The Christian's Hope
A good number of years ago, with a sense of conviction that was growing stronger in me each day, I wrote: 'Put all your hope in Jesus. You yourself have nothing, are worth nothing, can do nothing. He will act, if only you abandon yourself in him.' Time has gone by, and that conviction of mine has grown even stronger and deeper. I have seen many souls with such hope in God that it has set them marvellously ablaze with love, with a fire that makes the heart beat strong and keeps it safe from discouragement and dejection, even though along the way they may suffer and at times suffer greatly.
I was deeply moved by the Epistle in today's Mass, and I imagine the same will have happened to you. I realised that God was helping us, through the words of the Apostle, to contemplate the divine interlacing of the three theological virtues which form the backing upon which the true life of every Christian man or woman has to be woven.
Let us listen once again to the words of St Paul: 'Since we are justified by faith, let us enjoy peace with God through Our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access, by faith, to that grace in which we stand and we rejoice in the hope of attaining glory as the sons of God. More than that, we rejoice even in our afflictions, knowing well that affliction gives rise to patience, and patience brings perseverance, and perseverance brings hope, and this hope does not disappoint us: for the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.'
Here in the presence of God who is presiding over us right now from the Tabernacle (how reassuring it is to have Jesus so very close to us!) we are going to meditate today on the virtue of hope, that gentle gift from God which makes our hearts overflow with gladness, spe gaudentes, joyful, for if we are faithful an everlasting Love awaits us.
Let us never forget that for all men, and therefore for each and every one of us, there are only two ways of living on this earth: either we lead a divine life, striving to please God; or we set him aside and live an animal-like existence, guided to a greater or lesser degree by human enlightenment. I have never given too much credit to the 'do-gooders' who pride themselves on their unbelief. I love them truly, as I do all mankind who are my brothers. I admire their good will which in certain aspects may even be heroic. But I also feel sorry for them because they have the immense misfortune of lacking the light and the warmth of God, and the indescribable joy which comes from the theological virtue of hope.
The true Christian, who acts according to his faith, always has his sights set on God. His outlook is supernatural. He works in this world of ours, which he loves passionately; he is involved in all its challenges, but all the while his eyes are fixed on Heaven. St Paul brings this out very clearly: quae sursum sunt quaerite; 'seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Savour the things of Heaven, not the things that are upon the earth. For you are dead', to worldliness, through Baptism, 'and your life is hidden with Christ in God.'
There are many who repeat that hackneyed expression 'while there's life there's hope', as if hope were an excuse for ambling along through life without too many complications or worries on one's conscience. Or as if it were a pretext for postponing indefinitely the decision to mend one's ways and the struggle to attain worthwhile goals, particularly the highest goal of all which is to be united with God.
If we follow this view, we will end up confusing hope with comfort. Fundamentally, what is wrong with it is that there is no real desire to achieve anything worthwhile, either spiritual or material. Thus some people's greatest ambition boils down to avoiding whatever might upset the apparent calm of their mediocre existence. These timid, inhibited, lazy souls, full of subtle forms of selfishness, are content to let the days, the years, go by sine spe nec metu,* without setting themselves demanding targets, nor experiencing the hopes and fears of battle: the important thing for them is to avoid the risk of disappointment and tears. How far one is from obtaining something, if the very wish to possess it has been lost through fear of the demands involved in achieving it!
Then there is the superficial attitude of those for whom hope is a sort of idyllic fantasy, often presented under the guise of culture and learning. As they are incapable of facing up to themselves squarely and of choosing to do good, they say that hope is merely an illusion, a utopian dream, a bit of relief from the anxieties of a hard life. For these people hope has become frivolous wishful-thinking, leading nowhere. What a false idea of hope!
But along with these timid and frivolous types, we also find here on earth many upright individuals pursuing noble ideals, even though their motives are often not supernatural, but merely philanthropic. These people face up to all kinds of hardship. They generously spend themselves serving others, helping them overcome suffering and difficulties. I am always moved to respect and even to admiration by the tenacity of those who work wholeheartedly for noble ideals. Nevertheless, I consider I have a duty to remind you that everything we undertake in this life, if we see it exclusively as our own work, bears from the outset the stamp of perishability. Remember the words of Scripture: 'I considered all that my hands had done and the effort I had spent doing it, and I saw that all was vanity and a striving after wind, with nothing gained under the sun.'
