere, material survival. What reason is there for going on, and what reason is there for a lasting hope if life can only be about material success or survival? We are more than that, and should not sell ourselves short.

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I once had dinner with a well-known billionaire who told me he suffered from depression, and spent a fortune on doctors and medical treatments to eradicate this sickness.

He asked me if I knew of any cure to his problem, and I told him I did, but that he might not appreciate what I had to offer.

“Let’s hear it,” he replied.

“I think you need to detach yourself from your wealth, and set yourself free.” I offered, gently.

“That’s very interesting,” he replied awkwardly. “Nobody ever told me that before.” It was obvious from his reaction that he did not like what I told him.

You can bring the camel to the water but you cannot make him drink, and my friend, regrettably, was not willing to drink of this spiritual water. We have immortal souls which beckon us to hope; that call us to nurture our spiritual lives: to be kind to others; to love everyone… because if we don’t love everyone, we cannot love anyone. Isn’t that what Jesus meant when He said: “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters you do unto Me” (Matthew 25: 40)? The individual who can embrace this kind of hope and put it into practice will contribute to making a better tomorrow. If we can trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to break in upon us, we can confidently use our own God-given talents and strengths to bring about newness of life, and a new world.

Psalm 33:18 & 20 reads:
“But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love… We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.

The reward of our hope is joy, a deep-down spiritual joy. This is the kind of joy that can overcome doubt through faith, despair through hope, and hatred through love.

Hope springs eternal. It has its origin in God Who is our home. If we can place our hope in Him to transform our lives and our world, then He can make it happen.

Fr. Hugh Duffy holds a Ph.D. from the University of Hull, England. Born in Donegal, Ireland, he was ordained in 1966 in Dublin, Ireland. He is pastor emeritus of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Okeechobee, Florida, where he served for thirty years. Fr. Duffy also founded Christian Community Action (CCA) in Ireland, building housing for seniors, a sheltered workshop and bakery for people with disabilities, a community center, and a treatment center for people with addictions. Fr. Duffy is the author of Queen of the Sciences, a book about the relationship between faith and reason in Catholic theology. A second, updated and expanded edition entitled Faith and Reason will be available soon. His book, What is This Thing Called Faith? is a collection of meditations with reflections for the reader on the sayings of Jesus. Visit FatherDuffy.com for more information.

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