Eschatology and Eucharistic Adoration

…certain “liturgists” and “theologians” … stamp (Eucharistic Adoration) as mere “private devotion.” In fact, in its complete form, from exposition to benediction, it is a liturgical event. …it has a long, and shall enjoy an everlasting, approval in the Church.


Early in his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI called for the spread of perpetual Eucharistic adoration (March 2, 2006). Leading by example, Pope Francis, early in his pontificate, called for people everywhere to join him in Eucharistic adoration on the Feast of Corpus Christi, June 2, 2013. Our Holy Fathers have been following in the steps of their predecessor, John Paul II. Due in large part to the latter’s efforts, Eucharistic adoration spread like wildfire in the 1990s and has only increased since.

By contrast, certain “liturgists” and “theologians” insist on deriding this pious devotion. They stamp it mere “private devotion.” In fact, in its complete form, from exposition to benediction, it is a liturgical event. At any rate, it has a long, and shall enjoy an everlasting, approval in the Church. Despite this, professional liturgists have called it “cookie worship.” True, if the Eucharist were only a sign, however “dense,” it would be idolatry to worship it.

Similarly, a number of contemporary Catholic theologians also deride the “traditional” view of eschatology. According to this “traditional” view of eschatology, which they deride as “apocalypticism,” there will be such things as end-of-world calamities, a final collective judgment, resurrection from the dust of the ground, and everlasting torment in hell for the damned. Such things are, some theologians maintain, fable-like pictures meant to encourage less educated Christians to conduct themselves rightly. Some go as far as to deny that there is an “eternal hell.” Others maintain that hell does not include the so-called “pain of sense,” that is, bodily and psychic pains executed by God in just retribution for crimes committed by unrepentant sinners during their earthly lives. Others maintain that hell is only a remote possibility. Others deny that God has ordained an “end” of history. These traditional elements of eschatology are, so it is said, mythical modes of thought intended simply to encourage every individual to contemplate the seriousness of life in the face of being “thrown towards death.” In short, Jesus’ message, Paul’s message, and Isaiah’s message, are being “demythologized,” interpreted simply as morally powerful and useful tales. Although demythologization came to reign no short time ago, it still has a wide following.

I have indicated two elements of “traditional” Catholicism that are not infrequently derided by contemporary “academics.” As I hope to show, the derision of each element is related to that of the other. This is not to say that any theologian who derides the one will deride the other; it is to say, however, that the divine-human fabric connecting these two elements together makes the derision of one objectively inseparable from that of the other.

Notwithstanding the pitfalls of demythologization of eschatological truths and of irritation with Eucharistic adoration, there lie in the contemporary articulations of eschatology and in contemporary sacramental theory most significant grains of truth. Chief among these truths is the fact that our entire existence is “suspended” between our coming from the Father of lights (Jas 1:17) and our returning thence through death. Thus, in this vale of tears, we discover the truth only through its mediations; no man has seen God, and the face of Jesus Christ, though discernible, yet eludes us, beckons us on. We exist, indeed, “towards death,” yet in Christian hope, we know that we are “towards the Father,” and to some extent we experience even our haplessness in this way. There is cause for fear and sadness and cause for joyful trust.

In this article, I aim to establish a credible link between the promising aspects of contemporary eschatological theory and the simple practice of adoration. I take as my leitmotiv the eschatological conception of Christianity as a “way,” a movement drawn to the Father through the “Way” (Jn 14:6). I will draw throughout on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI.

On the surface, it seems that adoration and eschatology have nothing in common. A sensible eschatology ought to brim with expectation; it should therefore be devoid of any concrete presence of the goal. Eschatology should take a properly humble stance towards the “not yet realized” goal of human existence. It must involve chiefly expectation of a better “future.” Not infrequently, this “future” is a code word for some sort of Marxist hope.1 Or, on a more existential and sacramental note, this “future” is the experience of the “absence of the presence.” Liturgists warn us not to expect a real future coming of the hoped-for One. We are told to “(hold) ourselves in a mature proximity to distance.”2 This translates as follows: Although we may hope and desire, we ought not fool ourselves; what we desire is not going to come; yet, we must go on hoping, pining. The test of authentic existence, so they say, is “melancholy.” If I approach existence in a spirit of melancholy, I live authentically.

