top of page

Our Lady Mother of Hope

Meditation Written by
Fr. Francis Geremia, C.S.

In the Messages of Our Lady the virtue of Hope is mentioned 242 times. There are also eight Messages from whose title Our Mother invites us to Hope. The title that Don Stefano gave to the messages of 1994 is: "Open your hearts to Hope".

  “Open your hearts to hope, because I am also Mother of all humanity.  And as Mother I have always followed my children with love, throughout the course of human history. Above all, in these last times, I feel that I am Mother of a humanity which is very much ensnared and possessed by the evil spirits. …

Therefore, it is necessary that you now follow me in the bloody struggle, in order to obtain in the end my greatest victory.  Because, Satan will be made powerless by me, and the great force of evil will be completely destroyed by me.

Then all humanity will return to a new marriage of love with its Lord, who will take it in his arms and lead it into the terrestrial paradise of a full and perfect communion of life with Him.” (1/1/94).

 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives us the definition of this virtue: “Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful (Heb 10:23). The Holy Spirit was “poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life”. (1817)

(1 Dec ’85) Today, many are the false prophets who are spreading lying messages in order to cast many of my children into anguish and fear. I am the Mother of Hope and of Trust.  Live with me through these times of your second Advent.  As I was the virginal Mother of the first coming of Jesus, so also today I am the glorious Mother of his second coming. Live in this expectation, and you will be blessed.

“We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will. In every circumstance, each one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere to the end and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God's eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ. In hope, the Church prays for "all men to be saved" (1Tm 2:4). She longs to be united with Christ, her Bridegroom, in the glory of heaven.” (1821).

Saint Teresa of Avila prayed in this way “Hope, O my soul, hope. You know neither the day nor the hour. Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short time into a long one. Dream that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end.”

Hope is a theological virtue which God instilled in our soul. It leads us to desire God as the Supreme Good, with the confidence of obtaining from him Heaven and the help necessary to achieve it.

Faith shows us God as the Supreme Good and through Him hope helps us to obtain eternal Happiness.

“Open your hearts to hope, because I am true Mother of all the Church. In the course of the years, I have always been close to this beloved Daughter of mine, with the anxious concern and the tenderness of my motherly love.  I am especially close to the Church in these last times, when she must live through the bloody hour of her purification and of the great tribulation. For her also, the plan of the Heavenly Father must be carried out, and thus she is being called to climb the Calvary of her immolation.  This most beloved Daughter of mine will be stricken and wounded, betrayed and despoiled, abandoned and led to the gibbet, where she will be crucified.  The man of iniquity will enter into her interior, and he will bring to its culmination the abomination of desolation, foretold in the Holy Scriptures. Do not lose courage, beloved children.  Let your trust be strong. At the beginning of this new year, open your hearts to hope…” (1/1/94).

We too must follow the example of Jesus, who from the Cross, in the most crucial moment of suffering and agony, recites aloud the beginning of Psalm 22, which despite numbering in prophecy all the torments of his passion, it can be called the Psalm of hope: in fact, in the last verses the Psalm speaks of the salvific consequences that will derive from the torments of the Messiah. We will write these verses in full, because we too need to meditate on them often, even in preparation - we do not know whether it will be near or remote - of the great sufferings, when the virtue of Hope will sometimes be severely put to the test:

“Then I will proclaim your name to my brethren;

 

in the assembly I will praise you:

“You who fear the LORD, give praise!

All descendants of Jacob, give honour;

show reverence, all descendants of Israel!

For he has not spurned or disdained the misery of this poor wretch,

did not turn away from me,

but heard me when I cried out.

I will offer praise in the great assembly;

my vows I will fulfil before those who fear him.

The poor will eat their fill;

those who seek the LORD will offer praise.

May your hearts enjoy life forever!

All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD;

all the families of nations will bow low before him.

For kingship belongs to the LORD,

the ruler over the nations.

All who sleep in the earth

will bow low before God;

All who have gone down into the dust

will kneel in homage.

And I will live for the LORD;

my descendants will serve you.

The generation to come will be told of the Lord,

that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn

the deliverance you have brought.”

