Advent: a season of hope

Date seedling (Image: Pittwater Council)

Reflecting on revolution, liberation theologian Rubem Alves offers the following. Alves' understanding, his grasp of our place in history, provides a fruitful seasonal meditation on hope for us who wait for the Advent of Christ...

What is hope?

It is the presentiment
that imagination is more real
and reality is less real
than it looks.

It is the hunch
that the overwhelming brutality of facts
that oppress and repress us
is not the last word.

It is the suspicion that reality is more complex
than the realists want us to believe -
that the frontiers of the possible
are not determined by the limits of the actual -
and in a miraculous and unexplained way,
life is opening up creative events
which will open the way
to freedom and resurrection.

But the two – suffering and hope –
must live from each other.
Suffering without hope
produces resentment and despair.
But, hope without suffering
creates illusions, naivete and drunkenness.

So let us plant dates -
even though we who plant them will never eat them.

We must live by the love of what we will never see.
That is the secret discipline.

It is the refusal to let our creative act
be dissolved by our need for immediate sense experience
and it is a struggled commitment
to the future of our grandchildren.

Such disciplined hope
is what has given prophets, revolutionaries and saints,
the courage to die for the future they envisage.
They make their own bodies
the seed of their highest hopes.

- Rubem Alves, in response to the Mexican Revolution.

Let us pray...

I am so easily weighed down
by my struggles, my burdens,

by the harsh reality of my daily life...

Sometimes, I think I'll lose hope

in you, in tomorrow, in myself

and I need you to help me see

that the peace I imagine,
the peace I pray for,

the peace you promise

is greater than any of my problems...

Help me trust that my future, Lord,

is not limited by my present trials,

that the troubles of the moment
will not have the last word,
that my burdens are prelude to joy...

Give me hope in my suffering
for that is the path of your love
and let my hope never forget

the suffering of which it was born...

Show me how the troubles of today
prepare me for the advent of your peace

and the gift of your grace...

Come, Emmanuel:
be with me and be my hope!




  1. Beautiful words you have written here. Words that touch me very deeply, and convey my feelings these days.
    "be with me and be my hope", that is my prayer.

  2. once again, you have put into words- perfect words- that which I am experiencing, feeling...

    thank you.

  3. I just came home from the small faith sharing group that I belong to and we talked about hope quite a bit tonight. I think I will send this to my companions.


  4. Hope is a difficult commodity in today's world. Despair and disenchantment seem the norm in the folks I encounter. Faith, Hope, and Love...Christmas...changes all that! God is with us! Thanks Father for your gracious reminders and reflections.

  5. A reader noted a typo: I've changed the author's name from Ruben to Rubem.

  6. Just realized that I had written "Ruben" twice: that's a mistake, not a typo!

  7. This is completely wonderful. I will share it widely.


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and PRAY before you think!