St. Bernard of Clairvaux

From a sermon by Saint Bernard, abbot
I love because I love, I love that I may love

Love is sufficient of itself, it gives pleasure by itself and because of itself. It is its own merit, its own reward. Love looks for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself. Its profit lies in its practice. I love because I love, I love that I may love. Love is a great thing so long as it continually returns to its fountainhead, flows back to its source, always drawing from there the water which constantly replenishes it. Of all the movements, sensations and feelings of the soul, love is the only one in which the creature can respond to the Creator and make some sort of similar return however unequal though it be. For when God loves, all he desires is to be loved in return; the sole purpose of his love is to be loved, in the knowledge that those who love him are made happy by their love of him.

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?

Rightly then does she give up all other feelings and give herself wholly to love alone; in giving love back, all she can do is to respond to love. And when she has poured out her whole being in love, what is that in comparison with the unceasing torrent of that original source? Clearly, lover and Love, soul and Word, bride and Bridegroom, creature and Creator do not flow with the same volume; one might as well equate a thirsty man with the fountain.

What then of the bride’s hope, her aching desire, her passionate love, her confident assurance? Is all this to wilt just because she cannot match stride for stride with her giant, any more than she can vie with honey for sweetness, rival the lamb for gentleness, show herself as white as the lily, burn as bright as the sun, be equal in love with him who is Love? No. It is true that the creature loves less because she is less. But if she loves with her whole being, nothing is lacking where everything is given. To love so ardently then is to share the marriage bond; she cannot love so much and not be totally loved, and it is in the perfect union of two hearts that complete and total marriage consists. Or are we to doubt that the soul is loved by the Word first and with a greater love?

St. Thomas the Apostle – Feast Day

St. Gregory the Great: Homily 26 – Office of Readings for the Feast of St. Thomas

Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. He was the only disciple absent; on his return he heard what had happened but refused to believe it. The Lord came a second time; he offered his side for the disbelieving disciple to touch, held out his hands, and showing the scars of his wounds, healed the wound of his disbelief.
Dearly beloved, what do you see in these events? Do you really believe that it was by chance that this chosen disciple was absent, then came and heard, heard and doubted, doubted and touched, touched and believed? It was not by chance but in God’s providence. In a marvellous way God’s mercy arranged that the disbelieving disciple, in touching the wounds of his master’s body, should heal our wounds of disbelief. The disbelief of Thomas has done more for our faith than the faith of the other disciples. As he touches Christ and is won over to belief, every doubt is cast aside and our faith is strengthened. So the disciple who doubted, then felt Christ’s wounds, becomes a witness to the reality of the resurrection.
Touching Christ, he cried out: My Lord and my God. Jesus said to him: Because you have seen me, Thomas, you have believed. Paul said: Faith is the guarantee of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. It is clear, then, that faith is the proof of what can not be seen. What is seen gives knowledge, not faith. When Thomas saw and touched, why was he told: You have believed because you have seen me? Because what he saw and what he believed were different things. God cannot be seen by mortal man. Thomas saw a human being, whom he acknowledged to be God, and said: My Lord and my God. Seeing, he believed; looking at one who was true man, he cried out that this was God, the God he could not see.
What follows is reason for great joy: Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed. There is here a particular reference to ourselves; we hold in our hearts one we have not seen in the flesh. We are included in these words, but only if we follow up our faith with good works. The true believer practises what he believes. But of those who pay only lip service to faith, Paul has this to say: They profess to know God, but they deny him in their works. Therefore James says: Faith without works is dead.

Our Lady of Fatima for Today

On May 13, 1917, the Blessed Vrgin Mary, who we now honor as Our Lady of Fatima, our Lady of the Rosary, appeared for the first time to the three seers, Francisco, Jacinta & Lucia at the Cova Da Iria, Fatima, Portugal. She asked that the Rosary be said to obtain peace for the world and to end the war.

The world still needs the peace that Our Lady promises in answer to this powerful prayer. If war was the punishment for unrepented sin in 1917, what do we risk today by abortion ,euthanasia, and unchaste lives? Mercy is still God’s choice if we would but choose Him and begin to live a lifestyle of holiness. He is still sending His own Mother to help us and form us for her Son.

Lenten Reading Plan – Apr 11

crucificionicon12Day40 Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan 4/11/09

St. Leo the Great: Sermon LXXII (On the Lord’s Resurrection): complete

Day 40Lite Version

St. Leo the Great: Sermon LXXII (On the Lord’s Resurrection): complete

Compilation of Lenten readings

Printer-Friendly Version of Outline: Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan PDF

Lenten Reading Plan – Apr 10

crucificionicon12Day39 Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan 4/10/09

St. Leo the Great: Sermon XLIX(On Lent XI) : complete

Day 39Lite Version

St. Leo the Great: Sermon XLIX (On Lent XI) complete

Compilation of Lenten readings

Printer-Friendly Version of Outline: Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan PDF

Lenten Reading Plan – Apr 9

crucificionicon12Day38 Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan 4/9/09

St. Leo the Great: Sermon XXI (On the Feast of the Nativity I) : complete

Day 38Lite Version

St. Ambrose of Milan: Concerning the Mysteries:5-9

Compilation of Lenten readings

Printer-Friendly Version of Outline: Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan PDF

Lenten Reading Plan – Apr 8

crucificionicon12Day37 Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan 4/8/09

St. Leo the Great: Sermon XXVIII (called the Tome”): complete

Day 37Lite Version

St. Ambrose of Milan: Concerning the Mysteries:1-4

Compilation of Lenten readings

Printer-Friendly Version of Outline: Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan PDF