From Sermon 83

During the last three days I have spent the time allotted me in showing the affinity between the Word and the soul. What was the value of all that labor? Surely this: We have learned that every soul-

Even sin-burdened, vice-entangled, pleasure-enticed

Even though in exile, a prisoner-of-war, incarcerated in body,

mud-stuck and mire deep, limb-fastened and care-fixated

even though strung-out over business wrangling,

fear-knotted and sadness-crushed

even though errant in wrong-headed wanderings,

in anxious uneasiness,

in restless suspicions, 

even though a foreigner in a foreign land, among enemies,

and –  as the Prophet says – one polluted by death with the dead

and numbered among those going down to hell

even so, we have learned, I believe, that every soul

(however condemned, however hopeless)

can turn around, can turn back and breathe once more

not only the hope of mercy, the hope of pardon,

but can even breathe aspirations of wedding-nights

with the Word.

Bernard of Clairvaux




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