Faith, hope and love. We see these words printed on t-shirts, home décor and coffee mugs. Did you know that they are more than just a nice phrase? They are the three theological virtues. The theological virtues relate directly to God. They dispose Christians to live in a relationship with the Holy Trinity. (Catechism of the Catholic Church para 1812) They are infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as his children. (CCC para 1813)
Faith, the virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us. (CCC para 1814) Love, the virtue by which we love God above all things and our neighbors as ourselves for the love of God. (CCC para 1822) Hope, the virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven, placing our trust in Christ’s promises. (CCC para 1817) Hope keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment. (CCC para 1818)
We can easily relate the symbol of a cross to faith, the symbol of a heart to love, but what symbolizes hope? An anchor is the symbol of hope. For sailors, it provides safety and security when at sea. It holds fast the ship and is relied upon during a storm. It steadies the ship from winds that want to move it off course.
This past Sunday we heard in the Gospel of Luke Jesus talking about a time of war, famine and plagues. A time of persecution and martyrdom, even being handed over by one’s own relatives. In what seems like a doom and gloom Gospel, Jesus reassures us to not be terrified and that not a hair on our head will be destroyed.
We are left with these words leading up to this Sunday’s Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. A solemnity that should anchor our faith, one that should give us hope, because we know how the story ends. No matter what may come in our lives or in our families, no matter the hardships and trials, the sorrows and heavy crosses, we have the reassurance that Jesus Christ is King. We know that Jesus Christ reigns not just over our hearts and families, but over our country and the universe.
Hope is trusting in God’s love for us. Even in the moments where we may feel abandoned or that our prayers aren’t being heard or answered, we have a God that truly cares for each one of us. Hope is knowing that even in life’s difficulties we are held in God’s providential loving plan. It is being in the storm with waves crashing upon our boat and not able to see land, but being held firm by an anchor. An anchor that steadies us, holds us and fills us with profound peace knowing we are secure, knowing our home is heaven.
“Hold fast to the hope that lies before us. This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm.” (Hebrews 6:18-19)