St. Bernard, Lippi, 1447

(tr. anonymous)

On Loving God, Contents & Chapters 1-7

I Why we should love God, and the measure of that love

CAPUT I. Quare et quomodo diligendus sit Deus.

II How much God deserves love from man in recognition of His gifts, both material and spiritual; and how these gifts should be cherished without neglect of the Giver

CAPUT II. Deus quantopere ab homine mereatur amari, ob bona tum corporis, tum animae. Quomodo ea agnoscenda et habenda citra donantis injuriam.

III What greater incentives Christians have, more than the heathen, to love God

CAPUT III. Christiani quantos habeant stimulos amandi Deum prae infidelibus.

IV Of those who find comfort in the recollection of God, or are fittest for His love

CAPUT IV. Quinam ex Dei recordatione consolationem capiant: quive magis ad ejus amorem idonei.

V Of the Christian’s debt of love, how great it is

CAPUT V. Christiano quantum incumbat debitum amoris

VI A brief summary

CAPUT VI. Brevis anacephalaeosis et summa praedictorum.

VII Of love toward God not without reward; and how the hunger of man’s heart cannot be satisfied with earthly things

CAPUT VII. Non sine fructu et praemio diligi Deum; et terrenis non satiari humani cordis appetitum.

VIII Of the first degree of love, wherein man loves God for self’s sake   

CAPUT VIII. De primo gradu amoris, quo diligit homo se propter se.

IX Of the second and third degrees of love

CAPUT IX. De secundo et tertio gradu amoris.

X Of the fourth degree of love, wherein man does not even love self, save for God’s sake

CAPUT X. De quarto gradu amoris cum nec seipsum diligit homo nisi propter Deum.

XI Of the attainment of this perfection of love only at the resurrection  50

CAPUT XI. Haec amoris perfectio non competit etiam solutis animabus beatorum, ante resurrectionem.

XII Of love: out of a letter to the Carthusians

CAPUT XII. De charitate ex epistola ad Cartusianos scripta.

XIII Of the law of self-will and desire, of slaves and hirelings      

CAPUT XIII. De lege propriae voluntatis et cupiditatis, servorum et mercenariorum.

XIV Of the law of the love of sons

CAPUT XIV. De lege charitatis filiorum.

XV Of the four degrees of love, and of the blessed state of the heavenly fatherland

CAPUT XV. De quatuor gradibus amoris, et felici statu patriae coelestis.




To the illustrious Lord Haimeric, Cardinal Deacon of the Roman Church, and Chancellor: Bernard, called Abbot of Clairvaux, wisheth long life in the Lord and death in the Lord.

[0973A] Viro illustri domino HAIMERICO, ecclesiae Romanae diacono cardinali et cancellario, BERNARDUS abbas dictus de Clara-Valle, Domino vivere, et in Domino mori.

Hitherto you have been wont to seek prayers from me, not the solving of problems; although I count myself sufficient for neither. My profession shows that, if not my conversation; and to speak truth, I lack the diligence and the ability that are most essential. Yet I am glad that you turn again for spiritual counsel, instead of busying yourself about carnal matters: I only wish you had gone to some one better equipped than I am. Still, learned and simple give the same excuse and one can hardly tell whether it comes from modesty or from ignorance, unless obedience to the task assigned shall reveal. So, take from my poverty what I can give you, lest I should seem to play the philosopher, by reason of my silence. Only, I do not promise to answer other questions you may raise. This one, as to loving God, I will deal with as He shall teach me; for it is sweetest, it can be handled most safely, and it will be most profitable. Keep the others for wiser men.

Orationes a me, et non quaestiones poscere solebatis: et quidem ego ad neutrum idoneum me esse confido. Verum illud indicit professio, etsi non ita conversatio: ad hoc vero (ut verum fatear) ea mihi deesse video, quae maxime necessaria viderentur, diligentiam et ingenium. Placet tamen, fateor, quod pro carnalibus spiritualia repetitis, si sane apud locupletiorem id facere libuisset. Quia vero doctis et indoctis pariter in istiusmodi excusandi mos est, [0974A] nec facile scitur, quae vere ex imperitia, quaeve ex verecundia excusatio prodeat, si non injucti operis obeditio probat: accipite de mea paupertate quod habeo, ne tacendo philosophus puter. Nec tamen ad omnia spondeo me responsurum. Ad id solum quod de diligendo Deo quaeritis, respondebo quod ipse dabit. Hoc enim et sapit dulcius, et tractatur securius, et auditur utilius. Reliqua diligentioribus reservate.


CAPUT I. Quare et quomodo diligendus sit Deus.

You want me to tell you why God is to be loved and how much. I answer, the reason for loving God is God Himself; and the measure of love due to Him is immeasurable love. Is this plain? Doubtless, to a thoughtful man; but I am debtor to the unwise also. A word to the wise is sufficient; but I must consider simple folk too. Therefore I set myself joyfully to explain more in detail what is meant above.

1. Vultis ergo a me audire, quare et quomodo diligendus sit Deus? Et ego: Causa diligendi Deum, Deus est; modus, sine modo diligere Estne [0975A] hoc satis? Fortassis utique, sed sapienti. Caeterum si et insipientibus debitor sum (Rom. I, 14); ubi sat est dictum sapienti, etiam illis gerendus mos est. Itaque propter tardiores idem profusius, quam profundius repetere non gravabor..

We are to love God for Himself, because of a twofold reason; nothing is more reasonable, nothing more profitable. When one asks, Why should I love God? he may mean, What is lovely in God? or What shall I gain by loving God? In either case, the same sufficient cause of love exists, namely, God Himself.

Ob duplicem ergo causam Deum dixerim propter seipsum diligendum: sive quia nihil justius, sive quia nil fructuosius diligi potest. Duplicem siquidem parit sensum, cum quaeritur de Deo, cur diligendus sit. Dubitari namque potest quid potissimum dubitetur; utrumnam, quo suo merito Deus, aut certe quo nostro sit commodo diligendus. Sane ad utrumque idem responderim; non plane aliam mihi dignam occurrere causam diligendi ipsum, praeter ipsum

And first, of His title to our love. Could any title be greater than this, that He gave Himself for us unworthy wretches? And being God, what better gift could He offer than Himself? Hence, if one seeks for God’s claim upon our love here is the chiefest: Because He first loved us (I John 4.19).

. Et prius de merito videamus. Multum quippe meruit de nobis, qui et [0975B] immeritis dedit seipsum nobis. Quid enim melius seipso poterat dare vel ipse? Ergo si Dei meritum quaeritur, cum ipsum diligendi causa quaeritur, illud est praecipuum: quia ipse prior dilexit nos.

Ought He not to be loved in return, when we think who loved, whom He loved, and how much He loved? For who is He that loved? The same of whom every spirit testifies: ‘Thou art my God: my goods are nothing unto Thee’ (Ps. 16.2, Vulg.). And is not His love that wonderful charity which ‘seeketh not her own’? (I Cor.13.5).

Dignus plane qui redametur, praesertim si advertatur, quis, quos, quantumque amaverit. Quis enim? Nonne is cui omnis spritus confitetur: Deus meus es tu, quoniam bonorum meorum non eges? (Psal. XV, 2.) Et vera hujus charitas majestatis, quippe non quaerentis quae sua sunt.

But for whom was such unutterable love made manifest? The apostle tells us: ‘When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son’ (Rom. 5.10). So it was God who loved us, loved us freely, and loved us while yet we were enemies. And how great was this love of His? St John answers: ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ (John 3.16). St Paul adds: ‘He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all’ (Rom. 8.32); and the son says of Himself, ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’ (John 15.13).

Quibus autem tanta puritas exhibetur? Cum adhuc, inquit, inimici essemus, reconciliati sumus Deo (Rom. V, 10). Dilexit ergo Deus, et gratis, et inimicos. Sed quantum? Quantum dicit Joannes: Sic Deus dilexit mundum, ut Filium unigenitum daret (Joan. III, 16): et Paulus, Qui proprio, [0975C] ait, Filio non pepercit, sed pro nobis tradidit illum (Rom. VIII, 32). Ipse quoque Filius pro se, Majorem, inquit, charitatem nemo habet quam ut animam suam ponat quis pro amicis suis (Joan. XV, 13).

This is the claim which God the holy, the supreme, the omnipotent, has upon men, defiled and base and weak. Some one may urge that this is true of mankind, but not of angels. True, since for angels it was not needful. He who succored men in their time of need, preserved angels from such need; and even as His love for sinful men wrought wondrously in them so that they should not remain sinful, so that same love which in equal measure He poured out upon angels kept them altogether free from sin.

Sic meruit justus ab impiis, summus ab infimis, ab infirmis omnipotens. Sed dicit aliquis: Ita quidem ab hominibus; sed ab angelis non ita. Verum est, quia necesse non fuit. Caeterum qui hominibus subvenit in tali necessitate, servavit angelos a tali necessitate: et 585 qui homines diligendo, tales fecit ne tales remanerent; ipse aeque diligendo dedit et angelis, ne tales fierent


CAPUT II. Deus quantopere ab homine mereatur amari, ob bona tum corporis, tum animae. Quomodo ea agnoscenda et habenda citra donantis injuriam.

