Once upon a time there lived three theological virtues named Faith, Hope and Love. Their house was modest, and just the right size for them to dwell and exercise their respective entities while living in common. They moved in a way that accommodated each other in a wonderful choreography. They deferred to one another in most matters, save for the occasional misstep. Things were about to change dramatically one winter day.
Doubt, Despair, and Hate
Early in the morning, forgetting everything they had been taught, the three went to the neighborhood where Doubt, Despair and Hate lived. They heard wild, loud music and witnessed movement that involved hitting, stomping and colliding with reckless abandon. Their peaceful, harmonious way of life stood in stark contrast to the confusing, erratic display of mayhem that unfolded before them. After they had seen and heard much more than enough, Faith, Hope and Love ran back home and bolted the door shut.
The next morning, as if mutually awakening from a bad dream, they all convened to discuss the previous day. It was decided that they would take turns recounting all that they experienced while enjoying their favorite comestibles and beverages. As the hours passed, all gradually settled into the safe dwelling of heart and home.
The preceding story, purely fictional, can serve this remaining non-fictional account of how Faith, Hope and Love work separately and together in our lives.
Faith has been likened to a new way of seeing God and others. This gift, given at Baptism, gives us spiritual insight. These “eyes to see” serve us throughout our lives as a means to acquiring a deeper understanding of God’s kingdom here on Earth.
While knowledge and assent to the virtue of Faith are necessary and commendable, there remains a second very important step: the living out of Faith. To know right from wrong, and to distinguish the difference between virtue and vice must be applied to our real-life situations and circumstances. In the letter to the Hebrews, Faith is described as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is sure and substantial, and calls believers to action. Often reduced to little more than wishful thinking, Faith would best be represented as a house made of brick, built on a strong foundation.
Perhaps the best way to look at True Hope is to look at its opposite: false hope. A hope connected to any person, place or thing other than God violates the First Commandment as well as the flow of Trinitarian grace. False hope surrounds us, comes at us from every direction, and is packaged and marketed as the answer to our pursuit of happiness. This counterfeit, whether in the form of a new car, job or the latest amusement always falls short. True Hope is rooted in God alone. Only hope in God’s divine providence and love will see us through to eternal life in Heaven. Hope’s dwelling place is built on the firm foundation of Faith.
When The Beatles sang “All You Need Is Love”, they were not far from the mark. If only they could have sung “All You Need Is God’s Love”, they would have hit the eternal mark! According to scripture, regarding the three virtues, “the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). God’s love is all encompassing, and a secure dwelling place for this life and the next. The words of the doxology at Mass, “through Him, with Him and in Him” resound within the physical dwelling of our churches as well as within the hearts of God’s people. Love presides and flourishes in the house of Faith and Hope.
Dwelling Where The Heart Is
Home is where the heart is, and the heart is where our home should be. We take things to heart. Mary held sacred mysteries of her child’s Incarnation in her heart. We give our heart to our beloved in marriage and love is received and given from the heart, which is the very center of our being. The heart, therefore, above all else, is the dwelling place where Faith, Hope and love will reside forever.