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The Christian’s ‘Mission Possible’ is to create hope

  • March 2, 2023

Every so often a song comes into my life that makes me cry in a flood of deep spiritual emotion. The latest one made my wife cry first. She heard it at a performance where our kid is a Grade 12 student at the Etobicoke School of the Arts. It was a choral rendition of Low Lily’s song “Hope Lingers On,” arranged by Andrea Ramsey. She inspired an online search for it. This article is best read to that soundtrack.

Voices in harmony filled my headphones:

“My mother, when love is gone, my mother when love is gone, in our darkest hour hope lingers on.”

As tears welled in my eyes, I felt I had found the anthem for our new five-year theme at Development & Peace – Caritas Canada (DPCC), which is “Create Hope.” These two words embody the mission that all people who follow Jesus are called to, especially at this “darkest hour” moment in human history.

“My father, when peace is gone, my father when peace is gone, in our darkest hour hope lingers on.”

This is the last article in a series of three. Together they tell a tale of living synodality, of walking together, through the experience of our Orientation Assembly at DPCC held last June. 

The Vademecum for the synod on synodality says that the pillar of mission “…is intended to enable the Church to better witness to the Gospel, especially with those who live on the spiritual, social, economic, political, geographical and existential peripheries of our world.”

“I will not hate, and I will not fear, in our darkest hour, hope lingers here.”

When we live this mission well, we create hope — the theme of the Orientation Assembly. The theme came from the Holy Father’s address to the world meeting of popular movements in October 2021: “You are social poets, because you have the ability and the courage to create hope where there appears to be only waste and exclusion.”

Cardinal Michael Czerny, who accompanied us through the whole Orientation Assembly, was asked what this message means for DPCC. He responded that Pope Francis was calling attention to the “audacious creativity” that allows people to “create beauty, and therefore also hope, imitating God’s own infinite creativity. There’s need for artistry, poetry, creativity. That means changing the basic things which are leading to our hopelessness, and those are the selfishness and the self-centeredness built into our economic, social and political systems.”

“My sister, when equality’s gone, my sister when equality’s gone, in our darkest hour, hope lingers on.

“My brother, with tolerance gone, my brother, with tolerance gone, in our darkest hour, hope lingers on.”

An Orientation Assembly is always directed towards action. According to our By-Law, it “indicates the Organization’s general direction.” The 2022 Orientation Assembly provided three orientations for the next five years: 

1) Renew the movement of our 11,500+ volunteer members across Canada, who are so needed for the work there is to do.

2) Living Synodality by walking together as the Church in Canada with our local and global networks, and with social movements for structural change.

 3) Promoting integral communities for integral ecology because this is what is required to meet the existential threats to our human family. Increasing polarization and rising inequality make us more vulnerable to the double threat of climate change and nuclear war.

“I will not hate, and I will not fear, in our darkest hour, hope lingers here.”

The long Lenten journey towards Easter is now upon us, literally and figuratively. We intuitively know that the darkest hour is still to come. In that darkness, Jesus is the hope that lingers on. 

“My love, when honour is gone, my love, when honour is gone, in our darkest hour hope lingers on.

“My country, when justice is gone, my country, when justice is gone, in our darkest hour hope lingers on.”

Speaking to us of Jesus, Cardinal Czerny said, “Jesus is most radically real, and our hopelessness comes from the unreality of our life. It comes from our being obsessed and manipulated by abstractions and false propaganda, whereas the disconcerting logic of the Incarnation is that we have become flesh and blood for one another. The message of Jesus is to be real for one another, and that reality is our hope. We don’t need to flee from reality, we need to plunge into reality.”

(Stocking is Deputy Director of Public Awareness & Engagement, Ontario and Atlantic Regions, for Development and Peace.)

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