Skip to main content
Center for Action and Contemplation
Mystical Hope
Mystical Hope

Hope Beyond Our Lifetimes

Friday, December 10, 2021

Mystical Hope

Hope Beyond Our Lifetimes
Friday, December 10, 2021
Anniversary of Thomas Merton’s Death

Theologian and Carmelite sister Constance FitzGerald identifies hope as a profound freedom to accept God and reality as it is. She takes inspiration from the work of St. John of the Cross (1542–1591):

This dynamic of being able to yield unconditionally to God’s future is what John of the Cross calls hope, a hope that exists without the signature of our life and works, a hope independent of us and our accomplishments (spiritual gifts or ordinary human achievements), a hope that can even embrace and work for a future without us. This theological hope is completely free from the past, fully liberated from our need to recognize ourselves in the future, to survive, to be someone. [1]

This gift of hope is what allows author Victoria Loorz and others to embrace a “post-doom” spirituality [2] which is large enough to face climate crises and not be driven to despair. Grounded in the Gospel, such hope affirms that love is stronger than death. Loorz writes:

Post-doom spirituality . . . accepts the fullness of our reality: the tragedy as well as the beauty. This spirituality moves into—and then eventually beyond—grief and repentance toward a deeper, more courageous, compassionate, and spiritual aliveness. . . .

Facing the reality that we’re standing on a precipice right now, as a species and as a whole planet, is sobering, to say the least. But facing what is real opens the heart to grief, which somehow opens the heart to love even more deeply. . . .

When you reconnect with the alive world in a more compassionate way, and when you realize that the whole world is a living system that can only thrive when death makes room for new life, you may feel a calm settle into you. You may find yourself with the energy that comes from love to embrace the whole story, including the necessary emptiness and loss. . . .

When we look toward what has been lost with the climate crisis or other ecological damage that our species has inflicted, we do still need to strive toward repair, but the cure is within our own mentality. The mentality that love really is as strong as death (like the beloved says to the lover in [the] Song of Solomon) compels us to regard those of us who remain—forests, polar bears, wilderness, people—with fierce love, looking toward how we can all live our highest quality of life together as beloved community, no matter what.

We do not need to minimize or overlook the pain and tragedy we encounter as we live in this time of interwoven crises. Eventually, when we recognize that the pain is directly connected with our love, we can embrace it. We can move into actions of restoration that are firmly planted in love. [3]

[1] Constance FitzGerald, “From Impasse to Prophetic Hope: Crisis of Memory,” in Desire, Darkness, and Hope: Theology in a Time of Impasse, ed. Laurie Cassidy and M. Shawn Copeland (Liturgical Press Academic: 2021), 442–443.

[2] The idea of “post-doom” spirituality has been identified and developed by evolutionary teacher and author Michael Dowd. To learn more, go to

[3] Victoria Loorz, Church of the Wild: How Nature Invites Us into the Sacred (Broadleaf Books: 2021), 162, 163, 164, 165.

Story from Our Community:
I grew up never hearing about a God of love, only a God who had his (and God could only be a male) thumb ready to pounce on the merest of transgressions. I grew up with a very real fear of God. When a friend introduced me to Fr. Richard’s daily offerings, my worldview and perception of God opened up even more and does so continually. Many, many thanks for your gifts of hope and love and possibilities I never dreamed of. —Diane M.

Learn more about the Daily Meditations editorial team.

Image credit: Nicholas Kramer, Untitled (detail), 2021, photograph, Seattle. Used with permission.
Image inspiration: What if I stopped complaining about how suburban streetlights pollute the night sky and instead tried to discover what beauty their light could uncover? How could my commitment to seeing something as it is, without judgment, help me see beyond my initial impression of it?
—Nicholas Kramer, Photographer of December DM photo series
Navigate by Date

This year’s theme

A candle being lit

Radical Resilience

We live in a world on fire. This year the Daily Meditations will explore contemplation as a way to build Radical Resilience so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or burning out. The path ahead may be challenging, but we can walk it together.

The archives

Explore the Daily Meditations

Explore past meditations and annual themes by browsing the Daily Meditations archive. Explore by topic or use the search bar to find wisdom from specific teachers.

Join our email community

Sign-up to receive the Daily Meditations, featuring reflections on the wisdom and practices of the Christian contemplative tradition.

Hidden Fields

Find out about upcoming courses, registration dates, and new online courses.
Our theme this year is Radical Resilience. How do we tend our inner flame so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or out? Meditations are emailed every day of the week, including the Weekly Summary on Saturday. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time.
In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.