(LifeSiteNews) — We all want to have hope. Many of us do. Our hope is in the Lord, we say. Indeed it is. But what is the expectation of that hope?
As the world spins out of control, at what appears to be an accelerating pace, we hear this cri de coeur lifted to the skies among peoples everywhere.
There is a sense that the people of our age hope that somehow God will intervene and make things in our families, cities, countries, and our world, “right.” That we will be preserved from a significant, life-altering, perhaps unprecedented, disruption in our lives.
In short, that just this once in the history of humankind, God will not be the God he has revealed himself to be.
That he will not permit man to bear the consequences of his own choices freely made.
But if this God is truly as perfectly just as he is perfectly merciful, how would he explain that to our first parents? Or the people of the Covenant? Or even the first Christians who suffered the consequence of Jesus’s rejection in Jerusalem?
Our Lord himself appeared to speak directly to this matter in Luke when he talked about people “eating and drinking and marrying” before the devastation of the flood which “came and destroyed them all.”
And again, when the people of Sodom were “buying, selling, planting, and building.” Then “fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all.”
These are our Lord’s own words.
Whatever those unfortunate people were doing or not doing, it’s hard to imagine it being any worse than two generations of Americans killing over 60 million babies in the womb, legally.
Indeed, in the recent elections, it was revealed that the single most determinative factor for women who voted Democrat was the right to continue to abort unborn children. This alone allowed their party to hold power in the Senate.
In the 20th century there were no doubt many millions of good Christians who had a similar hope that the Lord would spare them from annihilation before World Wars I and II.
Yet that measure of hope went unrealized.
One of the most haunting parables in the New Testament is told of the uber-rich Lazarus amidst the fires of hell asking Abraham if he could go back and warn his brothers about the consequence of sinful choices. Abraham is dismissive. “If they haven’t listened to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced if someone rises from the dead.”
The Mother of the One who rose from the dead cut through it all when she told the children at Fatima: “Wars are caused by sin.”
So there it is. Can man sin on an ever-grander scale in our time and “hope” that the Lord will spare him the consequence of his sin?
Said another way, all other sins aside, can the men and women of our generation insist on the “right” to end the life of unborn children – to actually prioritize it as a right – without consequence?
Saint Mother Teresa apparently did not think so. The backdrop was the awarding of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway. She used the occasion to warn the age: “the fruit of abortion is nuclear war. If a child is not safe in its own mother’s womb, what’s to protect nation from nation?”
It would appear in November of 2020 that America faced a “Deuteronomic” moment. Set before us was a choice between Life and Death. Life promised by a president many did not like; Death promised by a candidate we were told was personally compromised. We now know 72 million of us chose life; 81 million of us chose death.
Today, many of those voters seem astonished at the immediacy of the consequence of their choice, and what it portends for the future of our children and grandchildren.
So, it would seem there are two kinds of hope. Hope that is realistic and hope that is not.
Just what is the realistic expectation of hope in our time? It becomes clear only when we focus on the Four Last Things. We are told we have been created in God’s image and likeness, and that we are on this earth to know Him and love Him and serve Him and to be happy with Him for all eternity in heaven.
This, we are taught, is what is primary, what is transcendent, in and about our lives. Our realistic hope, therefore, is not to be spared the consequence of our sin, however much we pray to be, but to accept any suffering, and any lesson, it brings.
God does not will our self-destruction. His Church exists to provide a safe harbor for all souls, everywhere. At its core, it has a prophetic mission. It gives witness to the Truth, who it maintains is a Person. This Person has declared our age an “Age of Divine Mercy.” He has offered the men of our time complete forgiveness for all sin, sin that will be forever forgotten, if man but asks.
This is a realizable hope. This is the hope we can have for ourselves, our families, our communities, our nation, and our world.
Hope that we can be granted the grace of repentance. Hope that we can be entirely forgiven for our sins in this life. Hope that we can live forever with our loved ones within the eternal light and love of our Creator.
When a sufficient core of men in any age, a remnant, is re-awakened to this possibility, then God moves to show man that with him all things are indeed possible.