Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The Heart Of The Gospel. Part 17.

By Francis Patrick Donnelly


We have gone down to the depths of love, or, to use a more proper term, to the depths of passion. Passion it is which should be called monopolist. Love deserves a term of more noble memories and associations. Love is a conqueror and a king. Having, then, studied the degradation of passion, we now ascend to the lofty, glorious heights of love. It was in eternity and in God that love was born. It had there infinite good and infinite beauty to contemplate and cling to, but even that seemed hardly enough for King Love, the Conqueror. It longed for other kingdoms. It would have another treasure also, and a heart to put with it, and love created both. "God so loved the world as to give His only Son." The Heart of Christ was the creation of Divine Love. We were the treasures of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. The souls of men that have their moths and rust and thieves, the souls of men with coldness, neglect and sin, were His treasures.

When Christ spoke of the passion of man, of man having his heart in his treasures, He spoke in a figurative way. It was a striking phrase which told that man always longs for his treasures. But when God created the Heart of Christ, it is the strictest truth to say that the Incarnation was the realization of the first stage of advancing love. Where Christ's soul-treasures were, there also His Heart really came to be. "My delight is to be with the sons of men."

In the Incarnation was the first victory of love; in the Passion was the second. If human passion has its infatuation, so, too, has true love. The way the blood of Christ's Heart throbbed to burst forth and be shed for us, His statement that He had a baptism of blood to be baptized with and was straitened until it should be accomplished, His eagerness which outstripped the Apostles on the way to Jerusalem, the lavishness with which He poured out blood where one drop would do, with which He permitted a host of varied torments when one pang of one pain had been enough for our salvation, these are all overwhelming proofs that His love had reached the heights of divine infatuation and merited to be termed the "folly of the Cross." The light of His Heart was not darkened, as the light of earthly passion grows dark in its second stage. His light was resplendent, and, adapting His words, we may say: "If the light that is in thee be splendor, the splendor itself how great shall it be!" One would imagine that with these two conquests, love had extended its kingdom far enough. But no! Holy love has its slavery too, if we may call it so, though it would be truer to call it consecration. Love has always been a uniter, but the Heart of Christ has revealed to us unheard of powers under this aspect. His Heart leaped the chasm that yawned between Divinity and humanity, and united them. The Incarnation was the first wonderful union of love.

His Heart devised another union still with His treasures, the hearts of men, which staggers the belief and demands the testimony of God to establish its truth. What union is that? It is the union that He effects by His abiding presence in the Holy Eucharist and in Communion. No slave ever put himself so completely at the will of his master as Christ does for us. No love for men or for money brings about an actual physical incorporation between the heart and its object. The Heart of Christ, then, has attained to the highest heights of love. It enslaves Itself in the bonds of wine and wheat; It becomes our food and drink. It serves both God and men. Can love do more? The annihilation of the twenty-fifth of March, the "folly" of Good Friday, the daily consecration upon the altar, such are the triumphs and such is the climax of love's conquest in the Heart of Christ!