Isn’t hope more necessary than ever before in our world today? If a Christian is not really careful, he might fall into despair. Why? Because there are many horizons which are blocked. People do not really see what a Christian, a young Christian, can do. Bleak thoughts are constantly lurking about: “No, don’t go that way.” And when a young person takes initiatives that are a little too violent, he is told: “Careful, be careful…does everyone else think the same way?” The concern that everyone be in agreement is so great that often all the brakes are on in every direction. Was there ever a saint that said: “Holiness is when everyone agrees”? No! Whereas it has been said that a vehement desire is holiness. Let us not give in to the contemporary defect of wanting everyone to agree at all costs. If a referendum was done on holiness, I am sure it would not pass! People would say that holiness is no longer for our times. But to be born in a century of non-holiness is very bothersome! Because it is proof that love has become lukewarm. And in the book of Revelation we know what is said of those who are lukewarm: “I will spew them out of my mouth”. Would you not say that our century, I fear, is something of a century of lukewarmness? From the standpoint of inventions and technology, our century is astonishing and extraordinary, but all of our intelligence is spent in that direction and there is not much left for love.
That is why it is so important to remind ourselves that our Christian life is before all else a life of faith, hope – desire – and love. And that faith and hope are for love and are going to allow love to take possession of our whole heart.
In the Christian faith, we aspire to live in the presence of Christ, in the presence of the Father, in the presence of God; but how many men and women today are really able to live in this presence? For this reason, it seems like a good idea to notice all that was announced in one way or another and that in Revelation, there is something we too often forget– the signs which help us to not fall asleep. Signs awaken us and show us that beyond these signs, there is someone who gives them to us. It is Jesus. It is the Father.
These signs, these charismas, touch us in our sensitivity. Why is that? Because we have a lot of difficulty discovering the realism of faith. We have a hard time discovering to what point our Christian faith takes possession of our whole being; not just our soul, but our sensitivity, our body. We are entirely seized by God, since our body and our soul, in differing ways, both come from God. Our soul was created directly by God; our body depends on God who works through human generation which is a corporal dependence existing between children and parents. So there is a whole “atavism”, astonishing family resemblances which God respects and makes use of. God does not need them, but he does make use of them and they are like signs. Our family resemblances with a grandfather, a grandmother, our father or mother truly are signs which are close to us in our sensitivity, in our imagination, and we depend on them. But through this dependence with respect to our parents and beyond it, there is our soul’s radical dependence on God, which places in us a source of independence. Because to depend on God is at the same time – and by the very fact – to be free. That is what is astonishing and very important to understand. Our radical dependence on God is the source of our autonomy and liberty. Here there is something very great which we discover through our faith, hope and charity.
Father Marie-Dominique Philippe, o.p.
Conferences 1996-1997 given to the AFC (Association of Christian Families)
“Jesus-Christ, educator of faith through signs”
 Rev.3:16: “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.”