Living in Hope

Christmas is a time of hope. Christmas is a time for rejoicing. But what happens when we find ourselves unhappy at Christmas time?

A family friend of ours passed away a few days ago. It was a sudden death, quite unexpected, and of course, Christmas is not the best time to lose a loved one. Christmas is not a good time to go through an unpleasant experience.

Such things though are not within our control. We cannot foresee when our time is up. We cannot predict what will come our way. Life is uncertain, unpredictable -- and as a priest once put it, "We always live in surprise."

We were at the wake of our friend recently and we were fortunate enough to catch a mass which was offered for him. The priest then talked about "always living in surprise" and "always living in hope."

He then spoke of Fr. Peter Hans Kolvenbach of the Society of Jesus. Fr. Kolvenbach is the Superior General of the Society and in January 2008, his successor will be elected. He is said to be the first Superior General who has been allowed to resign.

For a time, Fr. Kolvenbach stayed in Lebanon and Beirut which were war-torn. On one occasion, he was asked how he could survive such situations. He then spoke about how "...even after a terrible night of bombing, the next morning the birds would sing from the trees..." After the bombs, the next morning or the next day, the birds will sing again.

For the priest who said the mass then, it was a powerful message of hope. That despite the bombs and despite all the problems and difficulties, Fr. Kolvenbach was strengthened by the fact that the next day, the birds will sing again.

At times, we may find ourselves seriously troubled. Or life may seem to be quite unfair. Or we may be misunderstood, confused, or perplexed. You can be sure though that despite what might be happening around you or around me, tomorrow, the birds will sing again.

It is not so much that the birds have survived the bombing. Or that they can still find it in themselves to continue singing. You have survived. You are alive. You can still listen to the birds as they sing.

So take heart no matter what your circumstances. The fact that you remain alive means that the Lord has a task for you to accomplish. I wish all our viloria readers a hope-filled 2008. May each new day be made happier by the singing of the birds and may your ears always be attuned to hearing the birds sing.

[By Angelica Viloria | Wednesday, December 26, 2007]

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