Those who admit the truth of what I have said know, I am sure, why we are bound to love God. But if unbelievers will not grant it, their ingratitude is at once confounded by His innumerable benefits, lavished on our race, and plainly discerned by the senses. Who is it that gives food to all flesh, light to every eye, air to all that breathe? It would be foolish to begin a catalogue, since I have just called them innumerable: but I name, as notable instances, food, sunlight and air; not because they are God’s best gifts, but because they are essential to bodily life. Man must seek in his own higher nature for the highest gifts; and these are dignity, wisdom and virtue. By dignity I mean free-will, whereby he not only excels all other earthly creatures, but has dominion over them. Wisdom is the power whereby he recognizes this dignity, and perceives also that it is no accomplishment of his own. And virtue impels man to seek eagerly for Him who is man’s Source, and to lay fast hold on Him when He has been found.

[0975D] 2. Quibus haec palam sunt, palam arbitror esse et cur Deus diligendus sit: hoc est, unde diligi meruerit. Quod si infideles haec latent, Deo tamen in promptu est ingratos confundere super innumeris beneficiis suis, humano nimirum et usui praestitis, et sensui manifestis. Nempe quis alius administrat cibum omni vescenti, cernenti lucem, spiranti flatum? Sed stultum est velle modo enumerare quae innumera esse non longe ante praefatus sum: satis est ad exemplum praecipua protulisse, panem, solem [0976A] et aerem. Praecipua dico, non quia excellentiora, sed quia necessariora; sunt quippe corporis. Quaerat enim homo eminentiora bona sua in ea parte sui, qua praeeminet sibi, hoc est in anima quae sunt dignitas, scientia, virtus. Dignitatem in homine liberum arbitrium dico: in quo ei nimirum datum est caeteris non solum praeeminere, sed et praesidere animantibus. Scientiam vero, qua eamdem in se dignitatem agnoscat, non a se tamen. Porro virtutem, qua subinde ipsum a quo est, et inquirat non segniter, et teneat fortiter cum invenerit.

Now, these three best gifts have each a twofold character. Dignity appears not only as the prerogative of human nature, but also as the cause of that fear and dread of man which is upon every beast of the earth. Wisdom perceives this distinction, but owns that though in us, it is, like all good qualities, not of us. And lastly, virtue moves us to search eagerly for an Author, and, when we have found Him, teaches us to cling to Him yet more eagerly. Consider too that dignity without wisdom is nothing worth; and wisdom is harmful without virtue, as this argument following shows: There is no glory in having a gift without knowing it. But to know only that you have it, without knowing that it is not of yourself that you have it, means self-glorying, but no true glory in God. And so the apostle says to men in such cases, ‘What hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it? (I Cor. 4.7). He asks, Why dost thou glory? but goes on, as if thou hadst not received it, showing that the guilt is not in glorying over a possession, but in glorying as though it had not been received. And rightly such glorying is called vain-glory, since it has not the solid foundation of truth. The apostle shows how to discern the true glory from the false, when he says, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord, that is, in the Truth, since our Lord is Truth (I Cor. 1.31; John 14.6).

3. Itaque geminum unumquodque trium horum apparet. Dignitatem siquidem demonstrat humanam non solum naturae praerogativa, sed et potentia dominatus: quod terror hominis super cuncta animantia [0976B] terrae imminere decernitur. Scientia quoque duplex erit, si hanc ipsam dignitatem, vel aliud quodque bonum in nobis, et nobis inesse, et a nobis non esse noverimus. Porro virtus et ipsa aeque bifaria cognoscetur, si auctorem consequenter inquirimus, inventoque inseparabiliter inhaeremus. Dignitas ergo sine scientia non prodest; illa vero etiam obest, si virtus [al. ista] defuerit: quod utrumque ratio declarat subjecta. Habere enim quod habere te nescias, quam gloriam habet? Porro nosse quod habeas, sed quia a te non habeas ignorare, habet gloriam, sed non apud Deum. Apud se autem glorianti dicitur ab Apostolo: Quid habes quod non accepisti? si autem accepisti, quid gloriaris quasi non [0976C] acceperis? (I Cor. IV, 7.) Non ait simpliciter: Quid gloriaris? sed addit, quasi non acceperis, ut asserat reprehensibilem, non qui in habitis, sed qui tanquam in non acceptis gloriatur. Merito vana gloria nuncupatur hujusmodi, veritatis nimirum solido carens fundamento. Veram enim gloriam ab hac ita discernit: Qui gloriatur, ait, in Domino glorietur (I Cor. I, 31), hoc est in veritate. Veritas quippe Dominus est.

We must know, then, what we are, and that it is not of ourselves that we are what we are. Unless we know this thoroughly, either we shall not glory at all, or our glorying will be vain. Finally, it is written, ‘If thou know not, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock’ (Cant. 1.8). And this is right. For man, being in honor, if he know not his own honor, may fitly be compared, because of such ignorance, to the beasts that perish. Not knowing himself as the creature that is distinguished from the irrational brutes by the possession of reason, he commences to be confounded with them because, ignorant of his own true glory which is within, he is led captive by his curiosity, and concerns himself with external, sensual things. So he is made to resemble the lower orders by not knowing that he has been more highly endowed than they.

4. Utrumque ergo scias necesse est, et quid sis, et quod a te ipso non sis: ne aut omnino videlicet non glorieris, aut inaniter glorieris. Denique si non cognoveris, inquit, te ipsam, egredere post greges sodalium tuorum (Cant. I, 7). Revera ita fit. Homo factus in honore, cum honorem ipsum non intelligit, [0976D] talis suae ignorantiae merito comparatur pecoribus, velut quibusdam praesentis suae corruptionis et mortalitatis consortibus. Fit igitur ut sese non agnoscendo egregia rationis munere creatura, irrationabilium gregibus aggregari incipiat, dum ignara propriae gloriae, quae ab intus est, conformanda foris rebus sensibilibus, sua ipsius curiositate abducitur: efficiturque una de caeteris, quod se prae caeteris nihil accepisse intelligat.

We must be on our guard against this ignorance. We must not rank ourselves too low; and with still greater care we must see that we do not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, as happens when we foolishly impute to ourselves whatever good may be in us. But far more than either of these kinds of ignorance, we must hate and shun that presumption which would lead us to glory in goods not our own, knowing that they are not of ourselves but of God, and yet not fearing to rob God of the honor due unto Him. For mere ignorance, as in the first instance, does not glory at all; and mere wisdom, as in the second, while it has a kind of glory, yet does not glory in the Lord. In the third evil case, however, man sins not in ignorance but deliberately, usurping the glory which belongs to God. And this arrogance is a more grievous and deadly fault than the ignorance of the second, since it contemns God, while the other knows Him not. Ignorance is brutal, arrogance is devilish. Pride only, the chief of all iniquities, can make us treat gifts as if they were rightful attributes of our nature, and, while receiving benefits, rob our Benefactor of His due glory.

. Itaque valde cavenda haec ignorantia, qua de nobis minus nobis forte sentimus: sed non minus, imo et plus illa qua plus nobis tribuimus: quod fit, si bonum quodcunque in nobis [0977A] esse et a nobis decepti putemus. At vero super utramque ignorantiam declinanda et exsecranda illa praesumptio est, qua sciens et prudens forte audeas de bonis non tuis tuam quaerere gloriam: et quod certus 586 es a te tibi non esse, inde tamen alterius rapere non verearis honorem. Prior equidem ignorantia gloriam non habet: posterior vero habet quidem, sed non apud Deum. Caeterum hoc tertium malum quod jam scienter committitur, usurpat et contra Deum. In tantum denique ignorantia illa posteriori haec arrogantia gravior atque periculosior apparet, quo per illam quidem Deus nescitur, per istam et contemnitur: in tantum et priori deterior ac detestabilior, ut cum per illam pecoribus, per istam et daemonibus sociemur. Est quippe superbia [0977B] et delictum maximum, uti datis tanquam innatis; et in acceptis beneficiis gloriam usurpare beneficii.

Wherefore to dignity and wisdom we must add virtue, the proper fruit of them both. Virtue seeks and finds Him who is the Author and Giver of all good, and who must be in all things glorified; otherwise, one who knows what is right yet fails to perform it, will be beaten with many stripes (Luke 12.47). Why? you may ask. Because he has failed to put his knowledge to good effect, but rather has imagined mischief upon his bed (PS. 36.4); like a wicked servant, he has turned aside to seize the glory which, his own knowledge assured him, belonged only to his good Lord and Master. It is plain, therefore, that dignity without wisdom is useless and that wisdom without virtue is accursed. But when one possesses virtue, then wisdom and dignity are not dangerous but blessed. Such a man calls on God and lauds Him, confessing from a full heart, ‘Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory’ (PS. 115.1). Which is to say, ‘O Lord, we claim no knowledge, no distinction for ourselves; all is Thine, since from Thee all things do come.’

5. Quamobrem cum duabus istis, dignitate atque scientia, opus est et virtute, quae utriusque fructus est, per quam ille inquiritur ac tenetur, qui omnium auctor et dator merito glorificetur de omnibus. Alioquin sciens et non faciens digna, multis vapulabit. Quare? Utique quia noluit intelligere ut bene ageret: magis autem iniquitatem meditatus est in cubili suo (Psal. XXV, 4, 5), dum de bonis, quae a se non esse ex scientiae dono certissime comperit, boni Domini gloriam servus impius captare sibi, imo et raptare molitur. Liquet igitur et absque scientia dignitatem esse omnino inutilem, et scientiam absque virtute [0977C] damnabilem. Verum homo virtutis, cui nec damnosa scientia, nec infructuosa dignitas manet, clamat Deo et ingenue confitetur: Non nobis, inquiens, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam (Psal. CXIII, 9). Hoc est: Nil nobis, o Domine, de scientia, nil nobis de dignitate tribuimus; sed tuo totum, a quo totum est, nomini deputamus.

