I wish to follow up on my previous post on A Liturgy for a Miscarried Child with some words from the ‘Introduction’ to Moltmann’s groundbreaking thesis, Theology of Hope:
To believe means to cross in hope and anticipation the bounds that have been penetrated by the raising of the crucified. If we bear that in mind, then this faith can have nothing to do with fleeing the world, with resignation and with escapism. In this hope the soul does not soar above our vale of tears to some imagined heavenly bliss, nor does it sever itself from the earth. For, in the words of Ludwig Feuerbach, it puts ‘in place of the beyond that lies above our grave in heaven the beyond that lies above our grave on earth, the historic future, the future of mankind’. It sees in the resurrection of Christ not the eternity of heaven, but the future of the very earth on which his cross stands. It sees in him the future of the very humanity for which he died. That is why it finds the cross the hope of the earth. This hope struggles for the obedience of the body, because it awaits the quickening of the body. It espouses in all meekness the cause of the devastated earth and of harassed humanity, because it is promised possession of the earth. Ave crux – unica spes!
But on the other hand, all this must inevitably mean that the man who thus hopes will never be able to reconcile himself with the laws and constraints of this earth, neither with the inevitability of death nor with the evil that constantly bears further evil. The raising of Christ is not merely a consolation to him in a life that is full of distress and doomed to die, but it is also God’s contradiction of suffering and death, of humiliation and offence, and of the wickedness of evil. Hope finds in Christ not only a consolation in suffering, but also the protest of the divine promise against suffering. If Paul calls death the ‘last enemy’ (I Cor. 15.26), then the opposite is also true: that the risen Christ, and with him the resurrection hope, must be declared to be the enemy of death and of a world that puts up with death. Faith takes up this contradiction and thus becomes itself a contradiction to the world of death. That is why faith, wherever it develops into hope, causes not rest but unrest, not patience but impatience. It does not calm the unquiet heart, but is itself this unquiet heart in man. Those who hope in Christ can no longer put up with reality as it is, but begin to suffer under it, to contradict it. Peace with God means conflict with the world, for the goad of the promised future stabs inexorably into the flesh of every unfulfilled present. If we had before our eyes only what we see, then we should cheerfully or reluctantly reconcile ourselves with things as they happen to be. That we do not reconcile ourselves, that there is no pleasant harmony between us and reality, is due to our unquenchable hope. This hope keeps man unreconciled, until the great day of the fulfilment of all the promises of God. It keeps him in statu viatoris, in that unresolved openness to world questions which has its origin in the promise of God in the resurrection of Christ and can therefore be resolved only when the same God fulfils his promise. This hope makes the Christian Church a constant disturbance in human society, seeking as the latter does to stabilize itself into a ‘continuing city’. It makes the Church the source of continual new impulses towards the realization of righteousness, freedom and humanity here in the light of the promised future that is to come. This Church is committed to ‘answer for the hope’ that is in it (I Peter 3.15). It is called in question ‘on account of the hope and resurrection of the dead’ (Acts 23.6). Wherever that happens, Christianity embraces its true nature and becomes a witness of the future of Christ’. – Jürgen Moltmann, Theology of Hope: On the Ground and the Implications of a Christian Eschatology (New York/Evanston: Harper & Row, 1967), 20–22.
I love Moltmann’s quote here. But at the same time, I loved Ratzinger’s Spe Salvi. I don’t think they are mutually exclusive the way Moltmann seems to think considering his critique you posted a while back. I responded to that critique at my site if you’re interested: http://alexlsilva.blogspot.com/2009/07/224-moltmann-critiques-ratzinger.html