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03 June 2012

Fulfillment and Hope

The one-page precis I put together earlier in the semester on fulfillment and hope.  

The Christian locates his or her hope in the ultimate realization of God’s plan for his creation.  Contained in this is the hope that such fulfillment includes the salvation of all humanity – and yes, even all creation (Hays, 203; cf. Balthasar). Thus, hope exists as the very basis of the Christian posture toward the world; it is “the very essence of human existence” (Kasper, 9). Such a belief finds its very basis in the Resurrection of Christ.  Indeed, as Benedict XVI asserts with Paul, we are saved by this hope (Spe Salvi; Rom. 8:24).  Hope then, is a particularly human posture by which one both realizes that our object of hope has not yet been achieved, but maintains that it may be (or is in the process of being) realized (SS, §26.)  Hope is the overarching characteristic of God’s creature that is manifested not just as a series of individual moments, but throughout life.  It is the effort to come to grips with the “radical and pure uncontrollability of God” (Rahner, 250).
What then is/are the proper object(s) of this hope?  Of course, the answers are numerous.  Common faith might suggest that “heaven,” some type of union with God after death, is the most basic reward of the Christian (Hays, 199).  The oft-cited “already and not yet” formulation of eschatological perspective is also quite accurate: the Kingdom of God – and thus, the end of history – has broken into the world in the person of Christ and is in the process of becoming; yet, look around: the Kingdom is not yet fully present.  What must be contained in both these configurations is the assertion that history shall reach total completion in Christ (Hays 199).  Moreover, such a fulfillment cannot be located exclusively at some indeterminate future location, nor can it be solely constituted as what humans might accomplish now.  Christians thus seek and await the time and place when “every tear shall be wiped away” (Rev. 21:4) and all will attain the goal of faith: salvation (1 Pt. 1:9).  Hope is not the knowledge of how God may bring this about, but the deep assurance that through the Resurrection such a reality will come to be.

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