It is this hope that must carry us or we will eventually stumble in our faith. Sometimes it is very easy to give ourselves to others, to walk by faith. We need hope to stand firm in faith! For faith without hope – that is, faith without a future – is dead. Faith cannot stand on its own for long. It needs the mutual support of hope, and love.
The first word of the gospel is joy: “Behold, I bring you good news of great joy for all people!” But, how can we rejoice during tough times? When the economy is in such desperate straits? When people continue to suffer war, injustice, hunger, violence, and cruelty? Somber times call for sobriety, not celebration – right? Doesn’t God want us to be serious?
Still in his 20s, John Lennon possessed everything that people assume leads to happiness: fame, fortune, power, and prominence. And yet, none of these things brought him the peace he craved. He was willing to give away everything for just a little peace of mind. If peace is not found in performance, possessions, or popularity, where can it be found?
Gratitude looks underneath the surface of things and recognizes that there is a goodness outside ourselves that truly exists even when we fail to experience it. No matter how dark or difficult life gets, it would certainly be darker if we felt there were no ultimate meaning, purpose, or significance to life – that no external goodness accompanied us all along the way.
Eros is passionate love. The deep feelings that accompany eros are often exclusively associated with sexuality, but eros is not limited to it. Though eros is motivated by self-interest, one should not conclude that eros is always selfish. Eros, when rightly ordered with the other loves, is a deeply spiritual expression of love.