Cultivating the Virtue of Hope

November 11, 2022

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. ~ Philippians 4:8 NRSV

On this day in 1918, the Great War, World War 1, the “war to end all wars” officially ended with the signing of an armistice. Armistice Day is a national holiday in many nations including Belgium, Canada, France, Jamaica, and the UK. Although it had been celebrated in our nation since the end of that war, it only became an official U.S. holiday on May 13, 1938. Fifteen months later World War 2 began on September 1, 1939. Following that war Armistice Day became Veterans’ Day.

Author H. G. Wells called WW 1 “the war to end all wars.”  I wish he had been correct. There have been numerous wars since then. Wars are currently being fought in Ukraine, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Israel/Palestine, and Haiti. It is easy to lose hope!

Earlier this week I was challenged by these words, “Cultivate the virtue of hope – take the long view and believe in it” (Sister Callista Roy). Cultivating anything takes practice, persistence, and patience. Virtue is thinking and doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong. Hope is confident expectation and desire for something good in the future, amidst uncertainty and lack of assurance.

So how to cultivate hope in this season? Practice filling our lives with things that are true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent, worthy of praise.  Persist in paying attention to the little and big signs of hope wherever we find them. Patience recognizes that change takes time – the long view of ourselves, of others, and of God.

The original proclamation for Armistice Day called for a time of silence at the “11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month.” I can think of no better way to cultivate hope than to set an alarm and call to mind what brings us hope.

Cultivate hope. ~ Anne

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