This precariousness does not stifle hope. On the contrary, once we recognise the insignificant and contingent nature of our earthly endeavours, the way is then open for true hope, a hope which upgrades all human work and turns it into a meeting point with God. An inexhaustible light then bathes everything we do and chases away the dark shadows of disappointment. But if we transform our temporal projects into ends in themselves and blot out from our horizon our eternal dwelling place and the end for which we have been created, which is to love and praise the Lord and then to possess him for ever in Heaven, then our most brilliant endeavours turn traitor, and can even become a means of degrading our fellow creatures. Remember that sincere and well-known exclamation of St Augustine, who had such bitter experience when God was unknown to him and he was seeking happiness outside God: 'You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless till they rest in you!' Perhaps there is no greater tragedy for man than the sense of disillusionment he suffers when he has corrupted or falsified his hope, by placing it in something other than the one Love which satisfies without ever satiating.
In my case, and I wish the same to happen to you, the certainty I derive from feeling — from knowing — that I am a son of God fills me with real hope which, being a supernatural virtue, adapts to our nature when it is infused in us, and so is also a very human virtue. I am happy because I am certain we will attain Heaven if we remain faithful to the end; I rejoice in the thought of the bliss that will be ours, quoniam bonus, because my God is good and his mercy infinite. This conviction spurs me on to grasp that only those things that bear the imprint of God can display the indelible sign of eternity and have lasting value. Therefore, far from separating me from the things of this earth, hope draws me closer to these realities in a new way, a Christian way, which seeks to discover in everything the relation between our fallen nature and God, our Creator and Redeemer.
Perhaps some of you are wondering, 'What should a Christian hope for?' After all, the world has many good things to offer that attract our hearts, which crave happiness and anxiously run in search of love. Besides we want to sow peace and joy at every turn. We are not content to achieve prosperity just for ourselves. We want to make everyone around us happy as well.
Some people, alas, whose aims are worthy but limited and their ideals only perishable and fleeting, forget that Christians have to aspire to the highest peaks of all, to the infinite. Our aim is the very Love of God, to enjoy that Love fully, with a joy that never ends. We have seen in so many ways that things here below have to come to an end for all of us, when this world ends; and even sooner, for each individual, when he dies, for we cannot take wealth and prestige with us to the grave. That is why, buoyed up by hope, we raise our hearts to God himself and have learned to pray, in te Domine speravi, non confundar in aeternum, I have placed my hope in you, O Lord: may your hand guide me now and at every moment, for ever and ever.
God did not create us to build a lasting city here on earth, because 'this world is the way to that other, a dwelling place free from care'. Nevertheless, we children of God ought not to remain aloof from earthly endeavours, for God has placed us here to sanctify them and make them fruitful with our blessed faith, which alone is capable of bringing true peace and joy to all men wherever they may be. Since 1928 I have constantly preached that we urgently need to christianise society. We must imbue all levels of mankind with a supernatural outlook, and each of us must strive to raise his daily duties, his job or profession, to the order of supernatural grace. In this way all human occupations will be lit up by a new hope that transcends time and the inherent transience of earthly realities.
Through Baptism we are made bearers of the word of Christ, a word which soothes, enkindles and reassures the wounded conscience. For Our Lord to act in us and for us, we must tell him that we are ready to struggle each day, even though we realise we are feeble and useless, and the heavy burden of our personal shortcomings and weakness weighs down upon us. We must tell him again and again that we trust in him and in his help: if necessary, like Abraham, hoping 'against all hope'. Thus we will go about our work with renewed vigour, and we will teach others how to live free from worry, hate, suspicion, ignorance, misunderstandings and pessimism, because God can do everything.
Wherever we may be, Our Lord urges us to be vigilant. His plea should lead us to hope more strongly in our desires for holiness and to translate them into deeds. 'Give me your heart, my son,' he seems to whisper in our ear. Stop building castles in the air. Make up your mind to open your soul to God, for only in Our Lord will you find a real basis for your hope and for doing good to others. If we don't fight against ourselves; if we don't rebuff once and for all the enemies lodged within our interior fortress — pride, envy, the concupiscence of the flesh and of the eyes, self-sufficiency, and the wild craving for licentiousness; if we abandon this inner struggle, our noblest ideals will wither 'like the bloom on the grass; and when the scorching sun comes up the grass withers, and the bloom falls, and all its fair show dies away'. Then, all you need is a tiny crevice and discouragement and gloom will creep in, like encroaching poisonous weeds.
