04 July 2012

Bernard on Suffering

Commentary of the day : 

Saint Bernard (1091-1153), Cistercian monk and doctor of the Church 
Sermon 17 on Psalm 90, § 4 ; PL 183, 252. 

"Two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him"
“I will be with him in distress,” saiys the Lord, “I will deliver him and glorify him” (Ps 90[91], 15); “my delights are to be with the sons of men” (Prv 8,31). Note well that Emmanuel, God with us (Mt 1,23)...  has come down to be with those whose hearts are distressed, to be with us in our distress. However, a day will come when “we shall be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1Thes 4,17) provided we try hard to have him always with us as our companion on the way who will give us our homeland in return. More: so long as he is now our way, he himself will be our homeland then.

Therefore it is good for me to be in distress, O Lord, provided you are there with me. It is better for me than to reign without you, be glad without you, be in glory without you. How much better it is for me to cling to you in my distress, to have you beside me in the crucible, than to be without you, even in heaven. In fact, “whom else have I in heaven but you and what can I desire on earth but you?” (Ps 72[73],25). “Gold is tried in the furnace and the just in the crucible of distress” (cf. Sir 2,5). It is there that you stand, in the midst of those gathered together in your name, as in former times the three young men stood in the furnace in Babylon (Dan 3,92)... Why are you trembling, then?... “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8,31). If God rescues us from our enemies' hands, who can snatch us out of his hands?

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