Thursday, January 24, 2008

Weil on Affliction: Only the Contact Matters

God's mercy is manifest in affliction as in joy, by the same right, more perhaps, because under this form it has no human analogy. Man's mercy is only shown in giving joy, or maybe in afflicting pain with a view to outward results, bodily healing or education. But it is not the outward results of affliction that bear witness to divine mercy. The outward results of affliction are nearly always bad. We lie when we try to disguise this. It is in affliction itself that the splendor of God's mercy shines, from its very depths, in the heart of its inconsolable bitterness. If still perserving in our love, we fall to the point where the soul cannot keep back the cry, "My God, why have you forsaken me?" if we remain at this point without ceasing to love, we end by touching something that is not affliction, not joy, something that is the central essence, necessary and pure, something not of the senses, common to joy and sorrow: the very love of God.
We know then that joy is the sweetness of contact with the love of God, that affliction is the wound of this same contact when it is painful, and that only the contact matters, not the manner of it.

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