Jesus is not satisfied with a wavering assent. He expects, and has a right to expect, that we advance resolutely, unyielding in the face of difficulties. He demands that we take firm, specific steps; because, as a rule, general resolutions are just fallacious illusions, created to silence the divine call which sounds within our hearts. They produce a futile flame that neither burns nor gives warmth, but dies out as suddenly as it began.
You will convince me that you sincerely want to achieve your goals when I see you go forward unwaveringly. Do good and keep reviewing your basic attitudes to the jobs that occupy you each moment. Practise the virtue of justice, right where you are, in your normal surroundings, even though you may end up exhausted. Foster happiness among those around you by cheerfully serving the people you work with and by striving to carry out your job as perfectly as you can, showing understanding, smiling, having a Christian approach to life. And do everything for God, thinking of his glory, with your sights set high and longing for the definitive homeland, because there is no other goal worthwhile.
If you're not struggling, it's no use telling me that you are really trying to become more closely identified with Christ, to know him and love him. When we set out seriously along the royal highway, that of following Christ and behaving as children of God, we soon realise what awaits us: the Holy Cross. We must see it as the central point upon which to rest our hope of being united with Our Lord.
Let me warn you that the programme ahead is not an easy one. It takes an effort to lead the kind of life Our Lord wants. Listen to the account St Paul gives of the incidents and sufferings he encountered in carrying out the will of Jesus: 'Five times the Jews scourged me, and spared me but one lash in forty; three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned; I have been shipwrecked three times, I have spent a night and a day as a castaway at sea. What journeys I have undertaken, in danger from rivers, in danger from robbers, in danger from my own people, in danger from the gentiles; danger in cities, danger in the wilderness, danger in the sea, danger among false brethren! I have met with toil and weariness, so often been sleepless, hungry and thirsty; so often denied myself food, gone cold and naked. And all this, over and above something else which I do not count; I mean the burden I carry every day, my anxious care for all the churches.'
In these conversations we have with Our Lord, I like to keep very close to everyday reality and avoid dreaming up theories or imagining great hardships and heroic exploits, which seldom happen. What is important is to make good use of time, that time which is always slipping from our grasp and which to a Christian is more precious than gold, because it represents a foretaste of the glory that will be granted us hereafter.
Naturally, the difficulties we meet in our daily lives will not be as great or as numerous as St Paul encountered. We will, however, discover our own meanness and selfishness, the sting of sensuality, the useless, ridiculous smack of pride, and many other failings besides: so very many weaknesses. But are we to give in to discouragement? Not at all. Together with St Paul, let us tell Our Lord, 'I am well content with these humiliations of mine, with the insults, the hardships, the persecutions, the times of difficulty I undergo for Christ; for when I am weakest, then I am strongest of all.'
Sometimes, when things turn out the very opposite of what we intended, we cry out spontaneously: 'Lord, it's all going wrong, every single thing I'm doing!' The time has come for us to rectify our approach and say: 'With you, Lord, I will make steady headway, because you are strength itself, quia tu es Deus fortitudo mea.'
I have asked you to keep on lifting your eyes up to Heaven as you go about your work, because hope encourages us to grasp hold of the strong hand which God never ceases to reach out to us, to keep us from losing our supernatural point of view. Let us persevere even when our passions rear up and attack us, attempting to imprison us within the narrow confines of our selfishness; or when puerile vanity makes us think we are the centre of the universe. I am convinced that unless I look upward, unless I have Jesus, I will never accomplish anything. And I know that the strength to conquer myself and to win comes from repeating that cry, 'I can do all things in him who strengthens me,' words which reflect God's firm promise not to abandon his children if they do not abandon him.
Our Lord has come so close to his creatures that we all hunger in our hearts for higher things, to be uplifted, to do good. If I am now prompting similar aspirations in you, it is because I want you to be convinced of the confidence he has placed in your soul. If you let him work in you, you will become, right where you are, a useful instrument, more useful than you could ever have imagined. But to make sure that cowardice does not make you betray the confidence God has placed in you, you must avoid the presumption of naively underestimating the difficulties that you will meet in your Christian life.
