1. “SPE SALVI facti sumus”—in hope we were saved, says Saint Paul to the Romans, and likewise to us (Rom 8:24). According to the Christian faith, “redemption”—salvation—is not simply a given. 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.
Now the question immediately arises: what sort of hope could ever justify the statement that, on the basis of that hope and simply because it exists, we are redeemed? And what sort of certainty is involved here?
Pope Benedict answers his question over the next several pages of his letter (you can read the entire encyclical here).
Although it is quite long, and the text is not formatted as well as I would wish it to be (not enough 'white space' to make reading easier on the eye), I hope you will take the time at least to peruse his answer. Doing so will put the apostle Paul's text in Ephesians in better context and help us understand our own role in the Church.
We will look a bit more into the Christian's hope in the next lesson as we use some of Pope Benedict's encyclical as backdrop.