The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross

The cross, ever since it was raised up in time, has become the sole salvation, not only of individual people, who are immortal, but of civilizations as well, which perish. It appeared, in the West, in a decadent world doomed to catastrophe. Next to the cost of the light it brought, the renunciations it demanded did not appear too heavy: when the earth no longer has anything to offer, the heavens, revealing its splendors, become infinitely desirable. And what happened? As the people gathered round the cross and pinned their hopes on a Kingdom that is not of this world, as if by miracle, the world brightened, life was once more humanized, Christian culture, a Christian civilization formed. All the sweetness of life reappeared. But soon, along with it, came a forgetfulness of heaven. The renunciations of the cross began to weigh heavy again. It seemed intolerable. Man undertook to conquer the earth and seek his happiness on his own. He became hardened and savage. Hasn’t humanity known enough unhappiness? Must it again be sunk in blood and madness? Must it reach the pits of despair before raising its eyes again to the cross? Christian renunciations will then no longer appear unjustified. Humanity will seek above all the Kingdom of God. And, what’s more, perhaps a new Christian temporal order may blossom, a new Christianity. The cross is more a mystery of light than a mystery of suffering. Suffering is not a permanent state; it will pass. Light 20 INTRODUCTION