All Saints  

Posted by Joe Rawls

For All Saints Day we have excerpts from a sermon by Bernard of Clairvaux, a founder of the Cistercian monastic reform and one of the greatest preachers of the western medieval church. It comes from Sermo 2: Opera omnia, Edit. Cisterc. 5 [1968], 364 ff


Why should our praise and glorification, or even the celebration of this feastday mean anything to the saints? What do they care about earthly honors when their heavenly Father honors them by fulfilling the faithful promise of the Son? What does our commendation mean to them? The saints have no need of honor from us; neither does our devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs. Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by a tremendous yearning.

Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself. We long to share in the citizenship of heaven, to dwell with the spirits of the blessed, to join the assembly of patriarchs, the ranks of the prophets, the council of apostles, the great hosts of martyrs, the noble company of confessors and the choir of virgins. In short, we long to be united in happiness with all the saints...

...When we commemorate the saints we are inflamed with another yearning: that Christ our life may also appear to us as he appeared to them and that we may one day share in his glory. Until then we see him, not as he is, but as he became for our sake. He is our head, crowned, not with glory, but with the thorns of our sins. As members of that head, crowned with thorns, we should be ashamed to live in luxury; his purple robes are a mockery rather than an honor. When Christ comes again his death shall no longer be proclaimed, and we shall know that we also have died, and that our life is hidden with him. The glorious head of the Church will appear and his glorified members will shine in splendor with him, when he forms this lowly body anew into such glory as belongs to himself, its head.

This entry was posted on Sunday, November 1, 2009 at Sunday, November 01, 2009 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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