Friday, September 10, 2010

Offering One's Death - Knox

IS IT POSSIBLE THAT the hall-mark of the true Christian is not, necessarily at least, being brave about death; but rather, being prepared to offer whatever shrinking he feels about it as part of the sacrifice which he makes of his life to God? Fear is not a sin. You may through fear, by neglecting your duty, by denying your faith; granted. But fear in itself is not a sin; or what was our Lord doing in Gethsemani? It seems to me that whatever were the precise feelings of fear and disgust; the Greek is perhaps better represented if we say that he began to be mystified and dismayed - he was evidently condescending, as far as Incarnate God could, to our human weakness, and inviting us to unite our secret misgivings about death with the sacrifice he was making then. We were to see - that is how I read the story - that we should not be held responsible for having a dry feeling in the mouth, and a quaking about the legs, in moments of danger; that was not the point.

The point was, first, that we should do our duty, whatever inward tremors we had to crush down in the doing of it. And second, that we should make an offering to God of this human weakness, this shameful disability, and tell him, "My God, I know I'm a coward, but I want to offer my terrors, like every other discomfort my human destiny involves, to you. Cowards die many times before their deaths; and all those deaths I offer to you" ...

The dearer a thing life seems to you, the harder it seems to relinquish, the more motive for generosity in offering it. So little, the real value of the sacrifice we make, when we give our souls into his hands; all the better, then, if (by a kind of sentimental value) it means much to us, who make it.

- Ronald Knox

No comments: