Loving worship

The love of Christ both wounds and heals, it fascinates and frightens, it kills and makes alive, it draws and repulses, it sobers and enraptures. There can be nothing more terrible or more wonderful than to be stricken with love for Christ so deeply that the whole being goes out in a pained adoration of His person, an adoration that disturbs and disconcerts while it purges and satisfies and relaxes the deep inner heart. This love as a kind of moral fragrance is ever detected upon the garments of the saints. In the writings of Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, for instance, this fragrance is so strong as to be very nearly intoxicating. There are passages in his Confessions so passionately sweet as to be unbearable, yet so respectful and self-effacing as to excite pity for the man who thus kneels in adoring wonder, caught between holy love and an equally holy fear. The list of fragrant saints is long. It includes men and women of every shade of theological thought within the bounds of the orthodox Christian faith. It embraces persons of every social level, every degree of education, every race and color. This radiant love for Christ is to my mind the true test of catholicity, the one sure proof of membership in the Church universal.


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