Finding hope in the midst of darkness

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 6 Comments

Where do you find hope in the midst of darkness? Do you find hope in lived experiences, stories told within your family or faith community, in the words of scripture, in secular writings?

We are currently reading selections from a book titled Hope in the Midst of Darkness.  Each selection is written by a different sister from among the many communities and congregations which are members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious which produced this book.  I would like to share from a piece written by Lorelle Elcock, OP, from Ossining, New York. Sister Lorelle chose to tell the story of her community being formed when three congregations came together and, in the process, chose their new name as the Dominican Sisters of Hope. Having made that decision, she reflects:

We increasingly recognize some of hope’s many facets – remembrance, attentiveness, belief, trust, and emptiness. A posture of hope challenges us to remember God’s presence and promise in other times of struggle and to be attentive to what new energy is emerging.  Hope calls us to believe and trust that God’s love will be revealed in an unimagined new reality … Hope enables us to take the next best step that our limited vision suggests. Ultimately, hope urges us to embrace the emptiness of receptivity and utter dependence on God. As Wendell Berry poetically expresses, ‘we pray…to be quiet in heart and in eye clear. What we need is here.’

A Psalm reading for this day brought another vision of hope, from Psalm 119:

Your promise is sweeter to my taste than honey in the mouth.

Your word is a lamp for my steps and a light for my path.

You are my shelter, my shield; I hope in your word.

If you uphold my by your promise I shall live; let my hopes not be in vain.

We sing the last line above at our monastic profession. These words remind us that our hope is in God’s promise of life. The remembrance of God’s faithfulness in the past enables our community to move into the future trusting God.

Where do you find hope in the midst of darkness?

Next week: Cultivating a reserve of hope, another reflection from Hope in the Midst of Darkness

See also: Green twigs of hope, a previous reflection from Hope in the Midst of Darkness

Comments 6

  1. I find hope in my trust in God, that no matter how difficult the trial, God will show me how to use the difficulty to teach others, show others, to see even the worst situation as a “teachable moment ” from which I can learn, grow, teach and help others. I guess what I’m thinking is that I have hope in the face of adversity because God always shows me how painful experiences are opportunities for me. It is hard to put my thoughts into words.

    1. Post

      Thank you Cheryal. Expressing our inmost experiences in words is often hard, but we appreciate your sharing these thoughts with us all. Contemplative hearts continue to ponder these signs of hope.

  2. What occurred to me first as I read was a simple sentence I hold on to when facing the scary unknown: God got me this far in life; God will get me the rest of the way. Remembrance, always a rich eucharistic and theological concept, simply expressed. (Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.) What struck me anew as I read was the mention of emptiness and attentiveness. When we release expectations for anything or in anything except God, then we become available for transformation. Thanks for sharing this; “what we need is here,” indeed!

    1. Remembrance is powerful. Hearing Scripture everyday as we do at the Liturgy of the Hours reminds us how God has acted for healing and wholeness in the past. That helps me trust and have hope for the present and future that God is still acting to bring us that newness of life. What you say about becoming available for transformation by releasing expectations for anything except God is so true. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. How I wish I could see things/life the way Cheryal and Jan do. How I wish my faith was strong enough to trust in God’s providence.
    But I can’t… life is nothing but struggle, pain and despair. Ill health, no job, no money and never experiencing any love in my life.
    I wake up in tears and I go to bed with my tears… I just cannot see any way forward.

    How do I find hope? Where do I turn to for help? Who will listen to me? God seems to be completely deaf to my prayers or maybe He has given up on me long time ago!

    This is not life! It’s barely existence…

    1. God never gives up on anyone, Tille. I hope you can believe that. It sounds like you need the help of others. God often reaches out to us through other people. I encourage you to call a pastor, a counselor or friend.

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