Yet the star of hope has risen

2009-10-03-the-morning-star-paradox“Christ descended into ‘Hell’ and is therefore close to those cast into it, transforming their darkness into light.  Suffering and torment is still terrible and well-nigh unbearable.  Yet the star of hope has risen–the anchor of the heart reaches the very throne of God.  Instead of evil becoming unleashed within man, the light shines victorious: suffering–without   ceasing to be suffering–becomes, despite everything, a hymn of praise.”  (Benedict XI, Spes Salvi)

And this is our hope

Agony

In the hour of darkness the moon had hid her face,
And all the world was sleeping, save one who wept.
He left the meager comfort of well-meaning friends,
Charging them, Watch; and into the garden crept,

And heard the lie of the world;
That the darkness here is a fell and final thing:
And flesh will crumble for aye in the valley of bones,
And tongues that are parched will never find voice to sing.

And this is our hope: that he whose sweat was blood,
As the heavy droplets fell and his spirits sank,
Lifted his eyes and murmured Thy will be done;
Lifted cracked lips to the Father’s cup; and drank.

~Joseph Prever

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Baseball and hope

If you’re a fan of baseball at all, you’ll appreciate this piece by Elizabeth Scalia:

It was 2003. Eight innings into yet-another nail-biter of a series between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, there came a guttural wail from the stands at Fenway Park.

“For the love of God . . . ”

It was one lone voice; a man—whose sound was remarkably reminiscent of the late Chris Farley at his most passionately unhinged—was seated close enough to the announcer’s booth that his agony was picked up and broadcast in New York.

It was one lone voice; a man—whose sound was remarkably reminiscent of the late Chris Farley at his most passionately unhinged—was seated close enough to the announcer’s booth that his agony was picked up and broadcast in New York.

“For the love of God . . . ” he cried, again and again, as one Bosox batter after another swung and missed, and looming before him was a ninth inning full of Mariano Rivera at his peak.

Watching at home, my son and I heard a hated rival’s naked pain, and we hooted in what might be called cruel appreciation.

Baseball fans understand each other’s afflictions. We could laugh in that moment, because our team was winning, but we recognized all too well the sound of anguish emanating from Beantown; we had felt it enough, in the Bronx. When the umpire called “strike three” at the third out, the single voice dissolved into a bellow of incoherent angst and three hundred miles away we knew the man had slumped into his chair with his head in his hand, and his heart full of hate; not for the Yankees—that was a given—but for his own team, and for the game of baseball, itself, of which the late commissioner A. Bartlett Giammati once wrote, “it breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart.”

The heartbreak is what makes it great, and the source of the heartbreak is the clutch—that period of time (and it can last for a moment or for years) when everything meaningful in your life fades into a peripheral nothingness until an outcome is known. In the clutch, love is balancing—one foot, en pointe—along a thin wire of hope, and still determining if, or when, the next foot might be safely employed.

Read the rest right here.

You are a zero

One of the Lenten quotes hanging on the walls in our convent:

“Cast away that despair produced by the realization of your weakness.  It’s true: financially you are a zero, and socially another zero, and another in virtue, and another in talent . . . But to the left of these zeros is Christ . . . and what an immeasurable figure it turns out to be.”  (St. Josemaría Escrivá)

1,ooo,ooo,ooo,ooo,ooo,ooo,ooo,ooo,ooo,ooo

ln the middle of the tension

“Every Christian life stands in the middle of that tension between the ‘already’ and the ‘not yet’ which characterizes the present moment in the divine plan.  It stands between the wonders of the past and the glorious final consummation.  It is linked to the first by faith and to the second by hope.” (Mariano Magrassi)

I think statements like this one bring hope because we often feel like we are living in that “tension” and can wonder what is wrong with us.  So we should not be surprised if we find ourselves in that space, but live fully surrendered in the present moment of God’s divine plan.

The reason for this blog

Thank you, Pope Francis, for underscoring my hopes for this blog:

945189_257088437762844_1925826626_nPope Francis on Saturday met with the participants of the 26th Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, meeting under the theme “Proclaiming Christ in the digital age.”

Pope Francis said the rise and development of the internet raises the question of the relationship between faith and culture.

Looking back to the first centuries of Christianity, the Pope pointed out Christians encountered the “extraordinary legacy” of Greek culture.

“Faced with philosophies of great profundity and educational methods of great value – although steeped in pagan elements, the Fathers did not shut them out, nor on the other hand, did they compromise with ideas contrary to the Faith,” Pope Francis said. “Instead, they learned to recognize and assimilate these higher concepts and transform them in the light of God’s Word, actually implementing what Saint Paul asks: Test all things and hold fast to that which is good.”

He said this also applies to the internet.

“You must test everything, knowing that you will surely find counterfeits, illusions and dangerous traps to avoid,” Pope Francis said. “But, guided by the Holy Spirit, we will discover valuable opportunities to lead people to the luminous face of the Lord. Among the possibilities offered by digital communication, the most important is the proclamation of the Gospel.”

He said it is not enough to acquire technological skills, however important. He said the internet must be used to meet “often hurting or lost” real people and offer them “real reasons for hope.”

“The announcement [of the Gospel] requires authentic human relationships and leads along the path to a personal encounter with the Lord,” he said.

“Therefore, the internet is not enough; technology is not enough,” Pope Francis continued. “This, however, does not mean that the Church’s presence online is useless; on the contrary, it is essential to be present, always in an evangelical way, in what, for many, especially young people, has become a sort of living environment; to awaken the irrepressible questions of the heart about the meaning of existence; and to show the way that leads to Him who is the answer, the Divine Mercy made flesh, the Lord Jesus.”

Two things

“[Christmas] speaks of tenderness and hope.  When God meets us he tells us two things.  The first thing he says is: have hope.  God always opens doors, he never closes them.  He is the father who opens doors for us.  The second thing he says is: don’t be afraid of tenderness.”  (Pope Francis)