Eucharistic adoration appears to be in stark contrast to all of this rich existential imagery, this tragic romanticism. Eucharistic adoration appears static and banal. So runs the argument against adoration: It stifles the “groaning” of history because it renders the goal of history concretely present. Thus, adoration halts the dynamism of Christian life, thrusting before expectant eyes the “already substantial” presence of the Beloved. How indelicate and un-liturgical. How lacking in nuptial tact! How poisonous to the work that must be done to make things better.

I would argue, to the contrary, that an existentially rich eschatology—if pursued in accordance with the genuine principles of Christian faith—shows the exceeding relevance of the practice of adoration. Adoration and a theologically articulate eschatology can join together in a most fruitful union. Before attempting to articulate how this may be so, I would note that the existentially “rich” character of contemporary eschatology calls for some discernment. If indeed theologians, by stressing an “authentic hope” filled with melancholy intend to signify chiefly the sorrow and the “learned ignorance” that accompanies the saints in this “veil of tears,” they are pointing to something quite rich and true. On the other hand, the reality for which one longs is not a mere “tease.” It is not a mere tease because it is, by God’s loving condescension and our cooperation, attainable. To maintain that we cannot attain the aim of our hope is to render our hope a mere tease. To maintain that one ought to go on hoping for the attainment of the never-to-be-attained is to make of man a plaything.3 Regarding which play, one should ask, who is playing whom? Although some men play with human desires for their own profit, nature does not play with desires. Natural desires are ordered to fulfillment. Similarly, natural motions have their “place,” either coming to rest somewhere or mirroring eternity by their recurrent flowering or asymptotically maturing perpetuity. (Perhaps a man might hurl something into space endlessly, precisely by finding the right weave through the celestial entities lest it succumb in the end to some destination, but then again, that was his point.) Hence, a philosophy of being that does not succumb to ideology cannot claim for being a directionless wandering.4

The same may be said with respect to the science of man. Without hope, man cannot act. Without the hope of fulfillment, man has no hope. Thus, unless man has the hope of attainable fulfillment, he will not act. Pope Benedict XVI rightly proclaims, “Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey.”5 Here, he does not obscure the genuine contributions of contemporary eschatology; far from it: “It is not that (Christians) know the details of what awaits them, but they know in general terms that their life will not end in emptiness.”6 This hope is anchored in a person, in the encounter with the infinite God, who exists, who is triune, and who is Love.7

Our question is, how can it be said that Eucharistic adoration—which does thrust something, rather, the very substantial flesh of someone, before the eyes—is compatible with a reasonable hope, a hope intent on the truth of things and not taken to cheap solutions or to enthusiastic extremes? To this question our article now turns.

Twentieth century Protestant theologian Oscar Cullman established in his famous Christ and Time that Christians exist in a “time between times.” The coming of Christ fulfilled, and yet disrupted, Jewish expectation for the Messiah. Jewish expectation was characterized by anticipation of the coming end. Thus, Jews considered that the Messiah would usher in world peace or at least Israel’s final deliverance from enemies. Clearly, Jesus of Nazareth accomplished neither. Hence, as one rabbi (unfortunately) said at a talk at my university: “Jesus did not meet the job description (of the Messiah).” True enough, from one point of view. Namely, Jesus does not meet the expectation when one reads the promises given to David and to his descendants (e.g., 2 Sm 7; Ps 2; Is 9) as implying an all-inclusive, and all-at-once deliverance and political deliverance. (But political Zionism is deeply unbiblical.) One can admit that the letter of the texts points this way. Paradoxically, the very fact that this rabbi correctly observed that Jesus failed to fulfill such a reading of these texts—a “failure” (I speak equivocally) that Christians must recognize—actually forms a bond between Christians and God-loving Jews. This claim should become clear in what follows.

