By Rev. Fr. Eva Chuma Nnamene

For some weeks now, we have talked about faith: its existence; its formation and deepening. Faith has some accompanying virtue, namely, the virtue of hope. On its own, hope is very important to live through life. Its importance cannot be overlooked. In fact, it is the magic that leads through the absurdities of life.

In common parlance, people say, "if there is life, there is hope; and if there is hope, there is a way". The same is true of the story of a blind man, who even though he could not see, says to his deaf and dumb wife who could neither talk nor hear that "olile anya di" that is, "there is hope". There should always be hope.

Naturally, humans are given that ability to hope. And there are too many natural things that show we could hope. For instance, the seed-plant that has been sowed on the soil at planting season, germinates, buds flowers, and bears fruits. In few months harvests are taken, and there is food on the table for those who planted it. That is hope. Nature teaches us to hope. Natural cycles of things on earth, and even of humans on earth, teaches us to hope.

The cycles of days: Nkwo, Eke, Orie, Afor; Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, illustrate the certainty that there would be another day. It simply says in an emphatic manner: "chi boro nkwo ga abo eke", and human cycle continues; and there is hope.

If any person is alive, but he/she has no hope, that life must be a miserable one. Hope is the zest to life. Hope is the flavor of life. It is the spice of life. Remove the zest, flavor and spice, and you get boredom. Hope is so important to life that its pertinence is captured across continents in various proverbs and aphorisms. Even from ancient times, its relevance has been portrayed.

Hope cannot be overemphasized in life. Its relevance is not only seen at the good times of life, at bad times, it is even more perceived as this ancient English adage shows: "beneath every cloud is a silver linen". And in Igbo it is said "obi oma nyiri mkporo onwa itolu".

Our Catechism teaches that "hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit" (CCC n. 1817).

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