Faith Hope Love

A reader writes:

Lately I’ve been mulling over Faith and Hope, trying to define them in a way that seems to make sense. The problem is that when I finally do come to a definition of one it sounds like I’m defining the other. I can easily accept that the two things may intersect, but I’d still like a good crisp definition.

Have you ever thought of taking a stab at it, such that it clears up where the two intersect, and where they are unique?

Many thanks,

PS. This may sound like a funny analogy, but I get the sense that Faith is what pushes us to God, and Hope is what pulls us to heaven.

I’m intrigued by your PS. Meanwhile, rather than my worthless prattle, here’s what you need (click on the cover to get the book from Amazon):

Josef Pieper is just wonderful. Clear as a bell and deep as the sea. Tell your loved ones you want this for Christmas and then take a few lovely leisurely holidays to read this and (speaking of which) another wonderful book by him:

  • capaxdei

    One thing I like about the old formula that faith is “a participation in the knowledge of another” is that it shows that faith isn’t a passive or once-and-done sort of thing. If you are participating in something, you are actively engaged in it.

  • William

    These theological virtues are gifts of grace that enable us to know what God knows, to trust and desire what God promises, and to share in how God loves.

  • Alypius

    Happen to be working through Pieper’s Faith/Hope/Love right now myself, and can’t second your recommendation heartily enough! It’s a wonderfully clear exposition.

  • Clare Krishan

    Retrouvaille gatherings often begin with a simple prayer “Lord, help us commit the past to Mercy (ie couples struggling with marriage troubles abandon hurts to God in faith) the future to Hope and the present moment to Love” that echoes 1 Corinthians 13:13, where faith references, and enjoins us in communion with the saints, in the past tense, hope references and enjoins us in Trinitarian sanctification oriented to the future tense of the afterlife, whereas love references the only really important tense, where God acts in human hearts via our free will, in the present moment of our personal choices, our decision to be loving, filled with His compassion; or not, as the case may be when we err and sin.


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