Hope is such a powerful word! I actually come from a little town in Virginia named New Hope. Some people over the years have made fun of this little town by proclaiming No Hope for New Hope! But I prefer to be a positive thinker and always leave the door and the window open for hope to come and blanket me like a fog consuming Afton Mountain! The more hope the better! I feel like my tank would be empty without hope!
Sometime ago, I was disagreeing with a scientist friend of mine who needs to be able to explain things within the confined boundaries of science. It is sad because he has no grasp of hope! He may believe in lady luck but that seems to be his only acknowledgement of positive thinking. Everything has a reason for him based on the limitation of human knowledge.
In our Christian faith, we believe in the power of prayer and things unseen. We hope that our Creator will hear our supplication and take action on our behalf. And it is important that we always conclude our petitions with “Thine will be done” for we have no idea at times what are really asking for and we do not know what will unfold for us in the future. We are also reminded with Scripture such as: “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”[Mt. 19:26] And then in the Scripture today, Christ restores life to the young dead son of a widow. There is always hope!
We are reminded that we are in a fallen world, evil is mistaken for good. Mankind was booted out of the garden because of for our thirst for greed. Our life now has an age limit and the evil one is here amongst us, enticing our greed and wanting to separate us from our hope. “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”[Rom. 8:20-21] Saint Symeon the New Theologian writes: “This is the reason why, when God saw from before the creation of the world that Adam would be saved through re-birth, He subjected creation to him, and put it under a curse so that, having been created for the sake of man who had fallen into corruption, it should itself become corrupt and provide him annually with corrupted food. But then, when God makes man anew again and renders him immortal, incorruptible, and spiritual, at that time, I say, He will change all of creation itself together with man, and will bring it to completion as immaterial and everlasting.”
It is easy to live as if we are god but the reality will overcome us on our death beds. Just like the dead son in the scripture today, I also am dead! My stench of death is not physical but spiritual! My greed forgets about my mortality and my need of God, and I chose to make decisions and seek things selfishly. Blessed Theophylact tells us: “The bier which carries the dead mind is the body. And indeed the body is like a tomb, as the ancient Greeks said, calling the body a burial mound, which means a tomb. Having touched the body, the Lord then raises the mind, restoring its youth and vigor. And after the young man, meaning the mind, has sat up, raised from the tomb of sin, he will begin to speak, that is, to teach others. While he is in the grip of sin, he cannot speak or teach; who would believe him?” (Blessed Theophylact)
But I have hope. “My hope is the Father, my refuge is the Son, my shelter is the Holy Spirit, O Holy Trinity, Glory to Thee.” (Venerable Joannicius the Great) I hope that through my continued effort and God’s grace He will remove my selfish scars from my darkened eyes and enable my vision of the Incarnate. Our hope is a submission that we need a Savior and a that He is still working in our lives. Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, in order for you to abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit.” [Rom. 15:13]
Fr. Gabriel Weller 10-25-2020