“For man who, in statu viatoris, in the state of being on the way, experiences the essential creatureliness, the “not yet really existing being” of his existence, there is only one appropriate answer to this experience. The answer cannot be despair–for the meaning of creaturely existence is not nothingness but rather is being, which means fulfillment. The response also cannot be the comfortable security of possessions–for the creature’s “being as becoming” still borders in peril on nothingness. Both of these, despair and assurance of possession, militate against the truth of real things. The only answer that is suitable for man’s authentic existential situation is hope. The virtue of hope is the first appropriate virtue of the status viatoris; it is the genuine virtue of the “not yet”. In the virtue of hope, before all others, man understands and affirms that he is a creature, a creation of God” (A Brief Reader on the Virtues of the Human Heart, p. 47-48).
“Although the human intellect can know only a little about divine things, yet in the knowledge it finds its desire, love and happiness more completely than in the most perfect knowledge it can have of lower things” (SCG 3, 25).
“When we say, then, that hope is a virtue only when it is a theological virtue, we mean that hope is a steadfast turning toward the true fulfillment of man’s nature, that is, toward good, only when it has its source in the reality of grace in man and is directed toward supernatural happiness in God” (Faith, Hope, Love, p. 100).
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
“Despair, like hope, presupposes desire. Neither hope nor despair is directed towards anything that does not move our desire” (Summa, I-II, 40, 4 ad 3).