To attempt to understand the reason for the existence of sorrow, of this appalling Benefactress, one must go back to man’s beginnings, to Eden, where Sorrow was born the moment Adam became conscious of sin. She was the first-born of man’s work, and, ever since, she has pursued him upon earth, and, beyond the tomb, even to the very threshold of paradise.
She was the atoning daughter of Disobedience; though baptism wipes out the original stain, Sorrow it is unable to check; to the water of the sacrament she adds the water of tears; she cleanses souls, as best she can, with two substances borrowed from man’s own body, water and blood.
Hateful, and hated by all, she penalized generation after generation; from father to son antiquity handed down hatred and fear of this torturer; paganism, unable to understand her, made of her an evil goddess whom prayers and gifts failed to appease.
For centuries she bore the burden of humanity’s curse, and, weary of seeing her work of reparation provoking only wrath and abuse, she too impatiently awaited the coming of the Messiah who should clear her reputation and remove the hateful stigma that was hers.
She awaited Him as her Redeemer and also as her Betrothed, destined for her since the Fall; and for Him, accordingly, she reserved her passion, until then kept within bounds. For, from the time since her mission began, the tortures she had dealt out were comparatively tolerable. She had to curtail her grievous caresses to suit the proportions of mankind. She did not give free play to herself when dealing with those despairing ones who repulsed and reviled her, when they but felt her hovering near.