As we enter the season of hope, Lilia Grundy explores the difference between worldy and heavenly hope – which one are we pursuing this Advent?
I was asked to serve as a panelist for a young professionals meeting and I was thrilled. I love speaking and mentoring. I am comfortable giving speeches in front of large groups. I have been doing this my entire career. The topic is then provided to me – the president of the chapter informs me that the discussion will be centered on the virtue of hope.
Yikes, I think. How do I tackle hope?
The voice running in my head said I should sit this one out, “You’re a marketing gal. Stick to business and communications,” that voice said. But the funny thing was that just before being asked to speak at this meeting, I had made a promise to God that I would say “yes” to all things related to Him and the Church. OK, I think, now I must buckle down.
And I do – I accept the request and begin to tackle this amazing virtue of hope. As I’m second guessing my decision, I receive hopeful direction from the Holy Spirit. Out of nowhere it seems, I spot a book sitting in my library – it’s entitled Beautiful Hope, distributed by Dynamic Catholic. It is a collection of reflections on hope by various Catholic leaders. The book was sent to us as a gift from our new parish. I had not yet read it and I could sense this was a sign telling me it was time. As I begin to read through the inspiring stories, I begin to reflect on my own challenges of my past.
The theme of which I would share with others was beginning to take form. As I rewound the chapters of my young adult life, I began to notice a pattern. My hopefulness for the majority of my career had been focused on: promotions, advancement, hard-work ethic, increased salary, and the like. And while all of these aspirations were fine – they were wordly hopes. Hopes that would last for a moment, but not bring true, everlasting joy.
I notice that I had not been centered on Heavenly Hope – the theological version of hope that hopes for the Divine union and thus … eternal happiness.
But when I faced life-changing events at the height of my career – the end of an engagement, loss of employment, required surgery (all at once), all of my wordly hopes came crashing down. It was at that point that I had to make the decision: do I continue pursuing the hopes that would only surely continue to fail? Or do I take the leap of faith and hold on for something better?
The image of me swimming in the middle of the ocean came to mind – I was struggling and was alone. I could let go of the life-saving buoy that Christ had always been extending to me. After all, I was distraught, angry and tired – so it would totally make sense to let go. Or, my soul whispered, I could keeping holding on and wait for something even better. I decided to hold on. I decided to hold on for what I did not know at that point was heavenly hope.
And while things didn’t magically rearrange themselves right away, I now see that by holding on to that invisible rope and buoy, I was saved.
I shared this image with the young adults that evening during our discussion on hope. I suggested they ponder on whether their hope was based on worldly hope or heavenly hope. Even if it didn’t seem to make sense in the present, I encouraged them to keep holding on to that rope, that buoy, and right when they would least expect, they would be on their way to reaching for heavenly hope.
Copyright 2021 Lilia Grundy
Images: Canva Pro
About the Author
Lilia Grundy is University of Portland’s Pamplin School of Business’ Director of Corporate Partnerships with over 20 years of corporate experience (including Kraft Foods, NBC Television, and Telemundo). Lilia launched Catholic Women Professionals to inspire other working women to grow their faith. She is married to her high-school sweetie Rob - they have beautiful twin girls who love art, music and learning about the saints.