Thought of the day
Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday after Ash Wednesday

"Then they will fast"

Why should Christ’s fast not be common to all christians ? Why should the members not follow their Head? (Col 1:18). If we have received good things from this Head, should we not bear with the bad? Do we want to reject his sorrow but share in his joys? If that is how it is then we show ourselves unworthy of being one body with this Head. For everything he has suffered has been for our sakes. If we refuse to participate in the work of our salvation, in what are we showing ourselves to be his helpers? Fasting with Christ is little enough for one who is to sit with him at his Father’s table. Happy the member who will have held fast to this Head in everything and followed it wherever it goes (Rv 14:4). If not, if it chanced to be cut off and separated, it will necessarily be at once deprived of the breath of life… 

Where I am concerned, to hold completely fast to you is a blessing, O glorious Head, blessed throughout the ages, over which even the angels bend with longing (1Pt 1:12). I will follow you wherever you go. If you pass through the fire I will not leave you, and I will fear no evil for you are with me (Ps 22[23]:4). You carry my sorrows and suffer for my sake. You, the first, have passed through the narrow passage of suffering that you might offer a wide entry to the members who follow you. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? (Rm 8:35)… This love is the precious ointment that runs down from the Head over the beard, that runs down, too, upon the collar of the robe to anoint its least thread (Ps 132[133]:2). It is in the Head that the plenitude of all graces are to be found and from it we receive all things. In the Head is all mercy, in the Head the overflowing of spiritual perfumes, as it is written: “God has anointed you with the oil of joy” (Ps 44[45]:8)… 

And what about us? What does the gospel ask of us at this beginning of Lent? “When you fast,” he says, “anoint your head” (Mt 6:17). What wonderful condescension! The Spirit of the Lord is upon him, he has been anointed with him (Lk 4:18), and yet, in order to preach the gospel to the poor he says to them: “Anoint your head”. 

Saint Bernard