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SIRMON ON DIATH

}acques-enigne ossuel



"#$%&'( )'&% '* )%+',
Lord, come and see.
-#.& 11:34



ShaII I be ermilled loday lo oen a lomb in lhe resence of lhe Courl` WiII nol lhese deIicale
eyes be offended by such a deadIy sighl` I do nol lhink lhal Chrislians shouId refuse lo |oin
}esus Chrisl before such a seclacIe. Ior il vas lo him lhal lhe vords of our GoseI vere soken:
Lord, come and see where lhe body of Lazarus has been Iaid. Il vas he vho commanded lhal
lhe slone be roIIed avay. And il is he vho says lo us in lurn: come and see for yourseIves. }esus
did nol refuse lo see lhal dead body, vhich vas for him an ob|ecl of ily and a sub|ecl for a
miracIe. Yel lo us, vrelched morlaIs, vho refuse lo Iook uon lhis doIorous scene, il is roof of
our errors. Come and see vilh }esus Chrisl, and Iel us forever forsake lhe lhings lhal dealh can
slri avay.
Il is an odd veakness of mankind, lhal vhiIe dealh surrounds us in ils myriad forms, il is
never resenl lo our minds. Al funeraIs one onIy hears vords of aslonishmenl lhal a morlaI man
has died. Iach brings lo mind lhe Iasl lime he soke vilh lhe deceased and vhal lhey had
soken aboul. Then, aII of sudden, he vas dead. And we say: How fleeting are a mans days!
ul vho is il lhal makes lhese observalions` One vho is himseIf a man, one vho does nol aIy
lhe Iesson lo himseIf, one vho is nol mindfuI of his ovn desliny. Or, if some lransilory desire lo
reare himseIf for dealh asses lhrough lhe mind, he soon casls off such gIoomy lhoughls. Il
may even be said lhal morlaIs lake no Iess care lo bury lhe lhoughls of dealh lhan lhey do lhe
dead lhemseIves. Yel erhas lhese lhoughls viII have more of an effecl in our hearls if ve
medilale uon lhem vilh }esus Chrisl al lhe lomb of Lazarus. Lel us ask him lo imrinl lhem
uon our minds by lhe grace of his HoIy Siril, and Iel us slrive lo meril lhal grace lhrough lhe
inlercession of lhe bIessed Virgin. /)' 012%1 , , , ,


Sermon for lhe Wednesday of lhe Iourlh Week of Lenl, reached in lhe royaI chaeI of lhe Louvre, in lhe
resence of King Louis XIV, on March 22, 1662. The lexl is from Bossuets 3'4)2'5 321*#%2'5, edilion crilique
de labb J. Lebarq, revue et augmente par Ch. Urbain et E. Levesque (Paris: Descle, 1926), IV: 262-81.
TransIalion by Chrisloher O. Ium.

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Of aII lhe assions of lhe human mind, one of lhe mosl vioIenl is lhe desire lo knov. Our
curiosily exends ilseIf lo find eilher some undiscovered secrel in lhe order of nalure, or some
unknovn skiII in lhe vorks of arl, or some unusuaI refinemenl in lhe conducl of our affairs. Yel
in our keen desire lo enrich our minds vilh nev discoveries, ve are Iike lhose vho by Iooking far
ahead faiI lo see lhe ob|ecls lhal surround lhem. y lhis I mean lhal our mind, devoling ilseIf lo
greal efforls uon lhings far afieId and, as il vere, vandering aboul lhe vorId, asses so quickIy
over lhings near al hand lhal ve send our enlire Iives nol knoving lhe very lhings lhal louch
uon us, and nol onIy lhe lhings lhal louch uon us, bul aIso vhal ve are ourseIves.
We have no more ressing need lhan lo galher back lo ourseIves lhese slraying lhoughls.
Il is lo lhis end, Chrislians, lhal I invile you loday lo accomany lhe Savior lo lhe lomb of
Lazarus: 6'&% '* )%+'; Come and see. O morlaIs, come and conlemIale lhe seclacIe of morlaI
lhings. O man, come lo Iearn vhal you are.
You may be surrised lhal I vouId seak lo you of dealh in order lo leach you vhal you
are, and you may lhink lhal man is misreresenled if he is deicled vhen he no Ionger exisls. Yel
if you carefuIIy allend lo vhal lhe lomb resenls lo us, you viII sureIy agree lhal lhere is neilher
a more lrulhfuI inlerreler, nor a more failhfuI mirror of humanily.
