Dear brothers and sisters,
Thus far during the season of Advent, we have been talking about the virtue of hope. So often every Christmas season, we adults may struggle with a “get it over with” attitude when it comes to the whole Christmas experience. We have lost the joy and hope of Christmas that we all experienced as children, perhaps because of sadness, past wounds, anger, or cynicism. As we have said, hope is a gift of grace, but it is also something that we must cultivate and fight for. Hope includes the key ingredients of confidence in our thinking, desire in our hearts, and action. Last week, we spoke of encouragement in hope. We are not alone in our quest for hope. Christian hope acknowledges that none of us are at the end of the journey, but we have a goal or purpose towards which we strive, and we journey together.
Today on Gaudate (“Rejoice”) Sunday, we recognize that hope requires waiting. The virtue of patience is closely related to hope. Often in our lives, hope will mean waiting for God to deliver what he is going to give us. This is never easy, but it is something we can exercise, by catching ourselves whenever we are tempted to complain. On the one hand, complaint is the enemy of patience, but when we exercise joyful patience, we are recognizing in faith that God will provide what is best in the end. In our fight for hope, may we all pray for and exercise joyful patience.