The image of Christ in the churches…


“Very deep things in our nature, some dim sense of the dependence  of great things upon small, some dark suggestion that the things  nearest to us stretch far beyond our power, some sacramental  feeling of the magic in material substances, and many more  emotions past fading out, are in an idea like that of the  external soul. The power even in the myths of savages is like the  power in the metaphors of poets. The soul of such a metaphor is often very emphatically an external soul.” – G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

Today, on this last day of Christmas, we observe the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord.  While the quotes today do not specifically mention the Lord’s baptism, they speak to its wonder.

We have all heard people say a hundred times over, for they seem never to tire of saying it, that the Jesus of the New Testament is indeed a most merciful and humane lover of humanity, but that the Church has hidden this human character in repellent dogmas and stiffened it with ecclesiastical terrors till it has taken on an inhuman character. This is, I venture to repeat, very nearly the reverse of the truth. The truth is that it is the image of Christ in the churches that is almost entirely mild and merciful. It is the image of Christ in the Gospels that is a good many other things as well.”

“There are a great many things about it which nobody would have invented, for they are things that nobody has ever made any particular use of; things which if they were remarked at all have remained rather as puzzles.”

“It is anything but what these people talk of as a simple Gospel. Relatively speaking, it is the Gospel that has the mysticism and the Church that has the rationalism. As I should put it, of course, it is the Gospel that is the riddle and the Church that is the answer. But whatever be the answer, the Gospel as it stands is almost a book of riddles.”

-G. K. Chesterton, The Riddle of the Gospel, The Everlasting Man, 1925

Read more: The Riddle of the Gospels

Image source: Baptism of Christ-Francesco Albani, wikimedia commons


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