Thursday, August 23, 2007

From St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Since Scripture says that God made everything for himself, there will be a time when He will cause everything to conform to its Maker and be in harmony with Him. In the meantime, we must make this our desire; that as God Himself willed that everything should be for Himself, so we, too, will that nothing, not even ourselves, may be or have been except for Him, that is according to his will, not ours. The satisfaction of our needs will not bring us happiness, not chance delights, as does the sight of His will being fulfilled in us and in everything which concerns us. That is what we ask every day in prayer when we say, "Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

To love in this way is to become like God. As a drop of water seems to disappear completely in a quantity of wine, taking the wine’s flavor and color; as red-hot iron becomes indistinguishable from the glow of fire and its own original form disappears; as air suffused with the light of the sun seems transformed into the brightness of the light, as if it were itself light rather than merely lit up; so, in those who are holy, it is necessary for human affection to dissolve in some ineffable way, and be poured into the will of God.

From "Four Degrees of Love" by Bernard of Clairvaux, quoted in Invitation to Christian Spirituality: An Ecumenical Anthology, edited by John R. Tyson (Oxford University Press, 1999).

[courtesy of Vicki K Black]

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