The virtues of faith, hope and love – active in us – draw us more fully into the life of the kingdom here on earth, and prepare us to enter into the life of heaven, with God for ever.
It is worth considering what hold their opposites might sometimes have over us.
The opposite of faith is not so much doubt, for often it is our uncertainty and questioning that leads us to renew faith, to deepen our trust in God. Rather it is likely to be a shallowness of relationship a sort of ‘what does it matter’ attitude. Faith is about commitment, its opposite is a drifting away.
Hope’s opposite is surely despair – and again what makes the difference is the breaking of that relationship with God. It is God’s love – manifested in so many ways, and most profoundly in the Paschal Mystery of Jesus’ dying and rising – that gives us hope. We lose it when we forget…
And love’s opposite? Hate, probably. Our tradition teaches of the principal forms of love – love of God, of neighbour and of self. Hate of self, hate of neighbour and hate of God go together to – either explicitly or implicitly. The cure? Jesus seems to have located it in God’s love for us – when we can attend to that, accept that, things change…
Collect for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Almighty ever-living God,
increase our faith, hope and charity,
and make us love what you command,
so that we may merit what you promise.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
~ Translation of the Collect: English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved
~ Commentary: © 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photograph:© 2016, Allen Morris. Stained Glass, Tewkesbury Abbey.