Only a few more weeks until we get to celebrate the “reason for the season”, our hope, that is our Savior, Jesus Christ. This beautiful season of Advent is an invitation from the Church to set aside time to prepare our hearts to ponder the mystery of the incarnation – or moment when the Word became flesh to dwell among us (Jn. 1:14).
A key component to this season is ‘hope’ – this word is often a part of our daily vocabulary for big and small things. So what is the ‘big’ hope we are talking about? In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI released the encyclical letter, Spe Salvi or On Christian Hope, and dives into this question. He shares that “we who have always lived with the Christian concept of God, and have grown accustomed to it, have almost ceased to notice that we possess the hope that ensues from a real encounter with this God,” (Spe Salvi, no. 3). We must first examine our own desensitization to the word ‘hope’ and from there we can move forward to ponder that the hope in Christ Jesus is “not just ‘informative’ but ‘performative’ that is to say, it can change our lives, so that we know we are redeemed” (Spe Salvi, no. 4). Once we have arrived at this understanding in our hearts, this abundance of hope leads us to share with others the living Hope we have encountered with our families and community. This virtue of hope leads us deeper into the Catholic Social Teaching of the ‘Call to family, community, and participation’ and gives us a strong foundation to seek the common good and well-being of all and to know that our lives will not end in emptiness.