The Virtue of Hope

Favorite Poems Old and New got overlooked for a few days, and I missed it. Since editor Helen Ferris chose poems with a young audience in mind, all of the selections could be described as having a positive outlook, but some are better than others. The one I turned to today is one I always enjoy:

Hold Fast Your Dreams
by Louise Driscoll

Hold fast your dreams!
Within your heart
Keep one still, secret spot
Where dreams may go,
And sheltered so,
May thrive and grow—
Where doubt and fear are not.
Oh, keep a place apart
Within your heart,
For little dreams to go.

That theme of dreams/hope reminds me of something I reread the other day. Archbishop Luis Maria Martinez wrote:

Saint Thomas Aquinas … poses a problem when treating of the virtue of hope. If someone receives a revelation that he is to be condemned, what should he do? The saint does not hesitate to answer: Let him not believe it, because such a revelation would be opposed to the virtue of hope, and even if an angel from heaven brought the message, the certainty given me by the divine virtue of hope is above all the angels of heaven. God has promised me eternal blessedness, that promise is as good as actual possession, for I enclose it within the confines of my impregnable hope. I do not base my hope on liberty, so weak and fickle, nor on my limited strength, but upon the promise of God, his omnipotence and his goodness.

Yet, someone may object that God has promised beatitude under such and such conditions. The conditions may be reduced to a single one, which was proclaimed by the angels at Bethlehem: “Peace on earth to men of good will.” They did not say “to men of character,” nor “to men of genius,” nor “to men of good deeds,” nor “to men of great virtue,” but “to men of good will.”

When Saint Thomas Aquinas’ sister asked him how to obtain salvation, he answered her with one phrase: “Will it.” Nothing more is necessary. The promises of God demand from us only this condition: Will it!

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