Confessions with St. Bernard

Look, I don’t always have all the answers, in fact I am sure I don’t. This week, I have felt lost and confused a bit. Things are great, I am plagued by no incessant sins, and I have peace in my mind for the most part, but nevertheless I feel arid, and distant from God. I feel as though I have neglected something glaring, and that in this imperfection is the source of my distance from God in my senses.

I have been weaving in and out of the affections of faith, knowing that my faithfulness remains unchallenged, but nevertheless I keep turning over every stone looking for some sin, something that might be amiss in my readings, in my thinking, in my doing. I cannot seem to find it.

Yesterday I was a bit freaked out by the fact that I had no concrete reason to believe, I had nothing to say for myself when thinking about why I believed what I believe. Yet, learning from a recent lesson given by a professor, i will let faith speak for itself. I refuse to give in to the idea that faith is not sufficient a cause for justified belief. And so, it is with faith I stand, looking no other place than to Christ Himself.

I don’t know everything, nor do I love everything as I should. In fact, my brothers and sisters, I am plagued with selfishness and doubts of the most frivolous kind, and I sometimes make mountains out of trivial things. Yet, all that is necessary is the love of the bride for the bridegroom. My soul’s love for Jesus of Nazareth, the risen Messiah.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux caught my attention today as i sat to write this post, and The question asked was: Could it be that Love not be loved?

This excerpt from a sermon given by St. Bernard (Sermo 83, 4-6; Opera omnia, Edit. Cisterc 2 [1958], 300-302) treats of one of his favorite themes, the love relationship between God as bridegroom and the individual soul as bride. The passage will give greater context to the statement, enjoy.

The Bridegroom’s love, or rather the love which is the Bridegroom, asks in return nothing but faithful love. Let the beloved, then, love in return. Should not a bride love, and above all, Love’s bride? Could it be that Love not be loved?

Could it be that Love not be loved? No. I refuse to be the cold door of midnight when Christ comes knocking begging bread for his visitors, the poor, the lowly, and the meek. I refuse to be the neighbor sound asleep in cold indifference when Christ comes to beg bread of me. If there is any Truth or Faith or Goodness or Beauty such as that which comes from the Only Begotten Son, then there must be a love which calls out to love, a love that echoes in return.

To echo eternity back to God one must craft moments of eternity which touch the mundane with the endless presence and creative power of Love Himself.

Could it be that Love not be loved? Far be it from me. For though my faithfulness seems flagging and my bones are set out of joint and my enemies and scoffers enjoin themselves against me, still I will praise The LORD. I will bless Love with my love, and so fashion myself into a mirror.

Let me Love in return, for He asks naught but this. If it were any other way, then i should be lost and confused, but the only thing that Love Himself asks, is love in return.

Benedicamus Dominus Iesus. Amen.


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