Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Monday 02 August |
Saint of the Day: St. Peter Julian Eymard
home iconChurch
line break icon

Yes, we will hug our loved ones again! Pope Francis explains what Christian hope really is

OLD FAMILY PHOTOS,ALBUM

Vladimir Volodin | Shutterstock

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 03/26/20

"When we speak about hope we can be led to interpret it according to the common meaning of the term ... but Christian hope is not like this."

In early 2017, Pope Francis was dedicating his general audience catecheses to the theme of hope. Now under the shadow of the pandemic is a perfect time to review our understanding of the theological virtue of hope, and make sure we’re living in it, and helping others to live it. As the pope says, “We Christians are men and women of hope.”

The Holy Father drew from St. Paul’s first letter to the Church at Thessalonica, which at the time of the writing, had “just been established, and only a few years separate[d] it from Christ’s Easter event.”

These early believers were not struggling so much with believing in Christ’s Resurrection, but believing in the resurrection of the dead, he explained.

In this sense, this Letter is more relevant than ever. Each time we face our death, or that of a person who is dear, we feel that our faith is put to the test. All our doubts emerge, all our frailty, and we ask ourselves: “But will there truly be life after death …? Will I still be able to see and embrace again the people I have loved …?” … We all have a little fear due to this uncertainty about death.

So St. Paul, in facing these fears, urges this young Church to wear faith on the head like a helmet, especially in the most difficult times of life. “It is a helmet. This is what Christian hope is.”

The pope clarified:

When we speak about hope we can be led to interpret it according to the common meaning of the term, that is, in reference to something beautiful that we desire, but which may or may not be attained. … People say, for example: “I hope there will be good weather tomorrow!”; but we know that there might be bad weather the following day … Christian hope is not like this. Christian hope is the expectation of something that has already been fulfilled; the door is there, and I hope to reach the door. What do I have to do? Walk toward the door! I am certain that I will reach the door. This is how Christian hope is: having the certainty that I am walking toward something that is, not something that I hope may be. This is Christian hope. Christian hope is the expectation of something that has already been fulfilled and which will certainly be fulfilled for each one of us.

As well, our own resurrection, and that of our loved ones “is not something that may or may not happen, but is a certain reality, because it is rooted in the event of Christ’s Resurrection.”


RESURRECTION

Read more:
Do I believe in the resurrection of the dead?

The Holy Father said that living in hope means learning how to live in expectation, and he compared it to a woman who is pregnant. She lives in the expectation of seeing the gaze of her child. “This is not easy, but we can learn: to live in expectation,” he said.

The pope went on speak of St. Paul’s words: “Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we wake or sleep we might live with him” (1 Thess 5:10). “These words always generate great comfort and peace,” he said.

Therefore, we are also called to pray for the beloved people who have left us, that they may live in Christ and be in full communion with us. Something that touches my heart deeply is an expression of St. Paul, also addressed to the Thessalonians. It fills me with certain hope. Thus, he says: “and so we shall always be with the Lord” (4:17). It is wonderful: everything passes but, after death, we shall always be with the Lord. It is the total certainty of hope … Do you believe this? I am asking you: Do you believe this? … And there, with the Lord, we will meet. Thus, let us ask the Lord to teach our heart to hope in the resurrection, this way we can learn to live in the certain expectation of the encounter with him and with all our loved ones.

Read the whole audience here.




Read more:
Interview: The husband of Chiara Corbella on his wife’s sacrifice and possible canonization


MOTHER MARY

Read more:
Color of the year: A choice that says Mary, heaven and peace

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
SIMONE BILES
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
2
Ignacio María Doñoro
Francisco Veneto
The military chaplain who pretended to be a criminal to rescue a ...
3
HIDILYN DIAZ
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
4
JEDZENIE
Theresa Civantos Barber
The one thing we all should do before this summer ends
5
Zelda Caldwell
German women’s gymnastics teams modest dress protests sport’s ...
6
CARLO ACUTIS
Violeta Tejera
Carlo Acutis’ first stained glass window in jeans and sneak...
7
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.