Earlier at mass, the priest talked about the emotion of hope—the kind that lets you and I say, “I hope I get that job,” or “I hope I pass that class.” That versus the virtue of hope, centered on the will; the kind that gets marathon runners to cross the finish line.

He told the story of the 350 people who heard mass three weeks ago on Halloween weekend, the Sunday of which was the feast of All Saints. What was striking, according to the priest, that this wasn’t even an official holy day. Yet, these people heard mass in the only Catholic church… IN BAGHDAD.

Needless to say, armed men came in and killed more than 50 of them, including the three priests who celebrated the mass. More than 80 were wounded, and from Vatican came the Pope’s plea to fly them via cargo plane to Rome to get these people proper medical care.

The following week, more than 600 people went back to hear mass.

Chidingly, the priest said (I paraphrase), “I don’t know about you, but if I were in Baghdad, I wouldn’t want to hear mass, or say mass. Clearly, the story above is a manifestation of the virtue hope.”

It’s this kind of hope that lets us live for something bigger than ourselves; that which gives us strength and perseverance to make it to our own finish lines.