Today we hear Christ Jesus refer to himself as Bridegroom. Our fast and Lenten observance are meant to increase our longing for him and deepen our awareness of his love for us. As Cistercian monks we are called to cling to Christ, the Bridegroom of the Church and of each Christian. Especially through the Eucharist, he teaches us the intimate nature of what it means to belong to him: gratuitous, total, ongoing and life-giving love that invites reciprocity.
And so we are called to give concrete priority to prayer, understood as gratuitous giving and receiving, experienced as loving faith anticipating the coming of the longed-for Bridegroom. We promise to work at the discipline of love, a love based on truth that opens us to self-knowledge and mercy in the face of our own misery and the misery of others.
Icon of Christ the Bridegroom. Lines adapted from Dom Bernardo Olivera, 2002.