As Cullman contends, Jesus came, went, and said he would come again. Christians now find themselves between the “already” of Christ’s redeeming Passion and the “not yet” of the final consummation of their lives (and of world history). In a word, Christians experience a “disappointment,” or rather a suffering, an affliction. And this suffering is in some ways similar to that which faithful Jews especially (but also others) experience. Jesus did not usher in world peace. Baptism is no fountain of youth, no paradise. Eden remains shut (Gn 3:24). Though redeemed, Paul cries out, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom 7:24, RSV). He is not alone: “The whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now” (Rom 8:22). If it is not the body giving way, nor the soul, perhaps it is the very liturgy that once sustained souls, not of course, as to the essence or validity of the liturgy, but as to its beauty in practice or its “expressive manifestation.” Moreover, what Christian cannot feel anguish when faced with the disunity among Christians and the priestly prayer that contradicts such unity: “that they may all be one” (Jn 17:21). So, just as Jews consider that they live between the “already” of the Exodus and the “not yet” of the Messiah’s coming, so Christians believe that they live between the “already” of Jesus’ victory and the “not yet” of Jesus’ triumphant return. Awaiting the end is common to us both.

Catholics tap into this “in between” time in a heightened way during the first few weeks of Advent. At this time, the liturgy calls to attention the coming end time, which includes things apparently loathsome: death and judgment. The prophet Malachi warns, “For behold, the day comes, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up …” (Mal 4:1). What does the prophet mean? He continues, “But for you who fear my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings” (Mal 4:2). There is a twofold expectation here, an expectation that also runs throughout the New Testament and that permeates Catholic liturgy. Participants encounter both threats of punishment for sin and also exhortations to await the Lord with hopeful faith. The weight is clearly placed on hope, for the liturgical expectation is one of eager longing, not one of barren trepidation: “We wait with joyful hope.” These Advent readings correspond with the anticipatory thrust of the liturgy: commemoration, celebration, and expectation. Christian hope is pregnant with desire, not fear, for “perfect love casts out fear,” (1 Jn 4:18).

Rooted in the Mass and oriented towards it is Eucharistic adoration, a silent but most vigilant, most active, gaze upon the host “containing” the uncontainable. The silent gaze allows a penetration of the mysterium fidei. The power of adoration derives from the same Spirit in whose power Jesus the High Priest offered himself up on Calvary. In Eucharistic adoration, the same Holy Spirit is present, stirring up sighs “too deep for words” (Rom 8:26) and ushering Christians into that “groaning” for the revelation of the sons of God (Rom 8:19-23).

Expectation of the coming Lord and of the revelation of “what we shall be” draws Christians towards purification (1 Jn 3:2-3), which also impels them towards love of neighbor, which is the fulfillment of the law (Rom 13:9-10). For the coming of the Lord shall be with fire, and this fire shall burn the chaff of human vanity and purify the treasure of hearts made flesh.8 Ultimately, the fruit of this radical love is communion and peace. Adoration, consequently, beckons towards the “tranquility of order” that is, according to Augustine, the peace for which everyone longs. Implicit in the dynamic of adoration, then, is an eschatological thrust towards the coming hope: “We wait for the hope of righteousness” (Gal 5:5). In the present age, that order is being established in contradiction to an ever emergent disorder. Thus, in the present age, peace exists, or is established, only in the midst of conflict; rather, from out of the chaos (Gn 1:1 and Rom 4:17).

The Eucharistic invitation to peace indirectly draws attention to the full parameters of this conflict: not merely national and international conflicts, but, more radically, pride, envy, sloth, lust, avarice, despair, enmity, … and even the demonic elements (Eph 6:12). It is primarily in these latter vices, and not primarily in the former physical threats, that the great drama of human life plays out, for it is out of the micro-dramas of many lives that the macro-drama of the world stage emerges (Ja 4:1-2). This, of course, does not exclude reciprocal influence, for social structures and actions do affect individuals.

In contrast to what I have argued, 19th century rationalist philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel did not think that the macro-drama is a result of the many micro-dramas. For him, it is the reverse: The world movement is the central player in history. All supposedly important micro-dramas are really just fodder for the one macro-drama, as the stuff of one’s diet is fodder for one’s person. Marxism emerged from the left-wing disciples of Hegel’s philosophy. It should not be surprising, then, that just as Hegel underestimated the micro-drama of human life, placing greater attention on world-historical movements, so also did he disparage the worship of the Eucharist as idolatry (Philosophy of History, 1991, p. 390).

