What is the theological virtue of hope?

Mission Lab

Hope is the supernatural virtue by which we firmly commit ourselves in our hearts to fulfill God’s covenant and plan for our lives while firmly trusting that He, Who is all-powerful and faithful to His promises, will, in His mercy, give us eternal happiness and the means to obtain it, if we keep this commitment. These promises are given to us through the merits of the sufferings and works of Jesus Christ.

Hope belongs to the will and makes a person desire and commit oneself to obtaining eternal life, which is the heavenly vision of God. Hope gives one the confidence that he will receive the graces necessary to reach Heaven, and the will to do whatever it takes to achieve it.

“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:24-25).

The grounds of hope are the omnipotence of God, the goodness of God, and the fidelity of God to what He has promised. “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

The virtue of hope is infused at Baptism, together with sanctifying grace, and is necessary for Salvation. Individual acts of hope are also necessary for Salvation and are commanded by God for all who have come to the age of reason. “But, since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8).

Acts of hope are required in times of temptation to discouragement or despair, and are implicit in every supernaturally good work. “My steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you” (Isaiah 54:10).

The virtue of hope is the permanent capacity to receive the power of Jesus’ trusting commitment to His Father’s plan and New Covenant. It is the capacity to use this power to develop habits of supernatural hope. These habits cause our hearts to perseveringly and trustingly commit ourselves to God and His Kingdom of Love—a commitment that, with Baptism, incorporates us into Christ’s Mystical Body and God’s Kingdom.

We can make an act of hope by saying, “My God I hope in You. I desire and firmly commit myself to obtain and achieve all you are promising me and inviting me to achieve. With trust in your promises, your mercy and your power, I ask for all that you want to give me for carrying out your plan and your New Covenant with me.”