Do you ever give much thought to the afterlife? Or do you live in the here and now? Do you know why you live and what you are living for? Or are you oblivious to your purpose for existence? Did you know that you were created by God to live with Him, in Heaven, for all eternity? Do you realize that life on earth is only your temporary home; that your real home is with God in Heaven? Do you live for this world, or the next? If you answered for the next, then the virtue of Hope is your best friend.
Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. 1
Holding on to Hope
When we hold on to Hope, we find ourselves making decisions with eternal life in mind, rather than earthly life alone. We recognize that how we live in the here and now should be a reflection of how we would live with God in Heaven. Therefore, with Hope, we turn away from vice and turn toward virtue, to live a more Christ-like life. As a vine clings to a wall, we need to cling to Christ, and we do that by embracing virtue.
With Hope, “we forgive those who trespassed against us” as we hope to be forgiven. Relying on the Hope of Christ’s promises, we seek mercy for our sins and we grant mercy to others. We treat others as we, ourselves, would want to be treated.
When you stand in judgment at the Pearly Gates, Our Lord will not ask you how much money you made, or how much notoriety you received. No, He will ask you “What have you done for the least of My brothers” (Matt 25:40). Live today with Heaven in mind. Live today in charitable service to your fellow man, and in all things, hold on to Hope.
1 Catechism of the Catholic Church. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Print 2000, n. 1817.