Striving for love all our lives, we never achieve it except in so imperfect a manner that our hearts bleed. But even if, while living, we were to achieveI, what would remain of it after death? After our death the prayers of our loved ones would follow us into the next world, a pious memory would still pronounce our name; but soon heaven and earth move a step forward, oblivion falls upon us, silence covers us, love’s ethereal breeze no longer ripples over our tomb. It is finished; it is forever finished. Such is the history of man in search of love.
But I am mistaken! For there is one man whose tomb love still guards; there is one man whose sepulcher is not only glorious, as the prophet says, but whose sepulcher is loved. There is one man whose ashes have not cooled after nineteen centuries and who is born anew each day in the thoughts of a multitude of men. There is one man who is dead and buried but whose sleep and awakening is closely watched and whose words still vibrate with life, giving birth not only to love but also to virtue fructifying in love. This man has been attached to a cross for centuries; but each day thousands of people who adore him take him down from his thrown of suffering: they kneel before him, they prostrate themselves as low as they can before him, they kiss his bleeding feet with inexpressible ardor.
This man was scourged, crucified, and killed; but an unspeakable love resurrected him from death and from infamy; it placed him in the glory of a love that never weakens and that finds in him peace, honor, and joy even to the point of ecstasy. This man was pursued by an inextinguishable hatred in his suffering and in his tomb; but he asked for apostles and for martyrs to his name in every generation, and there has been no age without them. This man is the only human being ever to have founded a kingdom of love on the earth; and this man is you, O Jesus Christ!
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