Hope, the greatest gift and the greatest appeal

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(from the Alphonsian Academy Blog)

Our world, bloodied by wars, confronted with serious problems to face – such as climate change or nuclear escalation – and filled with fear after the Covid-19 pandemic, is in dire need of a regeneration of hope, which would allow us to look serenely to the future. Indeed, people go where they breathe the air of hope and flee from where they do not feel its presence – writes Fr Krzysztof Bieliński C.SS.R., professor of the Alphonsian Academy.

Examining the first chapter of the Letter of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians, he states that the virtue of hope is not the same as human optimism. For a Christian, hope is a gift that we receive from God. The incarnation of this gift is Jesus Christ himself.

Fr. Bieliński then continues by arguing that the acceptance of the gift of hope commits us to concrete action. Preaching and living the Gospel make us real witnesses of Jesus Christ, who is the hope of the world.

Prof. Bieliński then mentions a meaningful moment from the life of Fr Bernhard Häring, a Redemptorist and former professor at the Alphonsian Academy. During the Second World War, as a young priest, Häring was forced to serve in the German army as a medical assistant. When he, with a group of wounded soldiers, were fleeing to avoid being taken prisoner by the Russians near Stalingrad, they were taken in for the night and provided with food by a poor Russian family. As they set off the next morning, Häring asked the hosts why they had taken them in and helped them. He received a touching reply: “We have four of our sons in the Red Army, and every day we pray to God to bring them home safely. How could we have continued our prayer if we had forgotten today that your mothers, fathers and friends are praying to the same God for the same thing?” Years later, Häring, describing the event in his book, stated that prayer is hope in action because prayer is hope at the source of all creative and redemptive action.

“When we turn totally to God, we bring hope closer to the world. Through our prayer, we are transformed into an instrument of hope in the hands of Jesus, whom we have all received and embraced. And in the strength that comes from prayer, we can give the world the hope it so desperately needs.” – concludes Fr Bieliński in his reflection.

(Abbreviated and translated by the editors of Scala News. We invite you to read the complete original text in Italian on the website of the Alphonsian Academy)

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