It is the Hope of the martyrs of today and of all times

(1/1/83) “And in the midst of the innumerable sufferings of the present moment, of the great uneasiness, of the threats which hang over your future, raise your eyes to your heavenly Mother, as to the fount of divine mercy and as a great sign of hope for you. I am the Mother of Hope….If hatred still causes blood to flow in your streets, if sin chills the souls and hearts of many, if humanity is not returning along the way of love, if rebellion against God becomes greater every day, your trust in the mercy of your Heavenly Father must be all the greater, and you must look to me as the sign of your hope….I look, with sorrowful compassion, at the innumerable crowds of my sinful children, at the young people who have been seduced and betrayed by the society in which they live, at the adults who remain slaves of unbridled egoism and hatred, at the sons of the Church who have become slothful through indifference and lack of faith.  To all, I repeat today: I am the Mother of your hope.”

A difficult virtue! “Faith in Christ the Saviour as a "gift" should mature into a strong capacity for prayer and hope. Of prayer because we are only collaborators in the work of salvation ... Jesus said "I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him bears much fruit, because without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). Prayer led the Blessed Virgin to live the difficult virtue of Hope! In the womb of a poor and humble girl it was the Holy Spirit who worked the prodigy of God who became man. Because "nothing is impossible for God" (Lk 1:37). The divine power that made possible the Incarnation of the Word in Mary is the same power that will raise Jesus from the dead and make the Church victorious over the "gates of hell" (Mt 16:18) (A. Serra).

Our Lady’s Hope was the result of much prayer

We are sure that Mary took part in the liturgy of the Synagogues on the annual festivities with the availability of a very pure soul preserved from original sin and therefore completely open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. At the Annunciation, Our Lady becomes the living temple of the Incarnate Word and a direct collaborator of the Holy Spirit. «Mary's depth of prayer is inconceivable; she participates in the circuit of love that rises from her to the Father by means of the Spirit, towards whom she feels a mysterious attraction similar to that of the co-author of her motherhood. She lives and speaks with the Triune God in the same way she converses with her family. Mary's response to the Angel: "may it be done to me according to your word", already indicates the first attitude of our prayer: docile submission to the will of God, which however was lived by Our Lady in a filial and maternal familiarity.” (E. Lodi).

Faith precedes Hope. The Second Vatican Council (58) defines the journey of Faith that Our Lady travelled as continuous growth in her pilgrimage of faith (with her fiat) and it continues until the end, enlightened only by the word of her Son. The Virgin is among those who listen to Jesus, among those whom he beatified due to their faithfulness to his Word (Mk 3:35; Lk 11:27-28).

"Despite being full of grace and endowed with a unique mystical experience, Mary never ceases to be a viatrix with the assumptions and the logic of the act of faith common believers. This is a characteristic feature of true Christian prayer, which in the Magnificat reaches its climax as a prayer of praise typical of the poor (anawim) who expect true liberation from God. " (E. Lodi)

In this way she puts into practice the virtue of Hope!

At the presentation of the Child in the temple, Our Lady recognizes that the Father has the right of total ownership over the Messiah and therefore she gives up her maternal rights. So Mary consecrates her son to God and associates herself with this offering (Lk 2:24).

Lastly, "the prayer of the Mother is revealed as an anticipation of the prayer made at the foot of the Cross: that is, a co-offering together with her Son, at the supreme hour of Golgotha. Therefore, true prayer must accept sacrifice in solitude and silence, as our Mother did during Jesus’ public life, that is, during his evangelizing mission where he gathered outrages, threats and insults which culminated in his death on the cross. When the hour of the cross came, Mary was present in an attitude that denoted her sacrifice, and she could only repeat her act of abandonment into the Father’s hands. This prayer of offering emphasized by the Council (LG58) is the model of every prayer of offering that the Church carries out; and it explains why the memorial of the Virgin Mary is always present in the celebration of the Eucharist" (id.)

On 24 December 1984 she tells us: «Follow me along the way of incessant prayer so that it may become a colloquy of love, of trust, and of filial abandonment to the plan of salvation of the Lord our God. This abandonment carried me on the wave of a joyous experience of the presence of my Son, of which I was aware in a most powerful way, because the moment of his birth in time had come.  My journey toward Bethlehem became nothing but a sweet and motherly bowing down to his divine wish to come and live among you as a brother.  And I spoke with Him in a conversation made up of silence and listening, contemplation and love, adoration and expectation. Thus unceasing prayer enwrapped the long journey, undertaken in order to reach the hospitable grotto.”

