A bit of news on the Vatican this morning, the announcement in a public letter that the 2025 jubilee year will focus on the virtue of hope. The president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, Msgr Rino Fisichella was the recipient, and presumably among the first to know.
After the 2016 Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I saw a lot written about too many “years.” Some centuries are lucky, I guess. The nineteenth had very few; planned jubilees were disrupted or cancelled because of political upheaval in Europe. The last century counted them in 1900, 1925, 1933, 1950, 1966, 1975, and 1983. Marian years were added in 1954 and 1987. Bishops seem more inclined to do these for their dioceses in this century than I remember in the last. Maybe there’s a sense that today’s world needs an infusion of God. Or maybe themes are being hurled at the wall just to see what, if anything, sticks.
Hope has had an occasional mention here, if not a holder of a topic, like this. The ACt of Hope is well worth remembering, if not memorizing:
O my God,
relying on your infinite mercy and promises,
I hope to obtain pardon of my sins,
the help of your grace,
and life everlasting,
through the merits of Jesus Christ,
my Lord and Redeemer.
Hopefully, this prayer gets more attention in the three-year lead-up to the jubilee.
In his letter, Pope Francis reminds us the Church’s efforts in these “years” dates back centuries:
The Jubilee has always been an event of great spiritual, ecclesial, and social significance in the life of the Church. Ever since 1300, when Boniface VIII instituted the first Holy Year – initially celebrated every hundred years, then, following its biblical precedent, every fifty years, and finally every twenty-five years – God’s holy and faithful people has experienced this celebration as a special gift of grace, characterized by the forgiveness of sins and in particular by the indulgence, which is a full expression of the mercy of God.
Pope Francis continues, citing the tradition of pilgrimages, especially to Rome. He also mentions that special Jubilee of 2000, in which St John Paul II directed three years of preparations to put us all in readiness for that gift of divine grace.
I was struck by the Holy Father’s suggestion that the 2016 Jubilee of Mercy has prepared us for 2025. The experience of a worldwide pandemic has also placed us at a moment where the virtue we are much in need of is hope
We are fully confident that the epidemic will be overcome and that the world will return to its usual pattern of personal relationships and social life. This will happen more readily to the extent that we can demonstrate effective solidarity, so that our neighbors most in need will not be neglected, and that everyone can have access to scientific breakthroughs and the necessary medicines.
We must fan the flame of hope that has been given us, and help everyone to gain new strength and certainty by looking to the future with an open spirit, a trusting heart and far-sighted vision.
Therefore, we’re given a theme as well as a label for ourselves for which to aim: Pilgrims of Hope. I’ll also remind readers that Pope Benedict XVI penned a document on hope not too long ago, Spe Salvi. That might be worth reading in the lead-up to 2025.
First thoughts, comments, suggestions?