“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”
‘Twas another dark night, the candle had blown out, another soul had lost sight of the Crucifix. A room of stone, clean but empty, had fallen with the sun into a darkness, and though there had been for a while a small light, the darkness had overcome it. From the Emptiness like a heartbeat echoed the voice of the Timeless Love:
“Have I though, child? You fastened me here with your iron; I will not to leave without you driving me away as you drove these spikes out of your sight and into my limbs, and then I would wait just beyond your sight until you called for me. Love always waits, you know.
When you placed me on this torment, such violence did you use that the angels themselves did not know if you wanted to kill or detain me.
If I have remained, Beloved, can I then also abandon you alone?”
“My Lord, have I then forsaken Thee?”
The cold wind wailed and beat about the room; on the candle in the center showed a dull red spark, just visible, smouldering and kept alive by the very wind that had extinguished it. From the Nowhere which contains Everything came another voice, just as loving as the first but deeper, and somehow more ancient in Eternity:
“Beloved Son, listen to me. If you had cast me aside with all Hope, would you hear me? You seek as a blind man does now. If you would not ignore the warnings of the setting sun and refuse to bar the door against the darkness, your flame would not have gone out. But you are not so hardened with the cold that the Death will take you; Rise, close the door. I am here and none other shall enter unless you permit your heart to become too cold to sustain Love. If you truly had faith, you would see. But the little you do have is enough for now – you can still feel. Quickly now! Without Faith, Hope can not abide in you.”
The soul hesitated, a tear sliding icily down his face, and then slowly groped about. He finally found the floor, then a wall – how cold it was, and covered with ice – and at last it caught the door, pushed it closed, and waited in the dark, shivering. Listening desperately for the Voice again, he heard only his own heart. No sound could he hear, no guiding Voice – But he knew where his table was. That very faint red spot in the air marked the candle on it, and the matches should be next to it, if he recalled correctly.
He slowly crept forward, right hand in front of him, and after several long seconds he found the table. Another moment of clumsy groping found him the matches, and the smouldering wick was still there.
All that he had to do was to strike a light – but he was afraid. Frightened of the rocks that formed his walls, the emptiness of the room; so apprehensive of seeing again the Crucifix –
But he feared more the darkness, and the pain of sight is better than the loneliness of the Night. He knew how long the night would last if he did not end it soon.
A small scratching, then a little light flared up, one flame ignited a second. A warmth which the soul had not felt since the sun fell off the Mountain days ago filled the room, and his heartbeat once again kept time with the world.
“My Saviour, my Hope, why hast Thou not forsaken me?”
A third Voice rang out, holding in it the notes of an Ancient Wisdom, like the liquid whiteness of a full moon:
“Does a Lover abandon his Beloved? Though a man ask for Hell, Mercy remains to him. The drawing forth and cleansing of sinners is the delight of Mercy, not their condemnation. You know this, and yet you question as though you had not the worth of a sparrow. You have seen the Sign, why should the Begotten from Whom I proceed permit you to hold him as you do, if not to show you the way of Love?
The soul was tired, and wanted to sleep – he could now, the Darkness was gone. Before he could though, he wanted to know: “Do I speak to Three or One?”
From the corner where the Crucifix hung, a Whisper of Eternity brushed and swirled for a moment. It was as though all three Voices were combined, and as the soul lay down to rest in the little light of his heart with God:
“What does your Faith tell you?” came the Loving Reply.