Reflecting on our personal condition presents a challenge to hope.  Especially, as we grow older, we encounter fears that tend to sabotage hope:  fear of declining mental or physical abilities; fear because of past sins; fear of being unprepared for death; fear that little has been accomplished in terms of spiritual growth. Thus there is the danger of become disillusioned, even of losing hope.

We need hope as an antidote for the temptation to despair.  The reason for our hope is our belief that God loves us, that God wills what is best for us, that God  is love.

God’s love is unconditional.  Otherwise it would not be true love.  True love is always unconditional.  If I attach conditions to my love it is not true love. It is, rather, an offering, an exchange, not a gift.   In our human relationships we tend to attach conditions to the love we give.  In telling someone we love them we may be implicitly saying things like this: I will love you as long as you return my love.  I will love you if you meet my expectations of you.  Because that is the way our human condition leads us to act, it is not easy to accept the fact that God’s love is unconditional.  Being aware, often only too painfully, of our brokenness, our failings, our guilt, we feel unworthy of such unconditional love.

Because God’s merciful love is infinite there is nothing which God is not prepared to forgive; nothing which God is not prepared to remedy; nothing which God is not prepared to restore. There is no remedy for human weakness or failure that can compare with the love of God for the creature who is open to it.  There is only one obstacle to the love of God as revealed in Jesus.  It is the failure to be open and receptive in faith.  No matter how sinful I may imagine myself to be, how far I feel I am from God, how messed up my life may be, there is one fact I can count on. God loves me personally, wants what is best for me, and will never give up on me as a hopeless case.  None of our sins is decisive.  There will always be God’s merciful forgiveness.  Even more, God offers us a future full of hope that exceeds all expectations and dreams.

The realization that we are so loved by God that he gave his only son to be our redeemer should fill us with gratitude, hope, and courage, expelling all fear and despondency.
Read Psalms 118 and 136 which reinforce the theme of God’s love.