The Church, then, must have her passion days even as Christ, and must be condemned in three languages, in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, in the cultures of Jerusalem, Rome, and Athens, in the name of the good, the true, and the beautiful. Now as then the representatives of these three cultures pass beneath the cross and ask that the Church give up and come down.
Those who crucify her in the name of the good, shout unto her: ‘Come down from your belief in the spiritual destiny of man; come down from your belief that man has been made to the image and likeness of God; come down from your belief in the sanctity of marriage, come down and we will believe.’
Those who crucify in the name of the true, pass beneath the cross and plead: ‘Come down from your belief that there is such a thing as truth; come down from your belief in the divinity of Christ and the existence of God; come down from your belief in the continued life and truth of Christ in His Church. Can you not see that there are other crosses on Calvary beside your own? Come down and we will believe.’
Those who crucify in the name of the beautiful shout: ‘Come down from your belief that salvation is purchased through mortification; come down from your belief that the only way to save a life is to lose it; come down from your belief that another world is to be purchased by the tempered enjoyment of this one! See the straits to which your philosophy has already led you. Your flesh is hanging like purple rags. Come down and we will believe.’
The divinely supreme miracle of Christ’s whole life and the Church is that she does not come down….A human being would have stepped down with the same impetuousness with which weak men answer timid challenges. The miracle is to be able to come down, and yet not to come down; to have been Gnostic in the first century, to have been Arian in the fourth, and to be pagan in the twentieth. It is always easy to let the age have its head, but it is difficult to keep one’s own. It is always easy to fall; there are a thousand angles at which a thing will fall but only one at which it stands, and that is the angle at which the Church is poised between heaven and earth.
Ven. Fulton J. Sheen, The Divine Romance (1930)
Fulton J. Sheen
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