Fides et Spes

Or, you know, Faith and Hope.

This finals week, these two words, especially when in Latin, seem to me to be the dirtiest things. “Fides” comes from “Fides quaerens intellectum” which, aside from being Theology’s favorite battlecry (“Faith seeking understanding!”), is also another title of St. Anselm’s Proslogion, a deceptively simple Philo reading. “Spes,” on the other hand, reeks of the Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes–hence the link to Theology–while also recalling Marcel’s Prolégomènes À Une Métaphysique De L’espérance, a Philo reading.

And as a student, I must admit: I really do need a break from all the readings. That’s one reason why I’m blogging right now. But then again, these two words are also exactly what I have right now to keep myself from breaking down.

Summarizing a sem’s worth of Philo and Theo, I’ll say: Fides, that is, faith, is a response to a Call that has preceded me, a Call by Someone beyond me, greater than me. I know, I know, it’s a very religious thing and probably not in vogue right now (heck, I try and avoid being super religious, so yeah, even I find myself cheesy), but insofar as I believe (credimus, wooot!) that there’s Someone Bigger, and that there’s something, that there’s some meaning behind all this, then I can allow myself to hope.

But what does Spes, that is, hope, mean? To hope, for Marcel, means a decision, an involvement, a non-knowledge, and a non-clamming up. It is not a resignation to a perceived fatum, nor an attachment to a particular outcome. In the end, Marcel concedes that he does not hope that, but rather, that hope must be a “Hope in You for us.” Hope, then, is openness (one can say, as Marcel does, a sort of patience) to an Other–an Other not as a particularity (say, an event like acing the Finals), but as a general whole, as something that demands the turning of the hopeful’s mind, heart, and soul into something that he does not yet see.

In the end, what is the difference between hope and faith? I’m not sure. But both converge on one point.

So this finals week, I will allow myself to hope and to have faith. I will let things go. I will take my time, or, rather, allow Someone to work according to His time.

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