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Pope at Audience: 'Hope Against Hope'

Urges Faithful to Never Be Discouraged, Look to Future Where God Waits to Fulfill Our Hope

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Hope does not disappoint….Therefore, like Abraham, we are to hope against hope…
Pope Francis stressed this during this morning’s General Audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, as began a new series of catecheses on the theme of Christian hope. 
Recalling that in St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, he reminds us how the great figure of Abraham shows us the way of faith and hope. Of him, the Apostle writes, «He believed, hoping against all hope, that he would become the father of many nations» (Rom 4:18).
Hoping against hope
«This concept is strong,» Francis stressed, «even when there is no hope, I hope.»
Trusting in the Lord’s promise, despite having reasons to believe at he and his wife’s elderly ages that having a child would be impossible, he kept hoping and followed the Lord’s commands.
This hope, the Pontiff underscored, «is the ability to go beyond human reasoning, wisdom and prudence of the world, beyond what is normally considered common sense, to believe in the impossible.»
Hope Opens Horizons for Impossible, Unimaginable
«Hope opens up new horizons, it allows us to look at what it is not even imaginable,» Francis said, noting it means entering «into darkness of an uncertain future to walk in the light.»
Despite all this, the Pope conceded,  it is a difficult journey, one which comes at times, with despair.
Even for Abraham, he noted, we see this. Though he didn’t lose hope, he complained to the Lord. This, too, we learn from our father Abraham: to complain to the Lord is a way of praying.
Despite Discouragement, Trust
In the heart of Abraham there is the darkness of disappointment, discouragement, the difficulty in continuing to hope for something impossible, feeling that even as he turns to the Lord, it feels as if He were gone and had not kept His word…
«So how can we continue to trust?» Francis pondered.
First of all, he clarified, this ‘complaining’ is a prayer, a prayer for hope. He noted how often there is hope amid darkness, that which propels you despite doubt, forward.
Francis noted that struggling with God happens, and can be part of our prayer, but in the end we must remember that «He is the Father, and has understood you,» so we are to go in peace and have courage.
«This is hope,» the Pope said.
Lord Doesn’t Forget His Promises
Abram, in faith, turned to God to help him keep hoping, asking: «Help me to keep hoping.»  And the Lord answers.
In order to believe, the Pontiff urged, we must learn to see with eyes of faith and have the faith, as Abraham did. Even if we find ourselves with prospects not any better than staring into the stars, Francis noted, that is exactly the time in which we are to trust in God.
«There is nothing more beautiful,» Francis concluded saying, reminding the faithful that hope does not disappoint.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text: https://zenit.org/articles/general-audience-on-hope/

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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