Pope Francis continued his catechesis on Christian Hope at his General Audience on Wednesday, May 31, 2017, taking as his starting point a reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans (Rom 15, 13-14) “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. I, myself, am convinced about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another.”
The Holy Father said that in light of the upcoming feast of Pentecost, “we cannot fail to speak of the relationship between Christian hope and the Holy Spirit.” Hope, he said, quoting the Letter to the Hebrews, can be compared to an anchor, but also to a sail; like an anchor it gives us security, but like a sail it pushes us forward.
Pope Francis focused on the words “God of hope,” saying that God is not simply the object of hope; He also makes us “joyful in hope,” giving us here and now the joy of hoping, not just the hope of having joy in the future.
This joy comes from knowing that we are made sons of God, and His heirs. Repeating a constant theme in his preaching, the Pope said that “hope does not disappoint,” because the Spirit is within us, always pushing us onward.
But, he continued, the Holy Spirit does not simply give us hope. He also makes us capable of being “sowers of hope.” A Christian can spread bitterness and hopelessness, but one who does that is not a good Christian. Quoting Blessed John Henry Newman, the Pope said we must be “consolers” in the image of the Spirit, always ready to help those most in need.
The Spirit, he said, also gives hope to all of creation, and this impels us to respect the world God has created.
Pope Francis concluded his reflection by pointing once again to the Solemnity of Pentecost, the “birthday of the Church.” He prayed that the feast may find us united in prayer, with Mary, the Mother and Jesus and our Mother; and prayed, too, that the gift of the Spirit might make us abound in hope.