What is your reason for hope?
In what ways do you communicate this hope to others?
Last Fall, during the Convocation of the National Religious Vocation Conference, Sr. Addie Walker, SSND gave a talk entitled, “Reason for our hope: a testimony of our life, death, and resurrection in Christ Jesus,” which was also published in the Winter 2021 edition of Horizon Magazine. A year later, her talk continues to inspire me and so I want to share some highlights from this article so that all of us might rekindle our hope in Christ, and to be an instrument of God’s hope.
Recognizing the needs of our times… the need for an end to racism, and the need for racial harmony and healing, “in times like this, we need hope!” she wrote. “There are fires in California, hurricanes in the Gulf, tornadoes and floods across the Midwest. In times like this, we need hope.” “We’re experiencing high unemployment, exhausted health care workers, students moved to online platforms for study and mentoring, local businesses at minimum capacity, churches unable to gather in regular capacity for worship and prayer. In times like these, we need hope.”
We need hope – even in times like now…
Pope Francis dedicated the year of 2015 to a year focusing on Consecrated Life, and in his talk he said: “It is precisely amid these uncertainties (…) that we are called to practice the virtue of hope. (…) This hope is not based on statistics or accomplishments, but in ‘Christ Jesus our hope’ (cf 1 Tim 1:1), the One for whom ‘nothing is impossible’ (Lk 1:37).”
Sr. Addie encourages us: “Do something! Live the gospel, radically, now!” She writes this in the midst of the struggles that she and I mentioned above. Sr. Addie continues to inspire us: “Let us live life in the here and now with a passion and a zeal for the God who first loved us and at every moment continues to love us, the God who called us and promised to accompany us on the way, the God who brought us here to this point in our lives. Living the present with passion stirs up hope. We are called to be women and men of hope.”
It sounds doable to share God’s hope, but when we read or watch the daily news, we may become discouraged quickly. Personally, I am always eager to watch Lester Holt’s “Inspire America” story at the end of his newscast. Just one inspiring story, yet it recharges my hope. Maybe, that’s one way to start. Incorporate one small act of kindness every day to give hope to someone. Imagine how much kinder our world would be if we all practiced this habit.
Sr. Addie inspires us to really be alive, and not to just survive each day but to thrive each day. Let me share her advice:
“To live, requires that we pay attention to what has heart and meaning, reading the signs of the times, listening to the calls of the Spirit, the people, the church, listening to myself, listening to you, listening with the heart of God. The second step of prayer requires us to see where God is acting, and it calls us to act in our times. We must pray that we can see what God sees and be moved to response-ability. Then we must act. We must do something for God’s sake. Finally, we must pause, reflect, and assess our faithfulness to God’s mission.
Let us live life in the here and now with a passion and a zeal for the God who first loved us and at every moment continues to love us, the God who called us and promised to accompany us on the way, the God who brought us here to this point in our lives. Living the present with passion stirs up hope. We are called to be women and men of hope.”
Once we rekindle our hope in Christ, we must share that hope. In his exhortation about evangelization, Pope Francis writes that it is a “joyful response to God’s love which summons us to mission and makes us fulfilled and productive.” (Joy of the Gospel, #81)
Sr. Addie continues:
“As I look to the future, I keep in mind that hope is based on God and vision for our world and the people that God has called to carry out that vision: you and me. We carry this hope together.”
I leave it here for you.
Listen to the Spirit and to the world around us.
Make your plan (Habakkuk 2:2-2)
Be alive. Do something.
Continuously pause and assess.
Be the hope God calls you to be.
If you feel that God calls you to carry out the vision of hope as a vowed religious Sister, please contact us here.