The nalure of a comosile being is never more dislinclIy lo be erceived lhan in lhe
dissoIulion of ils arls. When |oined, lhey muluaIIy aIler one anolher, and so lhey musl be
searaled in order lo be veII underslood. In facl, lhe feIIovshi of lhe body and lhe souI is such
lhal lhe body seems lo us lo be more lhan il reaIIy is vhiIe lhe souI seems lo be somelhing Iess.
ul vhen, having been searaled from one anolher, lhe body relurns lo lhe earlh vhiIe lhe souI
ilseIf is ul inlo a condilion lhal aIIovs il lo relurn lo heaven, vhence il came, lhen ve see each of
lhem in ils urily. We have, lherefore, onIy lo consider vhal dealh lakes from us and vhal il
Ieaves lo us, vhich arl of our being faIIs under ils bIovs and vhich suslains ilseIf amidsl lhe
ruin. Then ve shaII undersland vhal is man, and so I shaII nol fear lo affirm lhal il is in lhe
bosom of dealh and in ils dark shadov lhal an immorlaI Iighl shines lo iIIumine our minds aboul
lhe condilion of our nalure. Lel us run lhen, o morlaIs, and see vhal humanily is by gazing inlo
lhe lomb of Lazarus. Come and see in one viev lhe end of aII your designs and lhe beginning of
aII your hoes. Come and see bolh lhe dissoIulion of your being and ils renevaI. Come and see
lhe lriumh of Iife amidsl lhe viclory of dealh: 6'&% '* )%+'.
O Dealh, ve give you lhanks for lhe Iighl lhal you shine uon our ignorance. You aIone
can convince us of our IovIiness, you aIone can leach us of our dignily. If man lhinks loo veII of
himseIf, you knov hov lo beal dovn his ride. If man disdains himseIf overmuch, you knov
hov lo rekindIe his courage. And lo bring aII of lhese lhoughls logelher in lheir roer baIance,
you leach him lhese lvo lrulhs lhal oen his eyes lo accurale seIf-knovIedge: lhal he is
conlemlibIe vhen he asses avay, bul infinileIy vorlhy vhen he allains elernily. These lvo
imorlanl consideralions viII form lhe sub|ecl of our discourse.



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IIRST IOINT
Il is a boId enlerrise lo leII man of his IillIeness. Iach of us is |eaIous of vhal he is and
vouId ralher be bIind lhan knov his ovn veaknesses. Those vho en|oy greal veaIlh eseciaIIy
vanl lo be lrealed deIicaleIy. They lake no Ieasure in lhe nolice of lheir faiIings, lhey vouId
refer lhal, if ve vere lo see lhem, al Ieasl ve shouId kee lhem hidden from viev. NeverlheIess,
lhanks lo dealh, ve are al Iiberly lo seak. Irom lhe vanlage of dealh, none is so greal in lhis
vorId lhal he cannol recognize his IillIeness. Long Iive lhe IlernaI One! O human grealness,
from vhalever side I Iook uon youunIess, of course, I consider you as having come from God
and as oving everylhing lo God, for in lhal case I discover in you a ray of Divinily lhal righlIy
allracls my regard. When, hovever, I Iook uon you as somelhing ureIy humanI say il again,
from vhalever side I Iook uon youI see nolhing in you lo esleem, because vherever I lurn I
aIvays find myseIf facing dealh, vhich casls ils shadov uon everylhing lhal vorIdIy briIIiance
vouId iIIuminale, and lhen I no Ionger knov lo vhal I shouId allribule lhe augusl name of
grealness, nor do I see anylhing vorlhy of being so designaled.
Lel us be convinced of lhis imorlanl lrulh, Chrislians, by an invincibIe course of
reasoning. The accidenl cannol be nobIer lhan lhe subslance, nor lhe subaIlern more imorlanl
lhan lhe commander, nor lhe buiIding more secure lhan ils foundalion, nor, finaIIy, can vhal is
added lo our being be grealer or more imorlanl lhan our very being ilseIf. Nov, |usl vhal is our
being` TeII us, O Dealh, for roud man no Ionger beIieves me. And yel you are mule, O Dealh,
you seak onIy lo our eyes. A greal king viII Iend you his voice, so lhal our ears mighl hear you
and our hearls mighl receive lhe mosl incisive of lrulhs.
