I love because I love, I love that I may love – St. Bernard, abbot

Posted: Aug 20, 2008 in Community, Meditation & Devotion, Spiritual Transformation

We speak regularly of this love and our upcoming wedding (with the Christ God) at VineLife. I wonder if true Love is so foreign to us that we cannot even read the poetic words below and relate. Please share your reactions, feelings, desires regarding the thoughts of St. Bernard. (No comments about his name, lol)

Love is sufficient of itself, it gives pleasure by itself and because of itself. It is its own merit, its own reward. Love looks for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself. Its profit lies in its practice. I love because I love, I love that I may love. Love is a great thing so long as it continually returns to its fountainhead, flows back to its source, always drawing from there the water which constantly replenishes it. Of all the movements, sensations and feelings of the soul, love is the only one in which the creature can respond to the Creator and make some sort of similar return however unequal though it be. For when God loves, all he desires is to be loved in return; the sole purpose of his love is to be loved, in the knowledge that those who love him are made happy by their love of him.

The Bridegroom’s love, or rather the love which is the Bridegroom, asks in return nothing but faithful love. Let the beloved, then, love in return. Should not a bride love, and above all, Love’s bride? Could it be that Love not be loved?

Rightly then does she give up all other feelings and give herself wholly to love alone; in giving love back, all she can do is to respond to love. And when she has poured out her whole being in love, what is that in comparison with the unceasing torrent of that original source? Clearly, lover and Love, soul and Word, bride and Bridegroom, creature and Creator do not flow with the same volume; one might as well equate a thirsty man with the fountain.

What then of the bride’s hope, her aching desire, her passionate love, her confident assurance? Is all this to wilt just because she cannot match stride for stride with her giant, any more than she can vie with honey for sweetness, rival the lamb for gentleness, show herself as white as the lily, burn as bright as the sun, be equal in love with him who is Love? No. It is true that the creature loves less because she is less. But if she loves with her whole being, nothing is lacking where everything is given. To love so ardently then is to share the marriage bond; she cannot love so much and not be totally loved, and it is in the perfect union of two hearts that complete and total marriage consists. Or are we to doubt that the soul is loved by the Word first and with a greater love?

In my mind, this is perhaps the most significant blog on this pointlesblog.com site. Please don’t readily dismiss on account of its challenging words. Love is challenging. Read it again. Dwell in it’s richness.

  1. Cozy says:

    After reading this I feel challenged as a wife. I admit I am having a hard time understanding what it all means. I think sometimes in a marriage you can get “comfortable”, do you know what I mean? Things become mundane and life sort of passes you by, then all of a sudden its a year later and you realize you haven’t focused on the “love” between you and your spouse. I find it hard to focus on that and not on the everyday stuff that gets in the way. I will keep reading this, and thinking on it. Thanks~

  2. russ says:

    This is a difficult one…
    i think i really don’t even know what it IS to love.
    why would the creator want to love us? why would he care if we reciprocate?
    how do we even show love to him? (feed my sheep?)
    are we supposed to show love or are we supposed to BE love?
    and what does that mean???
    i have a long way to go.

  3. Les McDaniel says:

    I appreciate the honesty from you two. While I don’t necessarily have the answers figured out myself, I appreciate your struggle with it. I, too, struggle with loving BUT namely because I struggle with being loved. 1 John 5.16ff

    “So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

    God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.”

    You see it is the fact that we were made in his image to be loved that we in turn are able to reflect that love.The challenge for me, is just to dwell in that love. To contemplate Jesus on the cross, broken, hanging and pierced, for me. To realize that when I deny his love, I strip the power from the cross. This is how I connect with that love.

    Yet, when I don’t, when I choose to focus on loving myself or even loving my family apart from His love, I realize that I reflect nothing more than an expectation of receiving love the way I think I need it. Oh the endless cycle. Again, thanks for your replies.

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