Alas, the gates of life never swing open except upon death, never open except upon the palaces andgardens of death. And the universe appears to me like an immense, inexorable torture-garden What Isay today, and what I heard, exists and cries and howls beyond this garden, which is no more than asymbol to me of the entire earth.
The way I see Jesus has not changed much at all since I was a child, but my imprisonment and all that followed made me love Him even more. His being the Son of God makes sense to me, because I believe God to be loving, just, forgiving, and merciful. I also believe that He respects free will. After all, He has given it to us so that we can choose to love or hate Him, do good or evil. But is it fair for a loving God to sit on His throne in Heaven and let us struggle and suffer on our own? Would any good father abandon His children this way? It makes perfect sense to me that God decided to come among us, live like us, and die a horribly painful death after being tortured. This is a God I can love with all my heart. A God who sets an example. A God who has bled and whose heart has been broken. This is who Jesus is to me. I don't pretend that I understand the Holy Trinity. But I understand love and sacrifice. I understand faithfulness.
Here's a secret: Everyone, if they live long enough, will lose their way at some point. You will lose your way, you will wake up one morning and find yourself lost. This is a hard, simple truth. If it hasn't happened to you yet, consider yourself lucky. When it does, when one day you look around and nothing is recognizable, when you find yourself alone in a dark wood having lost the way, you may find it easier to blame it on someone else -- an errant lover, a missing father, a bad childhood -- or it may be easier to blame the map you were given -- folded too many times, out-of-date, tiny print -- but mostly, if you are honest, you will only be able to blame yourself.One day I'll tell my daughter a story about a dark time, the dark days before she was born, and how her coming was a ray of light. We got lost for a while, the story will begin, but then we found our way.
This exists. It can be seen. It can be touched. These in pace, these dungeons, these iron hinges, these necklets, that lofty peep-hole on a level with the river's current, that box of stone closed with a lid of granite like a tomb, with this difference, that the dead man here was a living being, that soil which is but mud, that vault hole, those oozing walls, --what declaimers!
Under torture you are as if under the dominion of those grasses that produce visions. Everything you have heard told, everything you have read returns to your mind, as if you were being transported, not toward heaven, but toward hell. Under torture you say not only what the inquisitor wants, but also what you imagine might please him, because a bond (this, truly, diabolical) is established between you and him ... These things I know, Ubertino; I also have belonged to those groups of men who believe they can produce the truth with white-hot iron. Well, let me tell you, the white heat of truth comes from another flame.
Those darling byegone times, Mr Carker,' said Cleopatra, 'with their delicious fortresses, and their dear old dungeons, and their delightful places of torture, and their romantic vengeances, and their picturesque assaults and sieges, and everything that makes life truly charming! How dreadfully we have degenerated!