“You Must Believe In Spring,” as sung by Tony Bennett with music by Michel Legrand, beautifully captures the expectation, the longing, and the hope that most of us have for the end of Winter cold and the joy of Spring. Almost no one wants to hold on to Winter any more than we long for the severity and discipline of Lent to continue. Easter and Springtime invite us to the possibility of happiness. The song sung by Tony Bennett tells us that “beneath the deepest snows the secret of a rose is merely that it knows you must believe in Spring.”
The hope in ultimate happiness, however, is a gift—a consequence of the Grace which St Paul says comes to us through Christ and the events of his Passover. The truth for many, however, is that it is easier to hope in Spring than to hope in the happiness of Salvation through Christ. Perhaps we can visualize Spring—warm weather and roses. The texture of ultimate happiness in Christ is almost impossible to visualize. Genuine hope, Christian hope, Easter hope has as its object those things which lie beyond our field of vision.
“I came so that they may have life and have it more abundantly,” says the Lord in the 10th Chapter of John’s Gospel. I have come to believe in that same Jesus Christ, through His Word and through my experience of life in Him. Believing in Christ, I have found, holds even greater promise than a belief in Spring for those of us burdened by the deepest snows. My belief in the Lord gives me reason to hope in much more than the emergence of roses and freedom from winter wear. I find, more and more, that conceiving the abundance of life requires that I must believe in Jesus Christ.
Fr. Gregory Chisholm, S.J., is an African American Jesuit of the United States Northeast Province. He currently is Pastor of St. Charles Borromeo, Resurrection and All Saints Parish in Harlem in New York City, serving a diverse congregation made up principally of persons of African descent.