Thursday, July 31, 2003

For Thursday
"He tore open the solid rock; He rose from the tomb; He ascended on high; He is far off from the earth; He is safe from profanation; and the soul and body, which He assumed, partake of course, as far as created nature allows, of the Sovereign Freedom and the Independence of Omnipotence. It is not so: He is indeed beyond the reach of suffering; but you anticipate, my Brethren, what I have yet to say. Is He then so enamoured of the prison, that He should purpose to revisit earth again, in order that, as far as possible, He may undergo it still? Does He set such a value on subjection to His creatures, that, before He goes away, on the very eve of His betrayal, He must actually make provision, after death, for perpetuating His captivity to the end of the world? My Brethren, the great truth is daily before our eyes: He has ordained the standing miracle of His Body and Blood under visible symbols, that He may secure thereby the standing mystery of Omnipotence in bonds.

He took bread, and blessed, and made it His Body; He took wine, and gave thanks, and made it His Blood; and He gave His priests the power to do what He had done. Henceforth, He is in the hands of sinners once more. Frail, ignorant, sinful man, by the sacerdotal power given to him, compels the presence of the Highest; he lays Him up in a small tabernacle; he dispenses Him to a sinful people. Those who are only just now cleansed from mortal sin, open their lips for Him; those who are soon to return to mortal sin, receive Him into their breasts; those who are polluted with vanity and selfishness and ambition and pride, presume to make Him their guest; the frivolous, the tepid, the worldly-minded, fear not to welcome Him. Alas! alas! even those who wish to be more in earnest, entertain Him with cold and wandering thoughts, and quench that Love which would inflame them with Its own fire, did they but open to It. Such are the best of us; and then for the worst? O my Brethren, what shall we say of sacrilege? of His reception into hearts polluted with mortal, unforsaken sin? of those further nameless profanations, which from time to time occur, when unbelief dares to present itself at the Holy Altar, and blasphemously gains possession of Him?

My Brethren, it is plain that, when we confess God as Omnipotent only, we have gained but a half-knowledge of Him: His is an Omnipotence which can at the same time swathe Itself in infirmity and can become the captive of Its own creatures. He has, if I may so speak, the incomprehensible power of even making Himself weak. "
- From "Omnipotence in Bonds", by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.


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