January 27, 2010

Keys and Nails

Each time I read St. Bernard I appreciate him even more. Who knows? Perhaps if I had found him earlier in life I would be a Cistercian now instead of a Franciscan. My first priest, who patiently endured dealing with me extensively as a pre-catechumen and then again as a neophyte, has always said that I was really a Benedictine at heart. I don't believe it, but perhaps some of my confreres would agree.

Bernard comes to us today in the Office of Readings, from a sermon on the Song of Songs:

"But the piercing nail has become a key to unlock the door, that I may see the good will of the Lord. And what can I see as I through the hole? Both the nail and the wound cry out that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself."

In Bernard's Latin the play of clavis, "key," clavus, "nail," and clamat, "cry" is striking:

At clavis reserans, clavus penetrans factus est mihi, ut videam voluntatem Domini. Quidni videam per foramen? Clamat clavus, clamat vulnus, quod vere Deus sit in Christo mundum reconcilians sibi.

The cry is the expression of God's Passion, the passionate desire for the salvation and reconciliation of the world. It is the sound of the incarnate Word of God being broken open so that the saving bath of his Precious Blood will pour out over the world.


Mandrivnyk said...

I tend to get a lot out of reading St. Bernard, too, though I've never felt particularly attracted to the Benedictine charism. Though, it is lovely. Perhaps it has something to do with coming from a Byzantine family; I'm awfully fond, if that's the right word, of the desert. It's marvelous being Catholic, isn't it? The Church has room for such a variety of spiritualities.

"...it is the sound of the incarnate Word of God being broken open so that the saving bath of his Precious Blood will pour out over the world."

That's very well put. Thank you, Father.

Adoro said...

Wow, that's beautiful. Thank you for it.

You never know, though...I've met several sisters who started out in one place and through the work of God ended up Cistercian or Dominican! LOL! (And this, AFTER final profession, and they were very very faithful women.)

ben in denver said...

In so many ways we are all dependent upon the sons and daughters of St. Benedict. This makes a great deal of sense. It was the work and prayer of the Benedictines that built Western Christendom from the fall of Rome until the 13th century. Insofar as we are Chirstians of the West, we are all benedictines to some extent, especially those attached to the traditional liturgy, which was brought to perfection in the benedictine monastaries of the middle ages.

4narnia said...

nice post, Fr. C! i'm glad you're a Franciscan! PAX! ~tara t~