On Hope

March 201

E.C. Andercheck

I have always found merit in the adage that “Happiness is when our hopes and dreams outweigh our regrets and fears” Anon  This can become more challenging with every year of age we attain in this life. Hopeful dreams came so easily to many of us as youthful optimists, the grace of Christ emboldened those dreams to foresee eternal life and true love as a natural part of a distant future, that we had no concern over, after all we were young. We did not fear the absence of love nor did we hold on to the regrets of so many yesterdays. How does happiness appear in every age of life; it arrives with our belief in dreams of future love.

Christian prayer is an act of hope and love; it is an intimate dialogue with Jesus whose nature is love and whose life brings us eternal hope. In March of 1979, a young Pope John Paul II taught us about prayer, ” Prayer is first of all an act of intelligence, a feeling of humility and gratefulness, an attitude of trust and abandonment to the one who gave us his life for love. Prayer is a mysterious but real dialogue with God, a dialogue of confidence and love.” ( Pope John Paul II, A Life In Prayer

As Christians we can find real happiness in this “dialogue”, it is where our hope filled dreams become real and we bring our family and friends and our greatest hopes for them all to the Lord. This act of Prayer, is more real than we might appreciate, it is in fact participating in the greatest of all realities, our communion with our Creator through his Sons love. Prayer can bring us into the light by which we may see our life as part of God’s plan and of eternity. This is the moment which gives us Hope and true happiness. Bringing Jesus into our day is more than hope, it opens the window so that we might see real happiness.

I like to recall the importance of light in how we see life; the hopeful and happy feeling of a warm spring morning sunshine is the joy of light, it is much as love of Jesus might be to our prayer. C.S. Lewis’ words resonate this feeling for me: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

Hope in the Face of Mass Killing

A Prayer for Unity

E.C. Andercheck

In responding to terrorist tragic mass killings the theological considerations that form a hope filled response must engage our God of Creation’s work, His hopes for humanity, and the Christian responsibility to love all.  Division and polarization are rising in today’s secular society: one that is rarely civil and one that readily rejects the relevance of Christianity. Yet our response must be one of love ecumenically offered to all our neighbors, with a voice that speaks of God and His overarching message for the unity of humanity, that they may be one. Hope can be found in a prayer for unity.

Jesus prayed for His disciples and as his time in earthy ministry became short, He taught about how they should interact with others. “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.” (Jn. 17:20)  The notion of unity among humanity has been ever elusive despite Christ’s own life as a model for us to use as a template, “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.”(Gn 1:27) God then asked humans, those created in his own image, to be fruitful and to multiply; yet in response we kill each other, in random mass numbers destroying humanity.

The restoration of humanity is the ministry of Jesus Christ, which we as Christian people take on as our own calling. St. Paul taught the Corinthians how they must be ministers of the new covenant and that this is a ministry of reconciliation. “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ.” (II Cor. 5:17-20) 

In our Lord Jesus Christ we pray that the trueness of His love will bind us to all of our brothers and sisters, this love forming His calling as our own, that our ministry might become to seek that all may be one, this hope for unity to live within each of us, each day.  

Edward C. Andercheck