If the moral world is made up only of my relations to other people, then everything can be said to be lateral. But if everything is lateral, then there is nothing connecting me to the supreme, to the divine, to the transcendental, and I am just an animal, the brightest kind but still an animal, connecting horizontally to other finite beings.
But if everything is vertical, then there is nothing connecting me to other finite things, and nothing gives expression to the supreme through me and my relations in this vast world.
Therefore I need both the lateral and the vertical to truly live out Christ’s plan for the salvation of mankind. For this salvation, we need the cross: the vertical connected to the lateral, the transcendental connected to the immanent, expressed in the very shape of the human body outstretched.
For the distance between our fingers tips when our arms are outstretched is the same length as our height, and the intersection of the vertical and the lateral takes place in the human heart. Christ outstretched on the cross was a picture of this, and an eternal fount of mercy poured forth from his heart when it was pierced open on the cross, for he gave himself up for us, for our salvation, that we may come to him for forgiveness and love and closeness with the father. In his sacred heart of mercy is the eternal dynamic of love that ushers the Kingdom of Heaven on earth through each of us who rely on Him for help in doing so in our own small ways.
The centre and the meeting point between the lateral and the vertical is the human heart, in which is located the promise of the eternal dynamic of love that connects the supreme to the finite, God to his creation, and heaven to earth at every moment. It is for us at every moment to give rise to this eternal dynamic of love, by permitting the Father’s will to take effect over our own, making us one with the Father, and letting the Father live through us.
The two highest teachings Christ taught us are that we must love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30-31). Here is the vertical, connecting us to God. The second is to love each other as ourselves (ibid.). Here is the lateral. Taken together, we connect to God, who is love, and from our hearts at the center of the intersection to the lateral, we channel him through our social relations, making God manifest on Earth, bringing about the Kingdom of Heaven.