Before this Memorial of St. Bernard of Clairvaux draws to a close, I would like to reflect upon a simple passage he wrote. In today’s Office of Readings, St. Bernard writes:
Love is a great thing so long as it contiunally returns to its fountainhead, flows back to its source, always drawing from there the water which constantly replenishes it.
What is the Fountainhead, the Source of Love to which St. Bernard refers? Clearly, that Font is God. “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16)
How does one return to this Font? Prayer. Sacraments. The practice of Charity. St. Augustine said: “He who sees love sees the Trinity.”
The Christian vocation is to love; to make a gift of one’s self to God, to His Church, and to others. However, we all know that to live so selflessly is draining, and the advice of St. Bernard to return to the Fountainhead that replenishes our love is sage advice.
I had a powerful ‘visual’ of this yesterday as I drove past the Glendo Reservoir. The North Platte River runs through this Reservoir. Just a year ago, this reservoir was beyond full! Today, you can see the river run through the dry bottom in several parts. If Nebraska did not have water rights down river, I’m sure the reservoir would still be quite full. Without the system of reservoirs along the river, it would have been as low as the other rivers in the state. Without rain, I wonder how much longer water will flow at its present rate?
The point…we, too, ‘dry up’ when we do not take time to pray. We, too, shrivel from the demands of life if we do not make room for God, for Christ and His sacraments. Just as the river flows into, through and beyond the reservoir, so is God our Origin, sustains us in this life, and is our ultimate Destiny. Just as all creation depends upon water for life, the human person and society without God is incomplete.
Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. (John 6: 54-55)
Is there a lack of love in the world and society today? I believe there is a direct correlation to the desire of an ‘aggressive secularism’ to push God to the fringes of society and the many social ills we see; abortion, the desire to ‘redefine marriage’, the break-up of families, violence, increase in pornography, and the list goes on. Granted, sin will always be a reality, and we do not live in a perfect world, but when the Fountainhead is denied and ignored, we should not be surprised when decent society struggles and fades.
And yet, there is always hope!
The New Evangelization is very much a call for each member of our faith to renew our relationship with Christ. This is ‘our time’ in God’s plan for us to bring our faith to the daily life of society. We have a tremendous gift as Church to lift up all that is good and to allow the power of God’s Word, the grace of the sacraments, and our many acts of charity to come to the aid of today’s challenging problems.
Each parish is a Source of God’s love. Each parish is called to be an oasis of the grace of Christ. Our Diocesan Pastoral Plan is a call to renew the sacramental and pastoral life of each parish community so that each one of us can be a ‘spring’ of new life in the world.
Let us return to our Fountainhead and flow back to our Source. Let us continually return to Christ. He established His Church and His Sacraments for this very purpose. Receive the sacraments often. Stay close to Christ and His Church, for He is our Source of unity, peace, love, and stability.0