February 6, 2009

Faith, Hope and Charity / David Siler

Hope in God is hope that endures

David SilerJan. 20, 2009, was a remarkable day in the history of our country as we inaugurated the first African American president of the United States.

I watched the ceremony on television and could actually feel the energy of hope emanating from the crowd gathered on Capitol Hill. I can only imagine what it felt like to be a part of the crowd.

President Barack Obama ran his campaign on a platform of hope, and whether or not we agree with his proposed methods to help infuse our nation with hope, it was a message that was widely welcomed by the American people.

In our country today and all around the world, we are people longing for a significant shift that tells us that we will be OK and that the future holds promise.

Psalm 146 contains advice that is of particular importance to us today. The author of this psalm tells us that those whose hope is in the Lord who made heaven and earth are blessed. The theme of the psalm is to remind us that help from and hope in human beings is temporal and unstable, but help from God is lasting and complete.

It would seem that hope placed with the one who set the moon and the stars in place, the one who created our vast universe while paying attention to each hair on our heads is a pretty good place for our hope to reside.

A mentor of mine once told me that the most that I may be able to do at times is to “breathe in, breathe out, say thank you, repeat.” We have no doubt that the next breath will be there. We don’t have to hope for each new breath. We trust that God will provide this simple yet most necessary gift.

And even if it happens to be our very last breath, our hope lies in God to bring us to our heavenly home.

I think that Psalm 146 encourages us to place hope in God, who not only provides us with our next breath, but with every-thing necessary to sustain us.

I realize that it is hard to know this kind of hope deep down in our bones when we lose a job, lose a loved one or face suffering that doesn’t appear to have an end. But we are assured beyond a shadow of a doubt that our trust placed in God will not fail.

As more of our neighbors are losing their jobs and homes, your Catholic Charities programs are seeing an

unprecedented increase in the number of people seeking basic needs assistance. We can choose to look upon this increase as distressing and discouraging—as yet another sign to lose hope.

Or we can choose to see God’s promise being fulfilled through those of you who support Catholic Charities and our staff and volunteers: the promise that God, in the form of his people, is there to provide help and create hope even in the darkest of days.

(David Siler is executive director of the Secretariat for Catholic Charities and Family Ministries. E-mail him at dsiler@archindy.org.)

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