Sometimes I see myself reflected too closely in other men for comfort, and then I have an enormous wish to believe in the saints, in heroic virtue.
'Oh, it's not done,' I said, 'but neither is adultery or theft or running away from the enemy's fire. The not done things are done every day, Henry. It's part of modern life. I've done most of them myself.'
I wanted to pray: to offer up some inordinate sacrifice if only he could be healed, but now there was no sacrifice left for me to offer.
And then I came into that dark church in Park Road and saw the bodies standing around me on all the altars--the hideous plaster statues with their complacent faces, and I remembered that they believed in the resurrection of the body, the body I wanted to be destroyed for ever. I had done so much injury with this body. How could I want to preserve any of it for eternity, and suddenly I remembered a phrase of Richard's--about human being inventing doctrines to satisfy their desires, and I thought how wrong he is.
Let me think of those awful spots on Richard's cheek. Let me see Henry's face with the tears falling. Let me forget me. Dear God, I've tried to love and I've made such a hash of it. If I could love you, I'd know how to love them. I believe the legend. I believe you were born. I believe you died for us. I believe you are God. Teach me to love. I don't mind my pain. It's their pain I can't stand. Let My pain go on and on, but stop theirs. Dear God, if only you could come down from your Cross for a while and let me get up there instead. If I could suffer like you, I could heal like you.
I'm tired and I don't want any more pain. I want Maurice. I want ordinary corrupt human love. Dear God, you know I want to want Your pain, but I don't want it now. Take it away for a while and give it me another time.
...God has more mercy, and then I came out of the church and saw the crucifix they have there, and I thought, of course, he's got mercy, only it's such an odd sort of mercy, it sometimes looks like punishment.
I've caught belief like a disease. I've fallen into belief like I fell in love.
'And you can't teach me about penitence, Mr Bendrix. I've had twenty-five years in the Confessional. There's nothing we can do some of the saints haven't done before us.'