The Voice of the Eternal Word Within

Sermon on the Mount by Carl Bloch

Father Benson points out that “Christians know that the Second Great Commandment draws its force only from the First; yet, as a matter of fact, in spite of this, it is perfectly certain that though some men fail, for one reason or another, to feel the force of the First, no man has ever yet, without a sense of guilt, totally rejected the Second.”

“Christ is the Light that enlightens every man (John 1:9). It is actually the Voice of the Eternal Word, although His Name and His historical actions may be unknown, that pleads in the voice of conscience. In rejecting, therefore, the claims of his neighbour, a man is rejecting the claims of the Son of Man.”

“Pilate was not condemned for not knowing the articles of the Nicene Creed, and for not identifying the Prisoner brought before him: he was condemned because he rejected the claims of justice and of the right of an innocent man to be acquitted. He outraged Incarnate Truth because he outraged Justice.”

“The man who does not keep the Second Commandment cannot even implicitly be keeping the First: the man who rejects Christ in man cannot accept Christ in God. ‘He that loveth not his brother whom he seeth, how can he love God, whom he seeth not?’ (1 John 4:20).”

“How, we ask ourselves, is it possible for the Unique to disguise Himself under the Ordinary? . . . Yet, if the love of our neighbour means anything, it means exactly this.” Thus, we sing in the hymn “The Breastplate of St. Patrick”: “Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me. Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks to me. Christ in every eye that sees me. Christ in every ear that hears me.”

“In our neighbour . . . we have to find Him Who inhabits eternity; or we cannot claim to know Him as He is. To do this perfectly and consistently is Sanctity. To find Him here is to find Him everywhere. If we find Him here, how much more easily shall we find Him in the Saint, the Sinner, the Priest, the Church and the Blessed Sacrament. And there is no short cut to Sanctity.”

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

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