In the book "And God Saw It Was Good: Catholic Theology and the Environment," John F. Haught, retired professor at Georgetown University, observes:

"We need to probe more deliberately than ever into one of our faith tradition's central though often overlooked characteristics, namely, its vision of the universe and the earth as the embodiment of a divine promise. ... Theology has yet to draw out explicitly the ecological significance of the so-called 'eschatological' vision of reality."

Eschatology comes from the Greek "eschatos," meaning concern about last things: death, judgment, heaven, hell and purgatory. In disturbing times, what can it teach us about coping with the future?

In its wider sense, eschatology simply means what we may hope for. Throughout the Bible, God's divine promise rings through the Psalms and prophets. Repeatedly, we hear the hopeful words of God's promise to strengthen and protect us.

As the Israelites were encouraged to hope for the continual fulfillment of God's promise, so too does eschatology encourage us to keep our heads raised up and to look around at the hopeful realities surrounding us.

Take, for example, new technological advances helping us toward to a more wholesome future, and the daily psalms and readings recalling how God protected those in the past and will do so in our life because God "cannot deny himself" (2 Tm 2:13).

Eschatology encourages us to hope for a better future, to be more positive than negative, more optimistic, and less despairing, and to enjoy the comfort of God's promise: that God cares deeply for us. Ultimately, it encourages us to entertain hopeful thoughts of a promising future thanks to God's divine promise.

Daily disturbing conjectures exist about COVID-19 lasting far into 2021, our economy tanking, the government continuing to be disoriented and our democracy being discredited. Unfortunately, positive speculation that exists is being outweighed by gloomy predictions.

As a result, we fear we will never be the same again and the worry that we face an unhopeful future are getting the upper hand. To counter this malaise, we need to reignite our faith and hope in God's divine promise – a God whose promise created life on earth and who deeply desires a new dawn for us.