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.