"Hope, in its widest acceptation, is described as the desire of something together with the expectation of obtaining it. The Scholastics say that it is a movement of the appetite towards a future good, which though hard to attain is possible of attainment. ... It is a truth constantly acted upon in Catholic life and no less explicitly taught, that hope is necessary to salvation. ... There is both a negative and a positive precept of hope. The negative precept is in force ever and always. Hence there can never be a contingency in which one may lawfully despair or presume. The positive precept enjoining the exercise of the virtue of hope demands fulfilment sometimes, because one has to discharge certain Christian duties which involve an act of this supernatural confidence, such as prayer, penance, and the like.(Newadvent.net)
I have always been a bit of an optimist. I always thought things could somehow work out, things always work out for the best, that good always triumph evil, that if given the chance people will do the right thing, etc. Within the last 7 years or so, I lost some of that optimism. I was excited and hopeful that voting for a pro-life, small-government president who actually won would have good effects. I thought with a Republican congress good things might finally begin to happen. The examples can go on - and not all political either.
Now I never lost faith in God's triumph over the world, etc. But I did lose some of my optimism as people disappointed me. The amount of selfishness, inconsiderateness, greed, laziness and hypocritical negativity I've seen from people over the years - terrorism, the murder of Terri Schiavo, a woman being sued in NJ for homeschooling her children, elephant dung on a picture of the BVM, Maryland's trying to remove any statute of limitations for Catholic institutions but not touching public ones, the increasing gap between the rich and the poor and the increasing cost of living in some areas, euthanasia, abortion, poor public education, road rage, and the list goes on and on from the most dramatic to the smallest incidents. How many of us turn on our turn signal before we need to get over to give another driver the opportunity to let us in? How often do we expect that consideration? How often do we hold the door open for each other or have the door held open for us? I've been pregnant and had people not hold the door or let me pass by. And the disappointing things, because they are part of humanity, span from the smallest moments to the biggest decisions.
The problem is that to ignore such things is to ignore life - good or bad it is part of this world we live in and we can't live outside it. We can't ignore it.
However, I came to notice that the loss of my optimism and my new cynicism and disappointment and low expectations from many people didn't effect them. It effected me. It effected my cheerfulness. It effected my outlook. And it took me a while to figure out why I was less cheerful. And I think the answer comes down to Hope. Now, I do not mean to say I can now hope in crooked politicians or murdering "doctors" or terrorists. But I can hope for them. I can hope for them because I have hope in God.
Easter is the season of Hope. It is the celebration that despair, sin and death do not get the last word. Easter teaches us that all our hope rests in the one who gives hope - the God Son who became "fetus" who became child who became man who suffered and died and took up his life again in glory. He gives us hope and if our hope is in Him, then through Him, we can have hope for others. It is because of Easter that we can live in a world of selfishness and deceit and hypocritical nastiness and not let it get us down. And it is through hope that, when the muck and grime of this world tries to bring us down, God keeps us soaring above it clean and dry.
So the next time a politician stands up to tell me how wonderful they are and then, true to form, serve only themselves or a driver cuts me off or a bomb goes off half way across the world or another innocent unborn child is brutally and senslessly murdered I will feel it and I will lament it but I will not be brought down by it - there is simply too much to hope for.