But we have digressed too far in the wish to prove that even those who know not Christ are sufficiently admonished by the natural law, and by their own endowments of soul and body, to love God for God’s own sake. To sum up: what infidel does not know that he has received light, air, food--all things necessary for his own body’s life--from Him alone who giveth food to all flesh (Ps. 136.25), who maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (Matt. 5.45). Who is so impious as to attribute the peculiar eminence of humanity to any other except to Him who saith, in Genesis, ‘Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness’? (Gen. 1.26). Who else could be the Bestower of wisdom, but He that teacheth man knowledge?

6. Caeterum pene a proposito longe nimis digressi sumus, dum demonstrare satagimus, eos quoque qui Christum nesciunt, satis per legem naturalem ex perceptis bonis corporis animaeque moneri, quatenus Deum propter Deum et ipsi diligere debeant. Nam ut breviter, quae super hoc dicta sunt, iterentur: quis vel infidelis ignoret, suo corpori non ab alio in [0977D] hac mortali vita supradicta illa necessaria ministrari, unde videlicet subsistat, unde videat, unde spiret, quam ab illo, qui dat escam omni carni (Psal. CXXXV, 25); qui solem suum oriri facit super bonos et malos, et pluit super justos et injustos? (Matth. V, 45.) Quis item vel impius putet alium ejus, quae in anima splendet, humanae dignitatis auctorem, praeter illum ipsum, qui in Genesi loquitur: Faciamus hominem ad imaginem et similitudinem nostram? (Gen. I, 26.) Quis alium scientiae largitorem existimet, nisi aeque ipsum, qui docet hominem scientiam? (Psal. XCIII, 10.)

(Ps. 94.10). Who else could bestow virtue except the Lord of virtue? Therefore even the infidel who knows not Christ but does at least know himself, is bound to love God for God’s own sake. He is unpardonable if he does not love the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his mind; for his own innate justice and common sense cry out from within that he is bound wholly to love God, from whom he has received all things. But it is hard nay rather, impossible, for a man by his own strength or in the power of free-will to render all things to God from whom they came, without rather turning them aside, each to his own account, even as it is written, ‘For all seek their own’ (Phil. 2.21); and again, ‘The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth’ (Gen. 8.21 ).

Quis rursum munus sibi aliunde virtutis aut putet datum, aut speret dandum, quam de manu itidem Domini virtutum? Meretur ergo amari propter se ipsum Deus, et ab infideli: qui etsi [0978A] nesciat Christum, scit tamen seipsum. Proinde inexcusabilis est omnis etiam infidelis, si non diligit Dominum Deum suum ex toto corde, tota anima, tota virtute sua. Clamat nempe intus ei innata, et non ignorata rationi justitia, quia ex toto se illum diligere debeat, cui se totum debere non ignorat. Verum difficile, imo impossibile est, suis scilicet quempiam, liberive arbitrii viribus semel accepta a Deo, ad Dei ex toto convertere voluntatem; et non magis ad propriam retorquere, eaque sibi tanquam propria retinere, sicut scriptum est, Omnes quae sua sunt quaerunt (Philipp. II, 21): et item, Proni sunt sensus et cogitationes hominis in malum (Gen. VIII, 21).


CAPUT III. Christiani quantos habeant stimulos amandi Deum prae infidelibus.

The faithful know how much need they have of Jesus and Him crucified; but though they wonder and rejoice at the ineffable love made manifest in Him, they are not daunted at having no more than their own poor souls to give in return for such great and condescending charity. They love all the more, because they know themselves to be loved so exceedingly; but to whom little is given the same loveth little (Luke 7.47). Neither Jew nor pagan feels the pangs of love as doth the Church, which saith, ‘Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples; for I am sick of love’ (Cant. 2.5). She beholds King Solomon, with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals; she sees the Sole-begotten of the Father bearing the heavy burden of His Cross; she sees the Lord of all power and might bruised and spat upon, the Author of life and glory transfixed with nails, smitten by the lance, overwhelmed with mockery, and at last laying down His precious life for His friends. Contemplating this the sword of love pierces through her own soul also and she cried aloud, ‘Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples; for I am sick of love.’ The fruits which the Spouse gathers from the Tree of Life in the midst of the garden of her Beloved, are pomegranates (Cant. 4.13), borrowing their taste from the Bread of heaven. and their color from the Blood of Christ. She sees death dying and its author overthrown: she beholds captivity led captive from hell to earth, from earth to heaven, so ‘that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth’ (Phil. 2.10). The earth under the ancient curse brought forth thorns and thistles; but now the Church beholds it laughing with flowers and restored by the grace of a new benediction. Mindful of the verse, ‘My heart danceth for joy, and in my song will I praise Him’, she refreshes herself with the fruits of His Passion which she gathers from the Tree of the Cross, and with the flowers of His Resurrection whose fragrance invites the frequent visits of her Spouse.

[0978B] 7. Contra quod plane fideles norunt, quam omnino necessarium habeant Jesum, et hunc crucifixum: dum admirantes et amplexantes supereminentem scientiae charitatem in ipso, id vel tantillum quod sunt, in tantae dilectionis et dignationis vicem non rependere confunduntur. Facile proinde plus diligunt, qui se amplius dilectos intelligunt: cui autem minus donatum est, minus diligit. Judaeus sane, sive paganus, 587 nequaquam talibus aculeis incitatur amoris, quales Ecclesia experitur, quae ait, Vulnerata charitate ego sum: et rursum, Fulcite me floribus, stipate me malis, quia amore langueo (Cantic. II, 4, [0978C] 5). Cernit regem Salomonem in diademate, quo coronavit eum mater sua (Cant. III, 11); cernit Unicum Patris, crucem sibi bajulantem; cernit caesum et consputum Dominum majestatis; cernit auctorem vitae et gloriae confixum clavis, percussum lancea, opprobriis saturatum, tandem illam dilectam animam suam ponere pro amicis suis. Cernit haec, et suam magis ipsius animam gladius amoris transverberat, et dicit: Fulcite me floribus, stipate me malis, quia amore langueo. Haec sunt quippe mala punica, quae in hortum introducta dilecti sponsa carpit ex ligno vitae, a coelesti pane proprium mutuata saporem, colorem a sanguine Christi. Videt deinde mortem mortuam, et mortis auctorem triumphatum. [0978D] Videt de inferis ad terras, de terris ad superos captivam duci captivitatem, ut in nomine Jesu omne genu flectatur, coelestium, terrestrium, et infernorum (Philipp. II, 10). Advertit terram, quae spinas et tribulos sub antiquo maledicto produxerat, ad novae benedictionis gratiam innovatam refloruisse. Et in his omnibus, illius recordata versiculi, Et refloruit caro mea, et ex voluntate mea confitebor ei (Psal. XXVII, 7); passionis malis, quae de arbore tulerat crucis, cupit vigere [al. jungere] et de floribus resurrectionis, quorum praesertim fragrantia sponsum ad se crebrius revisendam invitet..

Then it is that He exclaims, ‘Behold thou art fair, My beloved, yea pleasant: also our bed is green’ (Cant. 1. 16). She shows her desire for His coming and whence she hopes to obtain it; not because of her own merits but because of the flowers of that field which God hath blessed. Christ who willed to be conceived and brought up in Nazareth, that is, the town of branches, delights in such blossoms. Pleased by such heavenly fragrance the bridegroom rejoices to revisit the heart’s chamber when He finds it adorned with fruits and decked with flowers--that is, meditating on the mystery of His Passion or on the glory of His Resurrection.

8. Denique ait: Ecce tu pulcher es, dilecte mi et decorus; lectulus noster floridus (Cantic. I, 15). Quae lectulum monstrat, satis quid desideret aperit: [0979A] et cum floridum nuntiat, satis indicat, unde quod desiderat obtinere praesumat. Non enim de suis meritis, sed de floribus agri, cui benedixit Deus. Delectatur floribus, Christus, qui in Nazareth et concipi voluit, et nutriri. Gaudet sponsus coelestis talibus odoramentis, et cordis thalamum frequenter libenterque ingreditur, quod istiusmodi refertum fructibus, floribusque respersum invenerit. Ubi suae videlicet aut passionis gratiam, aut resurrectionis gloriam sedula inspicit cogitatione versari, ibi profecto adest sedulus, adest libens.

The tokens of the Passion we recognize as the fruitage of the ages of the past, appearing in the fullness of time during the reign of sin and death (Gal. 4.4). But it is the glory of the Resurrection, in the new springtime of regenerating grace, that the fresh flowers of the later age come forth, whose fruit shall be given without measure at the general resurrection, when time shall be no more. And so it is written, ‘The winter is past the rain is over and gone, the flowers appear on the earth’ (Cant. 2.11 f); signifying that summer has come back with Him who dissolves icy death into the spring of a new life and says, ‘Behold, I make all things new (Rev. 21.5). His Body sown in the grave has blossomed in the Resurrection (I Cor. 15.42); and in like manner our valleys and fields which were barren or frozen, as if dead, glow with reviving life and warmth.

