Thought of the day
Thursday, February 2, 2017

Presentation of the Lord - Feast

Saint Bernard (1091-1153), Cistercian monk and doctor of the Church 1st sermon for the Purification

Presentation of the Lord - Feast

Commentary of the day 

Saint Bernard (1091-1153), Cistercian monk and doctor of the Church 
1st sermon for the Purification

“The Lord whom you are seeking will suddenly enter his temple” (Mal 3 :1)

Today the Virgin Mary brings the Lord of the temple into the temple of the Lord. And Joseph, too, takes along there to the Lord that son who is not his own but is the beloved Son in whom God has set all his favor (Mt 3:17). Simeon, the just man, recognizes the one for whom he was waiting; Anna, the widow, gives him praise. For the first time a procession is celebrated on this day by these four people, a procession that would subsequently be celebrated with joy by the whole world… Do not be astonished that this procession is so small since he is also very small whom the temple receives. But there are no sinners in that place: all are righteous, all are saints, all are perfect. 

Are these the only ones you are going to save, Lord? Your body is going to grow greater, your tenderness will also increase… Now I see a second procession in which great crowds precede the Lord and crowds follow him: it is no longer the Virgin who bears him but a little donkey. So he despises no one…, if at least those garments of apostles are not lacking them (Mt 21:7): their doctrine, habits, and the charity that covers over a multitude of sins (1Pt 4:8). But I will go even further and say that he has saved a place in that procession for us as well… David, king and prophet, rejoiced to see that day: “he saw it and was glad” (Jn 8:56). If he had not, would he have sung the words: “We have received, O God, your mercy in the midst of Thy temple”? (Ps 47[48]:8). David received this mercy from the Lord, Simeon received it, and we, too, have received it as have all those predestined for life, since “Christ is the same today, yesterday and forever” (Heb 13:8)… 

So let us take to ourselves this mercy we have received in the midst of the temple and, like blessed Anna, let us not distance ourselves from it. For “God’s temple is holy and you are that temple” says the apostle Paul (1Cor 3:17). This mercy is close to you; “the word of God is very close to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart” (Rm 10:8). Indeed, doesn’t Christ dwell in your hearts by faith? (Eph 3:17) That is his temple that is his throne… Yes, it is in our hearts that we receive mercy, in our hearts that Christ dwells, in our hearts he whispers words of peace to his people, his saints, everyone who returns to their heart.