Several good people have prompted me to start a blog, and I have eventually accepted this as a call from God. As I set forth on this new mission, however, I want to begin by explaining the title of the blog, 'A Certain Hope'.
Wanting to commend this work to God from the beginning, I had recourse to prayer, to ask what the title should be. The strong sense that I got was that it should be about hope. Reflecting on this, I could see various reasons for it - my own spiritual state being one, and the evident need for hope in people's lives today being another. It may also have something to do with the great interest I have in The Lord of the Rings, in which hope, or the lack of it, is a strong and recurring theme (I managed to refrain from using a Lord of the Rings picture as the background for this blog, but you can expect references to Tolkien's work to crop up frequently).
I wasn't sure, however, what phrase about hope to use as the title, and I toyed with various quotes (including ones from The Lord of the Rings). But then I consulted one of my fellow friars whose discernment I trust, and he quickly came up with the Franciscan phrase, 'a certain hope'. It is, in fact, from a prayer of St. Francis, which he said while kneeling before the Crucifix in San Damiano:
Most High, Glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart, and grant me a correct faith, a certain hope, a perfect charity, a sense and a knowledge, Lord, that I may do Your holy and true command.
In this context, then, 'a certain hope' means 'a sure hope', a hope that does not deceive. But in English 'a certain hope' can also mean 'a specific hope' - and I appreciate having this double meaning, because extra layers of meaning are characteristic of God's work. It's one of the things which makes Scripture, for example, so enjoyable to read and to preach.
So this blog, although it will range over various subjects, should always have a character of hopefulness, and be such as to engender hopefulness. And the hope which we offer is not just any old hope, but a particular hope which is is also very sure. If my posts ever do depart from the virtue of hope, I invite you to challenge and correct me.
Hope does not deceive us, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit that He has given us (Romans 5:5).