Hope that triumphs both discouragement and abandonment is the Theological Hope in God that we are meant to live out in our Manly lives. Life throws us discouragement, frustration, disappointment, sadness, anger, ….abandonment…. And sometimes we’re close to throwing in the towel with God. Sometimes we do throw in the towel. We give up all Hope in Him, for one reason or another, and just like that, our Faith is gone. If we are the few who hold on to Hope, it constantly seems like the ignorant masses and the media bombard us, Catholic Gentlemen, with hopelessness from every angle and it isn’t hard to find our God and our Faith perceived as nothing but a silly joke. Yet, we’re called to be like Toronto fans with undying hope that persists through the ages! Oh how alive that Leafs hope is! Isn’t it pathetic that our Hope in God may, in fact, be less?
Another quality of Hope is that it opens our heart in expectation (CCC) of what we long for. We DO expect the Leafs to win the cup again. Even more so, we DO Hope for the coming of Christ and for our salvation and the salvation of the world. Hope teaches our heart to strive for those expectations. Hope is God’s grace to persevere to the end, even against all odds. Being a Leafs fan continues to teach this loud and clear!
Hope is also something within us that can be strengthened and affirmed. One way to strengthen our hope is by looking to the past. Toronto’s track record as Stanley Cup victor is higher than every other team except one (that shall remain nameless until we talk a little bit about the virtue of humility). Toronto has proven itself in its history, and for that it can be hoped in. This is the same with our Faith. Despite the accusations of the world, we truly do have an amazing track record as a Church that has defended and taught the Truth of Christ and has inspired Hope in the world since the time of the Apostles. God is a God who can be Hoped in, which He has proven through the history of His Church.
And don’t forget about Toronto’s all-star player lineup, which is second to none: Bower, Apps, Mahavolich, Horton, Sittler, Clark, McDonald, Gilmour, Sundin, Cujo, Balfour, and Kessel. These and many others are the names that held to the hope of victory, many of whom were rewarded. It is the example and determination of the players that inspires our own hopes. In our Faith, we have the Saints: Peter, Paul, Augustine, Aquinas, Catherine, Therese, Ignatius, Mother Theresa, and John Paul II. These are the great names of those who have gone before us who have walked in Hope. By their holy example and their determination to live their lives with Hope for Eternity, we are inspired. Some of the greatest people this world has ever seen have affirmed and proven the value of the virtue of Hope in our Great God. We are called to Hope like they did!
In conclusion, the Catechism rightly says that Hope embraces those day to day hopes that inspire our own actions and quest for happiness. Hope purifies those day to day hopes that we have and orders them to God and Eternal Life. Hope orients us to the truth and makes our desires and dreams pure. It leads us to the fulfillment of our purpose. So my ordinary hope in the Toronto Maple Leafs can, and has, been purified and has taught me a lot about what Hope is all about. It has challenged me to practice ordinary hope and it has drawn for me a picture of the true nature of Extraordinary Theological Hope. By the looks of it, the Leafs will always give me a reason to exercise and stand firm in my hope. For that I am grateful!
As Catholic Gentlemen living in a world bombarded by despair, we pray that the grace of God may strengthen our own Hopes in Him, and that the mere hopes we exert as faithful fans may parallel themselves a hundredfold as Hope in God, Heaven, and Eternal Life. Thank you Leafs. Here’s to the hopes of next season! And next…
“And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” ~ Saint Paul (Romans 5:5)
~ The Catholic Gentleman's Guide