Hopefully you’re subscribed to “The Word on Fire Show,” the weekly podcast and radio program we produce at Word on Fire.
Each week, I sit down with Bishop Robert Barron for half an hour to chat about all sorts of topics, ranging from movies to books to prayer to theology. We’ve done around 70 episodes of the show and they’ve been download over 1.5 million times.
But out of all the episodes, I think the most recent one is the best. It was on the topic of hope, and how it differs from mere earthly desire and attachment.
While I usually host the show, this one was hosted by Joseph Gloor, my Assistant Content Director at Word on Fire. He asked great questions and the Bishop gave fantastic answers.
In particular, one line has stuck with me. Joe and Bishop Barron were discussing the theological virtues (faith, hope, and love) and their worldly substitutes (wealth, pleasure, power, honor), when the Bishop said this:
BISHOP (8:21): “Suppose a genie appeared to you and said, ‘I’ll give you three wishes.’ You might think, ‘Oh! I want to be as rich as Bill Gates, as powerful as Donald Trump, and as famous as Beyoncé.’
But here’s the trouble: if you get all three of those things but your sins remain unforgiven, [those gifts] will destroy you. They will all turn on you and destroy you.
So when the genie comes and says, ‘I’ll grant you three wishes,’ here’s what you should wish for (and I don’t mean this in some pious way):
‘I want faith, hope, and love.’
Then, no matter what else you have, you’ll know what to do with it. Whether you have the fame of Beyoncé, or you’re nobody; whether you have the power of Donald Trump, or you have no power—if you have faith, hope, and love, you’ll know what to do with those things, and they wont destroy you.
So if that genie ever comes—and perhaps it’s an angel instead of a genie (laughs)—that’s what you ask for.
Listen to the entire episode here (excerpt above starts at 8:21).