During the Second World War, the concentration
camps were notorious for their viciousness.
Millions died out of starvation and ill treatment.
However even in that living hell, rays of
hope shone with amazing radiance.
"It was the cold winter of 1944
although we had nothing like calendars,
father, who was a fellow prisoner,
and some of our friends to a corner
barrack. He announced that it was the
The Hanukkah is a Jewish feast commemorating
the victory of an outnumbered number
fighters, led by the Maccabees, against
dominant culture of the Greeks. When
arrived in Jerusalem and wanted to
the despoiled Temple, they found that
was only enough purified oil to kindle
temple light for only one day. But
the light continued to burn for eight
This is why it is called the 'festival
light' and basically it celebrates
(By the way, this year Hanukkah is
to start at sundown on December 25!)
The story continues. "My father
produced a curious-shaped bowl, and
to light a wick immersed in his precious,
but now melted, margarine ration. Before
he could recite the blessing, I protested
at the waste of food. He looked at
at the lamp, and finally said: 'You
have seen that it is possible to live
to three weeks without food. We once
almost three days without water. But
cannot live properly for three moments
This is true. Hope is like oxygen.
away and death comes by suffocation;
hope away and death comes by despair.
live on hope. When hope dies, we die.
Many times in life we feel like throwing
the towel… on our marriage, on our
on our character, on our Church. It
that hope can and should kick in. Hope
like a star. It is not visible in the
of prosperity but it shines brightly
night of adversity
Because, hope means specifically this
giving up. An inner voice keeps telling
inside that 'things are going to be
It is different from 'wishful thinking'.
Wishful thinking is rooted in denial;
is a pretending about the future. Hope
based on the solid foundation that
and God will!
The psalms especially, with their concrete
and varied language, teach us to fix
hope not in daydreaming but in God:
waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined
to me and He heard my cry".
When King Nebuchadnezzar threatened
the three young men in the furnace
the story?), their answer is full of
"If that is the case, our God
serve is able to deliver us from the
fiery furnace, and He will deliver
your hand, O king. But if not, let
known to you, O king, that we do not
your gods, nor will we worship the
which you have set up" (Daniel
"Our God . . . is able."
as simple as that. They were hundred
ten per cent sure that He could and
he would! No panic, no alarm, no insecurity,
no fear. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
were three confident young men because
were building on rock.
I was only fourteen when I saw on TV,
Rudolph running in the 1960 Olympic
of Rome. She was a sight to behold.
fast and black.
In that Olympics she became the 'fastest
woman of the world' and the first American
woman to win three gold medals in one
ESPN wrote "Rudolph ran and the
went wild!" But it is the story
she got there that makes her accomplishments
legendary. Born prematurely (twentieth
of 22), she spent most of her childhood
bed. Double pneumonia, scarlet fever
later she contacted polio! After losing
use of her left leg, she was fitted
metal braces when she was six. "My
told me I would never walk again. My
told me I would. I believed my mother."
At nine years of age, the little girl
the leg brace and took the first steps
told her she would never be able to
At age thirteen, she entered her first
She finished way, way last! She entered
race in high school and in every race
came in last. Everyone advised her
She did not. One day she came in next
last. And then… it is history.
Wilma believed in her mother. You,
believe in a Father with a capital
do not believe in a super power. We
in a Super Person! He hears. He cares.
delivers. Let us hop(e) on! Ours is
that is grounded in the sure work of
through His Son on a Tree two-thousand
"Hope does not disappoint us,
God's love has been poured into our
by the Holy Spirit who has been given
us". Amen to that!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
provided that the content is unaltered
its original state, if this copyright