2011 - Vol. 49.
for Our Sake
Homo, by Michael
Bernard of Clairvaux
Christ’s self-emptying was neither
a simple gesture nor a limited one. He emptied himself even to the assuming
of human nature, even to accepting death, death on a cross (Philippians
Who is there that can adequately
gauge the greatness of the humility, gentleness, and self-surrender, revealed
by the Lord of majesty in assuming human nature, in accepting the punishment
of death, the shame of the cross?
But somebody will say: "Surely the
Creator could have restored his original plan without all that hardship?"
Yes, he could, but he chose the way of personal suffering so that man would
never again have to reason to display that worst and most hateful of all
Even if God made you out of nothing,
you have not been redeemed out of nothing. In six days he created all things,
and among them, you. On the other hand, for a period of thirty whole years
he worked your salvation in the midst of the earth.
What he endured in those labors!
To his bodily needs and the abuses from his enemies did he not add the
mightier burden of the humiliation of the cross, and crown it all with
the horror of his death? And this was indeed necessary. Man and beast you
save, 0 Lord (Psalm 36:6). How you have multiplied your mercy, 0 God!
of Clairvaux (1090 – 1153) was born of noble parentage. He became a Cistercian
monk at the age of 22 and took with him thirty young men, including his
brothers and uncles, to Citeaux Abbey in France. Three years later he founded
a new monastery at Clairvaux. This abbey became a center of the Cistercian
order and a source of spiritual renewal throughout Europe.]
by His Blood
Bernard of Clairvaux
redeem a servant, the Father spares not his own Son, and the Son delivers
himself up most willingly. Both send the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit himself
interceded for us with unspeakable groaning (Romans 8:26).
and hardened, and hard-hearted children of Adam! How can you remain unmoved
by such great kindness, such blazing fire, so prodigious a flame of love,
and so ardent a lover, who paid such an extravagant price for a worthless
piece of goods!
with perishable things like gold and silver” did Jesus redeem us, but with
his own “precious blood” (1 Peter 1:18-19) which flowed out liberally from
the five parts of Jesus’ body.
more should he have done that he did not do? He enlightened the blind,
brought back the stragglers, reconciled the guilty, and justified the ungodly.
years he was seen on earth. He lived among humans, he died for humans,
he spoke concerning the Cherubim and Seraphim and all the angelic powers
and they came to be (Psalm 33:9). When he wills it, all power is there
with him (Wisdom 12:18).
then does he who sought you with such concern now seek from you, if not
that you walk mindfully with your God (Micah 6:8)? No one but the Holy
Spirit enables us to this.
is he who probes the depth of our hearts (1 Corinthians 2:10), he who discerns
the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
does not allow the slightest amount of chaff to settle inside the dwelling
of a heart which he possesses, but consumes it in an instant with a fire
of the most minute scrutiny.
is the sweet and gentle Spirit who bends our will, or rather straightens
and directs it more fully toward his own so that we may be able to understand
his will truly, love it fervently, and fulfill it effectively.
Sermon Two for Pentecost