These difficulties shouldn't surprise us. As a consequence of our fallen nature, we carry within us a principle of opposition, of resistance to grace. It comes from the wounds inflicted by original sin, and is aggravated by our own personal sins. Therefore we have to strive ever upwards, by means of our everyday tasks, which are both divine and human and always lead to the love of God. In this we must be humble and contrite of heart and we must trust in God's help, while at the same time devoting our best efforts to those tasks as if everything depended on us.
As we fight this battle, which will last until the day we die, we cannot exclude the possibility that enemies both within and without may attack with violent force. And, as if this burden were not enough, you may at times be assailed by the memory of your own past errors, which may have been very many. I tell you now, in God's name: don't despair. Should this happen (it need not happen; nor will it usually happen) then turn it into another motive for uniting yourself more closely to Our Lord, for he has chosen you as his child and he will not abandon you. He has allowed that trial to befall you so that you may love him the more and may discover even more clearly his constant protection and Love.
Take heart, I insist, because Christ, who pardoned us on the Cross, is still offering us his pardon through the Sacrament of Penance. We always 'have an advocate to plead our cause before the Father: the Just One, Jesus Christ. He, in his own person, is the atonement made for our sins, and not only for ours, but for the sins of the whole world,' so that we may win the Victory.
Forward, no matter what happens! Cling tightly to Our Lord's hand and remember that God does not lose battles. If you should stray from him for any reason, react with the humility that will lead you to begin again and again; to play the role of the prodigal son every day, and even repeatedly during the twenty-four hours of the same day; to correct your contrite heart in Confession, which is a real miracle of God's Love. In this wonderful Sacrament Our Lord cleanses your soul and fills you with joy and strength to prevent you from giving up the fight, and to help you keep returning to God unwearied, when everything seems black. In addition, the Mother of God, who is also our Mother, watches over you with motherly care, guiding your every step.
Holy Scripture points out that even 'the just man falls seven times'. Whenever I read this phrase my soul trembles with love and sorrow. This divine indication shows us Our Lord once again setting out to meet us and speak to us about his mercy, his tenderness and clemency that know no limits. Be sure of this: God does not want our wretchedness, but he is aware of it, and indeed he makes use of our weakness to make saints of us.
As I was saying, I tremble out of love. Looking at my life, I see quite honestly that I myself am nothing, am worth nothing and have nothing, that I can do nothing and, even more, that I am nothingness itself! But He is everything and, at the same time, he belongs to me and I to him because he does not reject me and has given himself up for me. Have you ever seen a greater love than this?
I tremble also out of sorrow, because when I look back at what I have done, I am amazed at the extent of my failings. All I have to do is to examine my behaviour in the few hours since I woke up this morning to discover so much lack of love, so little faithful correspondence. This truly saddens me, but it does not take away my peace of mind. I prostrate myself before God and I state my situation clearly. Immediately he helps me, he reassures me, and I hear him repeat slowly in the depths of my heart, meus es tu!, I know the way you are, as I have always known it. Forward!
It cannot be otherwise. If we strive continually to place ourselves in Our Lord's presence, our confidence will increase when we realise that his Love and his call are always present. God never tires of loving us. Hope shows us that without him we cannot carry out even the most insignificant duty. But with God, with his grace, our wounds will quickly heal; clothed with his strength we shall be able to ward off the attacks of the enemy, and we shall improve. To sum up, the realisation that we are made of clay, and cheap clay at that, has to lead us, above all, to strengthen our hope in Christ Jesus.
Make it a habit to mingle with the characters who appear in the New Testament. Capture the flavour of those moving scenes where the Master performs works that are both divine and human, and tells us, with human and divine touches, the wonderful story of his pardon for us and his enduring Love for his children. Those foretastes of Heaven are renewed today, for the Gospel is always true: we can feel, we can sense, we can even say we touch God's protection with our own hands; a protection that grows stronger as long as we keep advancing despite our stumbles, as long as we begin again and again, for this is what interior life is about, living with our hope placed in God.
