As disciples of Christ, we can in our day rise above those ancient Israelites who moaned, “Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost.”15 Indeed, if we finally lose hope, we lose our last sustaining possession. It was over the very gate of hell that Dante wrote a warning to all those traveling through his Divina Commedia: “Abandon all hope,” he said, “ye who enter here.”16 Truly when hope is gone, what we have left is the flame of the inferno raging on every side.

So, when our backs are to the wall and, as the hymn says, “other helpers fail and comforts flee,”17 among our most indispensable virtues will be this precious gift of hope linked inextricably to our faith in God and our charity to others.