Here is lhe fine medilalion lhal David ronounced from lhe lhrone and amidsl his courl.
Il merils your allenlion, Sire: 788' $'&54219%:'5 ;#54%5*% +%'5 $'#5( '* 5495*1&*%1 $'1 *1&<41$ &%.%:4$
1&*' *' (Is. 38:6). O IlernaI King of lhe ages! You are aIvays vilh yourseIf and in yourseIf. Your
being, forever enduring, neither passes away, nor changes, nor has limits; and behold, my days
you have measured, and my substance is nothing before you. No, my subslance is nolhing
before you, and every finile being is nolhing, because vhal has Iimils has an end, and vhen il has
arrived al lhal end, a finaI momenl suffices lo deslroy everylhing as if il had never exisled. Whal
is a hundred years, vhal is a lhousand, vhen lhey can be erased by a singIe momenl` MuIliIy
your days Iike lhe deer lhal fabIe or naluraI hislory vouId make lo Iive for so many cenluries.
Live as Iong as lhe greal oaks under vhich our anceslors Iie and vhich viII conlinue lo shade our
descendanls. And fiII lhal immense sace vilh honors, riches, and Ieasures. Whal shaII any of il
profit you, when deaths final breath, weak and languid though it be, will cast down this vain
display as if it were a house of cards, a mere childs plaything. Whal viII il serve you lo have
vrillen so much in lhis book, lo have fiIIed aII ils ages vilh beaulifuI scril, vhen in lhe end a
singIe slroke viII erase il aII` And does lhis one Iasl slroke Ieave any lrace even of ilseIf` Or viII
nol lhe Iasl slroke of lhal finaI momenl be ilseIf Iosl in lhe greal guIf of nolhingness` There viII
nol remain on earlh even a singIe veslige of vhal ve are: lhe fIesh viII change ils nalure, lhe
body will take on another name, even that of cadaver will not long remain, for it will become,
as Tertullian says, something that has no name in any language, so lrue il is lhal everylhing

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dies in il, incIuding even lhose funereaI lerms vilh vhich ve describe ils vrelched remains: =#5*
*#*4$ %>&#9%:%*1*%5 ':#>%4$( 81+481' %& #2%>%&'$ *'221$( '* 81+1)'2%5 &#$'&? '* +' %5*# <4#<4' &#$%&1'
;'2%*421' %& &4::4$ %&+' @1$ &#$'&( %& #$&%5 @1$ )#8194:% $#2*'$.
Whal, lhen, is my subslance, O greal God` I come inlo Iife onIy lo Ieave il soon afler. I
shov myseIf Iike lhe olhers, bul musl disaear. Iverylhing caIIs us unlo dealh. Nalure, aImosl
envious of lhe gifl she gives us, oflen leIIs us and shovs us lhal she cannol aIIov us lo kee for
very Iong lhe IillIe bil of maller she has Ioaned us, lhal il musl nol remain in lhe same hands, lhal
il musl aIvays be being exchanged. She has need of il for olher forms, she requires il for olher
vorks.
The conslanl slream of recruils lo mankindlhal is, lhe chiIdren vho are bornas lhey
grow and advance, seem to push us from behind, saying, Get out of our vay, nov il is our
turn. And |usl as ve have seen olhers go before us, so olhers viII see us ass, and lhey viII
resenl lhe same seclacIe lo lheir successors. O God! I ask again, vhal are ve` If I Iook lo lhe
years lhal receded me, vhal an infinile sace do I see in vhich I vas nol! And if I gIance lo lhe
years ahead, vhal a horribIe succession of years in vhich I viII no Ionger be! Whal a smaII Iace
do I occuy in lhe immense abyss of lime! I am nolhing. So smaII an inlervaI cannol dislinguish
me from nolhingness. I vas senl here lo be a mere number. There vouId have been no arl
vailing for me, and lhe Iay vouId have been no Iess veII Iayed had I remained behind lhe
curlain.
Lel us consider lhe maller again in more sublIe lerms. We see lhal il is nol lhe Ienglh of
our Iives lhal dislinguishes us from nolhingness. And you knov, Chrislians, lhal ve are never
searaled from il by more lhan a singIe momenl. Nov ve Iay hoId of one such momenl, and nov
il dies. And vilh il, ve shouId aII die, if ve did nol immedialeIy Iay hoId of anolher |usl Iike il.
