Walk by Faith, Hope Beyond Hope!

From early on in life we are taught, trained and directed to set our path for the future. When we choose the school for our child, we set up a college fund and look for the best opportunities we prepare for our future. If something disturbed, interrupts our plans we are devastated and life seems to come to an abrupt end. In all of this we have not once asked, what does God desire for my life? nor have we asked the Lord to Lead me and guide me.

I believe this week as we turn to the scriptures we are being invited to walk by faith and to hope beyond hope. When we cannot see the future nor the outcome we are frightened and are lost in doubt and wonder. What’s going to happen? Where will I be? And who will I become? What we will see unfold for us is that for the person of faith these questions have little importance. Knowing and believing who we are Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior is enough. We trust that God will order our steps.

Now let’s not misunderstand, we are called to study, to work hard in our professional development, but also a spiritual and faith filled perspective on our lives not only gives us deeper meaning but allows us to ultimately trust that God is directing our lives for His ultimate glory. When we have faith and complete trust, our greatest hopes and dreams, our ultimate desire in living for God is fulfilled.

The scriptures this week call us to faith and hope far beyond what we can see and touch, to having the faith that God is working out a direction and purpose not only for our lives but for us as a people and a community of faith. Look at the book of Wisdom as it speaks to the knowledge and hope that although not seen is realized through their faith.

The night of the passover was known beforehand to our fathers, that, with sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their faith,
 they might have courage.

The freedom that the people of Israel experience through the Passover, although a night of Tragedy, was the moment of their liberation. This fulfilling God’s promise to His people. Their faith in God’s ability to be faithful to the oath He had made to their ancestors is realized. Although they had not seen it, they hoped beyond hope to be free. In Paul’s letter to the Hebrews he reminds the people of Israel of this when he says: “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” He offers as an example of great faith realized in God’s fulfilling His promise to Abraham our father in faith.

Paul shows us that it is by faith that Abraham is able to obey God and step into his future. Each step of the way not knowing but hoping beyond hope that by holding on to faith God would ultimately fulfill his promise. Even from his limited view of life, it was only by faith that he could hope that what he would ultimately never see for himself would be fulfilled. Namely that truly his descendants number as the sands of the seashore and the stars in the heavens.

Trust that we can let go and have faith that God can direct our hopes and dreams. I am reminded of a wise woman, her name is Sr Gail Trippett SSJ. When I decided to accept the invitation to go to Saint Leo University she told me: “ You’re willing to pack up everything, move to a place where you don’t know anyone, you’re going to go knowing nothing and trusting God, God is going to do great things through you” Sister Gail was the voice of the Holy Spirit reminding me that when we totally trust God amazing things can happen in our lives. She was so right, these past 16 years have been far greater than I could imagine or hoped for. Allow your faith in God to enable you to step out in faith, not knowing the destiny but trusting that God is with you every step of the journey.

Our lives don’t need to be planned out with certainty. God will fulfill our hopes and dreams for greater that we can imagine. There is no need to spend our lives accumulating, hustling and trying to make the out come of our lives perfect. Walk in faith and hope beyond hope and watch the Lord see it through.

In my prayer and reflection the words of St. john of the Cross enlighten our faith to enter yet more deeply into the sharing in the divine life that through faith our very soul is united with the Trinity now, in this time to enable us to walk by faith and hope in the Triune God.

From a Spiritual Canticle by Saint John of the Cross, priest
I give myself as your spouse for ever

The soul united to God and transformed in him draws from within God a divine breath, much like the most high God himself. And God, abiding in the soul, breathes forth the life of the soul as its exemplar. This I take to be what Paul meant when he said: Because you are children of God, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, “Abba, Father”; this is what takes place in those who have achieved perfection. 

One should not wonder that the soul is capable of so sublime an activity. For if God so favors her that she is made God-like by union with the most Holy Trinity, I ask you then, why it should seem so incredible that the soul, at one with the Trinity and in the greatest possible likeness to it, should share the understanding, knowledge and love which God achieves in himself. 

How this is possible no other power or wisdom can express, save by explaining how the Son of God obtained this sublime state for us and won for us the power to be the children of God, as he asked of the Father: Father, I desire that where I am those you have given me may also be with me, that they may see the glory you have given me, that is, that they may share with certainty the very task I perform.

And then he said: “Not for them alone do I ask but also for those who will come to believe in me through their teaching, that all may be one as you, Father, are one in me and I in you, that they may be one in us; that the world may believe that you have sent me. And the glory you have given me I have given them that they may be one as we are. I in them, you in me, that they may be made perfect, and the world will know that you sent me and as you have loved me, so I have loved them. 

The Father thus gives them the same love he shares with the Son, though not by nature as with the Son, but through unity and transformation of love. One should not think that the Son is asking the Father to make the saints one with him in essence and nature as the Son is with the Father, but rather that they be united with him in love, just as the Father and Son are one in the essential unity of love. Accordingly, souls possess the same goods by participation that the Son possesses by nature. As a result, they are truly divine by participation, equals and companions of God. 

Thus Peter said: May grace and peace be perfected in you in the knowledge of God and Christ Jesus our Lord. For all things of his divine power, which are given to us for our life and goodness, are given through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and power, by which he has given us great and precious promises, that by these we may be made partakers of the divine nature. So the soul, in this union which God has ordained, joins in the work of the Trinity, not yet fully as in the life to come, but nonetheless even now in a real and perceptible way. 

O my soul, created to enjoy such exquisite gifts, what are you doing, where is your life going? How wretched is the blindness of Adam’s children, if indeed we are blind to such a brilliant light and deaf to so insistent a voice

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