John Paul II,

In his letter on the occasion of the Eucharistic Congress in Rome, wrote: “Divine intimacy with Christ, in the silence of contemplation, does not distance us from our contemporaries but, on the contrary, makes us attentive and open to the joys and problems of other people, and broadens our heart to the dimensions of the world itself…through adoration the Christian mysteriously contributes to the radical transformation of the world and to the sowing of the Gospel. Anyone who prays to the Saviour draws the whole world with him and raises it to God.”

Our Lady says again: “Do you also want to offer yourselves as victims to the Lord, on the altar of my Immaculate Heart, for the salvation of all my poor sinful children?  If you accept this request of mine, you must do what I now ask of you. Prayer ever more and more, especially with the Holy Rosary. Make frequent hours of adoration and of Eucharistic reparation. Accept with love all the sufferings which the Lord sends you…” (15/9/89).

Our Mother is a sign of hope and consolation: “Gaze upon me, your heavenly Mother, in the splendour of my superhuman beauty, and hasten along, one and all, in the wake of the exquisite wave of this fragrance of mine from paradise.  It is in my beauty that the profound reason for your hope and your consolation is found. Because I am ‘all beautiful’ — tota pulchra — I am for you a sign of hope, in the days in which you are living, when my Adversary has succeeded in making everything ugly, through the stain of sin and of impurity.” (8/12/88).

Therefore, in proportion to the knowledge that the Most High gave her of such glory, she had the highest hope and the highest desire to achieve it. In order that she would then arrive at the most sublime degree of this virtue, worthily hoping for all that the almighty arm of God wished to work in her, she was favoured with the light of supreme faith, with adequate aids and gifts, and with a special motion of the Holy Spirit. What we say of the supreme hope she had regarding the main object of this virtue must also be understood with regard to all the other gifts.

Mother of hope

“First of all, the relationship between Our Lady and hope must be seen in the key of her divine motherhood. Mary is the mother of hope, because she gave birth to Christ, who is the hope of all peoples. She generated "Christ Jesus our hope" (1Tim 1:1), and he is in us "the hope for glory" (Col 1:27). As a consequence of this Christocentric faith, Mary can and must be invoked as "Mother of Hope". In the ancient Latin hymn of the Office of Readings of the Memory of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on November 21, it is sung with this title: "Salve, mater misericordiae, mater spei et mater veniae, mater Dei et mater gratiae, mater plena sanctae laetitiae ", which is not rendered very faithfully by the Italian translation, which reads: "Hail Mother of Mercy, mother of Hope and forgiveness, Mother of God and Mother of Grace, Mother full of Holy Joy”. Mary’s motherhood, which originated from her Son, extends to the whole Church of Christ, sustaining the hope of his Mystical Body and individual Christians. By generating Christ, our hope, she maternally supports the ways of hope of the Church. In the midst of the Church, she remains the mother of hope, effectively involved in the history of salvation precisely from and by virtue of her glorified state." (Portal of Mariology).

 

30 March 1991. Holy Saturday. In the Message entitled: “In the long Holy Saturday” there is the description of Mary’s confidence and ours:

“Beloved children, let us live together this day of Holy Saturday.

Jesus rests, lifeless, in the new sepulchre, where he has been placed.

I am keeping watch, in confidence, in prayer, in hope and in expectation…

And so, let your prayer become more intense.

Do not allow yourselves to become absorbed or taken up by activity and by excessive preoccupation.

In the moment of suffering, in the sorrows of the last times through which you are living, I urge you to keep watch with me in assiduous prayer. In the long Holy Saturday through which you are living, keep watch with me in confidence and in hope.”

 

And on 2 April 1994. Holy Saturday.

The Sabbath which is about to end:

«Spend this day with me, my beloved children, and open your hearts to hope… The Mother keeps watch in sorrow and in tears, in faith and in prayer, in love and in hope… The tears unfold into a smile, the sorrow into joy, the hope into the greatest certitude. Within a few hours my Son Jesus will come forth triumphant from the sepulchre, Victor over sin and death.

This is the Sabbath which prepares the radiant day of the Resurrection.

This is the sorrow which leads to joy.

This is the death which opens upon life.

This is the Sabbath which is about to end.”

 

Our Lady's hope directs and summarizes the purpose and fulfilment of Christian and human life. It is the model of the theological virtues to be realized to perfection. In fact, this meaning, in harmony with no. 68 of Lumen gentium can be found in the Marian spirituality formed by St. Louis Marie de Montfort, who in his own language requested in the Treatise on true devotion to Mary, "so that Mary may place the roots of all her virtues in the elect, so that they may grow in virtue by virtue and from grace to grace, so that she may reproduce in Christians, without leaving heaven, those virtues that she had exercised on earth: invincible faith, profound humility, universal mortification, sublime prayer, ardent charity, firm hope".

