The definition of the theological
virtue of Hope, according to the "Catechism of the Catholic Church."
Part Three-Life in Christ
Section II, The Theological Virtues
1817 Hope is the theological virtue by
which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying
not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. "Let us hold fast the confession of our
hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." "The Holy Spirit...He poured out upon us richly through
Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by His grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life."
1818 The virtue of hope responds to the
aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men's activities
and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times
of abandonement; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beautitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from
selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity.
1819 Christian hope takes up and fulfills
the hope of the chosen people which has its origin and model in the hope of Abraham, who was blessed abundantly by
the promises of God fulfilled in Isaac, and who was purified by the test of the sacrifice. "Hoping against hope,
he believed, and thus became the father of many nations."
1920 Christian hope unfolds from the
beginning of Jesus' preaching in the proclamation of the beatitudes. The beatitudes raise our hope toward
heaven as the new Promised Land; they trace the path that leads through the trials that await the disciples of Jesus.
But through the merits of Jesus Christ and of His Passion, God keeps us in the "Hope that does not disappoint."
Hope is the "sure and steadfast anchor of the soul...that enters...where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf."
Hope is also a weapon that protects us in the struggle of salvation: "Let us...put on the breastplate of faith
and charity, and for a helmet the hope of salvation." It affords us the joy even under trial: "Rejoice
in your hope, be patient in tribulation." Hope is expressed and nourished in prayer, especially in the Our Father,
the summary of everything that hope leads us to desire.
1821 We can therefore hope in the glory
of heaven promised by God to those who love Him and do His will. In every circumstance, each one of us should hope,
with the grace of God, to persevere "to the end" and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God's eternal reward for
the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ. In hope, the Church prays for "all men to be saved."
She longs to be united with Christ, her Bridegroom, in the glory of heaven:
Hope, O my soul, hope. You know
neither the day nor the hour.
Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your
impatience makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short
time into a long one. Dream that
the more you struggle, the more
you prove the love that
you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice
with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end.