By Fr. Roy Cimagala
THERE are times when we have to wait, desist from acting at the moment, and hope for a better time that will surely come, although in ways that may not be according to our expectations.
We are reminded of this act of prudence in that gospel parable about the good seed and the weeds. (cfr. Mt 13,36-43) The point of the parable is that there are situations in life when acting at the moment may cause more harm than good. And so, we just have to wait, be patient and hopeful.
In the meantime, what we can do is to continue doing a lot of good, praying, making sacrifices, generously fulfilling our duties and responsibilities, reaching out to others, growing in the virtues, etc.
We have to remember that due to the God-designed life of communion we enjoy among ourselves, we know that anything good we do will always have a good effect on the others. The awareness of this truth of our faith should prod us to be generous in doing a lot of good. We also know that good in itself is self-diffusive. It is in its nature to spread. So, we should just do a lot of good.
As can be seen, to wait, to be patient and hopeful, does not mean to do nothing. What we cannot do at the moment, out of prudence, should push us to do many other good things. Instead of feeling lethargic, we should feel very energetic.
Especially with our present condition that involves an increase of pressure, confusing knowledge overdrives, increasingly sophisticated challenges and difficulties, we need to seriously cultivate this virtue of hope. There’s no other way. It’s either that or we get into a free-fall toward disorder, chaos and desperation.
Our problem is that, as usual, we have a very limited idea of hope. And from that handicapped position, it’s obvious that all sorts of dangers, confusion and errors can ensue.
Among the anomalies besetting our understanding of hope is that it is a purely man-made virtue, with only earthly and natural dimensions and relying solely on human and material resources.
We seem to get stranded in the external properties of the virtue, without entering into its real essence, significance and practicability. We need to recover the true nature and purpose of hope, and spread its knowledge and skill far and wide. That’s what we urgently need these days.
First, we need to understand that hope is a gift from God, one of what are called theological virtues. As such, it goes always in this life with the other pair of faith and charity.
The direct corollary of this reality is that the first thing we have to do about it is to ask for it, often kneeling and begging God our Father not only to grant it to us, which he actually does unstintingly, but also to increase it all the time.
We should never be casual about this fundamental and indispensable requirement of hope. Though we have to be discreet about it and natural in living it, we have to understand that without this condition met, no amount of human ingenuity can substitute it.
Of course, hope increases also to the extent that we deepen our faith and enrich our charity. In this life, these three theological virtues go together and mutually affect one another.