Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Eschatological Horizon

Only by keeping an eschatologial horizon can we properly conduct ourselves in history. Only by keeping one eye on the next life can we meet our responsibilies in this one. Christianity is impossible without a robust eschatological awareness.

Hans Urs von Balthasar:
The image of the ripening grain and the harvest that is such a constant theme in the parables of Jesus says ... [that] ... heaven is not only the future but always the perfecting factor and the present. The more the heavenly dimension governs and penetrates an earthly life in terms of mind, action and self-surrender, the riper this life is for heaven and the less God's refining fire will have to burn away (1 Cor. 3:14).
Here are two little ways I have found for keeping the eschatological horizon in view:

1. Periodically remind oneself of this: Sooner than I think, I'll be looking back on all this. I must try to conduct myself so as to minimize the contrition I will feel when I do.

2. (from, I think it was, Nicholas Berdyaev): Treat the living as though they are dying and the dead as though they are alive.

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