During his daily Mass Pope Francis reflected on the virtue of hope, stressing that it is a gift which does not disappoint, and warning of the false attitudes that can appear to be the virtue.
“Where are anchored, each one of us? Are we anchored on the shore of the ocean so far or are we anchored in an artificial lagoon that we have made ourselves?” the Pope asked during his Oct. 29 homily.
The pontiff directed his reflections to those present in the chapel of the Saint Martha guesthouse of the Vatican.
Beginning his remarks, the Pope alluded to the words of Saint Paul from the first reading, where the apostle speaks specifically about the virtue of hope, emphasizing that hope never lets us down because it is a gift of the Holy Spirit.
It is a virtue that has a name, he noted, which is Christ, and that also creates a unique tension which directs us to the revelation of Jesus and to the joy that is eternal life.
Warning those present of common attitudes which often get mistaken as the virtue, the Pope said that “Hope is not optimism; it is not that ability to look at things with good cheer and move on. No, that is optimism, that is not hope.”
“Nor is hope a positive attitude in front of things. Those shiny, positive people,” he noted, stating that although this attitude is good, “it is not hope.”
“It is not easy to understand what hope is,” he reflected, emphasizing that out of the virtues of faith hope and love, hope is often said to be the most humble because it “hides itself in life.”
“One can see faith, one can feel it, one knows what it is. You do charity, one knows what it is. But what is hope? What is this attitude of hope?”
“To get a bit close to it,” the Pope said, “we can say firstly that hope is a risk, it is a risky virtue, it is a virtue – like Saint Paul says – 'of an ardent expectation towards the revelation of the Son of God.’ It is not an illusion.”
The pontiff then stressed that because Jesus renews all things, hope is a constant miracle, reflecting that this is “the miracle of what He’s doing in the Church; the miracle of making everything new: of what He does in my life, in your life, in our life.”
“He builds and He rebuilds. And that is precisely the reason of our hope.”
Pope Francis then questioned those in attendance about where they place their security, asking them “Are we anchored on the shore of the ocean so far or are we anchored in an artificial lagoon that we have made ourselves, with our rules, our behavior, our schedules, our clericalism, our ecclesiastical attitudes, non-ecclesiastical, huh?”
“Are we anchored there? Everything comfortable, everything secure, huh? That is not hope. Where is my heart anchored?”
The pontiff clarified that there is a difference between living in hope versus living simply as good Christians and no more, because “in hope we are saved.”
“Christ is the one who renews every wonderful thing of the Creation,” he reflected, “He's the reason of our hope. And this hope does not delude because He is faithful. He can't renounce Himself. This is the virtue of hope.”
Hope, Pope Francis explained, “changes our attitude: it is us, but it is not us, searching there, anchored there.”
Pope Francis concluded his homily by turning to Mary, recalling her attitude after the death of her son until his resurrection three days later, saying that “Hope is what Mary, Mother of God, sheltered in her heart during the darkest time of her life: from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning.”
“That is hope: she had it. And that hope has renewed everything. May God grant us that grace.”