My brethren, I exhort you to withdraw your minds occasionally from the sad and disquieting memory of your sins, and to pass out of the confined limits of your consciences into the smoother ways of thoughts upon the benefits of God.

Thus, after experiencing confusion within yourselves, you will feel your courage revive at the view of the divine goodness.

I wish you would resolve to put to the test of experience that which the prophet recommend to us in the words “delight in the Lord, and He will give you the requests of your heart”.

True, sorrow for sin is a necessity, yet it should not be continuous.

It must sometimes give place to the more cheering thoughts of the divine clemency, lest otherwise the heart, frozen hard by excessive sadness, should fall a victim to despair.

Let us, then, mingle a little honey with our wormwood, in order that we may be able to swallow the bitters thus tempered with sweets, and so derive advantage to our spiritual health.

[…] The divine loving-kindness is greater than any iniquity whatever.

Therefore “the just is his own accuser in the beginning of his words” (Prov. 18:17), but only in the beginning, not throughout. Rather it is his custom to conclude his words with the praises of God.

[…] My brethren, after the example of the just man you should “think of the Lord in goodness”, whist you think of yourself in humility.

So we read in Wisdom “think of the Lord in goodness, and seek Him in simplicity of heart”.

This lesson must be impressed upon your minds by a frequent, or rather by an uninterrupted remembrance of the divine bounty.

Otherwise how can the words of St Paul be fulfilled in you “in all things giving thanks”, if you allow the benefits, for which thanks should be rendered, to escape from your memory.

[…] It is impossible, I admit, for anyone to recall and keep in mind all the benefits which our “compassionate and merciful Lord” ceases not to bestow upon mortals.

“Who shall declare the powers of the Lord? Who shall set forth all His praises?”

Yet, at least, that which is chief and greatest, I mean the benefit of redemption, ought surely never to depart from the memory of the redeemed.

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153): Sermons on the Song of Songs, 11.