Monumenta siquidem Passionis, fructus agnosce quasi anni praeteriti, omnium utique retro temporum sub peccati mortisque imperio decursorum, tandem in plenitudine temporis, apparentes. Porro autem Resurrectionis insignia, [0979B] novos adverte flores sequentis temporis, in novam sub gratia revirescentis aestatem, quorum fructum generalis futura resurrectio in fine parturiet sine fine mansurum. Jam, inquit, hiems transiit, imber abiit et recessit, flores apparuerunt in terra nostra (Cant. II, 11, 12): aestivum tempus advenisse cum illo significans, qui de mortis gelu in vernalem quamdam novae vitae temperiem resolutus, Ecce, ait, nova facio omnia (Apoc. XXI, 5): cujus caro seminata est in morte, refloruit in resurrectione; ad cujus mox odorem in campo convaliis nostrae revirescunt arida, recalescunt frigida, mortua reviviscunt.

The Father of Christ who makes all things new, is well pleased with the freshness of those flowers and fruits, and the beauty of the field which breathes forth such heavenly fragrance; and He says in benediction, ‘See. the smell of My Son is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed’ (Gen. 27.27). Blessed to overflowing, indeed, since of His fullness have all we received (John 1 16). But the Bride may come when she pleases and gather flowers and fruits therewith to adorn the inmost recesses of her conscience; that the Bridegroom when He cometh may find the chamber of her heart redolent with perfume.

9. Horum ergo novitate florum ac fructuum, et pulchritudine [al. plenitudine] agri suavissimum spirantis odorem, ipse quoque Pater in Filio innovante [0979C] omnia delectatur, ita ut dicat: Ecce odor filii mei, sicut odor agri pleni, cui benedixit Dominus (Gen. XXVII, 27). Bene pleni, de cujus plenitudine omnes accepimus. Sponsa tamen familiarius ex eo sibi, cum vult, flores legit, et carpit poma, quibus propriae aspergat intima conscientiae, et intranti sponso cordis lectulus suave redoleat.

So it behoves us, if we would have Christ for a frequent guest, to fill our hearts with faithful meditations on the mercy He showed in dying for us, and on His mighty power in rising again from the dead. To this David testified when he sang, ‘God spake once, and twice I have also heard the same; that power belongeth unto God; and that Thou, Lord, art merciful (Ps. 62.11f). And surely there is proof enough and to spare in that Christ died for our sins and rose again for our justification, and ascended into heaven that He might protect us from on high, and sent the Holy Spirit for our comfort. Hereafter He will come again for the consummation of our bliss. In His Death He displayed His mercy, in His Resurrection His power; both combine to manifest His glory.

Oportet enim nos, si crebrum volumus habere hospitem Christum, corda nostra semper habere munita fidelibus testimoniis, tam de misericordia scilicet morientis, quam de potentia resurgentis; quomodo David aiebat: Duo haec audivi, quia potestas Dei est, et tibi, Domine, misericordia (Psal. LXI, 12, 13). Siquidem utriusque rei testimonia credibilia facta sunt nimis; Christo utique [0979D] moriente propter delicta nostra, et resurgente propter justificationem nostram, et ascendente ad protectionem nostram, et mittente Spiritum ad consolationem nostram, et quandoque redituro ad consummationem nostram. Nempe in morte misericordiam, potentiam in resurrectione, utramque in singulis exhibuit reliquorum.

The Bride desires to be stayed with flagons and comforted with apples, because she knows how easily the warmth of love can languish and grow cold; but such helps are only until she has entered into the bride chamber. There she will receive His long-desired caresses even as she sighs, ‘His left hand is under my head and His right hand doth embrace me’ (Cant. 2.6). Then she will perceive how far the embrace of the right hand excels all sweetness, and that the left hand with which He at first caressed her cannot be compared to it. She will understand what she has heard: ‘It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing’ (John 6.63). She will prove what she hath read: ‘My memorial is sweeter than honey, and mine inheritance than the honey-comb’ (Ecclus. 24.20). What is written elsewhere, ‘The memorial of Thine abundant kindness shall be showed’ (Ps. 145.7), refers doubtless to those of whom the Psalmist had said just before: ‘One generation shall praise Thy works unto another and declare Thy power’ (Ps. 145.4). Among us on the earth there is His memory; but in the Kingdom of heaven His very Presence. That Presence is the joy of those who have already attained to beatitude; the memory is the comfort of us who are still wayfarers, journeying towards the Fatherland.

588 10. Haec mala, hi flores, quibus sponsa se interim stipari postulat et fulciri, credo sentiens facile vim in se amoris posse tepescere et languescere quodammodo, si non talibus jugiter foveatur incentivis, donec introducta quandoque in cubiculum, diu cupitis excipiatur amplexibus, et dicat: Laeva ejus sub capite meo, et dextera illius amplexata est me (Cantic. II, 6). Sentiet quippe tunc et probabit universa [0980A] dilectionis testimonia, quae in priori adventu, tanquam de sinistra dilecti, acceperat, prae multitudine dulcedinis amplexantis dexterae contemnenda, et omnino jam quasi subtus habenda. Sentiet quod audierat: Caro non prodest quidquam; spiritus est qui vivificat (Joan VI, 64). Probabit quod legerat: Spiritus meus super mel dulcis, et haereditas mea super mel et favum. Quod vero sequitur, Memoria mea in generatione saeculorum (Eccli. XXIV, 27, 28); hoc dicit, quia quandiu stare praesens cernitur saeculum, in quo generatio advenit, et generatio praeterit, non deerit electis consolatio de memoria, quibus nondum de praesentia plena refectio indulgetur. Unde scriptum est, Memoriam abundantiae suavitatis tuae eructabunt: haud dubium, quin hi, quos paulo superius [0980B] dixerat, Generatio et generatio laudabit opera tua (Psal. CXLIV, 7, 4). Memoria ergo in generatione saeculorum, praesentia in regno coelorum. Ex ista glorificatur jam assumpta electio: de illa interim peregrinans generatio consolatur.


CAPUT IV. Quinam ex Dei recordatione consolationem capiant: quive magis ad ejus amorem idonei.

But it will be well to note what class of people takes comfort in the thought of God. Surely not that perverse and crooked generation to whom it was said, ‘Woe unto you that are rich; for ye have received your consolation’ (Luke 6.24). Rather, those who can say with truth, ‘My soul refuseth comfort’ (Ps. 77.2). For it is meet that those who are not satisfied by the present should be sustained by the thought of the future, and that the contemplation of eternal happiness should solace those who scorn to drink from the river of transitory joys. That is the generation of them that seek the Lord, even of them that seek, not their own, but the face of the God of Jacob. To them that long for the presence of the living God, the thought of Him is sweetest itself: but there is no satiety, rather an ever-increasing appetite, even as the Scripture bears witness, ‘they that eat me shall yet be hungry’ (Ecclus. 24.21); and if the one an-hungred spake, ‘When I awake up after Thy likeness, I shall be satisfied with it.’ Yea, blessed even now are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they, and they only, shall be filled. Woe to you, wicked and perverse generation; woe to you, foolish and abandoned people, who hate Christ’s memory, and dread His second Advent! Well may you fear, who will not now seek deliverance from the snare of the hunter; because ‘they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts’ (I Tim. 6.9). In that day we shall not escape the dreadful sentence of condemnation, ‘Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire’ (Matt. 25.41). O dreadful sentence indeed, O hard saying! How much harder to bear than that other saying which we repeat daily in church, in memory of the Passion: ‘Whoso eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath eternal life’ (John 6.54). That signifies, whoso honors My death and after My example mortifies his members which are upon the earth (Col. 3.5) shall have eternal life, even as the apostle says, ‘If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him’ (II Tim. 2.12). And yet many even today recoil from these words and go away, saying by their action if not with their lips, ‘This is a hard saying; who can hear it?’ (John 6.60).

11. Sed interest, quaenam generatio ex Dei capiat recordatione solamen. Non enim generatio prava et exasperans, cui dicitur, Vae vobis, divites, qui habetis consolationem vestram (Luc. VI, 24); sed quae dicere veraciter potest, Renuit consolari anima mea. Huic plane et credimus, si secuta adjecerit: Memor fui Dei, et delectatus sum (Psal. LXXXVI, 3, 4). Justum [0980C] quippe est, ut quos praesentia non delectant, praesto eis sit memoria futurorum: et qui de rerum fluentium qualibet affluentia despiciunt consolari, recordatio illos delectet aeternitatis. Et haec est generatio quaerentium Dominum, quaerentium non quae sua sunt, sed faciem Dei Jacob (Psal. XXIII, 6). Dei ergo quarentibus et suspirantibus praesentiam, praesto interim et dulcis memoria est, non tamen qua satientur, sed qua magis esurient unde satientur. Hoc ipsum de se cibus ipse testatur, ita dicens, Qui edit me, adhuc esuriet (Eccli. XXIV, 29): et qui eo cibatus est, Satiabor, inquit, cum apparuerit gloria tua (Psal. XVI, 15). Beati tamen jam nunc qui esuriunt et sitiunt justitiam, quoniam quandoque ipsi, [0980D] et non alii, saturabuntur (Matth. V, 6). Vae tibi, generatio prava atque perversa! vae tibi, popule stulte et insipiens, qui et memoriam fastidis, et praesentiam expavescis! Merito quidem: nec modo enim liberari vis de laqueo venantium, siquidem qui volunt divites fieri in hoc saeculo, incidunt in laqueum diaboli (I Tim. VI, 9); nec tunc a verbo aspero poteris liberari. O verbum asperum, o sermo durus! Ite, maledicti, in ignem aeternum (Matth. XXV, 41). Durior plane atque asperior illo, qui quotidie nobis de memoria passionis in Ecclesia replicatur: Qui manducat meam carnem, et bibit sanguinem meum, habet vitam aeternam. Hoc est, qui recolit mortem meam, et exemplo meo mortificat membra sua quae sunt super terram, habet vitam aeternam: hoc est, [0981A] si compatimini, et conregnabitis. Et tamen plerique ab hac voce resilientes et abeuntes hodieque retrorsum, respondent non verbo, sed facto: Durus est hic sermo; quis potest eum audire? (Joan. VI, 55, 61.)

