Last updated on February 21, 2021
Study the generations long past and understand; has anyone hoped in the LORD and been disappointed? Has anyone persevered in his fear and been forsaken? Has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed? (Sirach 2.10)
Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery? Are not his days those of a hireling?
He is a slave who longs for the shade, a hireling who waits for his wages.
So I have been assigned months of misery, and troubled nights have been told off for me.
If in bed I say, “When shall I arise?” then the night drags on; I am filled with restlessness until the dawn.
My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle; they come to an end without hope.
Remember that my life is like the wind; I shall not see happiness again.
The eye that now sees me shall no more behold me; as you look at me, I shall be gone.
As a cloud dissolves and vanishes, so he who goes down to the nether world shall come up no more.
He shall not again return to his house; his place shall know him no more.
And you shall be secure because there is hope; you shall look round you and lie down in safety. (Job 11.18)
On leaving the synagogue he entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.
Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her.
He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.
When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.
Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.”
Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. (Mark 1.35)
Hope Never Disappoints
Job’s lament has been every person’s sorrow since the fall of Adam and Eve since Eternal Paradise gave way to human suffering and mortality.
Yet, Job’s misery didn’t end in hopeless defeat, nor did he escape death. God’s plan for everlasting human life didn’t vanish at the onset of our mortality. (Job 11.18)
To be near God is our happiness, and he does draw near to us when we seek him and even when we abandon him. In whatever grind or sorrow we find ourselves in our hearts never stop looking for Him. He has made our hearts hungry for what is good, beautiful and lasting.
Our longing for happiness and the restless pursuit of it unites us. We seek company in that pursuit, most often in a marriage where the song of union fills the air, and the road from sacred vows leads toward a brilliant horizon. Very quickly, we realize that nothing in this world, however beautiful, lasts, not even holy matrimony.
When Jesus began to proclaim the Good News throughout a small geographical area of towns and villages, people chased him, crowded him, would not let go of him because his words were backed by authority and power never before seen and experienced. He healed and drove out demons who, terrified of him, were left powerless. His presence transformed everything around him.
Every Easter Vigil, everywhere, these words ring through a candle-lit congregation small or large, “O happy fault O necessary sin of Adam that gave us so great a redeemer.”
By placing all our desire for life and happiness in Christ, our great Redeemer, we live with a hope that never disappoints. It requires effort, the work of prayer and exposing our mind to Him who lives in the Gospel, in the tabernacle, lives in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and lives in the suffering of those he sends to us.
He also lives in our pain. When we stand in it clinging to Him with hope nourished by prayer, He mysteriously brings peace in it, perhaps even heals it. Sometimes He wants us so close to His heart that our pain remains as the necessary cross (take up your cross) on which we hang with Him clinging to Him.
Only through hope in Christ will we experience the power of His resurrection, to the degree He wants on our road toward Him. United with Him, we will finally stand on a horizon we longed for, hoped for and knew existed only because of that sure hope in Him we nourished by constant prayer.