 “Star of hope”: this title reminds us of the ancient title “Stella maris”: “Star of the sea”. Thus Mary is recognized by various ancient authors as she who illuminates the journey, but the most famous text in this regard is obviously the one by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, who constantly invites us to look at the star of Mary: "All of you, who see yourselves amid the tides of the world, tossed by storms and tempests rather than walking on the land, do not turn your eyes away from this shining star, unless you want to be overwhelmed by the hurricane. If temptation storms, or you fall upon the rocks of tribulation, look to the star: Call upon Mary!

If you are tossed by the waves of pride or ambition, detraction or envy, look to the star, call upon Mary. If anger or avarice or the desires of the flesh dash against the ship of your soul, turn your eyes to Mary. If troubled by the enormity of your crimes, ashamed of your guilty conscience, terrified by dread of the judgment, you begin to sink into the gulf of sadness or the abyss of despair, think of Mary.

In dangers, in anguish, in doubt, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let her name be even on your lips, ever in your heart; and the better to obtain the help of her prayers, imitate the example of her life: “Following her, you do not stray; invoking her, you do not despair; thinking of her, you do not wander; upheld by her, you do not fall; shielded by her, you do not fear; guided by her, you do not grow weary; favoured by her, you reach the goal. And thus will you experience in yourself how good this saying is: ‘And the Virgin’s name was Mary.’”

 

Subsequently, St. Louis Marie de Montfort pointed out the commitment of the Blessed Virgin, as star of the sea, in guiding all the faithful to the safe harbour of eternal life, convinced that souls must be bound to Mary, as if to a firm and steadfast anchor.

 

In the Liturgy of the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Divine Hope, we pray: “Lord God, you have given the Blessed Virgin Mary to your Church as a beacon of unfailing hope. In your goodness grant that those who are burdened by life’s cares may find in her consolation and strength and those who despair of salvation may find their hearts warmed and uplifted.”

In the reading, taken from the Book of Sirach (24) we read: “I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth; in me is all hope of life and of virtue.”

In the Preface we pray: “Your humble servant placed all her trust in you: she awaited in hope and gave birth to the Son of man… All of Adam’s Children look to Her as a sign of sure hope and consolation those who reach for full freedom, until the day of the Lord shines gloriously.”

Practically every year the Liturgy facilitates our Hope, when it presents us with the sixth chapter of the Gospel of St. John and also the conversation Jesus has with Martha and Mary before raising Lazarus, where Jesus says very clearly that “whoever believes in me, even if he dies, he will live”. (Jn 11:25)

After the Consecration the future promises are proclaimed: "Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again”. In the prayer immediately after the Our Father, we invoke the Father in this way: "... safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ."

 

8 December 1990 “Open your hearts to hope. The second coming of Christ is near at hand. The signs that He himself has given you, to prepare yourselves to receive Him, in these times of yours, are all on the point of being realized. Open your hearts to hope.

Live in peace of heart and in prayer. Life in faith and in joy.

Live in grace and in purity. Live in love and in holiness. Because Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, our Saviour and our King, is about to come to you in the splendour of his glorified body.

I see your innumerable difficulties. I welcome all your entreaties. I am close to you to comfort you in your solitude. I give you joy and consolation amidst so much bitterness.”

 

             

SECOND PART   Mother of Hope, towards Heaven

 

The Rosary is the prayer which par excellence leads us to Hope. If what Saint Paul says is true: It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me, then the Rosary, which allows us to meditate on the Incarnation, childhood, preaching and Passion of Christ, invites us to live our present Calvary with him, aware – by meditating on the Glorious Mysteries - that we too will one day reach Heaven.

In the past I gave a meditation entitled: "One day I will see her". So hope helps us look to Jesus who has prepared a place for us.

The message Don Stefano left us shortly before leaving this world, and which is quoted by many of us, is: “Be joyous”.

A person who lives true hope in its full meaning, goes beyond only and always describing the problems of the world (the pandemic, wars) or the great problems of souls and the Church, or only the fear of changes in the Liturgy (from which we must eventually defend ourselves) or the fact that we are too often instilled with a social Christianity (although the poor and refugees must be part of our pastoral-evangelical concern), therefore we who belong to the MMP, with the spirituality of our Cenacles, always focus on the life of Christ and the whole Gospel, as Our Lady teaches us in her messages.

