How does one awaken hope in the midst of despair?  How does one awaken hope when such darkness seems to invade our world?  How does one determine what’s worth living for and what’s worth dying for?

Well, without being too simplistic, I believe that inner peace and hope come when one realizes that what’s worth living for and what’s worth dying for, become one and the same.  I truly believe that might be one message that Jesus invites us to hear during this week’s commemoration of his journey from life to death to Life this week!

Two dear friends of mine, Sr. Pauline and Sr. Claire, once presented a workshop entitled “Your essential course of action”.  I took this workshop more than 20 years ago, before I co-founded the Mission of Hope.  And while I certainly could never do justice to the course or share the wisdom in the same amazing way they did, I realize that as we all walk our earthly journey, we search and struggle and search and “hone” our earthly journey with the goal of growing into “our own unique essential course of action”.

Perhaps the words of Pope Francis as well as the actions and words of Jesus, can guide us and point us to how we are all called to awaken HOPE….

“Jesus has awakened great hopes, especially in the hearts of the simple, the humble, the poor, the forgotten, those who do not matter in the eyes of the world. He understands human sufferings, he has shown the face of God’s mercy, he has bent down to heal body and soul.”

– Pope Francis

In our life time, we, too are called to the essential action of awakening hope, especially among those who are poor, forgotten and seemingly don’t matter in the eyes of the world.

So, as we try to figure out how to awaken hope, let me share a couple simple examples of this past week or so, while I’m down in Florida doing Mission of Hope presentations.

Last weekend, while in Orlando at St. James’ Cathedral presenting, the presence of Sr. Steph, Bev Gogola and Bill Calmbacher ( all saging members in their 70’s and 80’s), awakened hope by sharing their Mission experiences with others.  And while doing so, truly grew into a deeper awareness of what it means when we say “your Mission continues” even after you can no longer travel.

Then, this week, one of our poor sponsored families in Nicaragua, experienced the awakening of HOPE when the Mission reached out because they lost absolutely everything they had, due to a devastating fire…and what they had was next to nothing to begin with.

Or there was yesterday afternoon, when a couple sat next to Steph and me at Palm Sunday liturgy.  They seemed a little confused about where the booklet was so I went and got one for them. The elderly gentleman told me I seemed to know “ the lay of the land” to which I replied…..”it helps in this situation to be a nun”!  Well, we struck up a conversation about who we were and what I do….and before I knew it, his wife was handing me a hundred dollars saying, “Sister, you just renewed my hope and joy in a way you’ll never know.   Take this and feed some children!  We’ve been blessed and your sincerity and passion have excited me for the first time in a very long time!”

It only takes a moment to awaken HOPE, even in the midst of trial, trauma and troubles.

So, as you walk your earthly journey during this Holy Week, and as those of us who are Christian, join in Jesus’ walk from life to suffering and death, to LIFE, may we strive to awaken hope and share mercy with those we meet!  Indeed, that just might be an “essential course of action” for all of us as members of the human community!

Live and Be HOPE this week- and be aware of the ways you receive hope or awaken hope in those you meet!

Sr. Debbie Blow