“Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening,
and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying,
‘John has been raised from the dead’;
others were saying, ‘Elijah has appeared’;
still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’
But Herod said, “John I beheaded.
Who then is this about whom I hear such things?’
And he kept trying to see him.” (Luke 9:7-9)
My previous posts have been rich with character strengths and virtues from the field of positive psychology. Often times, I even find myself having to leave some of them out, even though it is tempting to include all twenty-four of them at times. Ultimately, I tend to focus on the ones that are standing out the most.
Interestingly, this is not a predicament that I ran into today. In fact, after my reflection on this verse, it is the character strength of hope that stands out the most, which falls in line with the virtue of transcendence. There is hope that people such as John the Baptist and Jesus Himself have indeed risen from the dead, even though nobody can seem to attest to a similar event happening in more contemporary times. And in the end, there is hope of everlasting life with our Lord and savior, free from affliction and in eternal happiness and fulfillment.
In my belief, there is tremendous value in living with this hope everyday and sharing it with others. Without this hope given to us by Jesus, we tend to put our hope in temporary, non-guaranteed, or even unhealthy sources of hope. Maybe we finally land that job promotion we were so desperately trying to earn for years, only to find that the gratification associated with this reward is only temporary and leaves us seeking the next promotion. Or perhaps we place our hope in having grandchildren, only to find that the children we depend on for this goal do not have similar goals in mind. And on the unhealthy side of things, perhaps we place our hope in a political candidate or even a sports team to win their elections/championships, only to leave us depressed when either of these sources of hope do not vanquish their opponents.
Fortunately, by putting our hope in Jesus indeed rising from the dead, our hope is throughout our lives, and hopefully fulfilled when we finally pass away. This is true at least through our entire lives on Earth, and hopefully true for eternity as well. Therefore, our hope in Jesus rising from the dead to give us new life is not temporary. The word of God is guaranteed in the sense that it has been written down for us and is easily accessible to anyone who is willing to listen. It will never be destroyed, even by the intense efforts to eradicate it by those who have opposed it throughout history and today. And finally, the word of God is much healthier than other sources of hope because Jesus promises you to “seek, and you will find,” (Matthew 7:7) and to “ask, and it will be given to you,” (Luke 11:9). He died an excruciating death on the cross to allow us to live our lives with this hope.
And so I hope that you all have found this writing on hope to be resourceful in your own lives. It is indeed a character strength in the field of positive psychology. And even before positive psychology, it has been viewed as virtuous for millennia in Christianity. Saint Paul preaches hope throughout Acts of the Apostles in proclaiming to others that Jesus has indeed risen from the dead. You can even just begin a prayer of the rosary for validation of how important hope is as a virtue, which has been prayed for centuries in Catholicism. This is specifically when they offer up Hail Mary prayers for increases in the virtues of faith, hope, and charity. I welcome any thoughts you may have on this content for today, I hope you are all doing well, and God bless you!