During his morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today, Pope Francis reflected on the nature of hope, saying that it is not optimism but rather “an eager expectation towards the revelation of the Son of God.” The Holy Father drew his words from the first reading of St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans.
The Pope emphasized that hope does not disappoint, it is secure. However, the Holy Father clarified to have hope does not meant to be optimistic. “Hope is not an optimism, it is not the capacity to see things with a good spirit and go forward. No, that is optimism, it is not hope. Nor is hope a positive attitude in front of things,” the Pope said. “This is good! But it is not hope.”
“It is not easy to understand what is hope. It is said that it is the most humble of the three virtues, because it is hidden in life. Faith is seen, is felt, it is known what it is. Charity can be one, it is known what it is. But what is hope? What is this attitude of hope? To approach this a bit, we can say firstly that hope is a risk, it is a risky virtue, it is a virtue, as Saint Paul says, ‘of an eager expectation towards the revelation of the Son of God.’ It is not an illusion.”
Pope Francis went on to explain that the early Christians depicted hope as an anchor that is fixed on the shore of the afterlife. The goal of a Christian is to walk towards this anchor. The Holy Father then asked those present to contemplate on where are they anchored in there own lives.
“Are we anchored just beyond the shore of that ocean far away or are we anchored in an artificial lagoon, that we have made ourselves, with our rules, our behaviors, our schedules, our clericalism, our ecclesiastical attitudes, not ecclesial? Are we anchored there? All comfortable, all secure That is not hope.”
Another image of this hope the Holy Father said that St. Paul indicates is that of going into labor. Hope, he stressed, is within this “dynamic of giving life.” The fruits of this labor, however, are unseen. The Holy Father compared this image of St. Paul to the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“I think of Mary, a young girl, when after hearing that she was a mother, her attitude changes and she goes, she helps and sings that hymn of praise,” the Pope said.
“When a woman becomes pregnant, she is a woman, but she is never (only) just a woman: she is a mother. And hope is something like this. It changes our attitude: it is us, but we are not ourselves; it is us, looking over there, anchored over there.”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis addressed a group of Mexican priests who were present at the Mass celebrating their 25th anniversary of priestly ordination. “Ask Our Lady, Mother of hope, that your years be years of hope, to live as priests of hope,” he said to them.