Friday 20th May 2022

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

The Theological Virtues — Hope

December 29, 2018 Our Catholic Faith No Comments


As we continued our treatment of the theological virtue of faith in last week’s installment by looking at vices and sins opposed to this unmerited gift, which Christoph Cardinal Schönborn describes as “the gateway to divine life” (Living the Catechism of the Catholic Church [vol. 3], p. 46), we saw that unbelief is a most grave sin.
In A Tour of the Summa, Msgr. Paul J. Glenn illuminates this teaching by stating that unbelief “severs a man completely from God and falsifies his very notion of God” (p. 193). Especially grave are sins which involve the rejection of what has already been received (e.g., formal heresy, apostasy). Truly, as Sacred Scripture attests, “without faith it is impossible to please him [God]” (Heb. 11:6a).
To close our consideration of the first of the theological virtues, let us reflect on the teaching of Fr. Jordan Aumann, OP, on sure ways that faithful followers of Christ can nourish and strengthen the gift of faith in order to not lose or corrupt it.
Practices he enthusiastically endorses include: 1) foster an interior realization that faith is a gift (see Eph. 2:8) and constantly implore the Lord for grace to fortify it; 2) forcefully reject doubts and temptation against faith, avoid dangerous literature that promotes worldly or anti-Christian values (e.g., New Age beliefs and practices), and resist all forms of intellectual pride (see 1 Peter 5:5); 3) read and study Scripture and Catholic doctrine, the lives of the saints, etc.; and 4) set aside time for daily prayer and make devout acts of faith throughout the day (cf. Spiritual Theology [SpT], pp. 250-251).
These upright practices apply to all who are intent upon living a virtuous Christian life, even beginners. There is much more, however, for Fr. Aumann goes on to recommend additional behaviors to be adopted by those who are more advanced in the spiritual life: 5) set aside self-love in all its forms, both in times of consolation and desolation, prosperity and adversity; 6) evaluate all things in reference to the teachings of faith, while renouncing worldly criteria and purely human points of view; and 7) embrace all trials and sufferings allowed by God in a spirit of joy with a firm conviction that it is a privilege to share the lot of our Lord, for “on those He loves with a love of predilection He lavishes His crosses as the most certain mark of His tenderness” (St. Thérèse of Lisieux: General Correspondence, volume two, LT 178, p. 909).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) next considers the theological virtue of hope, which it defines as the infused virtue “by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit” (n. 1817).
Similarly, but in slightly different terms, Fr. Aumann defines hope as “the theological virtue infused by God into the will by which we trust with complete certitude in the attainment of eternal life and the means necessary for reaching it, assisted by the omnipotent help of God” (SpT, p. 258). The primary object of our hope is union with God; the secondary object consists in all those means which lead to that goal.
Before proceeding, important to understand is that the virtues of faith and hope are intimately related. Hope grows out of faith, for we can hope in God only if we first “believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb. 11:6b). In other words, it is not possible to possess the virtue of hope unless one believes in God’s Word and His fidelity.
In common usage in the English language, hope is defined as “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best” ( As we saw in an earlier installment on the morality of the passions (see volume 150, n. 45; November 9, 2017), hope on the natural level is an emotion by which we desire something that is arduous to obtain. As such, explains St. Thomas Aquinas, the object of the passion of hope is “a future good, difficult but possible to obtain” (Summa Theologiae [STh] II-II, Q. 17, art. 1).
Human hope is not necessarily a virtue. Although it might sometimes be virtuous, it can often happen that one’s natural desires are misplaced, naive, or even imprudent. Moreover, even if the object of our hope is a true good, one might employ immoral means in its pursuit (i.e., the end does not justify the means).
As an example of misdirected hope, consider a person who uses his entire hard-earned paycheck to purchase as many lottery tickets as possible in the hope of winning millions of dollars. Then, when someone else claims the jackpot, the reckless risk-taker is unable to make his mortgage payment.
Theological hope, on the other hand, is not a feeling; it is an assurance. It aims at union with God, through God’s aid. It is the confident desire and expectation of attaining eternal happiness if one is faithful and cooperates with the grace of God.
“Supernatural [theological] hope,” explains Fr. Kenneth Baker, SJ, “is certain because it is based on the goodness and promises of God; it is reasonable because of the power of God to do what he says he will do. Hope is supernatural because the desired good, the face-to-face vision of God, is supernatural, and it is necessary because heaven is man’s ultimate end” (Doctrinal Sermons on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 14).
Since the end is supernatural, Fr. Baker emphasizes, the means to that end must also be supernatural; they “must come from God who is their only source” (ibid., p. 13). Classified under means (the secondary object of hope), explains Fr. Aumann, are the goods of this world. However, this is true “only to the extent that they can be useful to us for salvation” (SpT, p. 258). In fact, the Angelic Doctor says that “we ought not to pray to God for any other goods, except in reference to eternal happiness” (STh II-II, Q. 17, art. 2, ad 2).
As Holy Week approaches, it would be good to reflect on how often we fall short in that regard, how often we ask God in prayer for things that have only a passing, temporal value.
Does Sacred Scripture provide a basis for our hope? In the same paragraph in which it defines hope, the Catechism cites such a verse: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23). St. Paul, in his Letter to Titus, gives us a similar assurance when he states that it was “in virtue of his own mercy…poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5-7).
Likewise, in the Gospel of St. Matthew we are told: “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you….If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him” (Matt. 7:7, 11). The “good things” promised by Jesus are precisely those we ask for in the act of hope.
“The virtue of hope,” the Catechism goes on to say, “responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men’s activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven” (CCC, n. 1818).
The connection to a paragraph that was cited as this series began in 2012 is clear (see volume 145, n. 18; May 3, 2012): “Man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to Himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for” (CCC, n. 27). This, in turn, is reminiscent of St. Augustine’s famous quotation: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you” (Confessions, book 1, chapter 1).

