For St. Paul, hope is a virtue which he places alongside with faith and love as if he insinuates that ‘when you believe, you hope in God and so you love’. Certainly, in Man’s depth, one experiences the virtues as being interrelated with each other. Yet revelation tells us that you start that experience with the virtue of faith since it speaks of God’s turning towards you. Faith starts you on the path to become a spiritual being and it accompanies you in your course towards it. And I dare say that God creates you in the Holy Spirit after He has wrought you in the body. That is your New being and your True life. And to say that ‘the dwelling of God is in you’, indicates that you believe and have faith that the Lord creates you through His Holy Spirit. And faith comes from trusting God and trusting comes from a security you find in the one trusted. I refer there to the spiritual meaning not the linguistic one. In your humanity you are not secure and settled. God in you is your resting place. When you behold God in Himself, His significance and His light, as also in yourself and in the brethren, then you would have perceived His dwelling which is also yours.

Yet between you and God there is a distance which you cross through faith so that you dwell in the Lord while you are still in the body. As such, faith is the dynamo; and while in this world, you are in a state of moving until the Lord keeps you to Himself through the vision. Faith does not make all the vision. That needs a move towards God in Hope since God would come to you every day. Faith is in need of love to be established in God. And He starts to bring you up on Love when He plants in you hope in Him.

The Divine Presence in you is established through faith which is the “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”(Hebrews 11: 1). What is hoped for, that is for the future, is present now through your faith. And your heart reaches out for them (the future matters) in hope since they are considered to be “present” in the word of God. Here we can say that Hope is a continuum of the faith that is in you now, to what it will be in the future, so that “the things to come” are like the “things that are now” because the word of God brings the two together; and because the word of God is not bound by time.

In your experience of God, there is no separation between the “now” and what comes after, because the Lord fills time with His presence. From this perspective, I can say that you see what you hope for and expect. You are above the expanse of time because God who is in you fills it. From this we can say that the virtue of faith conceives in it the virtue of hope which is the dynamism of faith. You do not hope except because you have believed; since hope is not an emotional kind of expectation. It is granted with faith as its fruit.

We have to perceive that faith is not a human virtue. It is a descent of the Divine to the human soul; a meeting between the soul and the Divine ‘depth’ in a profundity which is hard for us to encompass. God is dynamic in us and as such moves us to Himself. And our move towards Him is one of hope since we know Him only partly thorough faith. Faith is the beginning of our pleasure in Him, but our experience of Him is granted us by Him.

If faith is the resting of God in the heart, then hope is the movement of God; and God moves towards Himself and with that He moves us to Him.

And if words allow us to say something in that domain, we can say that the impression of the Lord in the heart is His presence; and our faith in Him is His move towards Him. In that follows His bringing us over to Himself thus removing the distance between the Creator and the creature and between the One who loves and the one loved. And after His move towards us comes our move towards Him; and that is hope. In the core of the Divine, there is no separation between hope and faith; both of them followed with love which is the crown of all what there is.

The word hope signifies of what comes in the future. And this is true since we believe today in what comes tomorrow and in all the goodness promised.

Hope sets off from the realities of faith to what the Lord reveals in us of His love. But to avoid any linguistic vagueness, I want to affirm that hope is a Divine gift which does not originate in our human feelings. Hope is not a dynamics of one’s soul only; it is a bending over of God which carries us to the good that is promised. It is a continuum of what God has poured down on us of His grace to what we hope for of His full grace till the day we die. Faith is a language that signifies what is present in us; and hope signifies what will be. They are inseparable when it comes to the grace that is poured down in us.

And because hope is towards God, its extent in us is to the time when we get to the full attainment of the vision. But in the spiritual fight we have to reinforce it with faith so that the believer does not think that he can bring about hope in the same way he does with his wishes. Hope is above all human expectations. It is a great grace. A Divine pouring down into us with which we seek God Himself. As such hope gets together with faith and ends up in love.

Translated by Riad Moufarrij

Original Text: “الرجاء” – An Nahar – 01.06.2013