“Today ascend with me the holy mountain which is Jesus Christ, so that you can enter into a life of intimacy with Him. In these times of my decisive battle, each of you has been called to combat with the very light of Christ, because you must be his own presence in the world. For this reason, ascend the holy mountain of his Wisdom, which is revealed to you if you remain little, humble and poor. Your minds will be drawn towards his divine mind, and you will penetrate into the secret of truth revealed in Holy Scripture; you will be captivated by the beauty of his Gospel, and with courage you will pronounce the word of Jesus to the men of today, that word which alone illumines and can lead to the fullness of the truth.

Ascend the holy mountain of his Heart, so that you may be transformed by the burning bush of his divine charity” (16/7/83).

 

Even death is a great reason for Hope!

Many people go to Medjugorje where Our Lady is appearing. But only the visionaries see her. Who wouldn’t want to see Jesus and Mary? Well, the certainty that we believers will see them, in a not so distant future and forever, opens us to a true and certain hope, because the moment of our death, if we are in God's grace, will be an encounter with Jesus. Indeed, for those who are consecrated to Our Lady and pray the Holy Rosary, they will see her right there next to them, at the moment of death. She assured us: “If, as Mother, I am close to each one of my children at the hour of death, I am especially close to you who, through your consecration, have always lived in the secure refuge of my Immaculate Heart. At the hour of your death, I am close to you, with the splendour of my glorified body; I receive your souls into my motherly arms, and I bring them before my Son Jesus, for his particular judgment.” (2/11/92).

As we all know, this was the case for the first martyr of the MMP, Don Nazzareno.

We do not know how much time separates us from that day, which hope calls "fortunate": perhaps days, months or, for us who are more elderly, a few years.

On the day of her Assumption into Heaven, Our Lady teaches us how to live this time that separates us from the day already prepared by Jesus and our dear Mother:

“Today you are being called to live through the bloody hours of the purification, because the great events which I have foretold to you during these years are already upon you. And so you have need of my motherly consolation in order not to become discouraged.  Look to Paradise where your heavenly Mother has been assumed in body and soul, and you will be consoled by me.  Live, with heart and soul, in Paradise, where Jesus has already prepared a place for each one of you, and nothing will disturb your peace” (15/8/86).

 

Even in the Old Testament, Job gives us a great example of Hope precisely in the torments of his miseries, surrounded by those who reproach him. He has the courage to cry out: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust; And from my flesh I shall see God; my inmost being is consumed with longing. Whom I myself shall see: my own eyes, not another’s, shall behold him.” (19:25-27).

Job doesn’t say: “I believe” but he says: “I KNOW”! I know that God exists, that God is close to me, that he saves me and I am safe – this is true hope – that I will behold him with my own eyes.”

Therefore, the visionaries of Medjugorje are no more fortunate than we are: we just have to wait a bit and then we will see Our Lady who will lead us to contemplate the Holy Trinity and the Saints forever!

 

Saint Philip Neri used to sing :

“There are those who love wealth and to dress like a king;

There are those who want to do nothing and can’t be bothered.

There are those that always talk too much, but can’t tell the truth

And then criticise everything, nothing is all right.

But for me, this won’t do, that’s not what makes me happy.

Heaven, Heaven, I prefer Heaven

Heaven, Heaven, Heaven

Heaven, Heaven, I prefer Heaven

Heaven, Heaven, Heaven…”

It is said that when he was on his deathbed, he asked a young man from his Oratory to sing this very song. That is, according to the Saints and people of great prayer, the Hope of meeting the Lord is already an anticipation of Paradise.

 

The Eucharist is the best source of Hope

 

The Eucharist is the best source of the Hope of hearing Jesus now and of seeing him one day.

We thank our Mother who by leading us to Eucharistic Adoration prepares us for this desire for Paradise.

“The Eucharist will be the source from which will burst forth all his divine power, and it will become the new sun, which will shed its bright rays in hearts and souls and then in the life of individuals, families, and nations, making of all one single flock, docile and meek, whose sole shepherd will be Jesus. Your heavenly Mother is leading you on toward these new heavens and this new earth, the Mother who is gathering you today from every part of the world to prepare you to receive the Lord who is coming” (21/11/93). The coming of the glorious reign of Christ will coincide with the greatest splendour of the Eucharist.  Christ will restore his glorious reign in the universal triumph of his Eucharistic reign, which will unfold in all its power and will have the capacity to change hearts, souls, individuals, families, society and the very structure of the world. When He will have restored his Eucharistic reign, Jesus will lead you to take joy in this habitual presence of his, which you will feel in a new and extraordinary way and which will lead you to the experience of a second, renewed and more beautiful earthly paradise” (21/8/1987).