Heavenly Glory

How, then, does hope protect us? As explained by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, “it protects us from discouragement, sustains us in our abandonment by creatures, and rejoices our heart in anticipation of the heavenly glory that awaits us” (The Faith, p. 163).
“Buoyed up by hope,” teaches the Catechism, “[man] is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity” (CCC, n. 1818).
As the Apostle to the Gentiles proclaims in his Letter to the Romans, we are given the strength to “rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, [and] persevere in prayer” (Romans 12:12).
In a superb volume of meditations on the interior life entitled Divine Intimacy, Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD, beautifully reflects on the incalculable worth of the supernatural virtue of hope. As we close this installment, let us prayerfully consider an excerpt from his masterpiece:
“We look at the infinite God who is perfect and immensely higher than ourselves, a weak, miserable creature, and we wonder: How can I reach Him and be united with Him, who is so infinitely beyond my capacity? And hope replies: You can, for God Himself wishes it; it was for this reason that He created you and raised you to the supernatural state, giving you all the help necessary for such an arduous undertaking” (p. 735).

+ + +

(Don Fier serves on the board of directors for The Catholic Servant, a Minneapolis-based monthly publication. He and his wife are the parents of seven children. Fier is a 2009 graduate of Ave Maria University’s Institute for Pastoral Theology. He is a Consecrated Marian Catechist.)

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Load More...

Vatican and USCCB leave transgender policy texts unpublished

While U.S. bishops have made headlines for releasing policies addressing gender identity and pastoral ministry, guidelines on the subject have been drafted but not published by both the U.S. bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s doctrinal office, leaving diocesan bishops to…Continue Reading

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1


Today . . .

Justice Clarence Thomas Defends Draft Overturning Roe v. Wade, Tells Abortion Activists We Won’t be “Bullied”

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has a message for the radical abortion activists who think they can bully the Supreme Court into revising its draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade: You can’t bully us. Abortion activists plan to “raise hell” at churches across the country on Mother’s Day with protests and, some fear, violence as outrage grows in response to a leaked draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court that overturns Roe v. Wade. But Justice Thomas…Continue Reading

Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows

The Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, according to an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito circulated inside the court and obtained by POLITICO. The draft opinion is a full-throated, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision – Planned Parenthood v. Casey – that largely maintained the right. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito writes.

China expert: Dead bodies from Shanghai lockdown will far outnumber COVID casualties

China expert Steve Mosher warned Wednesday that the deadly toll of Shanghai’s ongoing lockdowns will be “much greater” than any potential lives lost due to COVID-19. “I don’t know how many lives they’re going to save from coronavirus in Shanghai, but I guarantee when they finally go into some of these apartments where people have been locked up for three or four weeks, they’re going to find dead bodies of people who’ve starved to death,…Continue Reading

Colorado legalizes abortion until the moment of birth

DENVER (LifeSiteNews) — Democrat Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado signed a bill into law on Monday that allows babies to be killed in the womb up until the moment of birth. “No matter what the Supreme Court does in the future, people in Colorado will be able to choose when and if they have children,” Polis said at the signing ceremony in downtown Denver, referencing the possible reversal of Roe v. Wade in the coming weeks.

