Papal reflections on hope bring light to the darkness

Since last December, following the conclusion of the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis quietly has been offering lessons on Christian hope at his weekly general audiences. As our nation reels from yet another outburst of violence ­— this time in Charlottesville, Virginia — we find ourselves needing these to reflect on words of hope even more.

These are difficult times. But no matter how dark the darkness, or how unknown the future, we always find our light in Christ, because he is our hope. Following are some points we may want to consider in the weeks and months ahead.

“Hope never disappoints. Optimism disappoints, but hope does not; and we have a great need for it, in these times that appear bleak, in which at times we feel lost when faced with the evil and the violence that surround us, before the suffering of so many of our brothers. We need hope. We feel lost and somewhat discouraged, as we find ourselves helpless to act and it seems that this darkness will never end. But we should not abandon hope, because God, with His love, walks with us.” — Dec. 7, 2016

“Hope is always directed to the future, to the fulfilment of God’s promises.” — Dec. 28, 2016

“If you place hope in idols, you become like them: hollow images with hands that do not feel, feet that do not walk, mouths that cannot speak. You no longer have anything to say; you become unable to help, to change things, unable to smile, to give of yourself, incapable of love.” — Jan. 11, 2017

“Hope, to be nourished, necessarily needs a ‘body,’ in which the various members support and revive each other. This means, then, that if we hope, it is because many of our brothers and sisters have taught us to hope and have kept our hope alive.” — Feb. 8, 2017

“One who loves has the joy of hope, of reaching the encounter with the great love that is the Lord.” — March 15, 2017

“Our hope is not a concept; it is not an emotion, it is not a mobile phone, it is not an accumulation of riches! Our hope is a Person. It is the Lord Jesus whom we recognize as living and present in us and in our brothers and sisters, because Christ is Risen.” — April 5, 2017

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“(Mary) is not a woman who is depressed by the uncertainties of life, especially when nothing seems to be going the right way. Nor is she a woman who protests violently, who curses life’s fate, which often shows us a hostile face. She is instead a woman who listens: do not forget that there is always a great connection between hope and listening, and Mary is a woman who listens.” — May 10, 2017

I hope these are as helpful to you as they have been to me in our uncertain world. Christ, our hope, have mercy on us.