 

The activity of hope is to have our hearts fixed on where true happiness is. Therefore, our disposition through the virtue of hope is similar to ‘one who awaits the coming of the Bridegroom with a lighted lamp' (Lk 12:35), 'one who runs to meet him' as Saint Peter says (2:3.12:35). Saint Paul speaks of 'blessed hope' (Tit 2:13), because 'the day is drawing near' (Heb 10:25). We live the virtue of hope when we are aware that life is short and therefore it helps us to detach ourselves from the things of this world. It is precisely in this sense that Our Lady, in her messages, often says that her Immaculate Heart is our safe refuge, especially in the hours of the great tribulation. Saint Paul: "May the God of hope, patience, consolation ... fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom 15).

 

Hope gives us courage and strength in trials and in the tribulations of life, because we know with certainty that “the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us” (Rom 8:18). Saint Peter calls it “living hope” (1Pt. 1:3), that is, it gives life and courage. "Rejoice in hope", St. Paul teaches (Rom 12:12). The letter to the Hebrews speaks of "the pride of hope” (3:6).

A person far from the Lord believes that thinking about the future encounter with the Lord is not a reason for hope and joy, but only a party pooper for seeking pleasure in this world. Whereas, for us, on the contrary, hope intervenes to spiritualize, uplift, calm and reorder our whole existence, while living in this pagan world and thus bombarded by the atheist media and anti-Christian politics. In other words, hope helps us to persevere and to make choices according to the Gospel and according to the precious messages of our Mother.

 

From the Catechism: The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men's activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity.

 

21 October 1993: our Mother confirms this teaching:

Do not feel you are alone…Have great hope in the full triumph of God for this poor humanity, so ill and far from Him. You are living the painful years of the great tribulation, and the sufferings are becoming daily heavier for all.  Spend the present hour in the Gethsemane of my Immaculate Heart, and set yourselves to carry out with love the Will of your Heavenly Father.

 

Christian hope unfolds from the beginning of Jesus’ preaching in the proclamation of the beatitudes. The Beatitudes raise our hope toward heaven as the new Promised Land; they trace the path that leads through the trials that await the disciples of Jesus. But through the merits of Jesus Christ and of his passion, God keeps us in the hope that "does not disappoint" (Rom 5:5). Hope is the "sure and steadfast anchor of the soul that enters ... where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf" (Heb 6:19-20). Hope is also a weapon that protects us in the struggle of salvation: "Let us…put on the breastplate of faith and charity, and for a helmet the hope of salvation" (1Thes 5:8). It affords us joy even under trial: "Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation" (Rom 12:12). (1820)

Hope is a great help and comfort in the work of our sanctification. It unites us to God, detaching us from the goods of present life, from the esteem of men, from temporal goods, from pleasures. Now hope makes us see these things as miserable in themselves, and fleeting for their duration. They give us very little consolation and with death they vanish altogether, as the soul will bring with it only the good or the evil done. Only God will be all eternally in inexhaustible joy.

 

1/12/85 “Blessed in the midst of trials and sufferings of every kind, because you have the certitude that the time of the present tribulation is preparing the time of the glorious return of my Son Jesus. Blessed in the midst of misunderstandings and persecutions, because your names are written in my Immaculate Heart and because you are being guarded in my secure and motherly refuge. Blessed also if you are living in a Church which is darkened, wounded, and divided because this, her hour of agony, is preparing for her the radiant dawn of a second Pentecost. Live in my Immaculate Heart, blessed in the expectation of the blessed hope and the glorious coming of my Son Jesus.”

Hope and trust are necessary to obtain graces, and there are many Divine Promises: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name He will give you” (Jn 16:23). “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find” (Mt 7:7).

 

To be practical: “We must all do, at least from time to time, acts of hope, especially in temptation and in danger of death. We can encounter two dangers: presumption and despair. Presumption lies in desiring paradise and graces from God without putting in our effort. There are those who neglect the commandments, self-sacrifice, prayer, effort and vigilance, yet they believe that God will not lose them! They expose themselves, as Peter, occasionally without need, not caring for the "watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Mt 26:41); and they end up falling” (Dagnino).