Unless we aspire to overcome the obstacles both within and without, we will not obtain the reward. '"No athlete wins a crown, if he has not fought in earnest;" and the fight would not be genuine if there were no opponent to fight with. Therefore, if there is no opponent, there will be no crown; for there can be no victor without someone vanquished.'
Far from discouraging us, the difficulties we meet have to spur us on to mature as Christians. This fight sanctifies us and gives effectiveness to our apostolic endeavours. As we contemplate those moments when Jesus, in the Garden of Olives and later mocked and abandoned on the Cross, accepts and loves the Will of his Father, all the while feeling the enormous weight of the Passion, we must be convinced that in order to imitate Christ, and be good disciples of his, we must take his advice to heart, 'If any man has a mind to come my way, let him renounce self, and take up his cross, and follow me.' That is why I like to ask Jesus, for myself, 'Lord, no day without a cross!' Then, through God's grace, our characters will grow strong and we will become a point of support for our God, over and above our own wretchedness.
Take a nail, for instance. If you meet no resistance when you hammer it into a wall, what can you expect to hang on it? Likewise, if we do not let God toughen us through sacrifice, we will never become Our Lord's instruments. On the other hand, if we decide to accept difficulties gladly and make use of them for the love of God, then in the face of what is difficult and unpleasant, when things are hard and uncomfortable, we will be able to exclaim with the apostles James and John, 'Yes, we can!'
I ought to put you on your guard against a trick that Satan does not hesitate to use in order to rob us of our peace. He never takes a holiday! A time may come when he sows doubts in our minds, tempting us to think that we are slipping sadly backwards and are making scarcely any progress. The conviction may grow upon us that, in spite of all our efforts to improve, we are getting worse. I can assure you that normally this pessimistic judgement is mere fantasy, a deception that needs to be rejected. What has happened, as a rule, is that our soul has become more attentive, our conscience more sensitive, and our love more demanding. It can also be that the light of grace is shining more intensely and exposing to our view many details that would otherwise remain unnoticed in the shadows. In any case, we have to examine our uneasiness carefully, because through these insights Our Lord is asking us to be more humble or more generous. It is good to remember that God in his providence is continuously leading us forward and he spares no effort, whether in the form of portentous signs or of tiny miracles, to make his children progress.
Militia est vita hominis super terram, et sicut dies mercenarii, dies eius. Man's life on earth is warfare, and his days are spent under the burden of work. No one escapes this law, not even the easygoing who try to turn a deaf ear to it. They desert the ranks of Christ, and then take up other battles to satisfy their laziness, their vanity, or their petty ambitions. They become enslaved to their every whim.
Since to be in a state of struggle is part and parcel of the human condition, let us try to fulfil our obligations with determination. Let us pray and work with good will, with upright motives and with our sights set on what God wants. This way our longing for Love will be satisfied and we shall progress along the path to sanctity, even if we find at the end of the day that we still have a long way to go.
Renew your decision each morning, with a very determined Serviam!, I will serve you, Lord! Renew your resolution not to give in, not to give way to laziness or idleness; to face up to your duties with greater hope and more optimism, convinced that if we are defeated in some small skirmish we can overcome this setback by making a sincere act of love.
The virtue of hope assures us that God governs us with his all powerful providence and that he gives us all the means we need. Hope makes us aware of Our Lord's constant good will towards mankind, towards you and me. He is always ready to hear us, because he never tires of listening. He is interested in your joys, your successes, your love, and also in your worries, your suffering and your failures. So do not hope in him only when you realise you are weak. Call upon your heavenly Father in good times and in bad, taking refuge in his merciful protection. And our conviction that we are nothing (it doesn't take a high degree of humility to recognise the truth that we are nothing but a row of zeros) will turn into irresistible strength, because Christ will be the one to the left of these zeros, converting them into an immeasurable figure! 'The Lord is my strength and my refuge; whom shall I fear?'
Get used to seeing God behind everything, realising that he is always waiting for us, that he is contemplating us and quite rightly demands that we follow him faithfully without abandoning the place assigned to us in the world. In order not to lose his divine company, we must walk with loving vigilance and with a sincere determination to struggle.
