Commentary of the day :
Saint Bernard (1091-1153), Cistercian monk and doctor of the Church
Sermon 58 on the Song of Songs
Bearing fruit in abundance
I must warn each of you about his vine: for who has never cut back everything that is superfluous in himself to the point of thinking that there is nothing more to cut? Believe me, what has been cut, grows back; the vices that have been chased away return, and we see tendencies that had gone to sleep waking up again. It is therefore not enough to cut one’s vine once; rather, we have to do it again and often, and if possible, even without ceasing. For if you are sincere, you ceaselessly find in yourself something to cut… Virtue cannot grow among the vices; for virtue to develop, we must prevent the vices from increasing. So suppress what is superfluous; then the necessary will be able to spring up.
For us, Brothers, it is always the time for cutting; it is always necessary. For I am sure that we have already left winter behind us, we have left behind the fear without love, which introduces us all to wisdom, but which doesn’t let anyone grow in perfection. When love comes, it chases away that fear just as the summer chases away the winter… So may the winter rains stop, that is say, the tears of anguish that arise because of the memory of your sins and the fear of judgment… If “the winter is over” and “the rain has topped” (Song2:11)…, the sweetness of the spring of spiritual grace shows us that the time has come to cut our vine. What else is there for us to do other than to become entirely committed to this work?