catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 6, Num 22 :: 2007.11.30 — 2007.12.14


Shreds of hope

Hope made me sweat this past year. It has been harder to pin down. I have suddenly realized, through hope’s teasing, that I haven’t thought much about it (or her) before.

Hope is slippery. The best I can do is make note of mere whispers of hope that either I, with much labor, or others have formed.  Here are my shreds of (and on) hope.


just as the prophets
awaited the coming of
the Messiah,
the King,
the Counselor,
so I await Your coming.
Just as the prophets,
orphaned as they were,
longed for an Everlasting Father,
so I long for You.
And, just as the prophets
believed that you would
fulfill your promises,
so I believe.
Just as the prophets
had real hope,
confident expectation,
so I will hope.
I expect,
I await,
I believe in
Your coming,
dear Lord.
Come, Lord Jesus.


Bits and pieces from Thomas Merton:

“We are not perfectly free until we live in pure hope.”

“He who hopes in God trusts God, Whom he never sees, to bring him to the possession of things that are beyond imagination.”

“Supernatural hope is the virtue that strips us of all things in order to give us possession of all things.”

“…hope is a confidence which He creates in our souls as secret evidence that He has taken possession of us.”

“We are united to Him in darkness, because we have to hope.”

“Without hope, our faith gives us only an acquaintance with God.”


The will is seated in the spirit.  Though the soul inclines itself towards a particular action, the spirit’s will can supersede emotion, commanding us to follow a series of actions seated in a deeper part of ourselves.  Just as a shift in the depths of a wide river can effect waves on the surface, so a willing spirit, immersed in joy and hope, can bubble up, resulting in praise.


Some bits and pieces about hope from the Bible:

“Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.”

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”


In I Corinthians 13 we are told that there are three things that remain: faith, hope and love.  Though Paul tells us that love is the greatest of those three, we are told by him in Colossians that hope is the source of faith and love.  Think about that:  faith and love are actually by-products of hope.  Hope is a seed; faith, the tree; love, the fruit.  Hope is the power beneath the surface that causes faith and love to bubble over.   It’s because we have hope that we believe and can have faith. And it’s because we have hope that we choose to love.  The hopeless person cannot love and they will not believe. 


Some bits and pieces about hope from the German theologian Jürgen Moltmann:

“…hope is not something which one man has and the other does not have, but is a primal mode of existing or the most important constituent of human life.”

“In hope, man recognizes every situation in which he finds himself as a station on the way, which he must pass beyond and leave behind in order to realize his humanity.”

“Men die when they are suddenly struck with the impression that everything is without prospect for them. They simply give up even if there are no physical causes for their death. Others become criminals out of hopelessness.”

“An anthropology of hope would hang in the air if the reality of the world in which we live were in itself a closed system…But if nothing can happen in the world, then there is also no real future.”

“In religious experience hope is turned around. Here we realize that God is not simply the point of our hope in heaven, but that we are his hope on earth.”


the new year,
limpid and limping,
straggled and disheveled,
packing illness,
coughing like
only intermittent firecrackers
cast surreptitiously from the balcony

i saw the odd roman candle lit
on the smoky street,
(the city clouded in smog,
the ground more brown than green)
but only as if from a passing side view

and then friends came and went,
the girls recovered from sickness,
the little finn returned to her homeland
after solving one last puzzle

and my Friend,
our Friend,
suddenly passing by january six,
like an epiphany,

and beforeyouknowit we see,
and she sees,
like an epiphany

the coughing is gone now






to swallow the air
and gasp—AHA!

all signs may point otherwise
but this is a year of hope

i can feel it
light a candle


There is nothing more tragic than the misplacement of hope. Those who make a habit of misplacing hope are doomed to despair, because the longer you misplace hope, the less hope you have. The wise placement of hope, on the other hand, causes hope to grow ever stronger.


like Bethlehem,
I am small and unworthy;
nevertheless, come in your greatness.
Ancient of Days,
come now,
For too long
have you left me here
I am in pain.
I long for you.
I ache and yearn.
Come, Messiah.
Come, Lord Jesus.
My hope is in You.
I expect,
I await,
I believe in
Your coming,
dear Lord.

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