On Hope (Update)
Boston College’s Church in the 21st Century Book Series, published by Crossroad, has a new title: Take Heart: Catholic Writers on Hope in Our Time. It contains short essay-reflections by many authors, including such Commonweal stalwarts as Lawrence Cunningham, Luke Timothy Johnson, Don Wycliff, and Melissa Musick Nussbaum. (I suppose full disclosure dictates that I confess to having a piece in it as well.)
The essay by Luke Johnson, that I was reading this morning (lectio, if not divina, certainly salutaris) contains these lines:
Why, then, do I keep grading “C” papers even when they persist in being “C” papers? Why do I leap to receive calls from my children even though I know well they may not be bringing good news? Why do my wife, Joy, and I savor the sweetness of each moment of life even as we feel life slipping away? Why does it gladden me to welcome converts to the church even when I know the trials that await them? I once thought that my positive disposition toward life was due to animal high spirits. But as the animal in me weakens, the spirit does not seem to waver. Perhaps my hope really is in something/someone other than myself.
As a teacher, I do not hope that all “C” students will turn into “A” students. Rather, I hope in the living God who constantly, in every generation, sets fires in the minds of some of the young, igniting in them the drive and desire to take up the never-ending battle for truth and beauty and goodness against the forces of barbarism even within themselves. So I cast little seeds of thought, hoping in my students and in the One who can gift them with wisdom. As a theologian who loves the church, I do not hope that ecclesiastical policy will suddenly perfectly realize God’s will. Rather, I speak and write with hope in the living God who can, in every generation, raise up prophets from among us to carry out a powerful witness, not only to the world, but to the church as sacrament of the world
To Luke Timothy: grazie molte; and blessed Thanksgiving to all.
It seems that even the Pope has been reading dotCom:
Earlier today the “Vice-Pope” [the Cardinal Secretary of State] announced that Spe Salvi — “Saved By Hope” — Benedict XVI’s second encyclical, will be “signed” … and made available on 30 November. [post-Thanksgiving thanks to Whispers in the Loggia]