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FRIDAY OF THE TWENTIETH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME AUGUST 20, 2021 MEMORIAL OF ST BERNARD






A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mt 22:34-40


When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law, tested him by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”


REFLECTION

“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind...

You shall love your neighbor as yourself."


Man was created to love God. Because of this love, happiness and eternal life happen. All saints are in love with God and love their neighbors as themselves. Love was with them.


St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) was known as the "man of the twelfth century". He said, “Love is the fountain of life, and the soul which does not drink from it cannot be called alive.” He was a great lover of God and considered the last of the Church Fathers.


He taught that to know God we need to be devoted to him in poverty, simplicity, and solitude. He lived a very disciplined strict life. He wrote , " The Four Degrees of Love".


The First Degree of Love: Loving Yourself for your own sake (Selfish Love).

The Second Degree of Love: Loving God for your own blessing (Dependence on God)

The Third Degree of Love: Loving God for God’s Own Sake (Intimacy with God)

The Fourth Degree of Love: Self-Love for God’s Sake (Being United with God’s Love)


He advised popes, defended the faith and healed schisms. He was a reformer, theologian and a great preacher. Yet his desire was to lead a life of solitude in the monastic order. His ability as a disputor, arbitrator and counsellor caused him to be very active in the Church. He was devoted to the Blessed Virgin.


In 1830 he was declared a Doctor of the Church.


Even though St Bernard really wanted to spend his time in solitude, the good Lord gave him many gifts and it was His will to have St Bernard grow His Church. Let us pray for such brave men who desired to love God above all things. He prayed from the heart and knew what his vision and mission were--to serve the Lord through love and selfish surrender to His will. Let us remember all our priests who we pray for daily. The many who need that extra help or nudge in their spiritual life. The many who are in their middle ages and may not have the spirituality that they had when young. Pray, pray and pray that they may all be on fire for God. PAPA Prayer for priests


God Bless You.



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