The struggle of a child of God cannot go hand in hand with a spirit of sad-faced renunciation, sombre resignation or a lack of joy. It is, on the contrary, the struggle of the man in love who, whether working or resting, rejoicing or suffering, is always thinking of the one he loves, for whose sake he is happy to tackle any problems that may arise. Besides, in our case, being united with God, we can call ourselves victors because, I insist, he does not lose battles. My own experience is that when I strive faithfully to meet his demands, 'he gives me a resting place where there is green pasture, leads me out to the cool water's brink, refreshed and content. As in honour pledged, by sure paths he leads me; dark be the valley about my path, hurt I fear none while he is with me; thy rod, thy crook are my comfort.'
To win the battles of the soul, the best strategy often is to bide one's time and apply the suitable remedy with patience and perseverance. Make more acts of hope. Let me remind you that in your interior life you will suffer defeats and you will have ups and downs — may God make them imperceptible — because no one is free of these misfortunes. But our all powerful and merciful Lord has granted us the precise means with which to conquer. As I have already mentioned, all we have to do is to use them, resolving to begin again and again at every moment, should it prove necessary.
I would like to see you going to the holy Sacrament of Penance, the sacrament of divine forgiveness, every week, and indeed whenever you need it, without giving in to scruples. Clothed in grace, we can cross mountains, and climb the hill of our Christian duty, without halting on the way. If we use these resources with a firm purpose and beg Our Lord to grant us an ever increasing hope, we will possess the infectious joy of those who know they are children of God: 'If God is with us, who can be against us?' Let us be optimists. Moved by the power of hope, we will fight to wipe away the trail of filth and slime left by the sowers of hatred. We will find a new joyful perspective to the world, seeing that it has sprung forth beautiful and fair from the hands of God. We will give it back to him with that same beauty, if we learn how to repent.
Let us grow in hope, thereby strengthening our faith which is truly 'that which gives substance to our hopes, which convinces us of things we cannot see'. Let us grow in this virtue, let us beg Our Lord to increase his charity in us; after all, one can only really trust that which one loves with all one's might. And it is certainly worthwhile to love Our Lord. You and I know from experience that people in love surrender themselves unhesitatingly. Their hearts beat in a wonderful unison, with a single love. What then will the Love of God be like? Do you not realise that Christ has died for each and every one of us? Yes, for this poor little heart of ours, Jesus consummated his redeeming sacrifice.
Our Lord speaks frequently to us of the reward which he won for us by his Death and Resurrection. 'I am going away to prepare a home for you. And though I do go away, to prepare you a home, I am coming back; and then I will take you to myself, so that you too may be where I am.' Heaven is the final destination of our path on earth. Jesus has gone ahead of us and awaits us there, in the company of Our Lady and of St Joseph, whom I so much revere, and of all the angels and saints.
Even in the times of the Apostles there were heretics who tried to tear hope away from Christians. 'If what we preach about Christ, then, is that he rose from the dead, how is it that some of you say the dead do not rise again? If the dead do not rise, then Christ has not risen either; and if Christ has not risen, then our preaching is groundless, and your faith too is groundless…' Our way is divine, Jesus himself being the way, the truth and the life, and thus we have a sure token that it ends in eternal happiness, provided we do not separate ourselves from him.
How marvellous it will be when we hear Our Father tell us, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant, because you have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many; enter into the joy of your Lord!' Let us be full of hope! This is the great thing about being a contemplative soul. We live by Faith, Hope and Love, and Hope makes us powerful. Do you remember what St John says? 'I am writing to you, young men, because you are strong and the word of God abides in you, and you have conquered the evil one.' God is urging us on, for the sake of the eternal youthfulness of the Church and of all mankind. You have the power to transform everything human into something divine, just as King Midas turned everything he touched into gold!
Do not ever forget that after death you will be welcomed by Love itself. And in the love of God you will find as well all the noble loves which you had on earth. Our Lord has arranged for us to spend this brief day of our earthly existence working and, like his only-begotten Son, 'doing good'. Meanwhile we have to be on our guard, alert to the call St Ignatius of Antioch felt within his soul as the hour of his martyrdom approached. 'Come to the Father,' come to your Father, who anxiously awaits you.
Let us ask Holy Mary, Spes Nostra, our hope, to kindle in us a holy desire that we may all come together to dwell in the house of the Father. Nothing need disturb us if we make up our minds to anchor our hearts in a real longing for our true fatherland. Our Lord will lead us there with his grace, and he will send a good wind to carry our ship to the bright shores of our destination.