Hope is a Gift

As we journey together through the solemn days of Lent, the Alliance for Catholic Education and ThinkND invite you to join us as we walk toward the light that our faith tells us lies ahead.

Join us for Grace Period, a weekly series of audio reflections by Fr. Lou DelFra, C.S.C. ’92, M. Div. ’03, designed to meet your busy schedule and help you pause, listen for God’s voice in your life, and begin anew.

What is the faint stirring in Noah’s heart which gets him out of bed and calls him to action — even when that action seems a bit absurd?

That stirring is hope.

Hope is a gift, a divine gift offered by God right into our hearts that then seeps from our hearts into our limbs.

Our prayer this week is to be evermore open to this gift, which our homes and communities so need —God’s gift of hope.

Hi. I’m Fr. Lou DelFra,
Director of Pastoral Life for the Alliance for Catholic Education
at the University of Notre Dame.

Welcome to Grace Period,
a weekly series of audio reflections designed for you…

to help you pause,
in the midst of the stresses of these days,
listen for God’s voice in your lives,
and begin anew.


The Genesis story of Noah and the flood –
the Bible’s version of how to survive a global pandemic –
demands that we reckon with a confounding set of facts:

Noah, who had seen nothing but water for many weeks,
Awoke on the 40th day,
Saw nothing but water again,
And then listened to his heart awaken in him a possibility:

“One day, perhaps one day soon, there will be land. Keep searching.”

And that faint stirring in his heart is just enough to get him out of bed,
And call him to action,
even if the action seems a bit absurd in the face of the facts:
And out over the endless waters, Noah sends a dove.

Out into a day that, on the face of it, looks like just another day in a long stretch of monotonously same-looking days,
Noah sends a dove.

And each morning, you get up and go to school,
and your very presence there is a message to everyone else at your school:
Let’s keep riding the flood, let’s keep sailing, let’s keep searching.

What is this mysterious stirring, in Noah’s heart, in our hearts?
What can it be — but the gift of hope?

You see, the mystery of the story of Noah is that there is no obvious reason for him to get up this day,
and think that it would be any different.

As the story makes clear, “there was still water over all the earth” that day that Noah sent the dove.
There was, patently, little reason for hope,
In the face of a flood that covered the whole globe.

And yet, St. Paul, centuries later, writes:
“Hope that is seen is no hope at all.
For who hopes for what one already has?”

Here’s the supernatural message of this beloved story of Noah and the ark,
A message we all need to hear especially when we’re worn down:
Hope is not self-generated,
by our clever figuring out of a way through the dismal facts of a desperate situation,
or a defiant optimism that we have to keep feeding day after day with positive thinking.

Hope is a divine gift, offered by God right into our hearts,
That then seeps from our hearts into our limbs –

So that, in the midst of a flood, we get up out of bed, climb onto the deck, and send out a dove to search for land,
precisely when there seems no good reason to do so.
And, more Good News, since this gift comes from God, we have no reason to worry that it might ever run out.

We are people of hope, because we are recipients, through our baptism, of a gift,
A gift which invites us to believe that the brokenness of our world – even when it’s of global proportions – is not, and never will be, the final fact.

Our first prayer, then, as we begin this new week riding the flood, is to be ever more open to this gift, which our classrooms and communities so need –
God’s gift of hope.

Join us next week on Grace Period as we continue to surf the waves…

Religion and PhilosophyAlliance for Catholic EducationGenesisGrace PeriodLentNoah's ArkPrayerUniversity of Notre Dame

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