Today’s post comes from one of our frequent retreat presenters, Fr. Michael Schleupner. Let’s read his timely insight about hope from the resurrection and how we can carry it with us today, even as we hear of more devastating news each day.
With the Russian invasion of Ukraine and all the human tragedy happening there, this Easter turns my inner spirit to hope. Easter, the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection, inspires hope in me.
I see hope as more than optimism. The dictionary defines optimism as an inclination to put the most favorable perspective upon things or to assume the best possible outcome in a situation. Being optimistic can be good, but for me, hope is something deeper. Hope is built on faith in God and, for me, faith in Jesus Christ. It is the faith that there is a God, that God is pure love, and that God loves each one of us. Very importantly, hope is also built on faith in the paschal mystery – that death can lead to new life.
I believe we have confirmation of this in our life experience. From my childhood I remember an example of dying leading to new life. I didn’t always like it when my parents sometimes told me I had to do my homework instead of hanging out with my friends or watching a favorite TV program. But, that death experience, that dying to self, led me to fuller life. It led me to become a fuller and much more alive person.
So, I believe in the God of love and I believe in the paschal mystery. And that’s what Easter is about – that Jesus died and rose from the dead and that the same thing will happen to us even when we die to our physical bodies.
That takes me back to hope. For me, hope is trusting that good can eventually win out over evil, that light can eventually replace darkness, that life can win out over death. Hope is trusting that the vision of life as given to us by Jesus Christ can really happen– whether in the resolution of a long-standing family rift, or in a change of heart from war-waging to peace-making. Hope does not necessarily mean that we think everything will turn out rosy right away. It does mean that we are led by a vision given us by God and that we feel empowered to keep doing our part to make that vision into a reality.
So, this year especially, for me, Easter is all about hope.
~Father Michael Schleupner
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