Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Trust in Hope

I got up this morning and quickly texted some friends who I knew were going down to the Mall today to witness the Inauguration of Barack Obama. Friends and family also texted me to see if I was braving it out there with the masses. I wasn't, but was excited for my friends who were there and excited to be even within a few miles from the events (but kind of glad I had chosen to watch it from the warmth of my own home!)

After watching the events this morning on CNN, I felt a sense of unity among Americans for the first time in a while. But then as soon as I looked at my facebook account, I saw people saying this or that about Bush, Obama; hope, change; the past, the future....and got discouraged that we were less united than I thought. Many people still have doubt and fear, rather than hope. But we can't expect one event to unite us in hope, I suppose, so I'll get to that in a minute.

I had decided I had vegged out on our sofa long enough for one morning and needed some kind of activity to get me out of the house. There are so many good movies out right now in time for the Oscars, so I took advantage of the time I had off (did I mention I had the day off today? Our office was closed since we knew the traffic would be crazy!) and decided to see the movie (ironically) "Doubt".

First, my overall thoughts on the movie- I really enjoyed it. I thought the script (it's based on a play) was incredible and the characters were really well developed. It's exceptionally acted and I all around liked it. It does not put the Church in any kind of 'light'-good or bad- but really is just about, well, the concept of our doubt as humans. And having had my experience of living in a convent, I can say firsthand that religious are not exempt from such feelings!

The movie begins with Phillip Seymour Hoffman's character's reflecting on the concept of doubt in front of a congregation at Mass. He reflects that when we are uncertain of something, we react in some way. And sometimes that leads us to do things that are sinful. The movie continues to pose questions on certainity versus fear and on our humanity.

After the film I went to take my time in prayer (since I'd spent the morning on the couch!). I reflected on all my events of the day: the witness of an Inauguration that sparked many emotions for many people, and this movie.

Hope and Doubt seemed to be my buzz words for the day. Some people doubt, for instance, the hope that our new president has seemed to represent. Regardless of your political beliefs, we need to hope! But not to put our hope in a person, but rather, the Lord. Hope is so much easier (in the long run!) than doubt! To doubt takes so much energy, as the movie seems to state.

But of course, we are human, and we do doubt. But God does not ask us to trust in our humanity. We are asked in our divinity which comes to us through Him and His Son.

I went to St. Paul (of course!) to find what my main man has to say about hope. Here is what I found:

"...we even boast in our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us." (Romans 5:3)

I love this definition of hope- that hope is the love of God has been poured out into our hearts. This is what we should trust in.

And not only that, but that we should boast in our afflictions! Boast?! In our sufferings?! Our faults?! This statement can give us a personal hope as well - that the Lord does not want us to dwell on failings, but to use sufferings to persevere which produces strength, and ultimately hope.

I hope this all made sense :) I was just really struck today by what fear and doubt can do to people versus hope and trusting in the Lord's love. I'll end by quoting a different St. Paul passage that drives home this last point:

"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 8:39

And that, my friends, is real hope!

We are united today in HOPE in the Lord!

Peace,
Julia

1 comment:

Emily said...

I watched the inauguration here, too -- it's so true that everyone is looking for something (or Someone!) to hope in. Thanks for the movie recommendation! Keep on hoping! :)

Love and prayers,
Emily