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do what He had said. And Peter's Church, knowing His Omnipotence, has never faltered in belief. They who have never simply believed in His Godhead and Omnipotence go on striving among themselves what the Eucharist may mean.
When the Jews cavilled that none can forgive sins but God alone it was the same block of stumbling; and they who stumble still are in the same difficulty-if He be God He can forgive sins, by His own word, or by word of delegation. If Christ be God, His vice-regent must have His powers; but if men do not believe that Christ is God, then must they be scandalized at the office and authority of His Viceroy on earth.
To Fernando, then, it seemed that his mother herself had set him in the path that had brought him to that other Mother's arms; and he must not be content till she also should receive that joy and prize which to-morrow would be his. Every external obstacle stood in his mother's way. It seemed, humanly, an impossible thing to ask. But it is the business of Omnipotence to do what we cannot see the way to do. Let Jesus Christ do it! And He did.
The clocks of the ancient city began to strike and Fernando waited till the last of them had done striking. "To-day I shall be a Catholic," he said.
A STORY WITHOUT AN END
It is a strange thing this, to try and write of the day on which Fernando did at last enter the gates of the City of Peace, when one is hourly waiting the summons to hurry away and take up duties familiar for over thirty years on the unfamiliar field of war. There may be no opportunity to finish the chapter before starting; the chapter may never be finished at all. If not, it can hardly matter, for the end of Fernando's story everyone who has read so far knows already.
On the 26th of October, 1878, he was early awake, and his first thought on waking was "It is to-day. This is my day at last." I think he felt not very differently from a bridegroom on his wedding morning. He had always, from almost babyhood, been in love with the Catholic Church. As secret as a boy's first love his had been; as secret and perhaps as obvious. And now the day had
come that was to make her lawfully his
It could not seem like any other day before or after. The light of that autumn morning was "the light that never was on sea or land," rarefied, not shining from any created sun, a dawn with no sunset to end it.
It is not possible to set down with ink how the lad felt as he leaped from his bed, while he dressed, as he hurried to the place where the wonderful great thing was to happen. His hand did not shake, but his whole nature, and super-nature trembled, not with fear, but with an indescribable elation. The homeliest, most familiar things and figures were altered out of recognition in an atmosphere of transfiguration. It was a day of days, it was no day at all, but a pause in time like a sudden opening of a window in the wall between time and that which lies before and after time.
No words that I can handle would express it; the most accomplished words would but confuse and vulgarize it.
As he passed with eager, almost stumbling haste through the streets, they were not common streets but paths to Rome. The early morning folk in them-were they, he
wondered hastily of each of them, Catholic? if not, in case they were not, he put up passionate brief entreaties for them that they might be. Why not? it was God's business, and God is omnipotent. He came to the door of the house at the corner of “the High and Long Wall; and waited, with loudly beating heart, till it was opened. Couldn't the man with the milk cans who passed by hear it? Was he a Catholic? If not, "Oh, please let him be a Catholic!"
The sun was aslant on the leaves of the tree
tops behind the long wall in Magdalen grove. What a light! And what a vital, exquisite smell the clear October morning had! Inside a few friends were gathered, come to see Fernando made Catholic. They were in the vestibule of the chapel, standing round a great marble figure of God's great Mother, with her Divine smiling Baby in her arms. And she smiled, too, as she held Him to her heart, as if she were saying to Him: "Another: another, for You and for Me."
Fernando remembered how his snowy Yorkshire birthday had been the day on which she first showed herself to the peasant child at Lourdes. All these years she had been drawing him, drawing him, and now he