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April 25 2016 – “The Virtue of Hope: Drawn from “Divine Intimacy” and Pope Benedict XVI’s “On Christian Hope”

It is not overstating the matter to say that we are living in very dark times. Unfortunately, some recent statistical data was just published that seems to support that statement. We are experiencing a sharp increase in the rate of suicide in this country, and it affects almost every demographic with the exception of the older generation, those in their 70’s. Perhaps most disturbing was the sharp rise in women in their middle ages, age 45 – 64. Here we saw an increase in suicide of 64%. It is not entirely clear to researches what has led to this unfortunate increase, but for those who understand something about the spiritual life, there is no question that these people are all experiencing a loss of Hope. In this particular conversation Mark and Frances address this issue head on. Drawing from former Pope Benedict XVI’s Encyclical, ‘On Christian Hope’ and reflections from the writings of Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen entitled ‘Divine Intimacy.’ This conversation focuses on the three main areas that serve as our basis for Hope: the reality of our future destiny of Glory in Heaven, the more immediate reality of the existing of a Loving God who has called us to Union with Him, and Hope is found in knowing that even though we have responsibilities to fulfill in the first two areas, even the grace required for us to do it is a gift from God. This is an important program for those who may be struggling holding on to Hope.

Resources

Books:
“Divine Intimacy” by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD; Tan Books.
“Prayers of Hope” by Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan; Pauline Books & Media

Documents:
“On Christian Hope” encyclical by Pope Benedict XVI.

Scripture Passages:
Romans 8:24a
Romans 8:24b
1 Corinthians 2:9
Hebrews 13:14
Matthew 7:7-11
1 Timothy 2:4
1 Thessalonians 4:3
Luke 17:10

Practical Ways to Increase Hope:

  1. Pray, pray, pray!
  2. Change your thoughts into positive thoughts.
  3. Be kind to yourself…read a great book, watch a movie classic, have a great cup of coffee.
  4. Curtail your intake of the news.
  5. Celebrate Life by treating each day like the precious gift it is.
  6. Take a Break.
  7. Practice an Attitude of Gratitude; thank God for the sun, your breath, your eyesight, your senses, your gifts, your loved ones.
  8. Express Love Tangibly: hugs, words, notes, acts of kindness.
  9. Say this affirmation frequently each day: Jesus, I trust in you.
  10. Make a Difference by pitching in, serving others, being a part of something bigger than yourself.
  11. Keep perspective.
  12. LAUGH! SMILE!
  13. Notice little signs of hope in your life.
  14. Stay healthy.
  15. Take time to remember all the amazing things God has done for you.
  16. Surround yourself with optimism.
  17. Enjoy Nature: take a walk, study a leaf, smell a flower, enjoy a sunset, ravish God’s natural beauty.
  18. Ponder the possibilities!