July 26, 2012
Today being the feast of St. Anne, mother of the Blessed Virgin (1962 calendar), it seems to be a good time to consider hope. Tradition tells us that Sts. Joachim and Anne were childless for many years and were getting on in age when Our Lady was conceived. Being childless was considered very negative in the Jewish culture so these two holy people no doubt had to bear the brunt of criticism and sly comments from others in addition to the grief of having no children. Yet they never gave up hope and as devout Jews no doubt found solace in the psalm they chanted frequently:
To thee, O God my God, I will give praise upon the harp : why art thou sad, O my soul? and why dost thou disquiet me? Hope in God, for I will still give praise to him : the salvation of my countenance, and my God (Ps. 43:5).
Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene, O.C.D. writes in Divine Intimacy:
…It is often true, however, that when we are undergoing a trial we neither see nor understand the reasons for it. God does not account for His actions nor does He reveal His plans to us; therefore, it is difficult to endure in faith and hope — difficult, but not impossible, for God never sends us trials which are beyond our strength, just as He never abandons us unless we first abandon Him.
One thing we can be sure of: God always uses “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” (Shakespeare, Hamlet) to bring good out of evil. We may not have our ideal life, but if we live according to God’s will we have the life He wants us to have, which is ordered to eternal unity with Him.
Even if we have left the narrow path and caused grave consequences for ourselves, our sincere repentance is always accepted by the Divine Mercy and we can begin anew, our hand in His, to complete our journey through this life. This doesn’t mean we won’t feel depressed and hopeless at times, nor that by worldly terms we aren’t in a difficult situation. Nonetheless, by act of will we refuse to let these feelings rule us and instead say, “My God, I hope in You. Jesus, I trust in You.” This is passing the test of hope.
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