Spiritual Retreats for Married Couples


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Accepting the grace offered

Posted by marriageretreats on July 4, 2012 at 12:40 AM

There is the question of always trying to understand - as much as it is possible for us-  which way the suffering and death of Christ is benefiting us. Maybe the following brings us more near to accept the mystery.

When I feel poor in strength there is a way to become rich, to get it from Who has it all and want to share it with me so strongly that he died for make me believe in His Love.

Father Cantalamessa - Preacher of the Pope - often refers to this encouragement coming from Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, as in the following excerpt from the homily he gave to the Papal Household on the last Good Friday:

'There is no music where there is no ear to hear it, no matter how loud the orchestra sounds; there is no grace where there is no faith to receive it.

In an Easter homily of the 4thcentury, the bishop pronounced these extraordinarily modern, and one could say existentialist, words: “For every man, the beginning of life is when Christ was immolated for him. However, Christ is immolated for him at the moment he recognizes the grace and becomes conscious of the life procured for him by that immolation.”[Paschal Homily of the year 387 (SCh 36, p. 59 f.)]

However, let us stay on the safe side; let us listen to a doctor of the Church. “What I cannot obtain by myself – writes Saint Bernard –, I appropriate (literally, I usurp!) with confidence from the pierced side of the Lord., because he is full of mercy. Hence my merit is the mercy of God. I am certainly not poor in merits, as long as he is rich in mercy. If the mercies of the Lord are many (Psalm 119:156), I will also abound in merits. And what about my own righteousness? O Lord, I will remember only your righteousness. In fact, it is also mine, because you are righteousness for me on behalf of God” (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:30).[Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermons on the Song of Songs, 61, 4-5 (PL 183, 1072)]' (Homily of Good Friday 2012 in Saint Peter’s Basilica, http://www.cantalamessa.org/?p=1654&lang=en )

The Sermons of Saint Bernard on the Song of Songs are availble on the following site:


The Sermon 61 on The Song of Songs is entitled 'My Dove in the Clefts of the Rock', and here is the quote from this translation:

"But as for me, whatever is lacking in my own resources I appropriate for myself from the heart of the Lord, which overflows with mercy. And there is no lack of clefts by which they are poured out. They pierced his hands and his feet, they gored his side with a lance... My merit therefore is the mercy of the Lord. Surely I am not devoid of merit as long as he is not of mercy. And if the Lord abounds in mercy, I too must abound in merits. But what if I am aware of my many failings? Then, where failings abounded, grace abounded all the more. And if the mercies of the Lord are from eternity to eternity, I for my part will chant the mercies of the Lord forever. But would this be my own righteousness? 'Lord, I will be mindful of your righteousness only.' For that is also mine, since God has made you my righteousness. Ought I to be afraid that the one will not be enough for us both? No, this is not the short cloak to which the prophet referred, that cannot cover two. 'Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness.' What is longer than eternity? A righteousness that is ample and everlasting will amply cover both you and me. In me indeed it covers a multitude of sins, but in you, Lord, a treasury of loving-kindness, a wealth of goodness. These are stored up for me in the clefts of the rock. How vast in them the store of your abounding goodness, hidden certainly, but only from those who perish! Why should what is holy be given to dogs, or pearls to pigs? To us however God has revealed them by his Spirit, and has even led us by the open clefts into the holy place. What an abundance of goodness is here, what fulness of grace, what perfection of virtue!"

Categories: General Discussion

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