Hope is the Greatest Need

Hope is the Greatest Need

Hope is the Greatest Need
Rev. Bede Jarrett, O.P. (1881-1934), was an English Dominican priest, noted historian, and author.

Faith is the basis of life, and charity is the crown; but hope is the greatest need. Most of the difficulties of life come because man is so prone to lose heart.

The whole of life tends to depress a man who is at all conscious of his capacities, responsibilities, and his failures. Is he, then, a great sinner? Not at all. Has he lost his faith and love? Most certainly not. What, then, is wanting to him? Hope. He has given up hope; he is disheartened; he is too discouraged to go on. He is very human; oh yes, but he is very foolish also; for when hope is gone, all is over.

Failure counts for nothing, defeat, disappointment–these matter nothing at all, so long as hope sits patiently, stirring the embers, watching and tending the fire, coaxing the flame, never despairing and never leaving the wind to work its will. That the clouds should come up over the sky, or that darkness should encircle the earth, bring no real terrors, for we are sure that the dawn will come out again and that the sun will break through with its golden glory.

God does not ask from me perfect prayers or perfect sacraments. He does not ask me even to overcome my temper or my want of charity or my untruthfulness. He does not ask these things for He knows He could not get them from me. What, then, does He ask? That I should try to overcome them: only that and nothing more–that I should try day after day, despite failure, repeated and certain, to overcome these obstacles to my union with Him. For goodness consists not in the love of God, but in the attempts to love Him.

If, then, I fail, let me not be discouraged, but, realizing my own weakness and confident only in God’s strength, let me go on striving my best, for my business in life is really little else than to continue to fail without losing courage or lessening effort. The phrase of Saint Catherine should ring always in my ear: “God does not ask for a perfect work, but infinite desire.”

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