Graces of the Chair of Saint Peter
But is it possible to meet the phenomenon of the Church’s agelong Resurrection by any explanation that will not break down—to account, on secular or social principles, for the fact that while she has met reverses which no other religion or empire or society has ever been called upon to meet, yet she is more vital than them all? That she is as young and as active as she was a thousand years ago, as much an obstacle to all worldly politicians, as much an offense to all who seek another ideal than hers, as much a scandal and a stumbling-block to her critics, as she was when Nero ruled or Elizabeth tyrannized or Arius or Voltaire sneered.
For I see through her eyes, the Eyes of God to shine, and though her lips I hear his words. In each of her hands as she raises them to bless, I see the wounds that dripped on Calvary, and her feet upon her altar stairs are signed with the same marks as those which the Magdalene kissed. As she comforts me in the confessional I hear the voice that bade the sinner go and sin no more; and as she rebukes or pierces me with blame I shrink aside trembling with those who went out one by one, beginning with the eldest, till Jesus and the penitent were left alone. As she cries her invitation through the world I hear the same ringing claim as that which called, “Come unto me and find rest to your souls.”