UnliI al Iasl, lhere comes one vhich ve cannol gras, no maller vhal efforls ve make lo reach
oul for il. And lhen ve shaII immedialeIy faII for Iack of suorl. O fragiIe urchase of our being!
O ruinous foundalion of our subslance! A& %$1>%&' ;'2*21&5%* .#$#. (Is. 38:7) Does nol man himseIf
ass for a shade, or even an image` And as he himseIf is nolhing soIid, so aIso does he ursue
vain lhings, lhe image of lhe good, and nol lhe good ilseIf.
Hov IillIe is lhe Iace lhal ve occuy in lhis vorId! So IillIe indeed and of such scanl
imorlance lhal il seems lhal my vhoIe Iife is bul a dream. Somelimes, vilh Arnobius, I vonder
vhelher I sIee or vake: 6%>%:'$45 1:%<41&+#( 1& %;54$ )%>%:12'( <4#+ +%8%*42( 5#$&% 5%* ;'2;'*4%
;#2*%#` I do nol knov vhelher vhal I caII vaking is nol erhas a somevhal more exciled arl of
a dee sIee, and vhelher I am seeing lhings lhal are reaI, or vhelher I am onIy lroubIed by
fanlasies and iIIusions. =21'*'2%* B%>421 .4%45 $4&+%. (I Cor. 7:31) The shae of lhis vorId is assing
avay, and, comared lo God, my subslance is nolhing.



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SICOND IOINT
We musl nol doubl, Chrislians, lhal aIlhough ve be reIegaled lo lhis Iovesl arl of lhe
cosmos, lo lhe lhealer of change and lhe emire of dealh, and aIlhough ve carry il in our very
bosom, neverlheIess, lhrough lhe shadovy knovIedge lhal ve gain from our re|udiced senses,
if ve knov hov lo relurn lo ourseIves, ve viII find lherein a rinciIe vhose vigor leslifies lo a
heavenIy origin, a rinciIe lhal does nol fear corrulion.
I am nol one of lhose vho Iace greal slock in human knovIedge, and yel I confess lhal I
cannol conlemIale vilhoul admiralion lhose marveIous discoveries by vhich science has
sounded lhe delhs of nalure, nor lhe many fine invenlions lhal arl has found lo make il suilabIe
for our use. Man has aImosl changed lhe face of lhe earlh. y his mind he has lamed animaIs lhal
surass him in slrenglh. He has knovn hov lo disciIine lheir brulish lemer and channeI lheir
heedIess Iiberly. He has even Iaced his mark uon lhe inanimale crealures. Has nol his induslry
forced lhe earlh lo give him more suilabIe food, Ianls lo ad|usl lheir viId billerness in his favor,
and even oisons lo change inlo medicines for lhe Iove of him` Il is needIess lo leII you hov he
has conlroIIed lhe eIemenls, afler aII of lhe miracIes he daiIy erforms vilh lhe mosl inlraclabIe
of lhem, lhal is, vilh his lvo greal enemies fire and valer, vho neverlheIess agree lo serve him
in so many usefuI and necessary vorks. Whal eIse` He has cIimbed lo lhe very heavens. In order
lo lraveI more safeIy, he has laughl lhe slars lo guide his voyages, lo measure his Iife more
accuraleIy, he has obIiged lhe sun lo kee an accounl of aII of his sles. Yel ve musl Ieave lhe
Iong and scruuIous enumeralion lo rheloric and be conlenl as lheoIogians lo remark lhal God,
inlending man lo be lhe head of lhe universeas lhe oracIe of Scrilure saysformed him uon so
nobIe a foundalion lhal, aIlhough deformed by his crime, he has relained a cerlain inslincl lo seek
vhal he Iacks lhroughoul lhe vhoIe course of nalure. Thal is vhy, if I may say so, he boIdIy
deIves everyvhere, as if uon his ovn domain, and lhere is no arl of lhe universe in vhich he
has nol sel lhe sign of his induslry.
Hov couId such ascendancy have been gained by a crealure vilh a body so veak and so
IiabIe lo be assaiIed by every olher one` Il vouId nol have haened unIess his mind had a force
suerior lo lhe vhoIe of visibIe nalure, an immorlaI brealh of lhe Siril of God, a ray of Iighl from
his face, an asecl of his counlenance.
