“You see those large round stones, two feet in diameter, with which women grind com, heavier than one person can lift. I’ll tell you what should be done to a man like that. One of those stones ought to be tied round his neck. Then he should be thrown into the sea, and left to drown.” Do you know who said that; and why? (St. Matthew 18, i to 6).
To take another’s natural bodily life is bad enough. But there is a worse sort of murder; to cause another one day to go to hell, because of sins first learned from you. This is soul-murder; taking another’s supernatural heavenly life.
In Ion Square, behind The Nag’s Head, Mary Anne was born yesterday. It may be that before she came to earth God held her tiny baby body in those strong, gentle, loving hands of his which made the mighty sea and the smallest flower; between her little baby lips breathed the breath of his own unending life; gently kissed her. Then he gave her to an angel to carry to earth, and give to her mother and father to look after for him. As the angel flew from heaven to Haggerston, which may be no great distance, it is possible that the angel sang about the saints and our Lady and the baby in his arms. So in Mary Anne’s soul there is a memory of God’s kiss, and of the angel’s song before she was bom. She will keep that memory until she learns sin (as she lies in her pram in the sunshine of Ion Square you will often see her smile, (apparently at nothing): maybe she will never quite lose it, even in Haggerston.
Impurity: swear-words: cheating: telling lies: laughing at God and holy things: playing rotten games. Did you first learn such things from older boys or girls? I am sorry. But be most carefid never, consciously or unconsciously, to teach them to younger children. There are Mary Annes all round you. If you murder their souls your sin is worse than King Herod’s (St. Matthew 2, 16).