VATICAN CITY, OCT. 21, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Only Jesus is “joy to the heart,” says Benedict XVI, citing words from St. Bernard of Clairvaux.
The Pope reflected today during the general audience on this 12th century saint, highlighting his personal relationship with Christ.
According to the Holy Father, “in a more than decisive way, the abbot of Clairvaux configures the theologian to the contemplative and the mystic. Only Jesus — insists Bernard in face of the complex dialectical reasoning of his time — only Jesus is ‘honey to the mouth, song to the ear, joy to the heart.'”
Ideas like this one, noted the Pontiff, won the saint his traditional title: “Doctor Mellifluus: his praise of Jesus Christ, in fact, ‘runs like honey.'”
Benedict XVI observed that “the abbot of Clairvaux does not tire of repeating that only one name counts, that of Jesus the Nazarene. ‘Arid is all food of the soul,’ [the saint] confesses, ‘if it is not sprinkled with this oil; insipid, if it is not seasoned with this salt. What is written has no flavor for me, if I have not read Jesus.’ And he concludes: ‘When you discuss or speak, nothing has flavor for me, if I have not heard resound the name of Jesus.'”
The Pope said Bernard’s concept of true knowledge of God consists in a “personal, profound experience of Jesus Christ and of his love.”
“And this, dear brothers and sisters,” he said, “is true for every Christian: Faith is above all a personal, intimate encounter with Jesus, and to experience his closeness, his friendship, his love; only in this way does one learn to know him ever more, and to love and follow him ever more. May this happen to each one of us.”
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On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text of general audience address: www.zenit.org/article-27293?l=english