But she is human too and dwells in the midst of a human race that does not know and therefore will not wholly take her at her word, and the very height of her exaltation must also be, then, the measure of her despair. The fact that she knows so certainly intensifies a thousandfold her human sorrow, as she, who has come that they may have life, sees how they will not come to her and find it, as she sees how long the triumph which is certain is yet delayed through their faithlessness. “If thou hadst known,” she cries in the heart-broken words of Jesus Himself over Jerusalem, “if thou hadst but known the things that belong to thy peace! Behold and see, then, if there be any sorrow like to mine, if there be any grief so profound and so piercing as mine, who hold the Keys of Heaven and watch men turn away from the Door.”
So, then, in church after church stand symbolic groups of statuary, representing joy and tragedy, compared with which Venus and Adonis are but childish and half-civilized images—Mary as triumphant Queen, with the gold-crowned Child in her arms, and Mary the tormented Mother, with her dead Son across her knees. For she who is both Divine and Human alone understands what it is that Humanity has done to Divinity.
Is it any wonder, then, that the world thinks her extravagant in both directions at once; that the world turns away on Good Friday from the unutterable depths of her sorrow, and on Easter Day from the unscalable heights of her joy, calling the one morbid and the other hysterical? For what does the world know of such passions as these? What, after all, can the sensualist know of joy, or the ruined financier of sorrow? And what can the moderate, self-controlled, self-respecting man of the world know of either?
Lastly, then, in the Paradox of Love, the Church holds both these passions, at full blast, both at once. As human love turns joy into pain and suffers in the midst of ecstasy, so Divine Love turns pain into joy and exults and reigns upon the Cross. For the Church is more than the Majesty of God reigning on earth, more than the passionless love of the Eternal; she is the Very Sacred Heart of Christ Himself, the Eternal united with Man, and both suffering and rejoicing through that union. It is His bliss which she at once experiences and extends, in virtue of her identity with Him; and in the midst of a fallen world it is the supremest bliss of that Sacred Heart to suffer pain.
LOVE OF GOD AND LOVE OF MAN
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart ... and thy neighbour as thyself.—LUKE x. 27.
We have already considered two charges brought against Catholicism from opposite quarters; namely, that we are too worldly and too otherworldly, too much busied with temporal concerns to be truly spiritual, and too metaphysical and remote and dogmatic to be truly practical. Let us go on to consider these same two charges produced, so to speak, a little further into a more definitely spiritual plane; charges that now accuse us of too great activities in our ministry to men and too many attentions paid to God.