Reflection & Dialogue: Christian hope brings certainty.

A common feature of the world in which we live is doubt in matters relating to faith, doubt about elements of moral teaching, about truths of faith, even at times about the very existence of God. An assertion of a certain philosophy, prevalent today, is that there is no certainty on anything. All we can have is speculation, guesswork, rather than certainty, opinions that vary from age to age.

            An atmosphere of this sort adds to the difficulties on religious observance. Such doubt on fundamental matters is completely contrary to the teaching of the faith in matters relating to truths concerning this life and the life to come. Christian faith is thus described in the Epistle to the Hebrews (11:1): “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen” (NRSV). Two of the terms used there call for our reflection: assurance, conviction.

            The assurance and conviction spoken of in this verse are not psychological attitudes of souls rooted in the human mind or soul. They refer instead to the divine, theological, virtue of hope, a gift from God that gives conviction which is beyond that which human nature can provide. This assurance and certainty bring with them a peace of soul, the peace which Jesus has granted to believers, and a peace that no one can take from them.

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