We can now return to the contemporary effort to “demythologize” the Scriptures. These efforts are in part rooted in the Marxist reading of Hegel’s philosophy. Some who are enamored of demythologizing efforts find no room for the simple practice of Eucharistic adoration. This correspondence seems to me not coincidental. (True, the practice of the critical methods themselves are not always, and in all cases, corrupt, though one may say that they have yet to undergo a genuine “sifting.” Nevertheless, the use to which critical methods are put often conflicts with the faith of the Church.) So it is said, adoration is quite “private”; it bears little, nay, no fruit! It cements one in the concrete, here-and-now, rather than freeing one to the free play of each man’s own “spirit,” much less the play of “world Spirit.” So, theologians advise, instead of praying before a cookie, one ought to do something for the poor, to work towards a better future, to build the City of God, or (in the case of Karol Wojtyla’s Poland) to build a city without God! Either/Or.

One cannot but confess that Christian faith mandates hope for, and work towards, social justice and world peace.9 The very liturgy itself, the source and apex of all Christian activity (Sacrosanctum concilium, art. 10), impels the participants to “serve the Lord” by serving one another. We who approach the mysterium fidei with an “Amen” but who neglect our brothers in need are “liars” (1 Jn 4:20), and few humans, if any but two or three, have not been such liars. Yet, as Jesus heals the soul through the intimate, though darkly veiled, conversation of prayer, so the pray-er may “Rise, and go hence” (Jn 14:31), renewed by a fathomless love that affirms the potential brightness of the sinner’s future. Eucharistic adoration is rooted in the liturgy and oriented towards it.10 Adoration thus has an intrinsic impetus towards brotherly love: “The personal relationship which the individual believer establishes with Jesus present in the Eucharist constantly points beyond itself to the whole communion of the Church and nourishes a fuller sense of membership in the Body of Christ,”11 Moreover, this relationship points to every man one may meet, calling forth humble solicitude.

Still, Christian hope is not limited to the horizons of mere social work and this-worldly justice. Indeed, the agenda of many a would-be philanthropist is a far cry from such justice: “A world without God is a world without hope.”12 The frenzied pursuit of immanent progress, as though it were man’s last end, ends up bypassing man himself. Pope Benedict XVI lamented the tragedies that arise under such an illusion:

Man can never be redeemed simply from the outside. Francis Bacon and those who followed in the intellectual current of modernity that he inspired were wrong to believe that man would be redeemed through science. Such an expectation asks too much of science; this kind of hope is deceptive. Science can contribute greatly to making the world and mankind more human. Yet it can also destroy mankind and the world unless it is steered by forces that lie outside it.13

A higher end must guide even concern for the bodily, emotional, and intellectual well-being of one’s neighbor. Christian faith rightly directs this concern and thus heals endeavors rooted therein.

The depths of Christian hope are more profound than the aims of social justice and technological progress, without taking anything away from man’s legitimate aspirations for progress. Christian hope aims, ultimately, at the salvation of each man. The cornerstone of salvation regards what is deepest in man, the most intimate point of his soul—his longing for God’s embrace. Far from isolating the “saved soul” from the rest of men, the promise of God’s embrace opens the lover to all men. God is not a good to be cherished with envy or fear; since he is the Good of Goods, love of him dilates the heart of the poor, constricted creature, wounding only his narrowness: “This real life, towards which we try to reach out again and again, is linked to a lived union with a ‘people,’ and for each individual it can only be attained within this ‘we.’ It presupposes that we escape from the prison of our ‘I,’ because only in the openness of this universal subject does our gaze open out to the source of joy, to love itself—to God.”14

The depths of Christian hope are thus “high and wide.” Since in salvation each man enters into everlasting communion with God and with all who are so blessed, Christian hope aims at this multi-dimensional communion. On earth, Christian hope aims at the reunification of the human race in a single, albeit not monolithic, society of peace. The deepest character of this ultimate reunification shall be a free, supernatural fellowship of human persons, with and through Christ, anchored in the Spirit, oriented towards Father in eternal praise: “The Christian spirit has always been animated by a passion to lead all humanity to Christ in the Church. The incorporation of new members into the Church is not the expansion of a power-group, but rather entrance into the network of friendship with Christ which connects heaven and earth, different continents and ages.”15 As the ancient doxology (or praise) runs, “Glory to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit.” Towards this end, the Mystical (or Corporate) Body of Christ strives.

