No comments yet

A Tremendous Yearning

st-bernard-of-clairvaux

Bernard of Clairvaux

The Lord be with yoiu

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) was a French Abbot and the primary reformer of the Cistercian Order. In this quote, I found in Forum Letter, volume 45 Number 11 (November 2016), he reflects on some of the value in remembering the saints, and also what it does not accomplish.

Why should our praise and glorification … mean anything to the saints? What do they care about earthly honors when their heavenly Father honors them by fulfilling the faithful promise of the Son? What does our commendation mean to them? The saints have no need of honor from us; neither does our devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs. Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by a tremendous yearning.

Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself. We long to share in the citizenship of heaven, to dwell with the spirits of the blessed, to join the assembly of patriarchs, the ranks of the prophets, the council of apostles, the great host of martyrs, the noble company of confessors and the choir of virgins. In short, we long to be united in happiness with all the saints. But our dispositions change. The Church of all the first followers of Christ awaits us, but we do nothing about it. The saints want us to be with them, and we are indifferent. The souls of the just await us, and we ignore them. …

When we commemorate the saints we are inflamed with another yearning: that Christ our life may also appear to us as he appeared to them. Until then we see him, not as he is, but as he became for our sake. He is our head, crowned not with glory, but with the thorns of our sins. As members of that head, crowned with thorns, we should be ashamed to live in luxury; his purple robes are a mockery rather than an honor. When Christ comes again, his death shall no longer be proclaimed, and we shall know that we also have died, and that our life is hidden with him. The glorious head of the Church will appear and his glorified members will shine in splendor with him, when he forms this lowly body anew into such glory as belongs to himself, its head. – Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermon 2 in J. Robert Wright, Readings for the Daily Office from the Early Church (Church Hymnal Corporation, 1991), 496-497

Post a comment