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Louisa Ikena reflects on being wealthy in hope and focused on our beautiful Lord.

The world around us emphasizes being rich in money. The messages that are out there encouraging us to obtain more and more and more are strong. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed in general to material abundance. When compared to most of our world’s population, the average US citizen is wealthy indeed. I’m simply stating that over and above being rich in money, I want to be rich in hope.

Being rich in hope is being rich in the things that truly matter. It means getting and keeping a perspective that keeps my eyes fixed on Jesus (cf. Hebrews 12:2). That perspective includes knowing that no matter what happens in this life, It is Well with my Soul. This lifetime is but a blink of the eye compared to our hope of spending eternity in the very Presence of our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. It is easy to forget in the midst of petty and mundane things like a stressful day at work or the laundry, that what truly matters is the state of my soul.

What is the focus of my mind today? What have I set my heart on? Who do I love over and above all else? The answer I’ve been taught to aim for is our Lord Jesus. I strive to “seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides" (Matthew 6:33). And also in Deuteronomy 6:5 and Matthew 22:37, 39 we are taught: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And love your neighbor as yourself.” Isn’t it precisely this that is lacking in a secular view of the world? I have hope because I have Jesus. Jesus lived, died, rose, and lives forevermore. With Him I have Blessed Assurance, to quote another song title.

In high school I attended a running camp in the mountains of North Carolina. I was 16 years old, and I fell in love with mountains at first sight. The graduation run for that camp was particularly challenging, but it was so worth it. I remember rounding a corner and climbing up to a vista that took my breath away. I remember praying, “God, thank you! Please let anyone in the world who is in need of hope, glimpse the beauty of THIS.” That prayer has come back to me a hundred-fold, especially when I’ve been the one in need of hope. I get filled with hope when I think about things, like that mountain vista, that are truly beautiful.




When I am standing on hope, I’m standing on the Rock of Christ Jesus. No matter what storms come my way on any given day, I will not be moved. This Firm Foundation is not earned or credited to me by any merit of my own, it is my Cornerstone of Faith through Him, with Him, and in Him. I receive Jesus through the free unearned gift that we call Grace. And, as a Catholic, Jesus is accessible to be received Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist. "Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter unto my roof, but only say the Word and my soul shall be healed” (response at Mass, based on Matthew 8:8). I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, reception of our Lord in Holy Communion increases my hope.


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Even on the days when hope feels out of reach, our Lord is here. He is never out of reach. #CatholicMom

It’s a worthy question to keep in the forefront of my mind today: Will this decision increase or decrease my hope? When I ask that question, I can relax and let the Holy Spirit guide me. While many of us know all too well what it feels like to be depleted of hope, to be drained of hope, or for hope to feel like it is out of our reach, we can turn again and again to the Source and Founder of our Faith to be filled to the brim again with hope.

Even on the days when hope feels out of reach, our Lord is here. He is never out of reach. God’s Presence is not contingent on our acknowledging Him or feeling Him. Our Hope is in the Living God. Our God lives forevermore. As we are instructed in the First Letter of Peter, 

Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope. (1 Peter 3:15b)


Lord Jesus, thank You for Your Presence right here, right now. Please help us acquire a wealth truly pleasing to You. Increase our focus on things truly beautiful. Increase our Hope!



Copyright 2023 Louisa Ann Irene Ikena
Images: Canva