Tomorrow (August 20) is the Feast Day of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), a French abbott, and one of the very few saints designated as a “doctor of the church.”
The most important, extant book of St. Bernard of Clairvaux is the little tract, On Loving God . In this work, Bernard offers us much to think and pray and meditate upon. I’d highly recommend downloading a FREE digital copy of the book, and reading the whole thing:
[ PDF – via CCEL ] [ Many formats – Project Gutenberg ]
Here are five essential passages from On Loving God…
The Very Presence of God
(From Chapter III)
The Bride desires to be stayed with flagons and comforted with apples, because she knows how easily the warmth of love can languish and grow cold; but such helps are only until she has entered into the bride chamber. There she will receive His long-desired caresses even as she sighs, ‘His left hand is under my head and His right hand doth embrace me’ (Cant. 2.6). Then she will perceive how far the embrace of the right hand excels all sweetness, and that the left hand with which He at first caressed her cannot be compared to it. She will understand what she has heard: ‘It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing’ (John 6.63). She will prove what she hath read: ‘My memorial is sweeter than honey, and mine inheritance than the honey-comb’ (Ecclus. 24.20). What is written elsewhere, ‘The memorial of Thine abundant kindness shall be showed’ (Ps. 145.7), refers doubtless to those of whom the Psalmist had said just before: ‘One generation shall praise Thy works unto another and declare Thy power’ (Ps. 145.4). Among us on the earth there is His memory; but in the Kingdom of heaven His very Presence. That Presence is the joy of those who have already attained to beatitude; the memory is the comfort of us who are still wayfarers, journeying towards the Fatherland.