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Hope and Love – A Reflection

May 11, 2021
A collage representing the four seasons

We can either love God because we hope for something from Him, or we can hope in Him knowing that He loves us… Better than hoping for anything from the Lord, besides His love, let us place all our Hope in His love itself. This hope is as sure as God Himself. (No Man Is an Island, p. 17)

Thomas Merton’s thoughts about hope and love truly speak to my heart and I hope that they speak to your heart as well, dear reader. In my own life, I have experienced both love and hope as fickle emotions.

When I placed my hope in such things as careers and promotions, I was often hurt, disappointed, or let down. Self-confidence or love of self has often been a struggle for me. Whether it was a failure to live up to my own self-imposed expectations or expectations of others, at the end of the day being hopeful (or hope-filled) with a sense of love for myself just didn’t happen.

One of Denise’s mentors was her pastor. A lesson that he taught and tried to live out is a lesson that I have adopted for myself. As a pastor, I cannot please everyone. For a person who is an enneagram two, being liked by others and doing things to earn people’s love is central to who I am. Obviously, this can be a good thing or a bad thing. The lesson from her pastor is this: I can’t please everyone, so my goal is to please God.

On page fifteen and sixteen, Merton has some more to say about love and hope. Without hope, our faith gives us only an acquaintance with God. Without love and hope, faith only knows Him as a stranger. For hope casts us into the arms of His mercy and of His providence. If we hope in Him, we will not only come to know that He is merciful but we will experience His mercy in our own lives.

I invite you, dear reader, to embrace that love and hope as we seek to serve God, however God is defined in your own faith journey.

**a word about Merton’s non-inclusive language. Thomas Merton was a monk of his times. The language used in the church and in society was patriarchal back then. Based upon his writings about the Sacred Feminine, I believe that his language today would have been inclusive.

  1. pynkoski2 permalink

    Thank you, Michael, for continuing to write from your heart.

  2. Thanks. When your nature is to please everyone, its hard to admit that as a pastor, it will never happen.

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