"SPE SALVI facti sumus”—in hope we were saved, says Saint Paul to the Romans, and likewise to us (Rom 8:24). According to the Christian faith, “redemption”—salvation—is not simply a given. Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey. Now the question immediately arises: what sort of hope could ever justify the statement that, on the basis of that hope and simply because it exists, we are redeemed? And what sort of certainty is involved here?"
If you want to read more, and I hope you do, you can download the full document from the Vatican Web site or from Zenit.org. http://www.zenit.org/article-21152?l=english
In each of our convents the Sisters are reading short excerpts of the Encyclical every evening at the end of our dinner together and then we share some thoughts on what we have just read. We will be doing this throughout Advent. Perhaps you and your loved ones, some of your friends, could do this too. The Sisters look forward each evening with great joy to this time of study. After all, we ARE Sisters of Jesus Our Hope.