NOTE: This is a repost from a previous date.
“Pascal saw it. He grabbed a pen and paper; he managed to scrawl the one word, FEU; he wore that scrap of paper sewn in his shirt the rest of his life.”
– Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
The following testimony was found sewn inside a dead man’s clothes. The owner of the document had a long history of depressions and had just barely escaped death in a harrowing carriage accident.
While alive, his existence was a study in hardship: awful, wracking pain from a disease that ravaged his bowels, legs and feet. So bad was his circulation, he wore stockings soaked in brandy so his feet could stay warm. One month after his brush with death, Blaise Pascal encountered God in what seems to be nothing shy of a Damascus Road-like rendezvous.
This is how he described it:
The year of grace 1654,
Monday, 23 November, feast of St. Clement, pope and martyr, and others in the martyrology.
Vigil of St. Chrysogonus, martyr, and others.
From about half past ten at night until about half past midnight,
GOD of Abraham, GOD of Isaac, GOD of Jacob,
not of the philosophers and of the learned.
Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace.
GOD of Jesus Christ.
My God and your God.
Your GOD will be my God.
Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except GOD.
He is only found by the ways taught in the Gospel.
Grandeur of the human soul.
Righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you.
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.
I have departed from him:
They have forsaken me, the fount of living water.
My God, will you leave me?
Let me not be separated from him forever.
This is eternal life, that they know you, the one true God, and the one that you sent, Jesus Christ.
I left him; I fled him, renounced, crucified.
Let me never be separated from him.
He is only kept securely by the ways taught in the Gospel:
Renunciation, total and sweet.
Complete submission to Jesus Christ and to my director.
Eternally in joy for a day’s exercise on the earth.
May I not forget your words. Amen.
Afterglow: When you encountered the Lord’s grace – in a life-changing way – how did you first respond? A song? A letter? Did you call someone? Did you stand and testify?