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The Theological Virtue of Hope

The opening ceremonies for the month of March focus on the theological virtue of hope. Mrs. Hillary Short, the lower school dean of faculty, addressed the lower school on Tuesday, and Mrs. Abigail McRae, eighth grade homeroom teacher, addressed the upper school on Thursday. Both Mrs. Short and Mrs. McRae explained that the virtue of hope is different from wishful thinking, and that it is an important virtue to cultivate as we look ahead to eternity.
Mrs. Short used the example of rereading a book and knowing the ending before you get there. Even when you read a story that you’ve read before, you still hope for the ending. You already know what’s going to happen, but you still desire the ending to come to fruition. Mrs. Short said that that is how hope works in our lives. As Christians, we “know the ending to the story,” so to speak, because we know that Jesus died for our sins and saved us. We know that we have the opportunity to spend eternity with him. We know what awaits us in heaven, yet we still desire it and long for it. We know the end of the story, but we still want and hope for it to happen.

Mrs. McRae said that March was the perfect time to talk about hope since spring is not quite here, but it isn’t so far off that we can’t hope for its quick return. She said, “This in-between period is the most difficult to get through, a combination of too close but not close enough. Hope is the last drop of fuel that you didn’t know you had, and almost wished you didn’t have so you could give up right now and rest. But you know that if you fight well here and now, accepting the help you’re given, you will receive the reward you’ve merited through the exercise of these virtues and rest in that reward.”

Mrs. McRae reminded the upper school students that hope is not a feeling, but rather an act of the will. We can choose to hope even when we don’t feel up to it, and we often have to look further into the future to do it. Hope requires us to pursue things that we don’t yet know or understand. She said, “You don’t know exactly what it’s like to enjoy the thrill of a perfect run until you’ve already gotten good at skiing, but you have to pursue it before then. Even before you know what it feels like, you have to hope that it will happen in order to get there.”

Ultimately, Mrs. McRae said that hope is a temporary virtue that will be eventually be fulfilled. She said, "hope especially requires the other virtues of fortitude, patience, and faith. It is not meant to get us just through the next ten minutes or through the week, but all the way to the end of our lives.”

(Pictured: The Kindergarten class recites three poems for today's Friday Recitation: "I'd Leave" by Andrew Lang, "Rain" by Roberto Louis Stevenson, and "Tommy" by Gwendolyn Brooks.)
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