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When faith is real, we get walking: Pilgrims with Abraham and Sarah

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After Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons & Svetlana Vorotniak | Shutterstock

Fr. Taylor Colwell - published on 12/05/23

Pilgrims to the Manger: Hope (along with charity) is the virtue by which faith becomes real. After believing God's promise, Abraham and Sarah set out.

We know Abraham as our father in faith, but what about Abraham’s hope? As we begin Advent, it’s worth considering Abraham and his wife Sarah as examples of the virtue with which this liturgical season is especially concerned. 

“Christian hope takes up and fulfills the hope of the chosen people which has its origin and model in the hope of Abraham,” the Catechism states(par. 1819). Romans 4:18 says that Abraham “believed, hoping against hope, that he would become the father of many nations.” 

Abraham is a model of both faith and hope, for the two virtues are intimately connected. Christian hope is the firm resolve, founded on God’s strength and fidelity, to arrive at the beatific union to which he calls us. Hope (along with charity) is the virtue by which faith becomes real, for once we believe God’s promises are true, we must begin walking toward the destination he has revealed. 

That is precisely what Abraham and Sarah did. After believing God’s promise to make of them a great nation through which the whole world would be blessed, Abraham and Sarah set out to realize this promise. They had to sacrifice everything along the way, and while the birth of Isaac brought partial fulfillment to the promise, they would not live to see its full realization. They began the long journey of all Israel’s patriarchs and prophets to attain the fulfillment of the covenant. 

In Advent, the Church recapitulates this pilgrimage of hope that culminates, surprisingly, before a manger in Bethlehem. Retracing the journey that Abraham and Sarah started enkindles our desire to reach the object of our common hope, the coming Messiah. May we, too, “hope against hope,” persevering through all adversity to reach our promised destiny. 

~

[The Aleteia community is joining the journey of an Old Testament pilgrim each day this Advent, as they lead us to the Christ Child in this holy season. Find the daily reflections here.]

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AdventPilgrims to the Manger
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