Saturday, July 29, 2017

At Bethany

As Cistercian monks we celebrate today the memorial of Mary, Martha and Lazarus- Hosts of the Lord. And so our Gospel this morning took us to the house at Bethany after Lazarus has been raised by Jesus. There is a dinner being prepared in the house of his dear friends. Martha is preparing the feast, Lazarus is at table and Mary takes a liter of costly perfumed oil and anoints Jesus' feet most tenderly and dries them with her hair.

For Saint Bernard each monk must somehow unite in himself "all three vocations: that of the penitent, the active worker and the contemplative." This happens as we hear Jesus' call to come out of the tomb of our sinfulness into the light of his mercy as did Lazarus. It happens when we serve one another in love as Martha. It happens, when attentive to Christ Jesus, we listen to his words and cherish them in our hearts like Mary. In all three ways of love we can choose the "better part," which Jesus promises shall not be taken from us.

The Candidate's Cottage at the Abbey.  Reflections excerpted from a Sermon by Saint Bernard for the Assumption.