Christ Our Hope is a masterful reflection on Christian eschatology, in a textbook of twelve accessible chapters. Paul O'Callaghan considers the return of Christ in glory at the end of time, final resurrection, the renewal of the cosmos, and general judgment. An extensive chapter explores eternal life, perpetual communion with God in heaven, as well as perpetual condemnation, the possibility of forever losing what God has promised to those who are faithful to him. The guiding principle of the work is the theological virtue of hope, in keeping with Benedict XVI's 2007 encyclical, Spe Salvi. The book also considers the impact of hope on the earthly life of the believer, and especially the process of the purification of hope through death and purgatory. O'Callaghan highlights two significant developments of twentieth century eschatology. First, the ecumenical challenge, mainly deriving from Protestant and Eastern theology, and centred on what is often called "intermediate eschatology." And second, an awareness of the presence of eschatology at the very heart of Christian theology as a whole: Christology, ecclesiology and sacraments, anthropology, ethics, and spirituality. Several interesting features inform the work. The discussion of each topic is rooted in Scripture. The author uses New Testament eschatology to re-work Old Testament apocalyptic material in light of Christ. He also considers the principal elements of eschatological fulfilment in light of the doctrine of the Trinity, and especially of the Holy Spirit. Christ Our Hope includes extensive references to the Fathers of the Church and to the history of theology. Especially important is the author's effort to inform the discussion with a contemporary focus on the person, taking into account both human aspirations and the findings of various sciences.
Paul O'Callaghan is professor of Christian anthropology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, and fellow of the Pontifical Academy of Theology. He is the author of The Christological Assimilation of the Apocalypse as well as other books and numerous articles in six languages that have been published worldwide.