Before we go any further… sit with this question. What am I hoping for?
Now have you ever stopped to think about hope as a journey?
Let’s explore our hopes a bit
Is what you hope for something you need or want? Do you need a job to survive? Do you want greater fulfillment?
Let’s take two tragic events of the past week. There seems to be a clear difference between wanting to be one of the few people in the world who have seen the Titanic up close.
Contrast that with the 600 migrants who drowned last week off the coast of Greece seeking the bare necessities of life… safety from violence, a place where they could find food for their families.
Both hopes ended abruptly
Have you ever experienced one door of hope closing and another opening to something you never dreamed of.
Perhaps as a teenager you had your heart set on the one person you thought you would spend your life with. It did not work out with that person. But you found a person beyond your expectations.
Hope is a journey that leads us on many twists and turns… and sometimes dead ends.
The journey of prominent Vincentians
Vincent initially hoped for a comfortable living. He never dreamed that he would find serving the poor and marginalized the path to fulfillment of his daily prayer “Thy kingdom come.”
Louise dreamt of entering a convent. Thwarted, she began to hope for a fulfilling marriage and children. That, too, did not work out. At first, she saw no way that this man called Vincent would become her life-long companion in serving God’s kingdom, bringing the “Good news” of the kingdom to those who others thought had no place in God’s kingdom.
St.Elizabeth Ann Seton
Elizabeth, a talented debutante, initially had it all. Then her world collapsed. She never dreamed she would set in motion a movement for catholic education, leading a group of women dedicated to service of the poor. She discovered a deeper dimension of her journey.
Each had their hopes fulfilled in unexpected ways of bringing about what they routinely prayed … “thy kingdom come.”
I think I first heard Mary referred to as First Disciple from St Pope John Paul II. He calls her the “first disciple” (Redemptoris Mater). l since learned Marian theologians had been writing about this for much longer.
The twists and turns of her journey of hope model a broader perspective on the hopes of all disciples who came after her.
As a young Jewish girl, her hope would have been like her peers … a happy marriage. As a young JEWISH girl, she was also taught to ardently hope and pray for the coming of the Messiah.
Along with her compatriots, she probably would not have thought of this Messiah as a SUFFERING SERVANT.
All her hopes were upended with a visit from an angel. She was going to be the mother of this Messiah. She was told her role in the coming kingdom was going to cost her dearly. She could not have expected how much.
As “first disciple,” she teaches us to always look beyond the twists and turns of our journeys of hope. She teaches us to accept and look for the ways God is asking us to recognize the special part we have in bringing about the fulfillment of the prayer “thy kingdom com.”
Have you ever looked at your journey of hope as part of praying “thy kingdom come?”
Can Mary provide you a broader perspective on the twists and turns of your journey of hope?
Click below for an early audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk