Finding hope when life seems hopeless

“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” —Colossians 3:2 

Anne Frank was a Jewish girl who lived during the second world war. She spent time in hiding before she was sent to a concentration camp, and died at the age of 15. Anne Frank knew tragedy, suffering, loss, fear and pain, similar to what the world is facing right now. 

Before her death she kept a diary. She expressed beautiful hope during a dark time in her life and in history. One particular quote of her that inspires me is this: “I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” 

See the good

How possible is it to have hope in a world full of chaos, unrest, destruction and brokenness? When a person has been diagnosed with a disease such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease or COVID, the mind tends to focus on that diagnosis as well as the fear of the possible effects this disease could have on the body or life itself. If we live and breathe a diagnosis for a long period of time, it will be hard to acknowledge all the good life has left for us. I have recently come to appreciate “the beauty that still remains.” No matter how dark and challenging this year has been, God invites us to see the good. 

2020 got the best of me

In the movie “Finding Nemo,” Dory is a fish who suffers from memory lapse and is easily distracted. I’ve found myself feeling a lot like that lately. I’ve immersed myself in projects and found creative ways to meet people in a virtual world, but when something shiny comes along, I stop what I’m doing to take a look. 

Loss, unrest and fear are only a few of the tragedies we have faced. As this year comes to an end, we find ourselves reflecting and preparing for our futures. I am afraid for the health of many loved ones — not just their susceptibility to COVID, but also the mental and physical strain of caring for a family in uncertain times, the anger that has settled in our hearts as a response to the division that has come in many forms, mental illness or addiction, and the loss of wages, businesses, loved ones and hope.  

Examples of faith

My parish recently lost a man of great faith. He was an inspiration to many, and his death was unexpected. He left a beautiful wife and 10 children behind, ranging in age from six months to 19 years. His wife’s trust in our Lord reminds me of Job in Scripture, who lost what felt like everything but was still able to have faith in God’s promise. She wrote these words: “This much I know, God is so good, His love is endless and his mercy unfathomable. He always has and always will provide for our needs. My heart may never recover during my earthly life from this horrendous loss. However, I have the hope and joy that Richard and I and our children will be reunited again in paradise.” 

Richard and Lisa have always been beautiful examples of faith and love in our community. As a couple and a family, they have served many ministries. Lisa’s trust in God’s goodness, love and mercy during this time is a beautiful thing to witness as a young Catholic. She truly is a Job of our time, “... Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21)

The saints and suffering 

Even in an overwhelming year such as this, the saints invite us to have hope in salvation. Putting our faith in things of this world, whether it be people, income or objects, will cause mental anguish in uncertain times. Having faith in the promises of the Creator will allow us to detach from the world and have faith that these times can help us grow closer to Him.

“God is very pleased with those who recognize his goodness by reciting the Te Deum in thanksgiving whenever something out of the ordinary happens, without caring whether it may have been good or bad, as the world reckons these things. Because everything comes from the hands of our Father: so though the blow of the chisel may hurt our flesh, it is a sign of Love, as he smooths off our rough edges and brings us closer to perfection” (St. Josemaria Escriva).

Mary Morasso is a mother and parishioner of SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish in Sterling Heights. She holds a bachelor's degree in pastoral theology from Sacred Heart Major Seminary and has taught theology at the high school level.