Time for a Little Hope

With so many “downer” entries and concerns about the present world, I thought myself (and perhaps my few readers)  in need of a little dose of hope.

Though I may report with dismay on the various happenings of the present world, I do not despair. For I know that the end is firmly decided. God has won, and Christ has triumphed over Satan and sin and death. This present world is fading away, and with all creation I groan and wait for Hope to come for me (hint, hint… notice blog title). Christ is our Hope (as Pope Benedict XVI so providentially reminded us when he came to visit the US last April)… is a coincidence that this happened before Obama launched his idol-like ad campaign thrusting HOPE at the bottom of his posterized mug shot? I think not. We needed a reminder that Christ is our Hope, not some mere mortal. Christ has conquered the world. Whatever the economy is doing, whatever seems so bad in the world is nothing in the face of Christ the Lord, through Whom all things are possible.

No I do not dispair. I may groan and rumble in my impatience, but I always remain constantly hopeful. Because I know that Hope is coming for me. Christ will come again, and along with a recitation of the Dies Irae on my part, I wait in hope.


…Only when the future is certain as a positive reality does it become possible to live the present as well. So now we can say: Christianity was not only “good news”—the communication of a hitherto unknown content. In our language we would say: the Christian message was not only “informative” but “performative”. That means: the Gospel is not merely a communication of things that can be known—it is one that makes things happen and is life-changing. The dark door of time, of the future, has been thrown open. The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life.

…What this means is that every generation has the task of engaging anew in the arduous search for the right way to order human affairs; this task is never simply completed. Yet every generation must also make its own contribution to establishing convincing structures of freedom and of good, which can help the following generation as a guideline for the proper use of human freedom; hence, always within human limits, they provide a certain guarantee also for the future. In other words: good structures help, but of themselves they are not enough. Man can never be redeemed simply from outside.

… man is redeemed by love

…Let us say once again: we need the greater and lesser hopes that keep us going day by day. But these are not enough without the great hope, which must surpass everything else. This great hope can only be God, who encompasses the whole of reality and who can bestow upon us what we, by ourselves, cannot attain. The fact that it comes to us as a gift is actually part of hope. God is the foundation of hope: not any god, but the God who has a human face and who has loved us to the end, each one of us and humanity in its entirety. His Kingdom is not an imaginary hereafter, situated in a future that will never arrive; his Kingdom is present wherever he is loved and wherever his love reaches us. His love alone gives us the possibility of soberly persevering day by day, without ceasing to be spurred on by hope, in a world which by its very nature is imperfect. His love is at the same time our guarantee of the existence of what we only vaguely sense and which nevertheless, in our deepest self, we await: a life that is “truly” life.

…The judgement of God is hope, both because it is justice and because it is grace. If it were merely grace, making all earthly things cease to matter, God would still owe us an answer to the question about justice—the crucial question that we ask of history and of God. If it were merely justice, in the end it could bring only fear to us all. The incarnation of God in Christ has so closely linked the two together—judgement and grace—that justice is firmly established: we all work out our salvation “with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12). Nevertheless grace allows us all to hope, and to go trustfully to meet the Judge whom we know as our “advocate”, or parakletos (cf. 1 Jn 2:1).