Pope Benedict XVI recently completed his second encyclical (a letter addressed by the pope to all the bishops of the church) entitled "Saved by Hope." As we are faced with many challenges it is important to remember the virtue of hope. We have seen a myriad of natural disasters recently and it is easy for those who have been affected to fall into despair. Even when everything in life seems bleak, we must remember that God never abandons his people, and he is alive and active in the world.
Likewise, when we work for a good cause, we don't always see an immediate return on our investment. We may work hard to make a positive difference and see little or no tangible progress. We must continue to pursue our work and trust that God has a plan for us. It has been said that he who serves God willingly is heard. We must place our trust in God's promises. We must not rely on the strength of our own, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. Hope will bring joy even in the most difficult times. Faith, hope, prayer, and trust all go hand in hand. You can not have trust without faith, faith without hope, or hope without prayer. Hope is placing our trust in God. We express our hope through prayer. Prayer in turn strengthens our faith, which is based our our hope for eternal life.