Finding true hope in God’s generosity

| Father Charles Lachowitzer | December 3, 2015

I Google-Bing-Yahooed “Thanksgiving.” I was predictably overwhelmed with a cyber library of history, stories, official pronouncements and parades. I noted with a prayer of gratitude to God that in the history of Thanksgiving, the official proclamations leading to the establishment of this national holiday coincided with some of our nation’s greatest troubles: President Lincoln during the Civil War; President Roosevelt during the Depression; the U.S. Congress during World War II.

We know in our heads that we are to find the blessings of God in and through all the challenges we face, particularly in this chapter of the archdiocese. We believe that God has indeed given us the greatest of gifts in faith, hope and love. Yet when lives are heavy with the gravity of this world, it is not so easy to know in our hearts the outpouring of grace and blessings from God who loves us in Jesus Christ.

With the recent terror and tragedy in France, as well as in so many other nations, the shadow of Good Friday looms large in our world. To add to the apparent gloom, the cold and snow of winter have arrived and so, too, has the much maligned holiday hype.

One way to distinguish the purple seasons of penance and reform (Advent and Lent) is to see Lent as entering the darkness within to focus on our sins that are an obstacle to our relationship with Jesus Christ and Easter joy. Advent, on the other hand, can be seen as stepping into the darkness of the world to long for the light that is greater than any human power. Advent is a season to prepare ourselves once again to be a vessel for the light of Christ to be born anew.

The virtue of hope is not some finger-crossed wish upon a Bethlehem star that things happen the way we want them to happen. The virtue of hope is not defined by our fears, wishes, desires, conveniences or even noble dreams.

The virtue of hope is the recognition that through the gifts of faith and love, God has given us every gift we need to meet every need we have.

God has done so in all the past ages, is doing so today and will do so every day in the future. We ourselves are messengers of this hope in a world desperately seeking a light through the darkness and a peace that cannot be shaken.

Whether it is gratitude in the midst of life’s greatest challenges or finding our spiritual focus in the midst of the greatest shopping extravaganza of the year, we are called as disciples of Jesus Christ to treasure the gifts we have already received through the sacramental life of the Church.

We are invited to give joyful witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ by offering in thanksgiving the first fruits of our lives through the sharing of our finest gifts.

In all the to-do lists of this busy time of the year, Advent is a season to pause in prayer so that we may discover that even though we do the holidays, God does Christmas.

Editor’s note: Father Lachowitzer submitted his column before the shootings in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and San Bernardino, California, which is why they are not mentioned among recent acts of violence such as the terrorism in Paris.

Encontrando la verdadera esperanza en la generosidad de Dios

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Category: Only Jesus

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