I, along with 2,300 women, were recently given a challenge to be prophets of hope at the recent Catholic Women’s Conference in San Antonio. The challenge came from Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller during his homily at the Saturday morning Mass. He gave an example of someone who did give hope to many: Mother Teresa of Calcutta. In her love for Jesus and for others, she served with immense joy that spread to those she served, the poorest of the poor in India and wherever she went.
Think about it: the example of Mother Teresa’s life gives hope. She loved God and wanted to obey His two greatest commandments: “To love God first above all and love your neighbor as yourself.” In doing so, her love for God deepened through prayer and trust in Him. Sure, Mother Teresa did a lot, she gave her entire life to God, she founded a religious community, opened houses for those who were dying and suffering without anyone to care for them. She would often express the importance of seeing Christ in the person in front of you.
She definitely is considered a prophet of hope – so many died with dignity and in peace through her care and those of her religious sisters, the Missionaries of Charity. Sure, that’s Mother Teresa!, you may be thinking. But how am I called to be a prophet of hope?
As I listened to the archbishop, my immediate reaction was, “Oh my! What a challenge – but what an exciting one!” You see, my hope is based on my love for God, my husband, and my vocation in evangelization ministry. Twenty-seven years ago, my husband and I left our successful careers to serve God and the Church, after a powerful encounter with Christ Jesus.
Our hope was to build on the immense peace and joy we received through this encounter as we told others about the omnipotent love of God for them, and of His mercy, no matter what our past was or current situation.
Msgr. Paul Glenn writes: “Hope is the theological virtue by which we aspire with confidence to grace and heaven, trusting God, and being resolved to use his help. Hope looks directly to our eternal happiness. … We pin our hope in God, not man.” (Tour of the Summa)
My definition of a prophet of hope is a person who has been baptized and through that beautiful initiation into the family of God, with the authority given by Christ, becomes a messenger of hope in the world filled with confusion, questions and suffering. A smile and a listening ear are among the numerous simple ways to be messenger of hope today.
Yes, you can become a prophet of hope now. Take Mother Teresa’s words to help you: “We are called upon not to be successful, but to be faithful.” Often our concern about being successful can become a stumbling block that will prevent us from being a prophet of hope. Remember, the One in whose name you were baptized is with you always!
The Pilgrim Center of Hope was founded in 1993 to be a source of hope for others, and to help people encounter Christ through experiences such as conferences, pilgrimages and media.