Paul famously challenges his readers in 1 Corinthians, “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied.” What does it mean to hope in Christ for the life to come? How can we intellectually defend such hope in the midst of secularist and materialist trends so prevalent in contemporary society? Even if we believe as Christians in eternal life, how do we find meaning in such hope when the injustices of the world and our own suffering often loom so large?
Drawing primarily upon the witness of biblical revelation and its reception and formulation in the teachings of Thomas Aquinas, the essays in Hope & Death: Christian Responses answer contemporary questions related to how Christians might face suffering and death with hopeful minds and hearts. The essays recover Christian hope in three main parts: what hope reveals about God’s nature and his providence, how hope responds to and clarifies the meaning of human suffering, and the way in which all hope draws human beings to an end beyond this world.
ABOUT THE EDITORS
MICHAEL A. DAUPHINAIS, PhD, serves as the Fr. Matthew Lamb Professor of Catholic Theology and the co-director of the Aquinas Center for Theological Renewal at Ave Maria University, Ave Maria, Florida. He has co-authored Knowing the Love of Christ: An Introduction to the Theology of Thomas Aquinas; Holy People, Holy Land: A Theological Introduction to the Bible; and Wisdom from the Word: Biblical Answers to Ten Questions about Catholicism. He has co-edited multiple books dedicated to Thomas Aquinas, including Thomas Aquinas and the Crisis in Christology and Thomas Aquinas, Biblical Theologian, and published numerous articles and chapters in books on moral, dogmatic, and biblical theology.
ROGER W. NUTT, STD, is Provost of Ave Maria University, where he is also Professor of Theology and Co-Director of the Aquinas Center for Theological Renewal. He is the author of many articles and book chapters on Christology and Sacramental Theology. His books include Thomas Aquinas: De Unione Verbi Incarnati, General Principles of Sacramental Theology, and To Die Is Gain: A Theological (re-)Introduction to the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick for Clergy, Laity, Caregivers, and Everyone Else. He is also co-editor of many volumes on the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, including Thomism and Predestination: Principles and Disputations; Thomas Aquinas and the Greek Fathers; Thomas Aquinas, Biblical Theologian; and Thomas Aquinas and the Crisis of Christology.
GUY MANSINI, OSB
ANDREW D. SWAFFORD
MATTHEW J. RAMAGE
WILLIAM M. WRIGHT IV
ROGER W. NUTT
MICHAEL A. DAUPHINAIS
JEFFREY M. WALKEY
ROMANUS CESSARIO, OP
STEVEN A. LONG
ADAM VAN WART
TAYLOR PATRICK O’NEILL
BRYAN KROMHOLTZ, OP
“Hope and love are the most abused words in the modern vocabulary. Too often, hope is mere optimism; love is mere sentiment. The writer Georges Bernanos captured the real meaning of hope when he described it as ‘despair overcome’; overcome through an encounter with the Love that breaks into our lives from beyond this world, a Love that gives meaning to suffering and death. That love, God’s love, is the heart of the Christian Gospel. The essays collected in this volume deal with our mortality and its implications. But all of them ultimately lead in the same direction: to a trust in the God who made us and saved us, because he loves us.”
CHARLES J . CHAPUT, OFM, CAP.
Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia
“The hopes of our present secular culture concern this world only—dreams that can never be fully achieved and even if they are, they do not bring the joys they promised. Then, there is death—the termination of all earthly hope. Despair triumphs. The present volume, Hope & Death: Christian Responses, offers a much-needed antidote to the world’s despair. The essays that compose this book are written by admirable Catholic scholars who academically and pastorally address real life issues. First, they address the nature of God and his providential work within the world. Second, they demonstrate how authentic Christian hope, founded upon faith in Jesus Christ, triumphs over suffering and death. Third, they demonstrate how Christian hope reaches its fulfillment not in this world, but by everlastingly abiding in the risen Christ, in communion the Holy Spirit as the Father’s beloved sons and daughters. This book, and the truth contained within, is a marvelous aid in evangelizing a world deprived of hope.”
THOMAS G . WEINANDY, OFM, CAP.
Former member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission
“The Christian faith teaches that death, the last enemy, has truly been defeated by Christ. In trying times such as these, the Church needs faithful Catholic academics such as the contributors to this work to engage contemporary problems with the enduring wisdom of the faith. This volume offers a timely message of hope to the ever-vexing problem of death. Priests and religious, students, and the lay faithful alike will find in these penetrating essays profound and clear answers to many common problems and objections to the faith that arise from the problems of death and suffering.”
FRANK J. DEWANE
Bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida