The Abbot Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), details God’s great work in sending His Son as a human like us. The few paragraphs below are rich and dense, please read them a few times, meditate on them and pray—they will open your minds to the mystery of God becoming incarnate, and offering himself on our behalf. This entering into mystery is an intrinsic part of the work we must do this Lent, so that when we arrive at Palm Sunday and Holy Week, we enter into the mystery with hearts furrowed and awaiting the seed of the Word.
In the beginning was the Word. The spring was gushing forth, yet still within himself. Indeed, the Word was with God, truly dwelling in inaccessible light. And the Lord said from the beginning: I think thoughts of peace and not of affliction. Yet Your thought was locked within You, and whatever You thought, we did not know; for who knew the mind of the Lord, or who was His counselor?
And so the idea of peace came down to do the work of peace: The Word was made flesh and even now dwells among us. It is by faith that He dwells in our hearts, in our memory, our intellect and penetrates even into our imagination.
What concept could human beings have of God if He did not first fashion an image of God in their hearts? By nature incomprehensible and inaccessible, God was invisible and unthinkable, but now He wished to be understood, to be seen and thought of.
But how, you ask, was this done?
He lay in a manger and rested on a virgin’s breast, preached on a mountain, and spent the night in prayer. He hung on a cross, grew pale in death, and roamed free among the dead and ruled over those in hell. He rose again on the third day, and showed the apostles the wounds of the nails, the signs of victory; and finally in their presence He ascended to the sanctuary of heaven.
How can we not contemplate this story in truth, piety and holiness?
Whatever of all this I consider, it is God I am considering; in all this He is my God.
Let us pray the prayer of the 1st Sunday of Lent:
Grant, almighty God, through the yearly observances of holy Lent, that we may grow in understanding of the riches hidden in Christ and by worthy conduct pursue their effects.