 

From the teachings of the Popes

Pius XII: “With Hope we are infused with the desire and confidence of eternal life. It is God who kindles in our hearts the trust that leads to certainty. St. Paul says: “In hope we were saved” (Rm 8:24).

 

John Paul I: hope is a mandatory virtue

During his brief pontificate, John Paul I dedicated a catechesis to hope, where he affirms: “it is a mandatory virtue for every Christian” that is born from trust in three truths: “God is omnipotent, God loves me immensely and God is faithful to his promises. And it is He, the God of mercy, who ignites confidence in me; for this reason, I feel neither alone, nor useless, nor abandoned, but integrated in a destination of salvation, which will one day lead me to Paradise” (General Audience of 20 September 1978).

 

John Paul II: Christians are witnesses of hope

 St. John Paul II invites us to rediscover the theological virtue of hope that “on the one hand impels the Christian not to lose sight of the final goal that gives meaning and value to his entire existence, and on the other hand offers him solid and profound motivations for the daily commitment to transforming reality in order to bring it into line with God's plan” (Tertio millennium adveniente). We must welcome the gift of the Holy Spirit who “instils in us the sure hope that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:39). For this reason, the God revealed in the “fullness of time” in Jesus Christ is truly “the God of hope”, who fills believers with joy and peace, so that “by the power of the Holy Spirit they may abound in hope” (Rom 15:13). Thus Christians are called to be witnesses to this joyful experience in the world, and to “always be prepared to make a defence to anyone who calls them to account for the hope” that is in them (1Pt 3:15).

 

Benedict XVI: hope changes life

Benedict XVI dedicates an entire encyclical to hope, Spe salvi. He describes it as a performative virtue, capable of “producing facts and changing life”. In the Letter to the Romans, Saint Paul speaks of salvation in hope (Rm 8:24). He writes: “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, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey” (Spe Salvi, 30 November 2007).

 

Pope Benedict speaks of Saint Josephine Bakhita. In 1882 she was bought by an Italian merchant for the Italian consul Callisto Legnani who returned to Italy as the Mahdists advanced. Here, after the terrifying “masters” who had owned her up to that point, Bakhita came to know a totally different kind of “master” – in Venetian dialect, which she was now learning, she used the name “paron” for the living God, the God of Jesus Christ. Up to that time she had known only masters who despised and maltreated her, or at best considered her a useful slave. Now, however, she heard that there is a “paron” above all masters, the Lord of all lords, and that this Lord is good, goodness in person. She came to know that this Lord even knew her, that he had created her – that he actually loved her. She too was loved, and by none other than the supreme “Paron”, before whom all other masters are themselves no more than lowly servants. She was known and loved and she was awaited. What is more, this master had himself accepted the destiny of being flogged and now he was waiting for her “at the Father’s right hand”. Now she had “hope” – no longer simply the modest hope of finding masters who would be less cruel, but the great hope: “I am definitively loved and whatever happens to me – I am awaited by this Love. And so my life is good.” Through the knowledge of this hope she was “redeemed”, no longer a slave, but a free child of God. She understood what Paul meant when he reminded the Ephesians that previously they were without hope and without God in the world – without hope because without God.

 

Pledge of hope – Lastly, it was Benedict XVI again who repeated and explained the invocation to Our Lady as a pledge of Hope, when he turned to her in prayer in his homage to the Immaculate: “Full of grace" are you, Mary! For all generations your name is a pledge of sure hope. Yes! Because as the great poet, Dante, wrote, for us mortals you are "a source of living hope" (Paradise, XXXIII, 12). Let us come once again as trusting pilgrims to draw faith and comfort, joy and love, safety and peace from this source, the wellspring of your Immaculate Heart”. It is clear that Christ and his cross are the pledge of hope and salvation, of peace and redemption, but it is equally right to believe that Mary is part of this mysterious pledge precisely because of her very close relationship with her Son. A pledge is what is given to the creditor for the security of the credit; it is the guarantee on someone else's property. The Latin "pignus" comes from "fist", which have the same root, because one considers himself safe just when he has the guarantee in his hand and holds it in his hand, which in ancient times also constituted the bond of the pact and ensured peace. Now Mary participates in the work of salvation of her Son, who for us is the pledge of eternal life. She herself, Our Lady of the Assumption in particular, is given to us precisely as a sign of guarantee, the pledge of sure hope, to the extent that she participates in the economy of the cross of her Son.

