In his homily for the 1st Sunday of Advent (Nov. 29,2020), Fr. Theodore Lange states: "Hope is a healing virtue." I hadn't heard it put that way before but this really spoke to me. Primarily because for many years I believed the adage, "life's a b**ch and then you die." For decades I experienced what I've come to call a hopeless-hope. I would visualize myself succeeding like the experts tell you to, and I would use positive self-talk, etc.,etc., but I never achieved what I wanted. Eventually I quit trying; that's when my life really started to fall apart (praise God!) because it forced me to turn to Him for help.
There were several reasons I didn't achieve what I had been hoping for. One is that my expectations were unrealistic, the other is that trauma, abuse, and neglect in my childhood left me with a foundational belief that it was not okay for me to be happy or successful, or to even celebrate small achievements. So when I got close I would (subconsciously) sabotage myself.
This is NOT what God wants for us and I am so very grateful that He searched for me in the darkness of lies I was living in, bringing me the light of truth, which as Jesus promised, has set me free.
The prophet Jeremiah tells us: "For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the Lord—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope." God does have plans for each of us, and He wants us to be happy now, in this life. Hope, as defined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church is: The theological virtue by which we desire and expect from God both eternal life and the grace we need to attain it. (CCC Par. 1817)
A shift in thinking is required to change from a belief that God probably doesn't know we exist to expecting Him to provide for us. Yet it is entirely possible! I know because I have lived it - allowing myself a glimmer of hope that Jesus was powerful enough (and desired) to heal me when I had nothing left was the beginning of an incredible journey leading to joy and authentic happiness.
My hope for you this Advent is that you will allow yourself a glimmer of hope and ask for the grace to let God love you.