No, il couId nol be olhervise. If a skiIIed arlisan makes a machine, no one is abIe lo use il
excel vilh his inslruclions. God made lhe vorId as an immense machine lhal his visdom aIone
couId have invenled and lhal his over aIone couId have buiIl. O man, he eslabIished you lo
make use of il. He Iaced in your hands lhe vhoIe of nalure, lhal you mighl aIy il lo your
ends. He even aIIoved you lo decorale and embeIIish il by your arl: for vhal is arl bul lhe
embeIIishmenl of nalure` You can add a IillIe coIor lo decorale lhis marveIous canvas, bul hov
couId you move even sIighlIy a machine al once so slrong and so deIicale` Or in vhal vay couId
you add even a singIe correcl brush slroke lo so rich a ainling if you did nol have in yourseIf
and in some arl of your being some arl derived from lhal firsl arl, some secondary ideas derived
from lhe originaI ones, in a vord, some resembIance, some siIIing over, some orlion of lhal
arlisan Siril lhal made lhe vorId` If lhis be lrue, Chrislians, vho cannol see lhal aII of nalure

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dravn logelher is unabIe lo exlinguish so beaulifuI a ray of lhe over lhal suslains il, and lhal
our souI, suerior lo lhe vorId and lo aII lhe overs lhal comose il, has nolhing lo fear excel
from ils aulhor`
Lel us roIong lhis beneficiaI medilalion uon lhe image of God in us, and Iel us see by
vhal maxims lhal beIoved crealure man, deslined lo make use of aII lhe olhers, rescribed for
himseIf vhal he oughl lo do. I admil lhal, in our slale of corrulion, il is here lhal ve discover
our veakness. NeverlheIess, I cannol faiI lo marveI al lhose unchanging moraI ruIes lhal reason
has Iaid dovn. Whal! This souI, immersed in lhe body, so cIoseIy married lo aII of lhe assions,
vho Ianguishes, vho is no Ionger herseIf vhen lhe body suffers: by vhal Iighl has she been abIe
lo erceive lhal her feIicily Iies aarl from il` y vhich she mighl boIdIy sayvhiIe aII her senses,
aII her assions, and aImosl aII of nalure cry oul againsl herDeath, to me, is gain, (IhiIiians
1:21) and I rejoice in my afflictions. (Col. 1:24) Musl il nol be lhal she has discovered vilhin
herseIf a mosl exquisile beauly in vhal is caIIed duly, in order lo dare lo affirm lhal for friends,
counlry, lhrone, and aIlar one oughl fearIessIy lo face immense Iabors, incredibIe sorrovs, and
lhe cerlilude of dealh` Is il nol a kind of miracIe lhal lhese maxims of courage, robily, and
|uslice have nol ever been aboIishedI do nol say by lhe assage of lime, bul by conlrary
racliceand lhal lo lhe benefil of lhe human race lhere have aIvays been many fever ersons
vho deny lhem lhan lhere have been lhose vho have racliced lhem erfeclIy`
Il may nol be doubled lhal lhere is a divine Iight within us: A ray of light from your
face, O Lord, has been Iodged in our souIs: C%>&1*4$ '5* 54;'2 &#5 :4$'& )4:*45 *4%( "#$%&'. (Is.
4:7) Here ve discover, as in a gIobe of Iighl, an immorlaI goodness in reclilude and virlue. Il is
lhe firsl Reason lhal reveaIs ilseIf lo us by ils image. Il is Trulh himseIf vho seaks lo us and vho
causes us lo undersland lhal lhere is somelhing in us lhal does nol die, for God has made us
caabIe of finding hainess even in dealh.
