In his Wednesday General Audience on September 20, 1978, Pope John Paul I continued his series of talks on the seven “Lamps of Santification” of Pope John XXIII. He focused on hope.
Here are some excerpts:
Today I will speak to you of [hope], which is obligatory for every Christian…. anyone who lives it travels in an atmosphere of trust and abandonment…. You will say further: how can this happen? It happens because one is attached to three truths: God is almighty, God loves me immensely, God is faithful to his promises. And it is he, the God of mercy, who kindles trust in me; so that I do not feel lonely, or useless, or abandoned, but involved in a destiny of salvation, which will lead to Paradise one day….. starving love, that is, hope…. God detests failings because they are failings. On the other hand, in a certain sense he loves failings since they give to him an opportunity to show his mercy and to us an opportunity to remain humble and to understand and to sympathize with our neighbor’s failings. Not everyone shares this sympathy of mine for hope…. “My God, I hope from your goodness…. eternal life and the necessary graces to deserve it with good works, which I must do and want to do. My God, let me not remain confounded for ever.”
You can read the entire address at: www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_i/audiences/documents/hf_jp-i_aud_20091978_en.html.
Don’t you just love the description of hope as “starved love”? A deep longing for the one whom you love, yet being not yet able to completely embrace or experience him. A hunger with an assurance.
His tying hope to the “three truths” of God’s omipotence, his fidelity and his immense love is one of those fundamental realities of the Catholic faith that we often do not directly state or consider. It is something for those of us who preach and are entrusted with the Word of God need to consider when we offer homilies, i.e., how can we instill hope in our people if we don’t preach on God’s love, his faithfulness, and his unimaginable power to bring about all that he has promised. A God who has trust in us, who does not leave us alone and useless, who does not abandon us.
Hope: a starving love.
Papa Luciani, pray for us!