Notwithstanding certain sociopolitical implications for such a hope, this reunification will not be the result of mainly (much less, merely) political action in the natural order (Ps 20:7).16 The arena most relevant for the depths of this hope is the supernatural, the reign of God’s grace, which (of course) penetrates even to the heart and marrow of our world (Heb 4:12). So, the eschatological hope of Christians aims at the manifold integration of the human race under Christ as Head, so that as distinct but united brothers and sisters in one Holy Spirit, all can cry out as adopted children of God, “Abba! Father” (Rom 8:14-15).

It requires the greatest care to retain the whole scope of the wide hope that is Christian: neither individualist nor socialist, neither apolitical nor simply political, neither terrified nor presumptuous, neither merely this-worldly nor merely otherworldly. In keeping with this wide hope, the Christian cannot simply dismiss the Scriptural and liturgical portrayals of coming judgment as mere mythological garb for a salutary exhortation to “authentic existence” or to “moral responsibility” (Bultmann). Indeed, these portrayals do include a call to moral responsibility and to an authentic existence, a palpably lived realization that one exists “towards” some unknown mystery. Thrown towards death, indeed, and this, by the first man’s sin—but, for the Christian, thrown towards quite beyond death, towards a loving Father.

Nor is the implication of judgment, penalty, and reward merely some extrinsic, disposable apparel suited to the less educated or to the non-morally-motivated. Finally, one cannot absolve the many passages concerning judgment of all “predictive” power. They are not legitimately interpreted wholesale, as but present prognostications, even inspired ones, of Christian “existence-towards-the-future.” Even if we think of these prognostications as having to do with the collective and cumulative results of the encounter between flesh and spirit, we do injustice to them if we void them of any anticipatory, predictive character. In an effort to demythologize Christian “apocalyptic,” have not some Christian theologians gone too far?17

Notwithstanding the danger of excessive demythologization, one must confess that the Scriptural and liturgical portrayals of judgment have their primary function in awakening the reader to the micro-dramas of life. Even the final generation shall be confronted with this most essential drama, the challenge to receive God’s love in a world marked by sin and to conform its unbending pride to that love. These eschatological passages highlight God-bestowed holiness as an intrinsic criterion for salvation, which consists, ultimately, in the deification of, and concord between, human persons gazing upon (or living within) the Holy Trinity. These portrayals of judgment thus resonate with the beatitude, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8) and with the comforting exhortation in Hebrews: “Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12:14). Conversely, the portrayals of judgment also underscore the alienation that is intrinsically constitutive of sin, for eschatological condemnation consists, not merely in flames and torture, but, much more radically, in self-exclusion from the everlasting banquet of God (2 Thes 1:9-10).18 In harmony with the sense of Dante’s narrative, this self-exclusion fittingly entails supervening bodily punishments as well as the mutual opposition of persons who choose patterns of life opposed to genuine flourishing (1 Cor 6:9-10; Eph 5:3-8; Col 3:5-10; and Ti 3:3).

Fear of hell, yes, but all the more, trust—trust in the merciful God whom we hope to see and to love: “The judgment of God is hope, both because it is justice and because it is grace. If it were merely grace, making all earthly things cease to matter, God would still owe us an answer to the question about justice—the crucial question that we ask of history and of God. If it were merely a matter of justice, in the end it could bring only fear to us all.”19

In our “time between times,” we cry, “Maranatha!” (1 Cor 16:22), both calling to mind Christ’s redemptive act (Our Lord has come!) and petitioning him to come again (Come, Lord Jesus!).20 The fracture between our present time and the future we await, a fracture we live, enables the Spirit to conform us more and more to the image of God’s Son (Rom 8:29 and 2 Cor 3:18). Eucharistic worship aids this good fracturing of human existence, this reconfiguration of beings once enslaved to sin but now “passing over” to the Father (Jn 13:1 and 14:5-6). This passing over occurs through our being engrafted onto the true vine, the New Israel (Jn 15), that is, Jesus Christ, through whom we love one another, so that all may be one (Jn 17:21).

