Hope Is Not a Feeling; It’s a Practice

"Hope opens new horizons..." Pope Francis quote from On Hope book

As much as Facebook can sometimes be annoying and frustrating, with people venting and over-sharing, I also find a number of gems along the way. One person I can count on for that is my friend Bob Burnham, who recently posted the following phrase: “Hope is not a feeling; it’s a practice.” He then generously shared a link to a very nice article he wrote for Busted Halo: “3 Ways to Practice Hope,” in which he differentiates between hope and wishful thinking or optimism: “Optimism is seeing a half-empty cup of coffee and saying it’s half-full; hope is knowing the location of the nearest Starbucks.” In other words, hope—especially in its biblical context—is not just wishing that something might happen, but rather, being confident that something is going to happen.

Now, while my friend Bob has shared some nice thoughts on hope, he’s going to be overshadowed by another author with just a bit more fame: His Holiness, Pope Francis! Loyola Press has published the Pope’s thoughts on the topic of hope in the new book: On Hope.

Here’s just one example of Pope Francis at his most intimate and most inspiring: “Life is often a desert; it is difficult to walk, but if we trust in God, it can become beautiful and wide as a highway. Never lose hope; continue to believe, always, in spite of everything…Hope opens new horizons, making us capable of dreaming what is not even imaginable.”

As we begin this new year of 2018, let us all commit to being people of hope, opening new horizons for others and dreaming of that which, without the grace of God, is unimaginable. ​

I wish you a Blessed New Year!


Download a poster of the Pope’s words to inspire you throughout the year: “Hope opens new horizons, making us capable of dreaming what is not even imaginable.”

About Joe Paprocki 2359 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

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