Writing a piece for Catherine's Cafe is always a challenge for me. I am never quite sure what to write. I start to reflect on my personal prayer and experiences of the recent past. That's where I begin each time. I have been intrigued with a book entitled Mystical Hope: Trusting in the Mercy of God by Cynthia Bourgeault. Though I read it last year I decided to read it again. This time around, the message of the book has taken me so much deeper, especially since my dad's recent passing.
So I was contemplating the notion of "hope" and "mercy," wanting to share some of the insights with you. Then I went to a gathering in celebration of our 800th Jubilee at Dominican University. Timothy Radcliffe, OP, previous Master of the Order and world-renowned speaker and author, was the keynote speaker. I had no idea what his topic would be.
He began with these questions: What gives you hope?; How do you communicate that hope to others, especially the youth; and together, how do we keep hope alive? These questions confirmed that I would focus on HOPE.
Both the book and the talk spoke of hope as a way of living that roots us in a deep sense of God's abiding presence no matter the challenges or joys. This kind of hope is much more than a wish for a good outcome. We know hope in the fiber of our being. As Cynthia Bourgeault states: Hope is our life-blood. Coupled with mercy it is the heart of our own lives and of all that is alive. It is mystical, calling us to seeing and being with a new vision.
Our world is in crisis, a critical time for hope. Trusting in God's infinite mercy, we are able to . . . stay with those who are suffering, . . . see and do good things, . . .let go of control,. . . make a difference, . . . study and discover new possibilities,. . . live with gratitude.
Pause and Ponder: What gives me hope? What gestures of hope can I offer?
Mary Therese Johnson, OP