Love is the engine driving hope on life's bumpy road, says pope

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The cross, loving service and
humble sacrifice are the only way to overcome evil and give hope to the world,
Pope Francis said.

Those who love their own lives and always hunger for more
are the losers, the pope said at his weekly general audience April 12.

Rather, those who readily serve others and “live
God’s way” are the winners, who “save themselves and others, becoming
seeds of hope for the world,” he said.

This seemingly illogical process is the source and
strength of Christian hope, Pope Francis said, continuing his series of talks
on the unique nature of this hope.

Jesus explains the new kind of hope he offers in a verse
from the Gospel according of St. John when he says, “unless a grain of
wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it
dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever
hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.”

It is only when a seed splits apart and opens up that it
can give rise to new life that grows and gives abundant fruit, the pope said.

Jesus himself followed this process by “falling to
the earth” from his celestial glory as a small baby, like a tiny grain of

“But that was still not enough. To bear fruit, Jesus
lived love all the way, letting himself be broken by death like a seed under
the earth. Precisely there, at that extreme point of his lowering himself,
which is also the highest point of love, hope germinated,” sprouting forth
because of the power of love, he said.

That is why with his death and resurrection, God made
everything new, transforming “our sin into forgiveness, our death into
resurrection, our fear into faith. That’s why, there on the cross, our hope was
born and is always reborn.”

That is why Jesus is the one who can always turn every
single dark moment into light, “every defeat into victory, every disappointment
into hope,” he said. “Hope overcomes everything because it is born
from the love of Jesus who made himself be like a grain of wheat on earth and
died to give life” — a life full of the love that comes from hope.

When people begin to choose God’s way, they soon discover
the victorious path in life is the life of a seed and humble love, he said.
“There is no other way to defeat evil and give hope to the world.”

Real love must follow the cross and sacrifice, not as its
goal, but as the necessary path to true glory and new life, the pope said.

“This is what mothers do, they give another life,
they suffer (with labor and birth), but then they are joyful and happy because
they have given birth to another life.”

“Love is the engine that drives our hope
forward,” and people need to learn to love more and more each day.

One can see how a life built on having and possessing,
rather than giving and serving, leads nowhere, the pope said. Voracious greed
is never satisfied — the more one has, the more one wants and “that is a
terrible thirst.”

Instead, “it’s wonderful to help others, serve
others,” he said, because though it may be tiring, “the heart
fills with joy and hope.”

The pope asked people to contemplate the crucifix every day
and tell Christ, “With you, nothing is lost. With you, I can always have
hope. You are my hope.”

“Bit by bit, we will realize that hoping with Jesus
is learning to already see the plant inside the seed, Easter in the cross, life
in death.”

– – –

Follow Glatz on Twitter: @CarolGlatz.

– – –

Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Original Article