Pope Benedict XVI explores “Settings” for learning and practicing hope. He begins with prayer (32-34).
32. A first essential setting for learning hope is prayer. When no one listens to me anymore, God still listens to me. When I can no longer talk to anyone or call upon anyone, I can always talk to God. When there is no longer anyone to help me deal with a need or expectation that goes beyond the human capacity for hope, he can help me [Cf. Catechism 2657].
So the Church teaches. Jesus guides us, and the events of his Passion and this Holy Week reinforce this. We are shown to pray; we don’t need to be lectured into it. Indeed often the Christian finds herself or himself isolated, even from preachers and catechists.
When I have been plunged into complete solitude …; if I pray I am never totally alone. The late Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan, a prisoner for thirteen years, nine of them spent in solitary confinement, has left us a precious little book: Prayers of Hope. During thirteen years in jail, in a situation of seemingly utter hopelessness, the fact that he could listen and speak to God became for him an increasing power of hope, which enabled him, after his release, to become for people all over the world a witness to hope—to that great hope which does not wane even in the nights of solitude.
This seems a good place to pause. I’d like to devote the coming week to other reflections on this site. We’ll return to the pope emeritus after Triduum. After we take some time to pray and to bolster our hope.
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