If “Hope begins in the dark”, then we should be experiencing a great dose of HOPE real soon.  It’s hard to fathom how inhuman humanity can be.  How can we become so self righteous and jaded, that we can ignore the cries of children, treat other human beings as if they are less than we are and of course, become numb to dishonesty, violence and so many other negative actions and behaviors of those of us who call ourselves human?  How do we become so misguided as to think our Creator can condone such lack of compassion, lack of kindness, lack of reverence for all the human community?

Add to that the horrible events unfolding in Nicaragua, which is for many of us, a home away from home and we can truly wonder if the dawn of HOPE will come.

I don’t know about you but I needed a dose of hope in recent days, and I got multiple doses yesterday.  First, as Sr. Steph and I walked into Church, we were greeted with the words “welcome home”…you’ve been missed.  (I’ve been presenting on the Mission in many different parishes throughout our Diocese this summer and so, haven’t been in town on the weekends until yesterday.)  Yes, it felt nice to hear those words.  And as I sat there in prayer, I wondered about all those who don’t hear those words, who don’t hear “welcome” or “all are welcome” or “be not afraid” because so often, the songs we sing don’t match the behavior we see exhibited by those who misuse their faith to serve an immoral or unethical position.  This reality is existent in all major walks of faith so no one is exempted!

But in the midst of the  “darkness that covers the abyss” (Genesis)  known as “our world at this time”, we do have the dawning of HOPE each and every day.  We do have the actions of those who are inclusive of all the human community, we do have the risks taken by so many to serve the poor and marginalized, we do have the courage of those who seek to bring HOPE to others in the midst of the darkness of our world.

I thought about this reality a lot in recent days and reminded myself that we must never lose hope.  We must seek to find ways and expressions of the dawn breaking through the darkness of despair.  I’d like to share just a couple personal experiences.  Yesterday, I witnessed the baptism of my little great niece, Ellie Grace.  I witnessed the gift of blessing, the promise of life supported by a faith community, a child whose smile can melt the hardest of hearts.  I saw a child being offered hope and being loved and I prayed for all those children who are not offered those same blessings each day.

Then, my niece asked me if I wanted to see what was nested in their garage, on top of their ladder.  Of course, I said yes and I was blessed to see 3 baby robins stretching their necks out of the nest, seeking food, seeking the comfort of the mother robin, seeking to just be….and I thought of the Scripture passage where Jesus, in Matthew 6 says” look at the birds of the air….God feeds them.  And if God cares for them, so does God care for you!” (adapted)

It is a challenge not to become sucked up or absorbed in all the dark behavior of humanity.  I invite each of us to re-sensitive ourselves to the signs of hope, of kindness, and of love and compassion that our Creator God blesses us with each day.  Whether it is a hug from a grandchild, a wonderful family vacation, a walk in the woods, ocean or mountains, or the unfolding of creation’s beauty each and every day, or supporting those who serve in our names like the Mission of Hope, we must recapture the energy of hope, the promise of hope and be a part of the unfolding of HOPE…or we run the risk of being consumed by the darkness.

And so, I will attach two photos here today in an effort to capture the essence of HOPE as I’ve experienced recently…..and I invite you to not only enjoy mine but to feel free to share any of yours with me.  I’d love to see your essence of HOPE as it unfolds in your life these days.

Finally and most importantly, live and be HOPE this day… and everyday!

Sr. Debbie Blow, OP