AII of lhis is bul nolhing, Chrislians. Ior here is lhe mosl marveIous brush slroke of lhe
divine Iikeness. God knovs himseIf and conlemIales himseIf. His Iife is lo knov himseIf, and
because man is his image, he aIso vanls man lo knov lhal He is elernaI, immense, infinile,
vhoIIy immaleriaI, free from every Iimil, aIien lo every imerfeclion. Chrislians, vhal is lhis
miracIe` We vho sense onIy vhal has Iimils, vho see nolhing bul vhal changes, vhence have
ve been abIe lo undersland lhis elernily` Whence have ve dreaml lhis infinily` O elernily, O
infinity, says Saint Augustine, that our senses do not even suspect: how is it that you have
entered our souls? But if all that we are is body and matter, how have we been abIe lo conceive
of ure siril` And hov have ve been abIe even lo invenl lhe name`
I knov vhal viII be said al lhis oinl, and righlIy: lhal, vhen ve seak of lhese sirils
ve do nol undersland vhal ve are saying. Our veak imaginalion, unabIe lo suslain so ure an
idea, aIvays resenls some IillIe body vilh vhich lo cIolhe il. Yel afler reason has made ils
ulmosl efforl lo make lhose bodies sublIe and fine, do you nol sense lhal al lhe same lime from
lhe bollom of our souI lhere arises a heavenIy Iighl lhal cIears avay aII lhose deIicale hanloms
by vhich ve have imagined lhem` If you ress onvard and ask vhal il is, a voice rises from lhe
cenler of lhe souI: I do nol knov vhal il is, yel il is cerlainIy nol lhal. Whal over, vhal energy,

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vhal secrel slrenglh does lhe souI find vilh vhich lo correcl ilseIf, lo undeceive ilseIf, and lo
re|ecl ils ovn lhoughls` Who does nol see lhe hidden resource vhich has nol yel used aII of ils
slrenglh, and vhich, lhough il be conslrained, lhough il does nol en|oy freedom of movemenl,
neverlheIess demonslrales by ils vigor lhal il is nol vhoIIy bound lo maller and lhal il is allached
lo some higher rinciIe`
Il is lrue, Chrislians, and I confess il: ve cannol Iong mainlain such nobIe ardor. The souI
soon relurns inlo her maller. The souI has her Ianguor and fraiIly, and, as il vere, her baseness,
vhichshouId she nol be enIighlened from eIsevhereaImosl force her lo doubl vhal she is. This
is vhy lhe vorIdIy vise, in seeing man on lhe one hand so greal and on lhe olher so vrelched,
have nol knovn vhal lo lhink or lo say: some making him oul lo be a god, olhers nolhingness,
some say lhal nalure cherishes him Iike a molher and deIighls in him, olhers lhal, Iike an eviI
slemolher, she exoses him and considers him lhe runl. And a lhird grou, nol knoving vhal
lo concIude from lhis mixlure, resonds lhal nalure has been al Iay in uniling lvo arls lhal
have nolhing lo do vilh one anolher, and so, by a kind of carice, has formed lhis rodigy caIIed
man.
You viII |udge righlIy, Chrislians, lhal none of lhese has arrived al lhe lerminus, and lhal
onIy lhe Iailh can soIve so greal a riddIe. You misIead yourseIves, O vise men of lhis age: man is
not natures delight, for she offends him in so many ways. Nor can man be her runl, for lhere is
somelhing in him vorlh more lhan nalure herseIfI seak of lhe nalure resenled lo us by lhe
senses. Nov, lo seak of carice in lhe vorks of God is lo bIasheme againsl his visdom. Yel
vhence so slrange a disroorlion` Musl I leII you, Chrislians` Do nol lhese ramshackIe cabins
vilh such magnificenl foundalions decIare IainIy enough lhal lhe vork is nol comIele`
ConlemIale lhis grand edifice: you viII see in il lhe marks of lhe divine hand. Yel lhe
unevenness of lhe vork viII soon cause you lo see lhal sin has mixed in ils ovn. O God! Whal is
lhis mixlure` I am lost, and am almost ready to cry out with the prophet: D1'88%&' '5* 4295 ;'2B'8*%
+'8#2%5( >14+%4$ 4&%)'251' *'221'` Is lhis }erusaIem` Is lhis lhe cily, is lhis lhe lemIe, lhe honor, lhe
joy of the whole world? (Lamentations 2:15) And for my arl I say: is lhis lhe man made in lhe
image of God, lhe miracIe of his visdom, and lhe masleriece of his hands`
TruIy, il is he. Whence lhis discord` Why do I see such iII-assorled arls` ecause man
wanted to build upon his Creators work in his own way, and he departed from the plan. And so,
in oosilion lo lhe orderIiness of lhe iniliaI design, lhe immorlaI and lhe corrulibIe, lhe
siriluaI and lhe carnaI, in a vord, lhe angeI and lhe beasl found lhemseIves |oined logelher in
one. Here is lhe cIue lo lhe riddIe, here is lhe unraveIing of lhe langIe: failh has reslored us lo
ourseIves, and our shamefuI faiIings can no Ionger hide our naluraI dignily.
ul, aIas, vhal does lhis dignily rofil us` Iven lhough ve sliII brealhe some air of
grealness amidsl our ruins, ve are no Iess roslrale benealh lhem. Our former immorlaIily serves
onIy lo make lhe lyranny of dealh aII lhe more unbearabIe. And aIlhough our souIs escae il, if
lhey are made vrelched by sin lhen lhey have nolhing lo boasl aboul so burdensome an elernily.
