Hope and desire


Exercise of desire

κάνετε κλικ εδώ για Ελληνικά

The Western world sometimes seems to ignore that it is rooted in our centuries old Christian tradition; its emphasis on the importance of individual desire and freedom of choice, on the community level as well as the personal, is viewed as a fundamental “right”.

The Christians are thought to be people who suppress their desires and renounce themselves; be it as it may, the Christian is asked to control and reject his bad desires, the desires which do not lead him or his fellow men and women into something better, purer, more beautiful and higher.

Saint Augustine defines prayer as an exercise of our desire for God. Man has been created for that great reality which is God Himself, and he wants to be “filled” by Him. But his heart is very small to be able to contain this great reality to which he is destined. Therefore, he must widen his heart:

God, through hope and expectation, widens our heart’s desire. Making us desiring Him, He widens our souls. Widening our soul, He increases our capacity in us to accept Him.

Evidently, this does not happen without effort on our part.

The right prayer is a process of inner cleansing which opens us towards God and our fellowmen. It purifies our desires and our hopes.

Our encounter with God awakens our conscience and becomes a fertile ground for us to hear Him who is the Good par excellence.

(From the encyclical letter of Benedict XVI Spe Salvi).

Did you know…


We have a saying in Greek, “Hope dies last”. We always hope for positive developments to take place and pleasant events to follow. In a way, we choose that for which we want to hope. Indeed so it is!

The word “elpida” ελπίδα  (=hope) in the Greek language is derived from the Greek verb έλ-π-ομαι (el-p-omai) = to expect, to hope, which etymologically is akin to Fέλ-π-ομαι, Fel-p-omai, Indo-european root wel– (=I want, I choose). In Latin vel-le (I want), voluntas (will), in French vouloir (to want), in German wollen, in English will.

So, the object of our hope completely engages our will, hence our freedom.

The fact that we never stop hoping despite accidents and adversities is a strong indication that truly deep inside us, sometimes just subconsciously, we hope for something which will give us joy and that joy we want to last for ever.

What, then, is this absolute good to which we so strongly look forward? Nothing less  than God Himself! Only He can fulfill our innermost desire buried in our heart.

click here for Greek

3 thoughts on “Hope and desire

  1. How many times in life and if you live long enough, you know, how HOPE gave you wings to lift yourself out of dramatic situations. Without hope, one would have still been stuck in one’s dramas.


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