Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 12/10


I often post this Rubem Alves piece in Advent. Few things I've read so accurately capture what keeps my mind and soul together.  In Advent 2020, Alves' words seem particularly appropriate for a host of reasons.

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

Hope 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 Tomorrow's Child

*Date palms can take 4 to 8 years after planting before they will bear fruit, and 7-10 years before producing viable yields for commercial harvest.


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