Rorate Caeli

"Lift up your eyes now:
behold Jesus Christ!"


Levantes autem oculos suos, neminem viderunt nisi solum Iesum. (From the Gospel for the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Matthew xvii, 8: And they lifting up their eyes saw no one, but only Jesus.)

Vice is so incompatible with the Christian faith, that that faith grows weak and languishes in those who will no longer combat their passions[...]. Neither the Muslim nor the heathen need to apostatize in order to be calm in the ignominy of their senses: the Christian alone has a God who forces him to blush.

And yet this God became man, He bore a flesh like our own; He was similar in His body to the idols of nations, and differing from all who had preceded Him, and from all who should follow him, He has exercised upon earth a regenerating power. In Him as their source, in His form as their center, are reflected all the characters which have made of Christianity an incomparable monument. Lift up your eyes now: behold Jesus Christ!

Who among you will blaspheme against Him without a certain fear that you may err? On emerging from infancy, perhaps, at an age when the eyes measure nothing because they as yet have compared nothing, you may pass before Him without halting or bowing your head; but wait a little.

The shadows of life will increase behind you; you will know man, and returning from man to Christ with regards more humble, because they will have seen more, you will begin to discover in that face signs which will trouble you. A day will come when you will say to yourselves: Is God really there? Whatever may be the answer, your conscience will have asked the question. And what a question! What a man must he be who constrains another man to propose to himself the question of his divinity!

And even should you not feel the foreboding of that doubt, think that for eighteen centuries it has moved and divided mankind. Now more than ever it is the great question of the world. Behind the political quarrels which resound so loudly, there is another which is the true and the last one: it is whether the nations civilized by Christianity will abandon the principle which has made them what they are, whether they will reach the point of apostasy, and what will be their lot. To be or not to be Christian, such is the enigma of the modern world.

And, however you may solve it in your minds, it exists, and I leave it there. It exists, Jesus Christ reigns by that doubt suspended over our destinies, as much as by the faith of those who have given Him their whole soul. His divinity is the riddle of the future, as it was of the past [...].
Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
Conférences de Notre-Dame de Paris (1846)

Gospel for the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ: see also Lent with Lacordaire: Catholic doctrine cannot speak "to man only of man".

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