‘A generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit cleaveth not steadfastly unto God’ (Ps. 78.8), but chooseth rather to trust in uncertain riches, it is disturbed at the very name of the Cross, and counts the memory of the Passion intolerable. How can such sustain the burden of that fearful sentence, ‘Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels’? ‘On whomsoever that stone shall fall it will grind him to powder’ (Luke 20.18); but ‘the generation of the faithful shall be blessed’ (Ps. 112.2), since, like the apostle, they labor that whether present or absent they may be accepted of the Lord (II Cor. 5.9). At the last day they too shall hear the Judge pronounce their award, ‘Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’ (Matt. 25.34).

Itaque generatio quae non direxit cor suum et non est creditus cum Deo spiritus ejus (Psal. LXXVII, 8), sed magis sperans in incerto divitiarum, verbum modo crucis audire gravatur, ac memoriam passionis sibi judicat onerosam. Verum qualiter verbi illius pondus in praesentia sustinebit: Ite, maledicti, in ignem aeternum, qui paratus est diabolo, et angelis ejus? Super quem profecto ceciderit lapis iste, conteret eum. At vero generatio rectorum benedicetur (Psal. CXI, 2): qui utique cum Apostolo, sive 589 absentes, sive praesentes, contendunt placere [0981B] Deo (II Cor. V, 9). Denique audient, Venite, benedicti, Patris mei (Matth. XXV, 34), etc.

In that day those who set not their hearts aright will feel, too late, how easy is Christ’s yoke, to which they would not bend their necks and how light His burden, in comparison with the pains they must then endure. O wretched slaves of Mammon, you cannot glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ while you trust in treasures laid up on earth: you cannot taste and see how gracious the Lord is, while you are hungering for gold. If you have not rejoiced at the thought of His coming, that day will be indeed a day of wrath to you.

Tunc illa quae non direxit cor suum, sero quidem experietur, quam in illius comparatione doloris jugum Christi suave, et onus leve fuerit, cui tanquam gravi et aspero duram cervicem superbe subduxit. Non potestis, o miseri servi mammonae, simul gloriari in cruce Domini nostri Jesu Christi, et sperare in pecuniae thesauris; post aurum abire, et probare quam suavis est Dominus. Proinde quem suavem in memoria non sentitis, asperum procul dubio in praesentia sentietis.

But the believing soul longs and faints for God; she rests sweetly in the contemplation of Him. She glories in the reproach of the Cross, until the glory of His face shall be revealed. Like the Bride, the dove of Christ, that is covered with silver wings (Ps. 68.13), white with innocence and purity, she reposes in the thought of Thine abundant kindness, Lord Jesus; and above all she longs for that day when in the joyful splendor of Thy saints, gleaming with the radiance of the Beatific Vision, her feathers shall be like gold, resplendent with the joy of Thy countenance.

12. Caeterum fidelis anima et suspirat praesentiam inhianter, et in memoria requiescit suaviter; et donec idonea sit revelata facie speculari gloriam [0981C] Domini, crucis ignominia gloriatur. Sic profecto, sic sponsa et columba Christi pausat sibi interim, et dormit inter medios cleros, sortita jam in praesentiarum de memoria abundantiae suavitatis tuae, Domine Jesu, pennas deargentatas, innocentiae videlicet pudicitiaeque candorem; et sperans insuper adimpleri laetitia cum vultu tuo, ubi etiam fiant posteriora dorsi ejus in pallore auri (Psal. LXVII, 14): quando in splendoribus sanctorum introducta cum gaudio, sapientiae plenius fuerit illustrata fulgoribus.

Rightly then may she exult, ‘His left hand is under my head and His right hand doth embrace me.’ The left hand signifies the memory of that matchless love, which moved Him to lay down His life for His friends; and the right hand is the Beatific Vision which He hath promised to His own, and the delight they have in His presence

Merito proinde jam nunc gloriatur, et dicit, Laeva ejus sub capite meo, et dextera illius amplexabitur me (Cantic. II, 6): in laeva reputans recordationem illius charitatis, qua nulla major est, quod animam suam posuit pro amicis suis; in dextera vero beatam [0981D] visionem, quam promisit amicis suis, et gaudium de praesentia majestatis.

. The Psalmist sings rapturously, ‘At Thy right hand there is pleasure for evermore’ (Ps. 16.11): so we are warranted in explaining the right hand as THAT DIVINE AND DEIFYING JOY OF HIS PRESENCE.

MERITO ILLA DEI ET DEIFICA VISIO, illa divinae praesentiae inaestimabilis delectatio in dextera deputatur, de qua et delectabiliter canitur: Delectationes dextera tua usque in finem (Psal. XV, 11).

Rightly too is that wondrous and ever-memorable love symbolized as His left hand, upon which the Bride rests her head until iniquity be done away:

Merito in laeva admirabilis illa memorata et semper memoranda dilectio collocatur, quod donec transeat inquitas, super eam sponsa recumbat et requiescat.

for He sustains the purpose of her mind, lest it should be turned aside to earthly, carnal desires. For the flesh wars against the spirit: ‘The corruptible body presseth down the soul and the earthly tabernacle weigheth down the mind that museth upon many things’ (Wisdom 9.15). What could result from the contemplation of compassion so marvelous and so undeserved, favor so free and so well attested, kindness so unexpected, clemency so unconquerable, grace so amazing except that the soul should withdraw from all sinful affections, reject all that is inconsistent with God’s love, and yield herself wholly to heavenly things? No wonder is it that the Bride, moved by the perfume of these unctions, runs swiftly, all on fire with love, yet reckons herself as loving all too little in return for the Bridegroom’s love. And rightly, since it is no great matter that a little dust should be all consumed with love of that Majesty which loved her first and which revealed itself as wholly bent on saving her. For ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life’ (John 3.16). This sets forth the Father’s love. But ‘He hath poured out His soul unto death,’ was written of the Son (Isa. 53.12). And of the Holy Spirit it is said, ‘The Comforter which is the Holy Ghost whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you’ (John 14.26). It is plain, therefore, that God loves us, and loves us with all His heart; for the Holy Trinity altogether loves us, if we may venture so to speak of the infinite and incomprehensible Godhead who is essentially one.

13. Merito ergo laeva sponsi sub capite sponsae, super quam videlicet caput suum reclinata sustentet, hoc est mentis suae intentionem, ne inclinetur et incurvetur in carnalia et saecularia desideria: quia corpus quod corrumpitur, aggravat animam: et [0982A] deprimit terrena inhabitatio sensum multa cogitantem (Sap. IX, 15). Quid namque aliud faciat considerata tanta et tam indebita miseratio, tam gratuita et sic probata dilectio, tam inopinata dignatio, tam invicta mansuetudo, tam stupenda dulcedo? quid, inquam, haec omnia faciant diligenter considerata, nisi ut considerantis animum, ab omni penitus pravo vindicatum amore, ad se mirabiliter rapiant, vehementer afficiant, faciantque prae se contemnere, quidquid nisi in comtemptu horum appeti non potest? Nimirum proinde in odore unguentorum horum sponsa currit alacriter, amat ardenter; et parum sibi amare sic amata videtur, etiam cum se totam in amore perstrinxerit. Nec immerito. Quid magnum enim tanto et tanti repensatur amori, si pulvis exiguus [0982B] totum se ad redamandum collegerit, quem illa nimirum Majestas in amore praeveniens, tota in opus salutis ejus intenta conspicitur? Denique sic Deus dilexit mundum ut Unigenitum daret (Joan. III, 16); haud dubium quin de Patre dicat. Item, Tradidit in mortem animam suam (Isai. LIII, 12); nec dubium quod de Filio loquatur. Ait et de Spiritu sancto: Spiritus Paracletus, quem mittit Pater in nomine meo, ille vos docebit omnia, et suggeret vobis omnia quaecunque dixero vobis (Joan. XIV, 26). Amat ergo Deus, et ex se toto amat, quia tota Trinitas amat: si tamen totum dici potest de infinito et incomprehensibili, aut certe de simplici.


CAPUT V. Christiano quantum incumbat debitum amoris.

From the contemplation of what has been said, we see plainly that God is to be loved, and that He has a just claim upon our love. But the infidel does not acknowledge the Son of God, and so he can know neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit; for he that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which sent Him, nor the Spirit whom He hath sent (John 5.23). He knows less of God than we; no wonder that he loves God less. This much he understands at least--that he owes all he is to his Creator. But how will it be with me? For I know that my God is not merely the bounteous Bestower of my life, the generous Provider for all my needs, the pitiful Consoler of all my sorrows, the wise Guide of my course: but that He is far more than all that. He saves me with an abundant deliverance: He is my eternal Preserver, the portion of my inheritance, my glory. Even so it is written, ‘With Him is plenteous redemption’ (Ps. 130.7); and again, ‘He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us’ (Heb. 9.12). Of His salvation it is written, ‘He forsaketh not His that be godly; but they are preserved for ever’ (Ps. 37.28); and of His bounty, ‘Good measure, pressed down and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom’ (Luke 6.38); and in another place, ‘Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, those things which God hath prepared for them that love Him’ (I Cor. 2.9). He will glorify us, even as the apostle beareth witness, saying, ‘We look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body’ (Phil. 3.20f); and again, ‘I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us’ (Rom. 8.18); and once more, ‘Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen (II Cor. 4.17f).

