Saturday, August 20, 2011

Love is Repaid with Love Alone

Today is the feast of St Bernard of Clairvaux. He was ablaze with the fires of divine charity and the zeal and depth of humility with which he preached manifested this in the eloquence that comes from divine wisdom.

Listen to my homily today:

If you have trouble listening to this click here.

Today's readings for Mass talk about Ruth. She forfeited her legal right to return to her homeland when her husband died so that she could take care of her mother in law. It was only love that bound her to this. She was therefore immediately rewarded with love, yet because of this love her heart was made open to receive more divine benefits. Because the workings of divine love kept her faithful, she was given a new life and a new husband, in so doing she became the great grandmother of King David, and the ancestor of Jesus Christ, which one can read about in the geneology of Matthew 1:1-17.

In the Gospel, Jesus speaks about the vanity and hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees, who like to be seen as holy by others. About this he said in another place, "They have already received their reward." Which reward is this? Human respect, esteem, and human honors. We must really have mercy on these guys. Because many people who are beset by deep inner fear of not being loved do this also. This insecurity gives rise to the spiritual vanity that is a veneer of holiness, a mask of being righteous, a kind of insecure protective garment we call pride. Love alone has the power to disarm us, remove from us our protective armor and be vulnerable, be seen as poor, unholy, in need of God.

Mary Immaculate, whom St Bernard preached about with singular beauty and eloquence, has a heart which is a furnace of divine love. How we need our Beloved Mother to show us the great love of God to make us like her, humble, pure, and lowly, always in need of the love of God to set fire to our hearts and burn away any fears that keep us from loving.

From the Office of Readings for today:

"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."

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