No one shows greater mercy than he who lays down his life for those who are judged and condemned. My merit therefore is the mercy of the Lord. Surely I am not devoid of merit as long as he is not devoid of mercy. And if the Lord abounds in mercy, I too must abound in merits. But what if I am aware of my many failings? Then, where failings abounded, grace abounded all the more. And if the mercies of the Lord are from eternity to eternity, I for my part will chant the mercies of the Lord forever.
Quoting this passage from Saint Bernard, Father Luke reminded us in his Sunday homily that we have every reason to be filled with hope even as we look ahead to our individual “ends” and ultimately to the end of the world. If we seem to be “flunking” out in the school of life and falling flat on our faces as we try to run in the way of his commandments, God only loves us more and more. For when he looks with love on the Son of God, he sees all of us in his beloved Son. We too are his beloved ones.
As we celebrate this Thanksgiving Day, we have every reason to hope and to be filled with gratitude for all that God in Christ is accomplishing for us, through us, with us and in us.
Lines from Sermon 61 0n the Song of Songs by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. Photograph of an ancient elm on the Abbey grounds by Brother Daniel.