Consequently, the seemingly solitary, fruitless, non-“intellectual,” and ahistorical activity of Eucharistic adoration is, in the end, communal, fecund, richly intelligible, and eschatological. It gives strength to those reborn in baptism; it demands of the heart the widest compass of concern;21 it calls for the greatest act of faith—faith in the real presence of the Word-made-flesh; and it trains the eye for the vision of the Invisible God (1 Jn 3:2).22

  1. Pope Benedict XVI diagnoses Marx’s error in Spe salvi, § 21.
  2. Louis-Marie Chauvet, Symbol and Sacrament: A Sacramental Reinterpretation of Christian Existence, trans., Patrick Madigan and Madeleine Beaumont (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1995), p. 75.
  3. “In thus masking the never-elucidated presuppositions of metaphysics, thinkers learn to serenely acquiesce (the Gelassenheit of letting-be) to the prospect of never reaching an ultimate foundation, and thus to orient themselves in a new direction – inasmuch as this is possible – starting from the uncomfortable non-place of a permanent questioning, which both corresponds to and guarantees being…. An unachievable task, a task whose very essence is its incompleteness” (Chauvet, op. cit., p. 53).
  4. By contrast, we read Chauvet: “There is no treasure, no value to be discovered at the end of this way. Rather, the treasure is nothing else but the work of journeying which takes place in ourselves, the labor of giving birth to ourselves since it is we ourselves who are being plowed, turned over and who are bearing fruit by becoming different…. Let us make no mistake about it: the infinity of genesis can be rehabilitated only within a perspective which understands this overcoming metaphysics as a task which is possible only through its permanent non-completion” (Chauvet, op. cit., p. 54).
  5. Pope Benedict XVI, Spe salvi, § 1 (emphasis mine).
  6. Pope Benedict XVI, Spe salvi, § 2.
  7. “The human being needs unconditional love…. If this absolute love exists, with its absolute certainty, then – only then – is man ‘redeemed’, whatever should happen to him in his particular circumstances. This is what it means to say: Jesus Christ has ‘redeemed’ us. Through him we have become certain of a God, a God who is not a remote ‘first cause’ of the world, because his only-begotten Son has become man…” (Pope Benedict XVI, Spe salvi, § 26).
  8. See Pope Benedict XVI, Spe salvi, § 47.
  9. See part II of Pope Benedict’s Deus caritas est; see also, Pope Benedict XVI, Spe salvi, arts. 24–48.
  10. Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, § 66.
  11. Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, § 68; translation
  12. Pope Benedict XVI, Spe salvi, § 44.
  13. Pope Benedict XVI, Spe salvi, § 25.
  14. Pope Benedict XVI, Spe salvi, § 14.
  15. CDF, “Doctrinal Note on Some Aspects of Evangelization”, § 9; translation
  16. “The right state of human affairs, the moral well-being of the world, can never be guaranteed simply through structures alone, however good they are” (Pope Benedict XVI, Spe salvi, § 24).
  17. Essentially taking back the good promise of his first thesis (that eschatology involves contents and that these cannot be reduced merely to present prognostications of possible future outcomes), Rahner writes, “Eschatology is therefore not a pre-view of events to come later—which was the basic view of false apocalyptic in contrast to genuine prophecy” (Karl Rahner, “The Hermeneutics of Eschatological Assertions,” Theological Investigations IV: More Recent Writings, trans. Kevin Smyth {Baltimore: Helicon Press, 1966}, p. 334). Rahner rightly perceives the truth that everything in Scripture is written “for our instruction” (1 Cor 10:11). Notwithstanding this and other insights, Rahner erroneously restricts the compass of the eschatological sayings to such universally applicable edification: “It is possible to say even in Catholic theology that there can be no eschatological assertions which cannot be reduced to the assertion concerned with Christian existence as it now is” (ibid., p. 337). Whatever promise his first thesis offered is swallowed by his monolithic concern for the hiddenness of the future, as though the marvels to come should not prove stupefying enough on their own merits. He thus renders the revealed content of the future practically equally relevant to all ages – a contention not shared by Augustine, Aquinas, etc. – because essentially devoid of even generic specificity, so wholly at man’s disposal must be the future! Here, to read anything as indicative of the future is dismissed as being “apocalyptic”: “To extrapolate from the present into the future is eschatology, to interpolate from the future into the present is apocalyptic” (ibid., p. 337). For the first thesis, see ibid., p. 326.
  18. Pope Benedict XVI, Spe salvi, § 45.
  19. Pope Benedict XVI, Spe salvi, § 47.
  20. I obtained insight on this dual meaning through students of my esteemed colleague, Fr. Roch Kereszty, O. Cist.
  21. “The personal relationship which the individual believer establishes with Jesus present in the Eucharist constantly points beyond itself to the whole communion of the Church and nourishes a fuller sense of membership in the Body of Christ” (Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, § 68).
  22. Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, § 66. I first expressed some thoughts on this topic in a brief piece in The University of Dallas’s The University News, January 28, 2004. I am grateful for sound assistance from Peter Kwasniewski and Peter Casarella.
Dr. Christopher J. Malloy About Dr. Christopher J. Malloy