[0982C] 14. Intuens ergo haec, credo, satis agnoscit quare Deus diligendus sit, hoc est, unde diligi mereatur. Caeterum infidelis non habens Filium, nec Patrem proinde habet, nec Spiritum sanctum. Qui enim non honorificat Filium, non honorificat Patrem qui missit illum (Joan. V, 23); 590 sed nec Spiritum sanctum quem misit ille. Is itaque mirum non est, si quem minus agnoscit, minus et diligit. Attamen et ipse totum ei sese debere non ignorat, quem sui totius non ignorat auctorem. Quid ergo ego, qui Deum meum teneo vitae meae non solum gratuitum largitorem, largissimum administratorem, pium consolatorem, sollicitum gubernatorem; sed insuper etiam copiosissimum redemptorem, aeternum conservatorem, [0982D] ditatorem, glorificatorem? sicut scriptum est, Copiosa apud eum redemptio (Psal. CXXIX, 7): et item, Introivit semel in Sancta, aeterna redemptione inventa (Hebr. IX, 12): et de conservatione, Non relinquet sanctos suos; in aeternum conservabuntur (Psal. XXXVI, 28): et de locupletatione, Mensuram bonam, et confertam, et coagitatam, et superefluentem dabunt in sinum vestrum (Luc. VI, 38): et rursum, Nec oculus vidit, nec auris audivit, nec in cor hominis ascendit, quae praeparavit Deus diligentibus se (I Cor. II, 9): et de glorificatione. Salvatorem exspectamus Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, qui reformabit corpus humilitatis nostrae, configuratum corpori claritatis suae (Philipp. III, 20, 21): et illud, Non sunt condignae passione hujus [0983A] temporis ad futuram gloriam, quae revelabitur in nobis (Rom. VIII, 18): et iterum, Id quod in praesenti est momentaneum et leve tribulationis nostrae, supra modum in sublimitate aeternum gloriae pondus operatur in nobis, non contemplantibus quae videntur, sed quae non videntur (II Cor. IV, 17, 18).

‘What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits towards me?’ (Ps. 116.12). Reason and natural justice alike move me to give up myself wholly to loving Him to whom I owe all that I have and am. But faith shows me that I should love Him far more than I love myself, as I come to realize that He hath given me not my own life only, but even Himself. Yet, before the time of full revelation had come, before the Word was made flesh, died on the Cross, came forth from the grave, and returned to His Father; before God had shown us how much He loved us by all this plenitude of grace, the commandment had been uttered, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy might’ (Deut. 6.5), that is, with all thy being, all thy knowledge, all thy powers. And it was not unjust for God to claim this from His own work and gifts. Why should not the creature love his Creator, who gave him the power to love? Why should he not love Him with all his being, since it is by His gift alone that he can do anything that is good? It was God’s creative grace that out of nothingness raised us to the dignity of manhood; and from this appears our duty to love Him, and the justice of His claim to that love. But how infinitely is the benefit increased when we bethink ourselves of His fulfillment of the promise, ‘thou, Lord, shalt save both man and beast: how excellent is Thy mercy, O Lord! ‘ (Ps. 36.6f.). For we, who ‘turned our glory into the similitude of a calf that eateth hay’ (Ps. 106.20), by our evil deeds debased ourselves so that we might be compared unto the beasts that perish. I owe all that I am to Him who made me: but how can I pay my debt to Him who redeemed me, and in such wondrous wise? Creation was not so vast a work as redemption; for it is written of man and of all things that were made, ‘He spake the word, and they were made’ (Ps. 148.5). But to redeem that creation which sprang into being at His word, how much He spake, what wonders He wrought, what hardships He endured, what shames He suffered! Therefore what reward shall I give unto the Lord for all the benefits which He hath done unto me? In the first creation He gave me myself; but in His new creation He gave me Himself, and by that gift restored to me the self that I had lost. Created first and then restored, I owe Him myself twice over in return for myself. But what have I to offer Him for the gift of Himself? Could I multiply myself a thousand-fold and then give Him all, what would that be in comparison with God?

15. Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus his? Illum ratio urget et justitia naturalis totum se tradere illi, a quo se totum habet, et ex se toto debere diligere. Mihi profecto fides tanto plus indicit amandum, quanto et eum me ipso pluris aestimandum intelligo: quippe qui illum non solum mei, sed sui quoque ipsius teneo largitorem. Denique nondum tempus fidei advenerat, nondum innotuerat in carne Deus, obierat in cruce, prodierat de sepulcro, [0983B] redierat ad Patrem: nondum, inquam, commendaverat in nobis suam multam dilectionem, illam de qua jam multa locuti sumus, cum jam mandatum est homini diligere Dominum Deum suum ex toto corde, tota anima, tota virtute sua (Deut. VI, 5), id est ex omni quod est, quod scit, quod potest. Nec tamen injustus Deus, suum sibi vindicans opus et dona. Utquid enim non amaret opus artificem, cum haberet unde id posset? Et cur non quantum omnino posset, cum nihil omnino nisi ejus munere posset? Ad haec, quod de nihilo, quod gratis, quod in hac dignitate conditum est; et debitum dilectionis manifestius facit, et exactum justiorem ostendit. Caeterum quantum putamus adjectum beneficii, cum homines et jumenta salvavit, quemadmodum [0983C] multiplicavit misericordiam suam Deus? (Psal. XXXV, 7, 8.) Nos dico, qui mutavimus gloriam nostram in similitudinem vituli comedentis fenum (Psal, CV, 20), peccando comparati jumentis insipientibus (Psal. XLVIII, 13). Quod si totum me debeo pro me facto, quid addam jam et pro refecto et refecto hoc modo? Nec enim tam facile refectus, quam factus: siquidem non solum de me, sed de omni quoque quod factum est, scriptum est, Dixit, et facta sunt (Psal. CXLVIII, 5). At vero qui me tantum et semel dicendo fecit, in reficiendo profecto et dixit multa, et gessit mira, et pertulit dura; nec tantum dura, sed et indigna. Quid ergo retribuam Domino pro omnibus quae retribuit mihi? (Psal. CXV, 12.) In primo opere me mihi dedit; in secundo, se: [0983D] et ubi se dedit, me mihi reddidit. Datus ergo, et redditus, me pro me debeo, et bis debeo. Quid Deo retribuam pro se? Nam etiam si me millies rependere possem, quid sum ego ad Deum?


CAPUT VI. Brevis anacephalaeosis et summa praedictorum.

Admit that God deserves to be loved very much, yea, boundlessly, because He loved us first, He infinite and we nothing, loved us, miserable sinners, with a love so great and so free. This is why I said at the beginning that the measure of our love to God is to love immeasurably. For since our love is toward God, who is infinite and immeasurable, how can we bound or limit the love we owe Him? Besides, our love is not a gift but a debt. And since it is the Godhead who loves us, Himself boundless, eternal, supreme love, of whose greatness there is no end, yea, and His wisdom is infinite, whose peace passeth all understanding; since it is He who loves us, I say, can we think of repaying Him grudgingly? ‘I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my strength, in whom I will trust’ (Ps. 18.1f). He is all that I need, all that I long for. My God and my help, I will love Thee for Thy great goodness; not so much as I might, surely, but as much as I can. I cannot love Thee as Thou deservest to be loved, for I cannot love Thee more than my own feebleness permits. I will love Thee more when Thou deemest me worthy to receive greater capacity for loving; yet never so perfectly as Thou hast deserved of me. ‘Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in Thy book all my members were written’ (PS. 139.16). Yet Thou recordest in that book all who do what they can, even though they cannot do what they ought. Surely I have said enough to show how God should be loved and why. But who has felt, who can know, who express, how much we should love him.

16. Hic primum vide, quo modo, imo quam sine modo a nobis Deus amari meruerit; qui (ut paucis quod dictum est repetam) prior ipse dilexit nos, tantus, et tantum, et gratis tantillos, et tales. En quod in principio dixisse me memini, modum esse diligendi Deum, sine modo diligere. Denique cum dilectio quae tendit in Deum, tendat in immensum, [0984A] tendat in infinitum (nam et infinitus Deus est et immensus); quisnam, 591, quaeso, debeat finis esse nostri, vel modus amoris? Quid quod amor ipse noster non jam gratuitus impenditur, sed rependitur debitus? Amat ergo immensitas, amat aeternitas, amat supereminens scientiae charitas; amat Deus, cujus magnitudinis non est finis (Psal. CXLIV, 3), cujus sapientiae non est numerus (Psal. CXLVI, 5), cujus pax exsuperat omnem intellectum (Philipp. IV, 7): et vicem rependimus cum mensura? Diligam te, Domine, fortitudo mea, firmamentum meum, et refugium meum, et liberator meus (Psal. XVII, 2, 3): et meum denique quidquid optabile atque amabile dici potest. Deus meus, adjutor meus, diligam te pro dono tuo, et modo meo, minus quidem justo, [0984B] sed plane non minus posse meo: qui etsi quantum dobeo non possum, non possum tamen ultra quam possum. Potero vero plus, cum plus donare dignaberis: nunquam tamen prout dignus haberis. Imperfectum meum viderunt oculi tui: sed tamen in libro tuo omnes scribentur (Psal. CXXXVIII, 16), qui quod possunt faciunt, etsi quod debent non possunt. Satis, quantum reor, apparet, et quonam modo Deus diligendus sit, et quo merito suo. Quo, inquam, merito suo: nam quanto, cui sane appareat? quis dicat? quis sapiat?