Emails Show Cardinal Cupich Complicit In Mayor’s Draconian Lockdown Policies for Chicago Churches

In May 2020, Mayor Lori Lightfoot was drawing considerable flak over her stance against churches and other places of worship reopening for services amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But she found a behind-the-scenes ally to help her face the backlash from faith communities: Cardinal Blase Cupich, the top Catholic cleric in the Chicago region. Newly obtained emails between Cupich and Lightfoot show the cardinal advised the mayor on May 13, 2020, about how to craft a…Continue Reading

Justice Clarence Thomas Defends Draft Overturning Roe v. Wade

By STEVEN ERTELT WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeNews) — Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has a message for the radical abortion activists who think they can bully the Supreme Court into revising its draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade: You can’t bully us.Abortion activists “raised hell” at some churches across the country on Mother’s Day with protests.…Continue Reading

Deicide: The Ultimate Fraud

By DEACON JAMES H. TONER “Since these people did not see fit to acknowledge God, He abandoned them to their depraved way of thinking and to all types of vile behavior” (Romans 1:28). + + With broken hearts and with more than a little anger, we survey the Church’s wreckage and chaos, and we ask,…Continue Reading

Ignores Brutality Of Abortion…. Joe Biden Slams “Brutality” Of Draft To Overturn Roe

By STEVEN ERTELT CHICAGO (LifeNews) — During a fundraising speech to top Democrat donors on May 11, Joe Biden slammed the “brutality” of the Supreme Court’s draft ruling overturning Roe v. Wade but ignored the brutality of how babies are dismembered in abortions.Biden spoke at a Democratic National Committee Fundraiser that Wednesday night at the…Continue Reading

U.S. Trade Deficit With Communist China Is Climbing

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY At the White House press briefing last December 6, press secretary Jen Psaki made it clear that President Joe Biden wanted the People’s Republic of China to pay a price for its human rights abuses.He would do so by declining to send any U.S. government officials to the Beijing Winter Olympics,…Continue Reading

The Narrow Gate

By DONALD DeMARCO In Matt. 7:13-14, Christ tells us something we need to know but are reluctant to accept: “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, tt leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Liturgy Unites, Gaslighting Divides

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Guns don’t kill people, people do. People are the source of division, not the things they use to bring about violence. The voice is one of the most beautiful gifts given to men, and yet men use their voices all too frequently in sinful ways to divide and to hate. This is not the fault…Continue Reading

Do You Fear The Right Thing? A Meditation On The Story Of Chicken Little

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this article on May 9, 2022 and it is reprinted here with permission.) + + In the wake of the COVID-19 explosion of fear, we do well to begin reflecting on fear. Fear is a complex passion. On the one hand, there are things that we ought to fear such…Continue Reading

God’s Ways Are Not Our Ways

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Sixth Sunday Of Easter (YR C) Readings: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29Rev. 21:10-14, 22-23John 14:23-29 In the Gospel reading today, our Lord tells us that He leaves us with peace, but not just any peace, rather, “My peace I give to you.” He makes the distinction between the peace He gives and the peace the world gives, then…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: This series on Apologetics is based on the book Catholicism & Reason. Please feel free to use the series for high schoolers or adults. We will continue to welcome your questions for the column as well. You can send them either to the postal mailing address or to the email address below, and we will interrupt this series…Continue Reading

Liturgical And Cultural Diversity

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The same Church leaders calling for cultural diversity are proposing to injure it through a plan to eliminate the liturgical diversity which underlies it.Cultural diversity is a current touchstone in the Church. The Archdiocese of Washington has planned a high visibility meeting about the matter this month. Each parish in the archdiocese has been tasked…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Joseph Of Cupertino

By DEB PIROCH St. Joseph, born in 1603, experienced his first ecstatic vision when he was only elementary school age and, his jaw dropping in astonishment, he was in utter amazement at what was shown him. Classmates not surprisingly bestowed on him the name of “bocca aperta,” or “open mouthed.” The only son of Felix and Frances Desa, he was…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Agnes

By DEB PIROCH “What threats the executioner used to make her fear him, what allurements to persuade her, how many desired that she would come to them in marriage! But she answered: ‘It would be an injury to my spouse to look on any one as likely to please me. He who chose me first for Himself shall receive me. Why…Continue Reading