“God of hope, I look to you with an open heart and yearning spirit. During this Advent season, I will keep alert and awake, listening for your word and keeping to your precepts. My hope is in you.” ~ Matthew Kelly
This season of Advent, as indeed any season of Advent, challenges us to focus on a few virtues. One of the virtues is hope. Hope is so very essential to every person. Without hope, there feels as if there is no reason to go on. Studies have been done in psychology regarding learned helplessness. When a subject determines that there is no hope of escaping a given situation, that subject will give up hope. It will quit trying. It will lie in painful and sad submission and take whatever is happening to it.
There are times in our lives that we might act like those test creatures. We say that we cannot take anything more. We give up trying. We wallow in sadness and make no attempt to improve our situation. This happens not only in our physical/emotional lives, this happens in our spiritual lives as well.
Perhaps we have prayed for a long time for something or someone and we believe that our prayers are going unanswered. We might quit praying for that particular thing or person. We might quit praying altogether. We might even abandon our hope and/or believe in God. What we need to do instead is to continue in prayer.
St. Monica prayed for more than seventeen years for the conversion of her son, St. Augustine. After her son converted, she continued praying for the conversion of her husband. She did that for an additional thirteen years thus praying over thirty years for her husband’s conversion. She never gave up. She never denied the existence of God. She never claimed that God was not listening to her. Instead, she continued to nurse the hope within and put her confidence in the Lord.
Maybe our Advent is feeling long. Maybe we are getting weary of the journey. Has our Advent been thirty-years-of-praying long? I think not. Hang in there. Hold firm to all that you set out to do when Advent began. Recall the hope for which we all long and the promises fulfilled by Jesus’ birth and, later in His life, by His resurrection.
FAITH ACTION: Call to mind all the many hopes that you nurse in your heart and ask God to fulfill your hope in His own good time.