CAPUT VII. Non sine fructu et praemio diligi Deum; et terrenis non satiari humani cordis appetitum.

And now let us consider what profit we shall have from loving God. Even though our knowledge of this is imperfect, still that is better than to ignore it altogether. I have already said (when it was a question of wherefore and in what manner God should be loved) that there was a double reason constraining us: His right and our advantage. Having written as best I can, though unworthily, of God’s right to be loved. I have still to treat of the recompense which that love brings. For although God would be loved without respect of reward, yet He wills not to leave love unrewarded. True charity cannot be left destitute, even though she is unselfish and seeketh not her own (I Cor. 13.5). Love is an affection of the soul, not a contract: it cannot rise from a mere agreement, nor is it so to be gained. It is spontaneous in its origin and impulse; and true love is its own satisfaction. It has its reward; but that reward is the object beloved. For whatever you seem to love, if it is on account of something else, what you do really love is that something else, not the apparent object of desire. St Paul did not preach the Gospel that he might earn his bread; he ate that he might be strengthened for his ministry. What he loved was not bread, but the Gospel. True love does not demand a reward, but it deserves one. Surely no one offers to pay for love; yet some recompense is due to one who loves, and if his love endures he will doubtless receive it.

[0984C] 17. Nunc quo nostro commodo diligendus sit, videamus. Sed quantum est et in hoc videre nostrum ad id quod est? Nec tamen quod videtur tacendum est, etsi non omnino videtur ut est. Superius, cum propositum esset, quare, et quomodo diligendus sit Deus, duplicem dixi parere intellectum id quod quaeritur, Quare: ut, aut quo suo merito, aut quo nostro commodo diligendus sit, utrumlibet quaeri posse perinde videatur. Dicto proinde de merito Dei, non prout dignum ei, sed prout datum est mihi; superest ut de praemio, quod item dabitur, dicam. Non enim sine praemio diligitur Deus, etsi absque praemii intuitu diligendus sit. Vacua namque vera charitas esse non potest, nec tamen mercenaria est; quippe non quaerit quae sua [0984D] sunt (I Cor. XIII, 5). Affectus est, non contractus: nec acquiritur pacto, nec acquirit. Sponte afficit, et spontaneum facit. Verus amor seipso contentus est. Habet praemium, sed id quod amatur. Nam quidquid propter aliud amare videaris, id plane amas, quo amoris finis pertendit, non per quod tendit. Paulus non evangelizat ut comedat, sed comedit ut evangelizet: eo quod amet, non cibum, sed Evangelium (I Cor. IX, 18). Verus amor praemium non requirit, sed meretur. Praemium sane necdum amanti proponitur, amanti debetur, perseveranti redditur.

On a lower plane of action, it is the reluctant, not the eager, whom we urge by promises of reward. Who would think of paying a man to do what he was yearning to do already? For instance no one would hire a hungry man to eat, or a thirsty man to drink, or a mother to nurse her own child. Who would think of bribing a farmer to dress his own vineyard, or to dig about his orchard, or to rebuild his house? So, all the more, one who loves God truly asks no other recompense than God Himself; for if he should demand anything else it would be the prize that he loved and not God.

Denique in rebus inferioribus suadendis, invitos promissis vel praemiis invitamus, et non spontaneos. Quis enim munerandum hominem putet, ut faciat [0985A] quod et sponte cupit? Nemo, verbi causa, conducit aut esurientem ut comedat, aut sitientem ut bibat, aut certe matrem ut parvulum allactet filium uteri sui. An vero quis putet prece vel pretio quempiam commonendum suam ipsius vel sepire vineam, vel arborem circumfodere, vel structuram propriae domus erigere? Quanto magis Deum amans anima, aliud praeter Deum sui amoris praemium non requirit? Aut si aliud requirit, illud pro certo, non Deum diligit.

It is natural for a man to desire what he reckons better than that which he has already, and be satisfied with nothing which lacks that special quality which he misses. Thus, if it is for her beauty that he loves his wife, he will cast longing eyes after a fairer woman. If he is clad in a rich garment, he will covet a costlier one; and no matter how rich he may be he will envy a man richer than himself. Do we not see people every day, endowed with vast estates, who keep on joining field to field, dreaming of wider boundaries for their lands? Those who dwell in palaces are ever adding house to house, continually building up and tearing down, remodeling and changing. Men in high places are driven by insatiable ambition to clutch at still greater prizes. And nowhere is there any final satisfaction, because nothing there can be defined as absolutely the best or highest. But it is natural that nothing should content a man’s desires but the very best, as he reckons it. Is it not, then, mad folly always to be craving for things which can never quiet our longings, much less satisfy them? No matter how many such things one has, he is always lusting after what he has not; never at peace, he sighs for new possessions. Discontented, he spends himself in fruitless toil, and finds only weariness in the evanescent and unreal pleasures of the world. In his greediness, he counts all that he has clutched as nothing in comparison with what is beyond his grasp, and loses all pleasure in his actual possessions by longing after what he has not, yet covets. No man can ever hope to own all things. Even the little one does possess is got only with toil and is held in fear; since each is certain to lose what he hath when God’s day, appointed though unrevealed. shall come. But the perverted will struggles towards the ultimate good by devious ways, yearning after satisfaction, yet led astray by vanity and deceived by wickedness. Ah, if you wish to attain to the consummation of all desire, so that nothing unfulfilled will be left, why weary yourself with fruitless efforts, running hither and thither, only to die long before the goal is reached?

18. Inest omni utenti ratione naturaliter pro sua semper aestimatione atque intentione appetere potiora, et nulla re esse contentum, cui quod deest, judicet praeferendum. Nam et qui, verbi gratia, uxorem habet speciosam, petulanti oculo vel animo [0985B] respicit pulchriorem: et qui veste pretiosa indutus est, pretiosiorem affectat, et possidens multas divitias, invidet ditiori. Videas jam multis praediis et possessionibus ampliatos, adhuc tamen in dies agrum agro copulare, atque infinita cupiditate dilatare terminos suos. Videas et qui in regalibus domibus, amplisque habitant palatiis, nihilominus quotidie conjungere domum ad domum, et inquieta 592 curiositate aedificare, diruere, mutare quadrata rotundis. Quid homines sublimatos honoribus? annon insatiabili ambitione magis ac magis totis viribus conari ad altiora videmus? Et horum omnium idcirco non est finis, quia nil in eis summum singulariter reperitur vel optimum. Et quid mirum si inferioribus et deterioribus contentus non sit, qui citra [0985C] summum vel optimum quiescere non potest? Sed hoc stultum et extremae dementiae est, ea semper appetere, quae nunquam, non dico satient, sed nec temperent appetitum: dum quidquid talium habueris, nihilominus non habita concupiscas, et ad quaeque defuerint, semper inquietus anheles. Ita enim fit ut per varia et fallacia mundi oblectamenta vagabundus animus inani labore discurrens fatigetur, non satietur: dum quidquid famelicus inglutierit, parum reputet ad id quod superest devorandum, semperque non minus anxie cupiat quae desunt, quam quae adsunt laete possideat. Quis enim obtineat universa? Quanquam et modicum id quod quisque cum labore obtinuerit, cum timore possederit, certus [0985D] quidem non sit quando cum dolore amittat, certus autem quod quandoque amittat. Sic directo tramite voluntas perversa contendit [al. cum tendit] ad optinum, festinat ad id unde possit impleri. Imo vero his anfractibus ludit secum vanitas, mentitur iniquitas sibi. Si ita vis adimplere quod vis, hoc est, si illud apprehendere vis, quo apprehenso nil jam amplius velis, quid tentare opus est et caetera? Curris per devia, et longe ante morieris, quam hoc circuitu pervenias ad optatum.

It is so that these impious ones wander in a circle, longing after something to gratify their yearnings, yet madly rejecting that which alone can bring them to their desired end, not by exhaustion but by attainment. They wear themselves out in vain travail, without reaching their blessed consummation, because they delight in creatures, not in the Creator. They want to traverse creation, trying all things one by one, rather than think of coming to Him who is Lord of all. And if their utmost longing were realized, so that they should have all the world for their own, yet without possessing Him who is the Author of all being, then the same law of their desires would make them contemn what they had and restlessly seek Him whom they still lacked, that is, God Himself. Rest is in Him alone. Man knows no peace in the world; but he has no disturbance when he is with God. And so the soul says with confidence, ‘Whom have I in heaven but Thee; and there is none upon earth that I desire in comparison of Thee. God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. It is good for me to hold me fast by God, to put my trust in the Lord God’ (Ps. 73.25ff). Even by this way one would eventually come to God, if only he might have time to test all lesser goods in turn.

