Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis on Christian hope, I would now like to speak of our calling to be missionaries of hope. October is traditionally dedicated to reflection on our participation in the Church’s mission. Saint Francis of Assisi, whose feast we celebrate today, can serve as our model in this regard. Francis was a true missionary of the joyful hope born of Christ’s victory over death and our own share in his risen life. Jesus asks us to be witnesses of that same hope, confident in the transforming power of his Spirit at work in our hearts and in our world. Joy is the sure sign of true Christian hope, for we know that evil will not have the upper hand, and that God’s love, revealed on the cross, will ultimately triumph. Certainly, there are times when the gift of hope proves costly. This is the case with so many of our fellow Christians who presently experience persecution, and with the martyrs in every age. Their witness inspires us to continue to hope in Christ’s promises. As missionaries of hope, may we rejoice in God’s saving power, never lose heart, and help others to look to the future with confidence.