Christ in the Exterior

Having shown how a person encounters Christ interiorly, that is, within his soul, Father Benson next shows how one encounter Him exteriorly, such as in the Eucharist, in the Church, and in other persons. He states: “Up to the present we have considered the Interior Friendship of Christ with the soul,—a Friendship, it must be remembered, that is open not to Catholics only, but to all who know the Name of Jesus, and indeed, in a sense, to every human being. For our Lord is the ‘light that enlighteneth every man’ (Jn 1:9), it is His Voice that speaks through conscience, however faulty that instrument may be; it is He, since He is the Only Absolute, who is the dim Ideal Figure discerned standing in the gloom of all hearts who desire Him.”

“An old Hindu, it is related, after hearing one sermon on the Life of Christ, begged for baptism. ‘But how can you ask for it so soon?’ inquired the preacher. ‘Have you ever heard the Name of Jesus before to-day?’ ‘No,’ said the old man, ‘but I have known Him and have been seeking Him all my life long.'”

“It was partly in order to convince men of the true nature of sins against conscience—men who ‘knew not what they did’—that Christ was incarnate and suffered the death of the Cross. ‘This,’ He says in effect, ‘is what you have done to Me interiorly, all your lives.'”

“We pass now to consider another avenue along which Christ approaches us and seeks our friendship; another mode, and, indeed, other gifts which He conveys to us. It is not enough to know Christ in one manner only: we are bound, if we desire to know Him on His own terms and not on ours, to recognize Him under every form which He chooses to use. It is not enough to say, ‘Interiorly He is my Friend, therefore I need nothing else.'”

Quotations from Robert Hugh Benson, The Friendship of Christ (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1912).

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