Editor’s note: We’ve been having fun celebrating the 10th anniversary of IgnatianSpirituality.com. The fun will continue throughout July with our 10th-annual 31 Days with St. Ignatius celebration. Bookmark the calendar here. And we’re still “Counting the Gifts of Ignatian Spirituality” by bringing you special content on our website and special offers from our sponsor, Loyola Press. Learn more here.
Our world needs to hear the message of Christian hope. This hope is not mere optimism; rather Christian hope finds its source in a person, Jesus of Nazareth. St. Thomas Aquinas said hope is, “infused in us by God alone.” The universal call of the Church is to be a missionary disciple, to live as one who understands that we are sent forth to make hope real in our world today by sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ through our words and actions. We are called to notice the needs of others and the needs of our world and serve as messengers of hope.
How can we be messengers of Christian hope—a hope that is infused in us by God—in the world today? Here are three ways:
First, we notice those who need to hear the message of hope. Who does God draw our attention toward? Who in our lives needs to be reminded that we are never alone, we are unconditionally loved, and that God’s mercy is infinite? These are the promises of God that infuse us with hope.
Second, we can bring these needs to God in prayer. We turn to God and not only speak to God about what we notice and offer our prayers for those in need, but we also ask God to guide our response. We ask God: What ought we do? God uses what we notice, the gifts given to us, and the desires of our heart to show us how to respond.
Third, when the path forward is clear about how God is inviting us to respond, we act. God raises comforters by giving us the gifts, the desires of the heart, and eventually the means and opportunities to put our gifts and desires into action.
As messengers of hope, we are called to make hope real. Through prayer, we notice where hope is needed and how to respond to that need through concrete action. Maybe God places the idea of checking in on a lonely family member or friend. Maybe God calls us to visit a sick relative or help those without food, drink, clothing, or shelter. Prayer inspires us to perform the spiritual works of mercy and comfort the afflicted, forgive others, pray for someone who is struggling, or encourage the doubtful.
Pope Francis invites each of us to make hope real by comforting those who need comforting: “God the Father comforts by raising comforters, whom he asks to encourage the people, his children” (On Hope, 3). We bring the Good News to others by being visible signs of hope in the world.
How are you a visible sign of hope in the world?
Today in 31 Days with St. Ignatius, reflect with Time in Silence by Marina McCoy. Share socially with the hashtag #31DayswithIgnatius.
Thanks Becky. Hope can be made real. Wonderful.
Wow! So simple, powerful, and true. Bringing those needs to God in prayer, when done consciously and intentionally, is not dodging the issue. It is stepping into a more spacious place where grace abounds and the “hard to imagine” becomes imaginable and the opportunities for a way forward to real change open up before us where there was seemingly no way before. Prayer changes us.