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    people waving palm branches in a Palm Sunday procession

    The Road by Which the Savior Comes

    It is not a lengthy road that is set before you to meet God; you have only to enter into yourself to find him.

    By Bernard of Clairvaux

    April 2, 2023

    The Palm Sunday Procession

    I want you to see in this procession, dearest brethren, an image of the glory of our heavenly fatherland, and in the Passion the way that leads to it. For the trials of this present time are the way to life, the way to glory, the way to the holy city, the way to the kingdom of God according to the witness of the thief who said from his cross “Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

    The thief beheld Christ on his way to his kingdom and begged to be remembered by him when he arrived there. He also came there as a result of his prayer; and by how short a journey you may gather from the fact that he was deemed worthy to be with the Lord in Paradise on that very day.

    Thus the glory of the procession renders the pains of the Passion easy to endure, because nothing appears difficult to the soul that loves.

    people waving palm branches in a Palm Sunday procession

    Photograph by Sidneydealmeida

    The Road by which the Savior Comes

    Now we must earnestly search out the road by which he comes, so that we may be able to go out to meet him as is fitting. However, as he came once on earth in visible flesh to work out our redemption, so he comes daily in a hidden spiritual way to save each individual soul. This spiritual coming of his is shown to be hidden in the text: “Under his shadow we shall live among the nations.” So, then, surely even if the sick man is unable to go very far to meet such a great Physician, he should at least make an effort to lift his head and raise himself up a little to greet him as he approaches.

    It is not necessary for you to cross the seas, nor to pierce the clouds, nor to climb mountains to meet your God. It is not a lengthy road that is set before you; you have only to enter into yourself to find him. “For his word is very near you; it is on your lips and in your heart.”

    Encounter him in compunction of heart and in confession of your sins, so that you may at least leave behind you the dunghill of a defiled conscience, for the Author of purity could not be asked to enter such a place.

    Our Need of Christ

    Without doubt the whole human race labors under a three-fold misery, which painfully oppresses everyone who lives in this region of the shadow of death, subject to the infirmities of the flesh and the assaults of temptation. For we are easily led astray; we soon weary of labor; we quickly yield to violence. We are deceived when we try to discern between good and evil; we faint and give up as often as we undertake a good work; if we try to resist evil, we are promptly cast down and overcome.

    Very necessary therefore is the coming of the Savior. Very necessary is the presence of Christ for us so surrounded by dangers. God grant that he may not only come to us, but that he may also dwell in us by faith to enlighten our blindness. That he may remain with us by grace to assist our utter impotence, and stand by us with his power to protect and defend our fragility. If he remains with us surely we can do all things in him who strengthens us. If he is for us who can be against us?

    Excerpted from Bernard of Clairvaux, Love Without Measure: Extracts from the Writings of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, ed. Paul Diemer (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1990) 7, 9, 85. Used by permission. Permission conveyed through Copyright Clearance Center, Inc.

    Contributed By BernardofClairvaux Bernard of Clairvaux

    Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153) was a Cistercian monk and mystic.

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