Thursday, August 20, 2020

Mellifluous Doctor

Today is the feast of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church. From his sermons on the Song of Songs:

Observe, my brethren, how humility justifies us. Humility, I say, not humiliation. How many there are who suffer humiliation without being humble! Some endure humiliation with bitterness, others with patience, others again with gladness. The first class are culpable, the second are innocent, the last are just. Although innocence may be considered a part of justice, still the perfection of justice belongs to humility. Now, he is truly humble who can say from his heart, "It is good for me that Thou hast humbled me." But he who submits to humiliation against his will cannot sincerely say this. Much less, he who murmurs against it. To neither of these do I promise grace simply because he is humbled. Yet there is a vast difference between the two, since the one possesses his soul in patience, whereas the other perishes in his discontent. But, although the latter merits indignation, neither merits grace. For it is not to the humbled but to the humble that God gives His grace. The humble man is he who converts humiliation into humility, and it is only such can say to God, "It is good for me that Thou hast humbled me."