Thought of the day
Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday of the Second week of Lent

Saint Bernard (1091-1153), Cistercian monk and doctor of the Church Sermon 30 on the Song of Songs (©Cistercian publications) "The mystery of God's vineyard"

Friday of the Second week of Lent

Commentary of the day 

Saint Bernard (1091-1153), Cistercian monk and doctor of the Church Sermon 30 on the Song of Songs (©Cistercian publications)

                  "The mystery of God's vineyard"

Brethren, if we understand the Lord's vineyard to be the Church... it seems to me that we here encounter a significant prerogative. Note in a special way how the Church extended her boundaries all over the world... 

      By this I understand that company of believers who were described as "of one heart and soul." (Acts 4,32)... For during the persecution it had not been so uprooted that it could not be elsewhere replanted and leased  "to other tenants who will deliver the produce to her when the season arrives." No indeed, it did not perish, it changed to a new location; it even increased and spread further afield under the blessing of the Lord. So, brethren, lift up your eyes round about and see if “the mountains were not covered with its shade, the cedars of God with its branches; if its tendrils did not extend to the sea and its offshoots all the way to the river” (Ps 80[79]:11-12). 

No wonder this: it is God's building, God's farm (1Cor 3:9). He waters it; he propagates it, prunes and cleanses it that it may bear even more fruit. When did he ever deprive of his care and labor that which his right hand planted? (Ps 80[79]:15). There can be no question of neglect where the apostles are the branches, the Lord is the vine, and his Father is the vinedresser (Jn 15:1-5).  Planted in faith, its roots are grounded in love, dug in with the hoe of discipline, fertilized with penitential tears, watered with the words of  preachers, and so it abounds with the wine that inspires joy rather than debauchery, wine full of the pleasure that is never licentious. This is the wine that gladdens heart (Ps 104[103]:15)... Be consoled, daughter of Sion! Yours is to wonder at the mystery rather than bewail the harm; let your heart be expanded to gather together the fullness of the pagans!