A Real, Lasting Hope

 Originally published December 2008

Official Portrait of Barack Obama

After 21 months, the long presidential campaign has come to a conclusion. We’ve had plenty of talk about “change”, “putting country first” and “hope.”

For the millions of dollars and millions of hours spent trying to sway voters to one side or the other, our nation still faces the daunting challenge of a stagnant economy and global unrest. 

Our President-elect campaigned on “Hope.”  His campaign offered the voters in his words, “a hope we can believe in.” I suppose it’s possible to find hope in our government and its leaders.  But does our hope rest solely in what a government or an individual can do for us?  The obvious answer is, “Of course not.”

Pope Benedict XVI declared, “Our hope is in Christ.” In his encyclical, Spe Salvi, the Holy Father declares, “Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present:  the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal….” In essence, no matter how tough life can get…whatever is thrown our way, we can have hope with a faith in Christ.

It is fitting, as I write this column, the Advent season is upon us.  Advent is a season of great anticipation: It is a time of hope for the coming of our Savior –our God who became flesh like us.

During the holiday season we are keenly aware of both the joyous and the heartbreaking occasions around us.  This particular holiday season, admittedly, has to be heartbreaking for more individuals and families than perhaps last year.  Never before have we seen atCatholic Charities the number of people – many of them children – walking through the doors of the Marian House Soup Kitchen and our Life Support Center.

So where’s the hope in all of this? Says Pope Benedict:  “Man is worth so much to God that he himself became man in order to suffer with man in an utterly real way – in flesh and blood…. Hence in all human suffering we are joined by one who experiences and carries that suffering with us; hence con-solatio is present in all suffering, the consolation of God’s compassionate love – and so the star of hope rises.”

(Spe Salvi 39) He knows our suffering and is with us.

And many times, we are given opportunity to be a source of hope…to be the face of God to those suffering and on the margins of society.

Blessed Mother Teresa, in speaking of the Disguised Christ declared, “We all long for heaven where God is, but we have it in our power to be in heaven with Him right now – to be happy with Him at this very moment.  But being happy with Him now means loving like He loves, helping like He helps, giving as He gives, serving as He serves, rescuing as He rescues, being with Him twenty-four hours a day – touching Him in his distressing disguise.”

The mission of Catholic Charities is clearly stated to “Provide Help. Create Hope.”

It’s not highly complex, nor will it make it on the face of a campaign yard sign anytime soon.  But it is something you can believe in.

For forty years now, Catholic Charities has served the least among us in the Pikes Peak region.  Thanks to the generous gifts and prayers of readers like you, we will continue our mission.

With appreciation for your support of Catholic Charities and its ministries, I extend to you and your families my wish for a blessed, hope-filled holiday season.

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