"Hope is difficult because we do not always get what we hope for. Sometimes, of course, we get more than we hoped for. There is a story about a group of children at a wishing well in a mall. As the children tossed in their coins, they whispered aloud their wishes. 'I wish I had a puppy,' said one. 'I wish I had a doll,' said another. But one little boy tossed in his coin and whispered, ' I wish I had a magnet!' Sometimes we spend days wishing for a puppy or a doll, when God wants to give us something far better: the whole wishing well!

"But sometimes we seem to get far less than we hoped for, or even the opposite of what we hoped for. A young couple hopes for a healthy baby, and they get a child with cerebral palsy. A wife hopes for a change in her abusive husband's behavior, and he continues to abuse her. A priest hopes to get assigned to a thriving parish, and he gets assigned to a dying one instead. We do not hope simply to get what we hope for. Authentic hope is far greater than that.

"Playwright Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic said in one of his speeches: 'Hope is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out." When we seem to get less than we hope for, we may in reality be getting more. The young couple with the ill child may discover resources of love they never knew they had. The abused wife may finally find the courage she needs to walk away from the abusive relationship. The priest may find blessings in a dying parish that he never would have found in a thriving one. We do not always get what we hope for; sometimes we get something better!"