15 May 2010

Love God Above All

Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI offered some wonderful speeches in Portugal which will hopefully turn the eyes of the Christian world towards heaven. In a world which is growing towards legalized immorality, where the boundaries of serving mammon continue to become larger, we who refuse to cross into those borders must rely on hope, which does not disappoint. Saint Bruno, while he sojourned the earth, also offered some edifying words of encouragement and warning, and now he speaks to us as a citizen of heaven. Here are some of his reflections extracted from his letters. He teaches us the path to follow based on the words of Sacred Scripture.

Remember lovely Rachel. Although she gave Jacob fewer offspring than Leah, he preferred her to the more fruitful one, whose vision was dim. The offspring of contemplation are rarer than the offspring of action; so it was that their father had more affection for Joseph and Benjamin than for their other brothers. Remember that better part, which Mary chose and which would not be taken away from her.

Remember the lovely Sunamitess, that virgin who was the only one in the land of Israel found worthy to attend to David and warm him when he was old. I should like for you, too, to love God above all, so that warmed by His embrace you may be aflame with divine love. May this charity take root in your heart so that the glory of the world, that captivating and deceptive temptation, will soon seem abhorrent to you; that you will reject the riches whose cares are a burden to the soul; and that you will find those pleasures, so harmful to body as well as spirit, distasteful.

You should always be aware of the one who wrote these words: 'If anyone loves the world and what is in the world — the concupiscence of the flesh, the covetousness of the eyes and pride — the love of the Father is not in him'; and these, too: 'Whoever wishes to be a friend of this world becomes an enemy of God'. Is there any greater sin, any worse folly and downfall of the spirit, anything more hurtful or unfortunate, than to wish to be at war against the One Whose power cannot be resisted and Whose just vengeance cannot be evaded? Are we stronger than He? If, for the moment, His patient goodness moves us to repentance, will He not at last punish the offenses of those who disregard Him? What is more perverse, more contrary to reason, to justice, and to nature itself, than to prefer creature to Creator, to pursue perishable goods instead of eternal ones, those of earth rather than those of heaven?

What do you intend to do? What, if not to believe God's counsels, to believe Truth Who cannot deceive? This is His counsel to you: 'Come to Me, you who are heavily burdened, and I will refresh you'. Isn't it a burden both unprofitable and unproductive to be tormented by concupiscence, constantly under attack by the cares, anxieties, fears, and sorrows that are the result of those desires? What heavier burden is there than that which makes the soul descend from its sublime dignity down to the underworld, where all holiness is held in contempt? Flee all this agitation and misery. Flee as from a pestilence, those who seek to corrupt you.