Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hope - Power of Advanced Faith

When  Man sees how much he has to endure, he begins to see that it is impossible for him not to have comfort from God, if not in this world, at least, in the next.
Fr. Dimitru Staniloae

What is hope?  Fr. Dimitru tell us that it is faith in an advanced stage.  It is a certitude in future realities and the participation that one will have in them.

Fr Dimitru says,
Hope is faith in an advanced stage, a power, which gives transparency to time, which penetrates through time, as faith penetrates space and visible nature.
It is through hope that we are able to sense a better future which is only reached with some difficulty. It is the opposite to our worries and fears, which Fr. Dimitru calls cares, which only point to an uncertain and unpleasant future.  It with the absence of the worries or cares that we find religious hope.  The less we have fears about the future and the more we have faith in God and our future with Him in His kingdom, the greater is the power of Hope in the soul.

Mark the ascetic tells us,
The heart where Christ dwells from Baptism can't be opened but by "Christ Himself and by intelligent hope."
It is only when hope becomes predominate in our souls that our heart is opened so we can guard the mind and intercept thoughts attached to our passions, so we can live a virtuous life. Hope unleashes the power of Christ within us.

Fr. Dimitru says,
Hope is vision within the heart, with the deepest part of our spirit, thus it is an intimate mystical conviction, a state of the transparency of our nature to the things beyond this world. ... In hope we experience a certainty, which doesn't depend only on our will, which doesn't have the strength we give it.
Is the development of hope that makes all the problems that burden others seem meaningless.  Once we know for certain that our future is with Christ in His kingdom, all the difficulties we face in this world no longer have any power over us. Our worldly cares are diminished. With hope we are able to patiently endure the troubles of this worldly life.

Reference: Orthodox Spirituality, pp177 - 179

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