Thursday, September 20, 2012

St. Bernard of Clairvaux on the Glory of the Body

Bereft of their bodies, the souls of the blessed ones have neither the wish nor the power to reach their ultimate end.  Therefore, until such time as their bodies are restored to them, souls cannot be absorbed into God with that fullness which is their loftiest, their perfect, state.  Neither would the spirit yearn once more for the fellowship of the flesh were it possible to reach the perfect condition of human nature in aught other way.  In all verity, the taking up and laying down of the body is not without purpose unto the soul.  For precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.

But if death be precious, how dear must be life, above all the life to come?  One cannot wonder that the body transfigured will be of use to the soul, since even now, in its frailness and mortality, there is much help that is given by the body, manifestly.  He spoke well, indeed, who said, to them that love God, all things work together unto good.  Whether in this life, or in death, or in the final resurrection, the body availeth much to the soul that loveth the Lord.  In the first case, it produces the fruit of penitence; in the second, the boon of rest; and in the third, the last condition of beatitude.  The soul is right in deeming that since the body is of service to her in every state, it too should have a part in perfection.

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