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Speaking to the Soul: Not Waiting for Hope

Speaking to the Soul: Not Waiting for Hope

Week of 3 Lent, Year One

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]


Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 119:97-120 (morning) // 81, 82 (evening)

Jeremiah 8:18-9:6

Romans 5:1-11

John 8:12-20

Last night, a guest speaker at my moms’ group spoke to us about research indicating that character strengths like perseverance are more predictive of “success” than are cognitive abilities. Our second reading today lays out a sort of curriculum for this kind of character growth. It all starts with our perseverance through suffering: “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us.”

It’s interesting that this pattern doesn’t start with hope. Sometimes, hope is presented as a force that allows us to endure and persist through adverse experiences. But in this passage from the Romans, only by enduring and persisting through these experiences do we develop hope. Hope is not the pre-condition, but the end product of persevering.

Instead of searching or waiting for hope to pull us through, we might need to produce that hope ourselves by pushing forward. This capacity to persevere until we find hope is a sign even now that the resurrection life is at work within us. Even if our only accomplishment today is enduring another twenty-four hours, who knows what strengths of character, hope, and love are in the making.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal.  She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps  program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.


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Ann Fontaine

Suffering does not often produce hope but despair from what I have seen.

Linda McMillan

Oh, I don’t think anything has been limited. She is just saying that in the Romans passage that’s what she sees. I found it a hopeful and helpful post.

Fr. Gregory Tipton

It doesn’t state “only by” persevering/suffering/etc. that hope is cultivated.

True suffering produces hope, so too hope produces suffering (for there is no way to salvation but through the cross). Because God is One, so too the virtues are one, for they are participation in God’s Being. To separate these two into an “one-way only” reading creates a fissure in God’s Being or a pantheon of gods (and is a commitment to philosophical Foundationalism). The limits of our perseverance are the limits of our hope and vice versa. Certain activities cultivate Virtue, participation in the divine, but they are all moving together, for to participate in one attribute of God is to participate in them all. To insert the “only by” is to make a classical Lutheran move that limits readings of the Scriptures unnecessarily, and adds onto the words of Scripture.

George A. Bennett

I think that our endurance and our character are faulty & finite. But our Hope is limitless & perfect, as it is certain.

Hope is ours upon believing. Being justified by faith, we have peace with God thru Jesus and we also know that Christ came & died for us, while we were still sinners. There’s our hope.

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