Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Waiting in Joyful Hope




Happy Wednesday to you all. Snowy and raw here in Chicago. Temperatures expected to plummet into the single digits tonight, with wind chills somewhere near 40 below. Welcome to almost-winter in the Midwest.

Just a short post today. I was reading an author's manuscript yesterday here at WLP. She had written a catechetical session for inquirers and the topic was Christian hope. She was quoting Benedict XVI's encyclical on hope, Spe Salve. This all got my mind focused on a great phrase for believers during this Advent season, "waiting in joyful hope." And this brought me to recall a moving poem by John Keats that I once read. It's called To Hope and here's an excerpt:

When by my solitary hearth I sit,
When no fair dreams before my “mind’s eye” flit,
And the bare heath of life presents no bloom;
Sweet Hope, ethereal balm upon me shed,
And wave thy silver pinions o’er my head.

Whene’er I wander, at the fall of night,
Where woven boughs shut out the moon’s bright ray,
Should sad Despondency my musings fright,
And frown, to drive fair Cheerfulness away,
Peep with the moon-beams through the leafy roof,
And keep that fiend Despondence far aloof.

Should Disappointment, parent of Despair,
Strive for her son to seize my careless heart;
When, like a cloud, he sits upon the air,
Preparing on his spell-bound prey to dart:
Chase him away, sweet Hope, with visage bright,
And fright him as the morning frightens night!

Whene’er the fate of those I hold most dear
Tells to my fearful breast a tale of sorrow,
O bright-eyed Hope, my morbid fancy cheer;
Let me awhile thy sweetest comforts borrow:
Thy heaven-born radiance around me shed,
And wave thy silver pinions o’er my head!

My own hope for all of you is that, even when life becomes difficult and challenging, that you cling to the hope that comes through faith, especially during this Advent and Christmas season.
I'll be taking some vacation time for the next four days. I'll try to post, especially tomorrow. If I don't get the chance, I pray that your Second Week of Advent ends with an outpouring of grace and that the Third Week dawns with renewed hope.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

1 comment:

Alan Hommerding said...

Thanks, Jerry, for posting one of my favorite poems about hope, (along with Emily Dickinson's "Hope is the thing with feathers/That perches in the soul,/And sings the tune without the words,/And never stops at all")

WIth the new translation we will no longer be waiting in "joyful hope" ("blessed hope" is the new translation; a more precise translation of the Latin "beatam spem") - so it seems to be more incumbent upon us to recall that when Vatican II wanted to instruct us as to how we, the Church, ought to be in the world, they opened with the words Joy (Gaudium) and Hope (Spes), and live accordingly.