Péguy's Little Hope

"What astonishes me," says God," is hope. And I can’t believe it. This little hope that seems like nothing at all. This little girl hope." Extract from the famous text by Charles Péguy.

What surprises me, says God, is hope. And I can't believe it. This little hope that seems like nothing at all. This little girl, hope, immortal. Because my three virtues, says God. The three virtues my creatures. My daughters, my children. Are they themselves like my other creatures. Of the human race. Faith is a faithful Bride. Charity is a Mother. An ardent mother, full of heart. Or an older sister who is like a mother. Hope is a little girl of nothing at all. Who came into the world on Christmas Day last year. Who still plays with the good man January. With its small German pine trees covered and painted with frost. And with his ox and his wooden donkey from Germany. Painted. And with its crib full of straw that the animals do not eat. Since they are made of wood.

It is this little girl, however, who will cross the worlds. This little girl of nothing at all. She alone, carrying the others, who will cross the worlds bygone. [...] But hope is not taken for granted. Hope does not come by itself. To hope, my child, one must be very happy, one must have obtained, received a great grace [...] The little hope advances between its two older sisters and we do not only take care of it. On the path of salvation, on the carnal path, on the rugged path of salvation, on the interminable road, on the road between her two sisters, little hope advances. Between his two older sisters. The one who is married. And the one who is a mother. And we don't pay attention, the Christian people pay attention only to the two big sisters. The first and the last. Who are in a hurry. In the present. At the passing moment. The Christian people only see the two big sisters, only look at the two big sisters. The one on the right and the one on the left. And he hardly sees the one in the middle. The little one, the one who still goes to school. And who walks. Lost between her sisters skirts. And he readily believes that it is the two big ones who are pulling the little one by the hand. Between. Between the two. To make her walk this rugged road to salvation. The blind see quite the reverse. That it is she in the middle who leads her big sisters. And that without her they would be nothing. Only two aging women. Two women of a certain age, crushed by life. It is she, this little one, who drives everything. Because Faith only sees what is. And she sees what will be. Charity loves only what is, and she loves what will be. Faith sees what is. In Time and in Eternity. Hope sees what will be. In time and in eternity, so to speak the future of eternity itself. Charity loves what is. In Time and in Eternity. God and neighbor. As Faith sees. God and creation. But Hope loves what will be, in time and in eternity, so to speak in the future of eternity. Hope sees what is not yet and which will be. She loves what is not yet and which will be. In the future of time and eternity. On the uphill path, sandy, difficult. On the uphill road. Trailed, hanging from the arms of her two older sisters, Who do not hold her hand, The little hope. Moves forward. And in the middle between her two big sisters, she seems to let herself be dragged along. Like a child who wouldn't have the strength to walk. And that we would drag along this road despite her. And in reality it is she who makes the other two walk. And who drags them. And who makes everyone walk. And who drags them around, because we never work except for children, and the two older ones only work for the little one.Charles Péguy, Le Porche du mystère de la second virtue, 1912

Charles Péguy (1873-1914)