Thursday, November 10, 2005

A favourite passage from 'The Dream'

I'm taking Newman's Dream of Gerontius for my early-Novermber reading and am continually struck by the angel's description of the moment of particular judgement. Gerontius's soul is being sped towards the throne of judgement and his guardian angel explains the essence of this judgement:

When then—if such thy lot—thou seest thy Judge,
The sight of Him will kindle in thy heart
All tender, gracious, reverential thoughts.
Thou wilt be sick with love, and yearn for Him,
And feel as though thou couldst but pity Him,
That one so sweet should e'er have placed Himself
At disadvantage such, as to be used
So vilely by a being so vile as thee.
There is a pleading in His pensive eyes
Will pierce thee to the quick, and trouble thee.
And thou wilt hate and loathe thyself; for, though
Now sinless, thou wilt feel that thou hast sinn'd,
As never thou didst feel; and wilt desire
To slink away, and hide thee from His sight:
And yet wilt have a longing aye to dwell
Within the beauty of His countenance.
And these two pains, so counter and so keen,—
The longing for Him, when thou seest Him not;
The shame of self at thought of seeing Him,—
Will be thy veriest, sharpest purgatory.

Compare and contrast with Jack Chick's faceless Christ and Michelangelo's Christ in the Sistine chapel.

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