 

Pope Francis: hope is the light that conquers darkness

“Hope” - says Pope Francis, “enters the darkness of an uncertain future to walk in the light. The virtue of hope is beautiful; it gives us so much strength to walk in life” (General Audience of 28 December 2016). And in this very delicate moment in history, Pope Francis speaks of a different contagion: “that is transmitted from heart to heart, for every human heart awaits this Good News. It is the contagion of hope: 'Christ, my hope, is risen!' This is not a magic formula that makes problems disappear. No, the resurrection of Christ is not that. Instead, it is the victory of love over the root of evil, a victory that does not 'by-pass’ suffering and death, but passes through them, opening a path in the abyss, transforming evil into good: this is the unique hallmark of the power of God (Urbi et Orbi, April 12, 2020). With Easter we “acquire a fundamental right that can never be taken away from us: the right to hope. It is a new and living hope that comes from God” and “plants in our hearts the conviction that God is able to make everything work unto good, because even from the grave he brings life (Holy Saturday, April 11, 2020).

Hope, the smallest but strongest of the virtues. Pope Francis talked about hope on numerous occasions, urging us to look at our existence with new eyes, especially now that it is subjected to a severe test, and to look at it through the eyes of Jesus, "the author of hope", to help us to overcome these difficult days, in the certainty that darkness will turn into the virtue of Hope, which he defines as “the smallest but strongest of the virtues. And our hope has a face: the face of the Risen Lord, who comes "with great power and glory" (Mk 13:26) (Angelus, November 15, 2015). Hope, therefore, is not something but someone, as Saint Francis exclaims in the Praises of God: “You are our hope!” And “He will never abandon those who hope in him” (Ps 33:23).

 

From Divine Intimacy: “Faith makes you know God; you believe in Him with all your strength, but you don't see him. Your Faith therefore needs to be supported by Hope, that is, by the certainty that one day you will see your God, possess him and be able to unite with him forever. Hope, that is, presents God to you as your infinite good, as your eternal reward.

Quoting the Council of Trent, the author insists on what we know well, that is, we must ask God for the gift of hope, even as sinners, because we know his infinite mercy, that is, the forgiveness of sins and the grace necessary to live in a holy way”.

 

Reason for Hope: It is a certainty, “because we must seek its first foundation not in ourselves, but in God, in his infinite goodness. Because he wants all men to be saved” (1Tim 2:4). God wants the certainty of our hope to rest solely on Him, and not on our works. In fact, after Jesus urged us to do everything in our power, he added: “When you have done all you have been commanded, say: we are unprofitable servants” (Lk 17:10). This is why when the Lord wants a soul to progress, he allows it to experience the weaknesses and abhorrences of nature, to make it clear how vain the trust they place in themselves is.

Quoting the words of Saint Thomas Aquinas: “God gives us a pledge, indeed a beginning and a foretaste of what we will be one day: He already makes us taste and feel his presence. That is, he helps us to endure the sadness of exile.”

"And St. Paul says:" We ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:23-25).

We know God the Father, as Scripture says: “We know that all things work for good for those who love God” (Rm 8:28-39).

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him? Who will bring a charge against God's chosen ones? It is God who acquits us.

Who will condemn them? It is Christ Jesus who died, rather, was raised, who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written:

"For your sake we are being slain all the day;

we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered."

 

On 21 November 1997 Our Lady says: “… - Conformed to Jesus Crucified, in your daily priestly ministry.  The times have come when you, my beloved sons, must drink to the dregs the bitter chalice which the Heavenly Father has prepared for you.  Interior sufferings are increasing… It is above all with the physical sufferings, borne by you with docility and love, that I am conforming you to my Crucified Son, while I am at your side with the same motherly concern with which I stood close to Jesus in the bloody moments of his passion and his immolation on the Cross.

-Conformed to Jesus Crucified, beloved sons, now that you are approaching the fulfilment of my plan, for which I have been forming and cultivating you for years with motherly urgency and jealousy.

Take courage, resume the journey in trust and hope.”

Once again, let us conclude with the words of Saint Paul: “No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rm 8:37-39).

We can say that the Merciful Jesus sums up not only our faith but also our Hope, when he suggests that we often repeat: “Jesus I trust in you.”

bottom of page