Yet Christian hope pertains to the lesser as well as the greater trials of our life. The short petition that follows the Lord’s Prayer in the Roman eucharistic rite expresses the idea beautifully: “In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” Christ entered and exited the world under the same banner: “Fear not” (Luke 1 and 2) and “Let not your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1). With the surpassing gift of salvation comes an offer of protection from anxiety, provided we are open to it.
The question is, how to be open to it? Philosophers distinguish two kinds of hope: intentional (hoping for a certain outcome) and dispositional (a hopeful outlook). Dispositional hope, like other habits of the heart, may be inborn in some lucky souls, but it is also a trait that can be nurtured and trained. Prayer, suffering, loving service, remembrance of the dead””all these are schools for the practice of hope, according to Pope Benedict’s recent encyclical Spe salvi. And there may be other preliminary schoolroom exercises as well.
–“The thing with Feathers” Christian Century, June 3, 2008 (my emphasis)