St. Bernard – The Yoke and Burden of the World Crushes, that of Christ is Sweet and Light May 17, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, mortification, reading, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
Another excerpt from a series of sermons and letters written by St. Bernard of Clairvaux on various subjects. This one explodes the false logic of the world, which posits the burden of Christianity to be hard and unsustainable, while the pleasures of the world are sweet and easy. St. Bernard shows that nothing could be further from the truth, that the way of Christ is far easier and His burden far lighter than the lies and deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil. This is a truth that should be shouted from the rooftops in these days, as more and more souls fall to the lie of a worldly bliss, supposedly so much easier than the “impossible” demands of the Gospel – something even many in the highest reaches of Church leadership now seem to believe.
St. Bernard (with my emphasis and comments):
Furthermore, the slave and the hireling [of the world] have a law, not from the Lord, but of their own contriving; the one does not love God, the other loves something else more than God. They have a law of their own, not of God, I say; yet it is subject to the law of the Lord. For though they can make laws for themselves, they cannot supplant the changeless order of the eternal law. Each man is a law unto himself, when he sets up his will against the universal law, perversely striding to rival his Creator, to be wholly independent, making his will his only law. [This sublime truth clearly demonstrates just what a grievous blow the protestant revolutionaries inflicted on the Church and world with their manifold errors, so many of which asserted man’s will above God’s. That is where Christendom took its first disastrous wrong turn, from which it has never recovered, and it has been a linear descent from the peak of the 13th century to today, with the irrevocable path marked out from Luther’s first non serviam. Tragically, such thinking has now infiltrated deep into the Church, after the bastions which successfully kept it out for 400 years were deliberately torn down.] What a heavy and burdensome yoke upon all the sons of Adam, bowing down our necks, so that our life draweth nigh unto hell…….
……The eternal law of righteousness ordains that he who will not submit to God’s sweet rule shall suffer the bitter tyranny of the self; but he who wears the easy yoke and light burden of Christ (Mt xi:30) will escape the intolerable weight of his own self-will. [That is so contrary to the ways of the world that it takes transformation by Grace to understand it, but it is so very, very true! I have lived under my own will, and all I knew was misery. I still go back to asserting my will today, and all it gets me is trouble. But when I am docile to the Will of God, I find peace.] Wondrously and justly does that eternal law retain rebels in subjection, so that they are unable to escape. They are subject to God’s power, yet deprived of happiness with Him, unable to dwell with God in light and rest and everlasting glory. [Thus the misery under which so many languish today] O Lord my God, ‘why dost Thou not pardon my transgression and take away mine iniquity?” (Jb vii:21). Then freed from the weight of my own will, I can breathe easily under the light burden of love. I shall not be coerced by fear, nor allured by mercenary desires; for I shall be led by the Spirit of God, that free Spirit whereby Thy sons are led, which beareth witness with my spirit that I am among the children of God (Rom viii:16). So shall I be under that law which is Thine; and as Thou art, so shall I be in the world. Whosoever do what the apostle bids, “Owe no many anything, but to love one another” (Rom xiii:8), are doubtless even in this life conformed to God’s likeness: they are neither slaves nor hirelings but sons.
The way of Jesus Christ is not the way of the world. It is not the way of men. There have been times when the Faith has so influenced the culture at a given time and place that many, perhaps most, people comprehended the kind of truth St. Bernard conveys above, at least at some basic level. Unfortunately (a massive understatement), centuries of very concerted, deliberate effort to drive that comprehension from the minds of virtually everyone have been a near total success. And so now not only is basic Catholic morality and spirituality regarded as strange and impossibly hard by the world, it is even viewed as such by almost the entirety of the laity and leadership of the Church, for perhaps the first time ever.
The truth is still there for those who want to find it. I pray fervently that more will.