Vigils Reading

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Vigils Reading

March 23

You, O Lord, are My Hope5
From the Sermons on Conversion by St Bernard of Clairvaux

Whatever must be done, whatever must be refused, whatever must be borne, whatever must be chosen, YOU, O LORD, ARE MY HOPE. This is the only reason for all the promises made to me, this is the whole reason for my expectation. Someone else may pretend to have merit, he may pride himself on having borne the burden and heat of day, he may say he has fasted twice a week, and finally he may boast that he is not like other men. But ‘for me it is good to cling to my God; to place my hope in the Lord my God’… If rewards are promised me, it is through you I hope to obtain them; if a host encamps against me, if the world fumes, if the evil one rages, if the flesh itself lusts against the spirit, I will hope in you.

Brothers, to savor this is to live by faith… The person who is inwardly persuaded by the Spirit… casts his burden upon the Lord, knowing that he will be cared for by him, as is in keeping with what the apostle Peter said, ‘Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. Why then, if we have savored all this, do we hesitate to throw away all our wretched, vain, useless, seductive hopes, and cling with fervor of our spirit, with all the devotion of our mind to this one so solid, so perfect, so blessed hope? If there is something impossible to him, if there is anything difficult, then look for someone else in whom to hope. But he can do all things by his word… You probably have no doubt about the ease with which he can do all this, but do you perhaps wonder whether it is his will? Surely the testimonies to this will are very creditable… He has said, ‘They will call to me in any tribulation whatever, and I will hear them’. Look at how many tribulations there are. According to the number of them, his consolations are going to cheer your soul, as long as you do not turn aside to others, as long as you call out to him, as long as you hope in him and take your refuge in the Most High and not in any lowly or earthly thing. ‘Who ever hoped in him and was put to shame?’ It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for his word to be cancelled out.

A soul thirsting for God… does not want with Peter to make a shrine on the earthly mountain, nor wish with Mary to touch him on earth… for it has heard him say, ‘If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I’. It has heard him say, ‘Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father’… Atop all power and dominion, atop the angels and the archangels, even the cherubim and the seraphim… surely at the right hand of the Father, where the Father will no longer be greater than he, the soul goes, desiring to grasp the right hand of him who is co-equal with the Most High. This then, brothers, is eternal life, that we should know the Father, the true God, and him whom he has sent, Jesus Christ, true God and one with him, God over all and blessed for ever

5 Bernard of Clairvaux. Sermons on Conversion. CF 25. Trans. Marie-Bernard Saïd, OSB. Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1981. 186-191.




March 23
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