Easter Hope

"I have often thought of the words of Saint Paul: ’Patience breeds hope’ (Romans 5:4). One would have thought that it was just the reverse, that a man could wait patiently because he had hope in his heart. In a certain sense this is true, but the order in which Saint Paul puts it reveals a more profound truth. Those who do not know how to suffer, do not know how to hope either. People who are in too much of a hurry, who wish to grasp the object of their desires immediately, are also incapable of it. The patient sower, who entrusts his seed to the earth and the sun, is also the man of hope. Coventry Patmore has said that to the man who waits all things reveal themselves, provided that he has the courage not to deny in the darkness what he has seen in the light....

"If this patience is that of the sower, it is necessarily accompanied by a cross. ’Those who sow in sorrow, reap in shouts of joy’ (Psalm 126:5), but sometimes they do not reap at all, for ’one sows and another reaps’ (John 4:37). The cross is a condition of every holy work. God himself is at work in what to us seems a cross. Only by its means do our lives acquire a certain genuineness and depth. Nothing is meant wholly seriously unless we are prepared to pay the price it demands. ’It belongs to the place in our poor hearts which is not even there until suffering has entered in’ (Leon Bloy). Only when a man has suffered for his convictions does he attain in them a certain force, a certain quality of the undeniable, and, at the same time, the right to be heard and to be respected. O crux benedicta."

—Yves Congar, Dialogue between Christians, trans. Philip Loretz, S.A. (Newman, 1966).

Published in the 2000-04-21 issue: 

Please email comments to [email protected] and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Must Reads