John Wishful Thinker takes a test, not having studied and with fingers crossed, then is shocked when he fails. John Hopeful studies for the test, braces himself for difficult questions and grading, and is grateful when he receives a good grade. Wishful thinking is based on what is emotionally satisfying and pleasing to imagine. Hope is based on reality. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes:
The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men's activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity.Susie Wishful Thinker, on a whim, leaves her American life behind to follow an Italian boyfriend to Italy and is shocked when he eventually dumps her. Susie Hopeful develops a mutual friendship with a man, becomes engaged, and marries.
Wishful thinking is childish. Hope is from and in God.