Although, as stated by some people, hope is a forgotten virtue, I’d venture to say that during these days of the pandemic the only emotion that fills the hearts of many people is HOPE.
In a certain conference on the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity, an observer pointed out that there were three or more lectures on the virtue of Faith and Charity, but there was only one lecture on Hope as if people were not interested to discuss this virtue that the great theologian and Doctor of the Church Saint Thomas Aquinas considered part of the “Tria Haec” (Latin for “These Three”) referring to the three virtues of Faith Hope and Charity.
Incidentally, if you go to the University of Santo Tomas, you will not fail to see on the concrete façade below the promenade of the iconic Main Building a prominent inscription “TRIA HAEC” as if to remind everyone that this inscription that consists of only two Latin words is important although the cryptic words leave everyone wondering what they mean.
Theology students of all ages know what they mean. In fact, they mean a world to our Christian life. They mean that Christianity is grounded on the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity.
What are theological virtues? In Christian theology and philosophy, they are virtues associated with salvation resulting from the grace of God. They are qualities that dispose of us to conduct ourselves in a morally good manner. As one of the theological virtues, Hope is a longing for something good to happen or to get.
It may sound funny that it takes a pandemic to bring back the forgotten virtue Hope to the fore. But when life looks dark and the future seems scary because the pandemic has turned our world upside down and continues to threaten us, it would seem that any longing no matter how tiny from our heart for something good that might happen in the near future like the decline of the COVID-19 cases and the eventual eradication of the deadly virus from our life is significant.
That longing is hope, and if that hope is accompanied by humble prayer to God acknowledging our helplessness and His power over us and over everything in the world including over the pandemic, that feeling of hope can ground us on a firm footing and bring joy to our hearts.
In New York, with the COVID-19 vaccination seemingly in full swing, the hope in the hearts of many will grow fonder for better times and days.
How wonderful it would be if the rest of the countries of the world especially the Philippines could share that hope. As the lovely old song entitled ‘Whispering Hope’ puts it, “Hope for a gentle tomorrow, after the shower is gone. (Replace this last verse with: after the COVID is gone.”*