Dr. Christopher J. Malloy is associate professor of theology at The University of Dallas. He earned a PhD in theology at The Catholic University of America in 2001. He has published one book, Engrafted into Christ: A Critique of the Joint Declaration, and eight articles and chapters. His research areas are Theological Anthropology and Trinitarian Theology in a Thomistic key.


  1. Avatar Darren O. says:

    Really good! Great to imbibe a hearty draught of charity in these pages. I do believe that you have accomplished five of the seven works of spiritual mercy in your piece and have moved me to perform the sixth and seventh. Deo Gratias!

    Also thanks for your blog, Theological Flint, always interesting.

  2. Since his pontificate there has been a decline in Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration as called for by St John Paul II in 1993 when he stated: “I hope that … perpetual adoration, with permanent exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, will continue into the future. Specifically, I hope that the fruit of this Congress results in the establishment of perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in all parishes and Christian communities throughout the world.” For the next 10 years the world worked towards this goal but for the last 10 years gains in adoration have been offset by losses. Beloved Benedict XVI in no way emphasized Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration and Pope Francis has called for it anywhere near the degree St John Paul II did. I hope he does because when he does all his desires for the world as stated in Evangelii Gaudium can come true, as the website cited in this post documents.

    • Monastic life, contemplative life, the interior battle of the will, wrestling for correct thoughts about God and neighbor – these are the key to victory, in Christ and his Church. And MARY.

  3. Avatar Martin Drew says:

    Dr. Malloy,, thank you for this clear paper on the Eucharistic liturgy and Eschatology. I studied with Dr. Mark Lowery in Moral theology and Dr. Ogilvie in Sacraments and Dogma at UD 2003. I have a licentiate in Theology and Scripture. Yes, Benediction from Jesus is a liturgical action since it has Jesus before us in the monstrance receiving our adoration . O Salutaris Hostia is sung while incense is thrown around us. Then the priest blesses all with Jesus in the monstrance. Tantum ergo is sung at the end before the Divine Praises are recited . Faith Hope and Charity in persons is needed to accept this liturgical action. There is no argument here. It is quite simple. Yet for Eschatology there could be difficulty for some to get it. The official teaching of the Church can be found by consulting the ” Index systematicus ” in H. Denzinger et A, Schonmetzer eds. Enchridion Symbolorum, Definiionum et Declarationum de Rebus Fidei et Morum. ” The excludes everyway of thinking or speaking that would render meaningless or unintelligible her prayers,her funeral rites, and the religious acts offered for he dead. from Acta Apostolicae Sedis 71/2 ( 1979 ) 939-43.


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