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29 September 2011

My Buddy Bernard

Saint Bernard (1091-1153), Cistercian monk and doctor of the Church
1st Sermon for the Feast of Saint Michael


«Bless the Lord, all you his angels..., his ministers who do his will» (Ps 103[102],20-21)

Today we are celebrating the feast of the holy angels... But what is there to say about those angelic spirits? This is our faith: we believe them to enjoy the presence and sight of God, to possess unending happiness in those good things of the Lord, which «eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor have they entered the heart of man» (1Cor 2,9). What can one simple mortal man have to say about it to his fellow mortals, impossible as it is to imagine such things?... If it is impossible to speak about the holy angels' glory in God, at least we can speak about the grace and love they show towards ourselves, for not only do they enjoy an incomparable dignity but also a willingness to serve that is full of loving-kindness... If their glory is beyond our understanding, we hold all the more tightly to the mercy with which these friends of God, these citizens of heaven and lords of paradise, are filled

The apostle Paul himself who, with his own eyes, beheld the heavenly court and knew its secrets (2Cor 12,2), testifies that: «all the angels are ministering spirits sent to serve, for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation» (Heb 1,14). There is nothing incredible in this since the Creator, the King of Angels himself, «came not to be served but to serve and to give his life for many» (Mk 10,45). So what angel is there who would despise such a service, in which he whom the angels serve in heaven with such readiness and joy has gone before them?

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