"Our true hope in life doesn't spring from the feelings of our youth, lovely and fair though they are. Nor does it emerge from the objective possibilities of history, unlimited though they may be. Our true hope in life is wakened and sustained and finally fulfilled by the great divine mystery which is above us and in us and round about us, nearer to us than we can be to ourselves. It encounters us as the great promise of our life and this world: nothing will be in vain. It will succeed. In the end all will be well! It meets us too in the call to life: 'I live and you shall live also.' We are called to this hope, and the call often sounds like a command a command to resist death and the powers of death, and a command to love life and cherish it: every life, the life we share, the whole of life.
"Can we learn to hope? I think we can. Because we don't bring this true hope with us from birth, and because our experiences of life may perhaps make us wise but not necessarily hopeful, we have to go out to learn hope. We learn to love when we say yes to life. So we learn to hope when we say yes to the future. That sounds very simple, but in the diverse circumstances of life it is very difficult indeed. We experience the power of hope when we have to fight against our apathy of soul. We sense that it is keeping us alive if, when the outlook is somber, we say 'nevertheless', and dare life. Even if the future of humanity and the earth looks dark, to hope means to live and survive, and to work and fight for the life of creation. Long ago the church father Chrysostum already said 'What plunges us into disaster is not so much sins as despair.' Today we are foundering on our indifference.
"True hope isn't blind. It is only the mystical hope for redemption of the inner world of the soul that keeps its eyes shut. The messianic hope for the new world looks into the future with its eyes wide open. But it sees more that what can be seen on the horizon of history. The Indonesian word for hope means 'looking through the horizon to what is beyond.' True hope looks beyond the apocalyptic horizons of our modern world to the new creation of all things in the kingdom of God's glory.
"What follows from this is a new way of acting in the world. In the downfall threatening our world, the person who looks beyond the horizon to God's new world is possessed by hope in danger, and confronts danger in the light of hope. We are then acting paradoxically, in the literal sense (against the appearance of things), and confuting failure; for we see more in the hope than eyes see when they look into the future of the world. We then see this world of ours in God's kingdom, put to rights and redeemed. In the struggle for peace against nuclear armaments, and in the struggle for justice against dictatorships of violence and apartheid, many people have not been able to say: We do what we have to do whether we succeed or not. We are acting in accordance with God's future, the future we hope for, even if it brings us into conflict with our own society. We are acting out of an inner necessity, in the way that roses flower. The roses don't ask why either or what for they simply bloom. The same is true of life lived out of hope."
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