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The Virtue of Christian Hope

Pope Francis Speaks about Hope, with Reflections by Fr. Mike Schmitz

The Virtue of Christian Hope: Pope Francis Speaks about Hope, with Reflections by Fr. Mike Schmitz

Christian Hope. Christian hope is not simply optimism; it is much more.

It is rooted in the new life we have received in Jesus Christ. St. Paul tells us that hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love was poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit at our baptism (cf. Romans 5:5).

This hope enables us to trust in Christ’s promises, to trust in the power of his love, his forgiveness, his friendship. That love opens the door to new life. Whenever you experience a problem, a setback, a failure, you must anchor your heart in that love, for it has the power to turn death into life and to banish every evil.

—Address, Meeting with Young People,Kampala, Uganda, November 28, 2015

—For Reflection—

The virtue of hope can keep you from getting discouraged when things are tough. Do you have friends who encourage you to live in hope and to follow Christ more closely, or do your friends drag you down and away from the promises of God?

What can you do—think about your speech or your actions— to become the kind of friend who helps others to trust in God and to live in the hope of Christ?

The High Road of Hope

Hope is the virtue which goes places. It isn’t simply a path we take for the pleasure of it, but it has an end, a goal which is practical and lights up our way. . . .

Hope is a path taken with others. An African proverb says: “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with others.” Isolation and aloofness never generate hope; but closeness to others and encounter do. Left to ourselves, we will go nowhere. . . .

Hope is a path of solidarity. . . . Beyond all other considerations or interests, there has to be concern for that person who may be my friend, my companion, but also someone who may think differently than I do, someone with his own ideas yet just as human . . . as I am.

—Address to Students, Havana, Cuba, September 20, 2015

—For Reflection—

You might not think of hope as a “communal” virtue, but Pope Francis tells us that it involves going forward with others in solidarity. On a very practical level, then, is Jesus asking you to extend friendship and love to anyone in particular?

Do you know anyone who is lonely and needs someone to talk to? How can you reach out and help generate hope in other people?

Excerpted from Don’t Be Afraid to Say Yes to God! Pope Francis Speaks to Yong People Today (The Word Among Us Press, 2018). Available at