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What does it mean to have hope? In "Take Heart: Catholic Writers on Hope in Our Time" thirty-five writers "reflect on the nature of hope and its sources and uses in our time." Thirty-two of the writers are Catholic. The remaining three include a rabbi, an Orthodox priest and a Lutheran minister, used as a "control group" to compare and contrast the Catholic experience of hope with a more universal sense of hope. Interestingly enough, Ben Birnbaum, the editor of "Take Heart," is Jewish.
The essays are divided into four sections: Part One - Build, Part Two - Love, Part Three - Believe, and Part Four - Other Voices. Many of the writers seek to define "hope." All agree that it is not unbridled optimism which often has no basis in reality. Paul J. Griffiths, who holds the Schmitt Chair in Catholic studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, states that "hope and lament cannot be separated in a fallen world . . .To hope in a single-mindedly optimistic way would be absurd and superficial; to lament without hope would be strictly damnable." Ann Wroe, the special reports and obituaries editor of "The Economist," defines hope as an action. "Hope is that virtue by which we idealize and create - the landscape in which we build our visions." A.G. Harmon, who teaches at the Catholic University of America, sees hope as "the energy within, that which sustains us on a passage that would be too arduous and dispiriting otherwise."
Where does one find hope? As an angry young man imprisoned in solitary confinement, Joseph Pearce found hope in a set of rosary beads. He had no idea even how to pray the rosary, but "it was hope that brought me the first inklings of the peace to be found in Christ. It was hope that taught me humility.Read more ›