Catholic World News

Hope is shown in endurance, encouragement, Pope tells Wednesday audience

March 22, 2017

Continuing his series of weekly catechetical talks on the virtue of hope, Pope Francis told his Wednesday general audience of March 15 that hope “is not optimism—that is something else.

Basing his talk on an analysis of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, the Holy Father said that hope is characterized by two key traits: endurance and encouragement.

Endurance, the Pope continued, is “the capacity to sustain, to carry on our shoulders, to remain faithful, even when the burden seems to become too great and unbearable, and when we are tempted to judge negatively and abandon everything and everyone.”

Encouragement, the Pontiff said, is a different matter. It is “the grace of knowing how to perceive and to show in every situation, even in those most marked by disappointment and suffering, the presence of God’s compassionate action.”

Pope Francis remarked that St. Paul speaks of believers as “we who are strong”—not because Christians should take pride in their own strength, but rather because they know that “our strength does not come from us, but from the Lord.” So, the Pope said, the result of Christian hope is not “a community in whom some belong to an A-list made up of the strong, and others a B-list consisting of the weak.” Instead he pointed to the description used by St. Paul, of a community that can “live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus.”

Previous general audiences on hope:

  1. Isaiah 40: “Comfort, comfort my people…” (December 7)
  2. Isaiah 52: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings…” (December 14)
  3. Christ’s birth is the source of hope (December 21)
  4. Abraham’s hope against all hope (December 28)
  5. Rachel “is weeping for her children”, but... “there is hope for your descendants” (Jer. 31) (January 4)
  6. The false hopes of idols (January 11)
  7. Jonah: hope and prayer (January 18)
  8. Judith, the Courage of a Woman Restores Hope to a People (January 25)
  9. The helmet of hope (1 Thess. 5:4-11) (February 1)
  10. Hope, Source of Mutual Comfort and Peace (1 Thess. 5:12-22) (February 8)
  11. Hope Does Not Disappoint (February 15)
  12. For in this hope, we were saved (cf. Rom 8:19-27) (February 22)
  13. Lent as a journey of hope (March 1)
  14. Charity is a grace, the fruit of our saving encounter with God’s own love (March 8)


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