Thank you for joining me as we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
O God, strength of those who hope in you, graciously hear our pleas, and, since without you mortal frailty can do nothing, grant us always the help of your grace, that in following your commands we may please you by our resolve and our deeds. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
There is a phrase and a word that stood out to me this week, the phrase is “our resolve and our deeds.” The word resolve here means “desire.” In following God’s commands we pray to please him by our desire to follow his commands and that we may please him by our deeds. I loved the definition for deeds. It means “a putting in motion.” Our deeds should be the visible sign of our desire to please Him.
While resolve is the phrase, the word is “hope.” Hope is hard because it’s easy to confuse hope with optimism or a positive attitude.
The trouble with that definition is that we get let down and it’s not God’s fault. Our hope is broken, we are wounded, and we get discouraged, “This was a good thing, I hoped everything would be OK. Why wouldn’t God want that, too?”
We need to be careful. Sometimes our questions are reminiscent of the lies from the serpent in the Garden of Eden and discouragement is a tool of the devil. Howard Hendricks said, “Discouragement is the anesthetic the devil uses on a person just before he reaches in and carves out his heart.” Ouch. He’s right.
When things don’t go the way we had hoped, the door is open for us to blame God. When we lose hope, we lose our dream for the future. Joy and faith are replaced by despair and fear. We worry instead of pray. We forget the real meaning of hope.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#1817-1818) defines hope as “the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness.” It’s this virtue that takes up our hopes to inspire our activities and thoughts and order them to the Kingdom of heaven. The virtue of hope does not give discouragement.
Vine’s Dictionary gives us the definition as “favorable and confident expectation.” This definition is a good reminder to remember what or who we put our expectation in.
There’s one more thing to know about hope: it works with faith. Our faith gets us through today, but our hope carries us to tomorrow. We have faith that tomorrow the sun will come up in the east, but in hope we know that God will be in our tomorrow.
We often forget how frail human life and human thoughts and emotions can be, but this week we, the people who put our hope in God, ask Him to grant us ALWAYS his grace - and he will.
Lectio the Liturgy: We trust in God, we rely on God, but do we put our hope in God? What hope do you have for people or events in your life need to be refocused so that your hope is in God and nothing else? Does that change how you feel about the potential outcome of the circumstance?
Thank you for praying with me,