BEHOLD! JESUS CHRIST! THE GREAT QUESTION OF THE WORLD
(from the Gospel for the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ Matthew xvii : 8 :-
"And they, lifting up their eyes, saw no-one, but only Jesus."
Vice is so incompatible with the Christian faith, that that faith grows weak and languishes in those who will no longer combat their passions....Neither the Muslim nor the heathen need to apostasise in order to be calm in the ignominy of their senses: the Christian alone has a God who forces him to blush.
And yet, this God became man, He bore a flesh like our own; He was similar in His body to the idols of the nations, and, differing from all who had preceded Him, and from all who should follow Him, He has exercised upon Earth a regenerating power. In Him as their source, in His form as their centre, are reflected all the characters that have made Christianity an incomparable monument. Lift up your eyes now: behold Jesus Christ!
Who among you will blaspheme against Him without a certain fear that you may err? On emerging from infancy, perhaps, at an age when the eyes measure nothing, you may pass before Him without halting or bowing your head; but wait a little.
The shadows of life will increase behind you; you will know man and returning from man to Christ with regards more humble because they will have seen more, you will begin to discover in that face signs which will trouble you. A day will come when you will say to yourselves: Is God really there? Whatever may be the answer, your conscience will have asked the question. And what a question! What a man must he be who constrains another man to propose to himself the question of his divinity!
And even if you should not feel the foreboding of that doubt, think that for eighteen centuries it has moved and divided mankind. Now, more than ever, it is the great question of the world. Behind the political quarrels which resound so loudly, there is another which is the true and the last one: it is whether the nations civilized by Christianity will abandon the principle which has made them what they are, whether they will reach the point of apostasy, and what will be their lot. To be or not to be Christian, such is the enigma of the modern world.
And, however you may solve it in your minds, it exists, and I leave it there. It exists, Jesus Christ reigns by that doubt suspended over our destinies, as much as by the faith of those who have given Him their whole soul. His Divinity is the riddle of the future, as it was in the past.....
Pere Henri- Dominique Lacordaire - Conferences de Notre Dame de Paris (1846)
This text first came to our notice at the excellent RORATE CAELI BLOG, and Father Lacordaire was one of the most famous preachers of his day. He re-founded the Dominicans in France following the Revolution and its persecutions and those that followed it. When he preached the Lenten Sermons in great Notre Dame de Paris, crowds began to queue at 7.00am for the Sermons given at 7.00 pm and the mighty Cathedral filled to overflowing! Even in 1846, there was a serious question whether he should dare wear his Dominican Habit in the Cathedral - so harsh were the Laws. He did, and no-one complained against him!
His words to-day read as if they were prophetic!