"I believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come." This is the confirmation of the Christian Creed. The force of this message is hopeful, yet has weakened for many Christians. In seeing others die, many calm their fears by turning to their belief in reincarnation or in the tranquil testimonies of those who say they have encountered death. Mindful that it is common to think about one's own death, and that such thought is necessary to understand the meaning of life, Bernard Sesboüé, faithful to the teachings of Scripture and the tradition of the Church details the principal elements of the Christian faith that lead to the emergence of a hope in the resurrection of the body.
Bishop Sesboüé, first focuses on the subject of the last things the realities which concern the final destiny of all humanity at the end of the world as treated by Scripture and the ancient tradition of the Church, anticipated in the resurrection of Jesus, Christ and Lord, and with the proclamation of the resurrection of the body and the return of Christ, judge of the living and the dead. He considers the situation of each person at the moment of their physical death and after it: death, personal judgment, heaven, purgatory, and hell.
Bishop Sesboüé, is not silent about the risk in which our human lives are engaged. Yet, in pondering these realities in depth, he discovers the dynamic of a hope stronger than fear, for the Lord who comes is already at work in humanity and in the heart of each person, the God of the living: "the resurrection and the life."
Bernard Sesboüé, SJ, a French theologian and the author of six other books, is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Paris.