Reflection on HOPE
Feast of Father Basil Moreau, CSC, Founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross
One thing I learned many years ago, was that to be a person who lives HOPE in life, it is likely that one has had to live through difficult times. Also, it is likely that one who sees possibilities of HOPE in the challenges faced in life, has been shaped by many challenges, setbacks or failures – yet, has come through it to be a witness of hope to others. Even with such difficulties that one must face, it is possible to face them not with just a naïve optimism, but real HOPE!
A hopeful soul often has a compassionate heart. Life makes it that way.
A great example of a Bearer of Hope is Father Basil Moreau, CSC, founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross. His homeland of France, torn apart as it was finding its way out of the French Revolution, where the Church had been destroyed, led him to have a hopeful vision of the Church, and of a Congregation of men and women to work together to build that church!
His HOPE for our Church was to have one religious family – of women and men (sisters, brothers and priests) together – serving the needs of the poor, educating youth, and caring for the sick, and go to the ends of the earth to preach the Gospel as missionaries. This was his vision for the Congregation of Holy Cross. A vision from almost two centuries. Today it is one that has been deeply engaged in cultures across more than 20 countries in our world.
This was how the origins of the Holy Cross came about. We honor the life of our founder today, January 20th. Father Moreau gave us much in his legacy, but I would say one of the most important messages he left for us is the theme that the Congregation is based on: “Ave Cruz, Spes Unica” – “The Cross is our Only Hope”. He knew that there was suffering in life, and we could get through it with HOPE. His belief based in the acceptance of the Cross of Christ, whose life, death and resurrection, teach us to be women and men of HOPE – whatever our cross may be in our lives, it is possible to overcome. Christ was the example that even as he suffered, he continued to trust in the unending love of God his Father, and lived hope as a way to live our lives even through the most painful times and times of loss.
Because Father Moreau was a bearer of HOPE, we are here today as a part of this community at Saint Joseph’s Oratory, this great work that Saint Brother André Bessette, CSC, founded. In 2021 we are faced with many of the challenges similar to those which Father Moreau lived when he began with his dream in the early 1800’s in France:
- Our world is more secularized than it has been in many generations.
- There are social issues of racism, sexism and classism which permeate our lives and societies.
- The distribution of wealth across the world, availability to quality education, and basic standards of living.
We also face global warming and environmental disasters such as floods, fires and desertification; our earth and natural environment is at risk of destruction beyond repair.
Today, we are all facing the Covid-19 pandemic on a global level. It has touched each of us in different ways, through loss, sickness, loneliness, and fear. It has been a terrible time for people everywhere in our world. For those of us who can, and feel the strength to do so, we must be bearers of hope to all those who are suffering today. As difficult as it is, let us strive to carry hope to those who are truly suffering from the pandemic.
One could say that these days are dark – and they are in many ways. But, as believers, and with belief that through these challenges (crosses) that life is sending us at this time, we can have that same sense of the virtue of HOPE to guide us and lead us through these difficult times. You and I, each of us, are a Bearer of Hope in our world today to guide us in our families, communities and our Church to better and more hopeful times.
Thank you to Father Moreau, for your gift of insight, simplicity and deep faith and helping us to see that through embracing the Cross of Christ in our lives today, we become Bearers of Hope to bring to the World.
Father Michael McGrath DeLaney, CSC