Friday, August 20, 2021

Bernard

 Today is the feast of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church. From Sermon 6 of his most famous work, the sermons on the Song of Songs:

Happy is the man then in whose soul the Lord Jesus once sets these feet of his. There are two signs by which you may recognize such a one, for he cannot but bear upon him the imprint of these divine footsteps. These signs are fear and hope, the former presenting the imprint of judgment, the latter that of mercy. Truly, the Lord takes pleasure in them that fear him, and in them that hope in his mercy, for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, hope the growth of wisdom. Its perfection charity reserves to itself. If all this be true, then obviously this first kiss, given to the feet, brings forth no small fruit. But of one thing you must beware, that you do not neglect either of these feet. If, for instance, you feel deep sorrow for your sins along with the fear of the judgment, you have pressed your lips on the imprint of truth and of judgment. But if you temper that fear and sorrow with the thought of God's goodness and the hope of obtaining his pardon, you will realize that you have also embraced the foot of his mercy. It is clearly inexpedient to kiss one without the other; a man who thinks only of the judgment will fall into the pit of despair, another who deceitfully flatters God's mercy gives birth to a pernicious security.

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