19. Hoc ergo in circuitu impii ambulant, naturaliter appetentes unde finiant appetitum, et insipienter respuentes unde propinquent fini: fini dico, non consumptioni, sed consummationi. Quamobrem non beato fine consummari, sed consumi vacuo labore [0986A] accelerant, qui rerum magis specie, quam auctore delectati, prius universa percurrere, et de singulis cupiunt experiri, quam ad ipsum curent universitatis Dominum pervenire. Et quidem pervenirent, si quandoque voti compotes effici possent, ut omnia scilicet, praeter omnium principium, unus aliquis obtineret. Ea namque suae cupiditatis lege, qua in rebus caeteris non habita prae habitis esurire, et pro non habitis habita fastidire solebat; mox omnibus quae in coelo, et quae in terra sunt obtentis et contemptis, tandem ad ipsum procul dubio curreret, qui solus deesset omnium Deus. Porro ibi quiesceret: quia sicut citra nulla revocat quies: sic nulla ultra jam inquietudo sollicitat. Diceret pro certo: Mihi autem adhaerere Deo bonum est. Diceret, [0986B] Quid enim mihi est in coelo, et a te quid volui super terram? et item, Deus cordis mei, et pars mea Deus in aeternum (Psal. LXXII, 28, 25, 26). Sic ergo (ut dictum est) ad id quod optimum est, quivis cupidus perveniret, si quidem ante, quod citra cupit, assequi posset.

But life is too short, strength too feeble, and competitors too many, for that course to be practicable. One could never reach the end, though he were to weary himself with the long effort and fruitless toil of testing everything that might seem desirable. It would be far easier and better to make the assay in imagination rather than in experiment. For the mind is swifter in operation and keener in discrimination than the bodily senses, to this very purpose that it may go before the sensuous affections so that they may cleave to nothing which the mind has found worthless. And so it is written, ‘Prove all things: hold fast that which is good’ (I Thess. 5.21). Which is to say that right judgment should prepare the way for the heart. Otherwise we may not ascend into the hill of the Lord nor rise up in His holy place (Ps. 24.3). We should have no profit in possessing a rational mind if we were to follow the impulse of the senses, like brute beasts, with no regard at all to reason. Those whom reason does not guide in their course may indeed run, but not in the appointed race-track, neglecting the apostolic counsel, ‘So run that ye may obtain’. For how could they obtain the prize who put that last of all in their endeavor and run round after everything else first?

20. Verum quoniam id omnino impossibile praestruit et vita brevior, et virtus infirmior, et consors numerosior; longo profecto itinere et casso labore desudant, qui dum quaecunque desiderant, attingere volunt, ad cunctorum desiderabilium nequeunt pertingere finem. Et utinam attingere universa animo, et non experimento vellent! Hoc enim facile possent, et non incassum. Nam et animus sensu quidem [0986C] carnali tanto velocior, quanto et perspicacior, ad hoc datus est, ut illum ad omnia praeveniat; nihilque audeat contingere sensus, quod animus praecurrens ante utile non probaverit. Hinc enim arbitror dictum, Omnia probate, quod bonum est tenete (I Thess. V, 21); ut videlicet ille huic provideat, nec is suum votum, nisi ad illius judicium consequatur. Alioquin non ascendes in montem Domini, nec stabis in loco sancto ejus, pro eo quod in vano acceperis animam tuam (Psal. XXIII, 3, 4), hoc est animam rationalem: dum instar pecoris sensum sequeris, ratione quidem otiosa, et non resistente in aliquo. Quorum itaque ratio non praevenit gressus, currunt, sed extra viam: ac proinde Apostoli spreto consilio, non sic currunt ut apprehendant (I Cor. [0986D] XI, 24). Quando etenim apprehendant, quem 593 apprehendere nisi post omnia nolunt? Distortum iter, et circuitus infinitus, cuncta primitus attentare velle.

But as for the righteous man, it is not so with him. He remembers the condemnation pronounced on the multitude who wander after vanity, who travel the broad way that leads to death (Matt. 7.13); and he chooses the King’s highway, turning aside neither to the right hand nor to the left (Num. 20.17), even as the prophet saith, ‘The way of the just is uprightness (Isa. 26.7). Warned by wholesome counsel he shuns the perilous road, and heeds the direction that shortens the search, forbidding covetousness and commanding that he sell all that he hath and give to the poor (Matt. 19.2 1). Blessed, truly, are the poor, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 5.3). They which run in a race, run all, but distinction is made among the racers. ‘The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: and the way of the ungodly shall perish’ (Ps. 1.6). ‘A small thing that the righteous hath is better than great riches of the ungodly’ (Ps. 37.16). Even as the Preacher saith, and the fool discovereth, ‘He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver’ (Eccles. 5.10). But Christ saith, ‘Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled’ (Matt. 5.6). Righteousness is the natural and essential food of the soul, which can no more be satisfied by earthly treasures than the hunger of the body can be satisfied by air. If you should see a starving man standing with mouth open to the wind, inhaling draughts of air as if in hope of gratifying his hunger, you would think him lunatic. But it is no less foolish to imagine that the soul can be satisfied with worldly things which only inflate it without feeding it. What have spiritual gifts to do with carnal appetites, or carnal with spiritual? Praise the Lord, O my soul: who satisfieth thy mouth with good things (Ps. 103.1ff). He bestows bounty immeasurable; He provokes thee to good, He preserves thee in goodness; He prevents, He sustains, He fills thee. He moves thee to longing, and it is He for whom thou longest.

21. Justus autem non ita. Audiens nempe vituperationem multorum commorantium in circuitu (multi enim sunt viam latam pergentes, quae ducit ad mortem), ipse sibi regiam eligit viam, non declinans ad dexteram vel ad sinistram. Denique attestante propheta, Semita justi recta est, rectis callis justi ad ambulandum (Isai. XXVI, 7). Hi sunt, qui salubri compendio cauti sunt molestum hunc et infructuosum vitare circuitum, verbum abbreviatum et abbrevians eligentes, non cupere quaecunque vident, [0987A] sed vendere magis quae possident, et dare pauperibus. Beati plane pauperes, quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum (Matth. V, 3). Omnes quidem currunt (I Cor. IX, 24); sed inter currentes discernitur. Denique novit Dominus viam justorum, et iter impiorum peribit (Psal. I, 6). Ideo autem melius est modicum justo super divitias peccatorum multas (Psal. XXXVI, 16), quoniam quidem, ut Sapiens loquitur et insipiens experitur, qui diligit pecuniam, non saturabitur pecunia (Eccle. V, 9): qui autem esuriunt et sitiunt justitiam, ipsi saturabuntur (Matth. V, 6). Justitia siquidem ratione utentis spiritus cibus est vitalis et naturalis: pecunia vero sic non minuit animi famem, quomodo nec corporis ventus. Denique si famelicum hominem apertis faucibus [0987B] vento, inflatis haurire buccis aerem cernas, quo quasi consulat fami, nonne credas insanire? Sic non minoris insaniae est, si spiritum rationalem rebus putes quibuscunque corporalibus non magis inflari, quam satiari. Quid namque de corporibus ad spiritus? Nec illa sane spiritualibus, nec isti e regione refici corporalibus queunt. Benedic, anima mea, Domino, qui replet in bonis desiderium tuum (Psal. CII, 1, 5). Replet in bonis, excitat ad bonum, tenet in bono; praevenit, sustinet, implet. Ipse facit ut desideres; ipse est quod desideras.

I have said already that the motive for loving God is God Himself. And I spoke truly, for He is as well the efficient cause as the final object of our love. He gives the occasion for love, He creates the affection, He brings the desire to good effect. He is such that love to Him is a natural due; and so hope in Him is natural, since our present love would be vain did we not hope to love Him perfectly some day. Our love is prepared and rewarded by His. He loves us first, out of His great tenderness; then we are bound to repay Him with love; and we are permitted to cherish exultant hopes in Him. ‘He is rich unto all that call upon Him’ (Rom. 10.12), yet He has no gift for them better than Himself. He gives Himself as prize and reward: He is the refreshment of holy soul, the ransom of those in captivity. ‘The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him’ (Lam. 3.25). What will He be then to those who gain His presence? But here is a paradox, that no one can seek the Lord who has not already found Him. It is Thy will, O God, to be found that Thou mayest be sought, to be sought that Thou mayest the more truly be found. But though Thou canst be sought and found, Thou canst not be forestalled. For if we say, ‘Early shall my prayer come before Thee’ (Ps. 88.13), yet doubtless all prayer would be lukewarm unless it was animated by Thine inspiration.

22. Dixi supra: Causa diligendi Deum, Deus est. Verum dixi: nam et efficiens, et finalis. Ipse dat occasionem, ipse creat affectionem, desiderium ipse [0987C] consummat. Ipse fecit, vel potius factus est ut amaretur: ipse speratur, amandus felicius, ne in vacuum sit amatus. Ejus amor nostrum et praeparat, et remunerat. Praecedit benignior, rependitur justior, exspectatur suavior. Dives est omnibus qui invocant eum: nec tamen habet quidquam se ipso melius. Se dedit in meritum, se servat in praemium, se apponit in refectione animarum sanctarum, se in redemptione distrahit captivarum. Bonus es, Domine, animae quaerenti te (Thren. III, 25): quid ergo invenienti? Sed enim in hoc est mirum, quod nemo te quaerere valet, nisi qui prius invenerit. Vis igitur inveniri ut quaeraris, quaeri ut inveniaris. Potes quidem quaeri et inveniri, non tamen praeveniri, Nam etsi dicimus, Mane oratio mea praeveniet te [0987D] (Psal. LXXXVII, 14); non dubium tamen quod tepida sit omnis oratio, quam non praevenerit inspiratio.

We have spoken of the consummation of love towards God: now to consider whence such love begins.

. Dicendum jam unde inchoet amor noster, quoniam ubi consummetur, dictum est


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