Whal shaII ve say lhen, Chrislians` Hov shaII ve reIy lo so ressing a comIainl` }esus Chrisl
viII resond lo il in our GoseI. He has |usl seen lhe dead Lazarus. He has |usl visiled human

8
nalure groaning under lhe emire of dealh. This visil vas nol vilhoul cause: il is lhe arlisan
himseIf vho comes in erson lo see vhal is Iacking in lhe buiIding, for he has a Ian lo renovale
il in accord vilh his iniliaI design: 5'84&+4$ %$1>%&'$ '@45 <4% 82'1)%* %::4$. (CoI 3:10)
O souI, fiIIed vilh crimes, righlIy do you fear an immorlaIily lhal vouId render your
dealh elernaI! Yel behoId in lhe erson of }esus Chrisl lhe resurreclion and lhe Iife. He vho
beIieves in him shaII nol die. He vho beIieves in him is aIready Iiving vilh a siriluaI and
inlerior Iife, Iiving by lhe Iife of grace lhal dravs afler il lhe Iife of gIory. ul lhe body is
neverlheIess sub|ecl lo dealh! O SouI, consoIe yourseIf. If lhis divine archilecl vho has
underlaken lo reair you aIIovs lhe oId slruclure of your body lo faII iece by iece, il is so lhal
he may relurn il lo you in a beller slale and may rebuiId il in a beller order. Ior a IillIe vhiIe, lhe
body viII faII under lhe emire of dealh, bul il viII nol Ieave anylhing in his hands save
morlaIily ilseIf.
Do nol Iel yourseIves be convinced by medicaI reasoning lhal corrulion is a naluraI
resuIl of comosilion and mixlure. We musl Iifl our minds higher and beIieve according lo lhe
rinciIes of Chrislianily lhal vhal invoIves lhe fIesh in lhe necessily of corrulion is lhal il is an
attraction to evil, a source of evil desires, indeed, as the holy apostle says, a flesh of sin.
(Romans 8:3) Such a fIesh oughl lo be deslroyed, I say even in lhe eIecl, because in lhe condilion
of a fIesh of sin il does nol deserve lo be |oined lo lhe souIs of lhe bIessed nor lo enler inlo lhe
kingdom of God: 812# '* 51&>4%5 2'>&4$ "'% ;#55%+'2' &#& ;#554&*. (I Cor. 15:50) Il musl, lherefore,
change ils iniliaI form in order lo be reneved and lo Iose ils firsl condilion in order lo receive a
second one from lhe hand of God. Like an oId and hahazard buiIding lhal is aIIoved lo faII inlo
disreair in order lo buiId a nev one in a more IoveIy archilecluraI order, so aIso lhis fIesh, made
unruIy by sin and concuiscence, vas aIIoved lo faII inlo ruin in order lhal God may remake il in
his vay and according lo lhe iniliaI design of his crealion. Il musl be reduced lo rubbIe because il
gave service lo sin.
Do you nol see lhe divine }esus vho has oened lhe lomb` Il is lhe Irince vho oens lhe
rison doors for lhe suffering calives. The dead bodies shul u vilhin viII one day hear his
vord, and lhey viII be raised u Iike Lazarus. They viII be raised u beller lhan Lazarus,
because lhey viII be raised u never lo die again, and because dealh, as lhe HoIy Siril says, viII
be drovned in lhe abyss, never lo aear again: e* $#25 4:*21 &#& '2%*. (Aoc. 21:4)
What then do you fear, Christian soul, from deaths approach? Ierhas in seeing your
house faII you fear lhal you viII Iack sheIler` But listen to the holy apostle: We know, we
knov, he says, ve are nol Ied lo beIieve by uncerlain guesses, bul ve knov mosl assuredIy and
with complete certitude, that if this house of dirt and mud in which we live is destroyed, we
have another dwelling place prepared for us in heaven. (II Cor. 5:1) O mercifuI conducl of lhe
one vho anliciales our needs! He has a Ian, as Sainl }ohn Chrysoslom fillingIy said, lo reair
lhe house he has given us. When he deslroys il and casls il dovn in order lo make il anev, ve
musl move oul. Yel he himseIf offers us his aIace, and vilhin il, gives us rooms vherein ve may
avail in eace lhe comIele reconslruclion of our former abode.