Thought of the day
Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome - Feast

Saint Bernard (1091-1153), Cistercian monk and doctor of the Church Sermon 5 for the Dedication

The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome - Feast

Commentary of the day 

Saint Bernard (1091-1153), Cistercian monk and doctor of the Church 
Sermon 5 for the Dedication

The feast for the dedication of a church is a feast of the people of God

Today, my brethren, we celebrate a great feast: the feast of the house of the Lord, the Temple of God, the city of the Eternal King, the Bride of Christ… Now let us ask ourselves what God’s house, temple, city, Bride might be. Only with fear and awe can I say it: it is ourselves. Yes, it is we ourselves who are all these things in the heart of God. We are this by his grace and not by our own merits… The humble acknowledgement of our neediness arouses his compassion. This acknowledgement inclines God himself to supply for our hunger like a father and to cause us to find in him abundant bread. So we are indeed his house where the food of life is never lacking… 

“Keep yourselves holy,” it is said, “because I, your Lord, am holy,” (Lv 11,44). And the apostle Paul tells us: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you?” (1Cor 6,19). But can holiness itself suffice? According to the apostle’s testimony, peace is also necessary: “Strive for peace with everyone,” he says, “and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord,” (Heb 12,14). It is this peace that enables us to live together, united as brethren; it is this that builds up a wholly new city for our King, called Jerusalem, which means: vision of peace… 

Finally, it is God himself who says to us: “I have espoused you in fidelity, I have espoused you in right and in justice,” (his, not our own), “I have espoused you in love and in mercy,” (Hos 2,22; 21). Isn’t it true that he has acted like a bridegroom? Hasn’t he loved you like a bridegroom and with the jealousy of a bridegroom? So why should you not think of yourselves as the bride? So it is, my brethren, that since we have proof that we are the Father’s family because of the abundance of our supply, the temple of God because of our sanctification, the city of the great King because of our communion of life, the bride of the immortal Bridegroom because of love, it seems to me that I can affirm without fear: this feast is indeed our own.