Choose a topic from Part 2B:

17. The Virtue of Hope

1. Hope is the theological virtue by which we aspire with confidence to grace and heaven, trusting God, and being resolved to use his help.

2. Hope looks directly to our eternal happiness. It is the reaching after good, and, in last analysis, after the supreme good,that is, God. Now, in reaching after God, we also reach for what the possession of God will give us, that is, eternal happiness.

3. Hope, in the strict sense of the word, is in a person and for himself. Hope is for a good not to come automatically, and indeed not easy to attain, which the person hoping seeks, if possible, to achieve for himself. Hence, properly speaking, we cannot hope for another; we can only wish others well. But, since love unites those who have it, a person may be said to hope for his beloved as for himself; in this sense it is possible for one person to hope on behalf of another.

4. We pin our hope on God, not man. We may indeed have hope in a creature as the instrument of divine providence in our behalf. In this way, for example, we hope in the saints.

5. Hope directs the efforts of man to God and eternal happiness in God. Hence, hope is atheological virtue. (The Greek word theos means God; from theos we have the word theological for whatever directly pertains or has reference to God.)

6. Faith makes us adhere to God as the source of truth; hope makes us adhere to God as the source of good; charity makes us adhere to God for his own sake. Hence, it appears that hope is a virtue distinct from the other two theological virtues.

7. Hope comes after faith inasmuch as faith gives knowledge of what is to be hoped for.

8. Hope precedes charity inasmuch as the hope of good engenders love of it. Yet when love is stirred for what was hoped for - perhaps, up to that point, out of fear or self-interest - it gives hope a perfection; hope from then on is newly perfect; in this sense charity precedes perfected hope.

"To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"Whom do you seek, friend, if you seek not God? Seek him, find him, cleave to him; bind your will to his with bands of steel and you will live always at peace in this life and in the next."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God?"
Thomas á Kempis

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