William of Saint-Thierry: Hasten to Share in the Holy Spirit Sunday, May 27 2012 

If you feel a natural hesitation when confronted with the more profound mysteries of faith, take courage, Christian soul, and say not contentiously but with loving submission: ‘How can these things be?’

Let your question be a prayer, let it be an expression of love, piety, and humble longing.

Seek not to explore the heights of the divine majesty, but to find salvation in the saving deeds of God our Saviour.

Then the Messenger of God’s great design will reply: When the Paraclete comes, whom I shall send you from the Father, he will remind you of everything and teach you all truth.

Even as no one knows the thoughts of man except the spirit of the man that is within him, so no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

Hasten therefore to share in the Holy Spirit. He is with you when you call upon him; you can call upon him only because he is already present.

When he comes in answer to your prayer, he comes with an abundance of divine blessings. He is the river whose streams give joy to the city of God.

If when he comes he finds you humble, silent, and trembling at the words of God, he will rest upon you and reveal what God the Father has hidden from the wise and the prudent of this world.

You will then begin to understand the things holy Wisdom could have told his disciples on earth, but which they were unable to bear until the Spirit of truth came who was to teach them all truth.

We cannot hope to learn from the lips of any man truths that Truth himself could not convey. For he himself has told us: God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth, so those who wish to know him must seek understanding of their faith and perception of its pure and simple truth only through the Holy Spirit.

In the darkness and ignorance of this life the Holy Spirit is the light that enlightens the poor in spirit, the love that draws them on, the sweetness that attracts them, their access to God, the love of the loving.

The Spirit is devotion and piety. From one degree of faith to the next the Spirit reveals to believers the justice of God, so that grace follows grace, and the faith that comes from hearing gives place to a faith enlightened by understanding.

William of Saint-Thierry (c.1075/80-1148): The Mirror of Faith (PL 180:384); from the Monastic Office of Vigils for Friday of the Seventh Week of Eastertide Year 2.

William of Saint-Thierry: Saved by the Gift of Loving God and of Being Loved by God Wednesday, Nov 17 2010 

How is it we are saved by you, O Lord, from whom salvation comes and whose blessing is upon your people, if it is not to receive from you the gift of loving you and being loved by you?

That, Lord, is why you willed that the Son of your right hand, the man whom you made strong for your own self, should be called Jesus, that is to say, Saviour, for he will save his people from their sins.

There is no other in whom is salvation except him who taught us to love himself when he first loved us, even to death on the cross.

By loving us and holding us so dear he stirred us up to love himself, who first had loved us to the end.

This is the righteousness of the sons of men: ‘Love me, for I love you.’ One seldom meets a person who can say: ‘I love you, in order that you may love me!’

But, as the servant of your love proclaims and preaches, you who first loved us did this, precisely this.

And that was not because you needed to be loved by us, but because we could not be what you created as to be, except by loving you.

Having then in many ways and on various occasions spoken to the fathers by the Prophets, now in these last days you have spoken to us in the Son, your Word, by whom the heavens were established, and all the power of them by the breath of his mouth.

For you to speak thus in your Son was an open declaration, a ‘setting in the sun’, as it were, of how much and in what sort of way you loved us, in that you spared not your own Son, but delivered him up for us all.

Yes, and he himself loved us and gave himself for us.

This, Lord, is your word to us this is your all-powerful message: he who, while all things kept silence (that is, were in the depths of error), came from the royal throne, the stern opponent of error and the gentle Apostle of love.

And everything he did and everything he said on earth, even the insults, the spitting, the buffeting, the cross and the grave, all that was nothing but yourself speaking in the Son, appealing to us by your love, and stirring up our love for you.

For you, O God, our souls’ Creator, knew that this affection cannot be forced in the souls of the sons of men, but has to be evoked.

And this is for the obvious reason that there is no freedom where there is compulsion, and, where freedom is lacking, so too is righteousness.

William of Saint-Thierry (c.1075/80-1148 On Contemplating God, 10, (translated by Sr Penelope Lawson, CSMV, Cistercian Publications), from the Monastic Office of Vigils for Saturday of the Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time Year 2.


William of Saint-Thierry: The Mysteries of Your Dealings with Men Fill the Temple of Every Mind Saturday, Oct 30 2010 

It is to my crucified one that I turn. His cross is my glory: its mark is on my brow.

It gives joy to my mind, direction to my life, love even for death itself….

The mysteries of your dealings with men here and now fill the temple of every mind, great and small.

May your holy angels…blissfully contemplate your divine majesty residing in your eternal wisdom:

Those things that are yet to be, seen before this our mortal wayfaring and after it, everything that is, past and future, enfolding it all within his eternal present which reaches in its power and strength from one extremity to another.

But our temporal passage, belonging to your dealings with men as a whole, Christ has strewn with his charity, disposing all things in sweetness, for the sake of the daughters of Jerusalem, the devout but as yet infirm souls.

They who have not thus far their elevated gaze fixed on contemplating the sublime would fain undergo hardship for your servants and be transformed so as to belong among their fellows.

Among these, O Lord, may my spirit some day be taught to adore you, spirit as you are, in spirit and in truth, flesh no longer desiring what is contrary to the spirit, nor yet holding it back.

But now that for the moment you are kept from boldly taking possession of what is to be yours, make a proper disposition of what is his, with what grace and harmony you best can, as befits him, the true owner.

I have not yet risen above the rough-hewn figures of my earthly imagination: but may you indulge and be gracious to my feeble spirit, as it expresses its true nature in letting its fancy play on your more humble creatures.

Behold! the meagre enfolding the newly born, the holy child being adored;

the footprints of the crucified one being licked, as he hangs on the cross;

his feet being held and kissed now that he is risen;

the hand, put in the place where the nails went;

and then the exclamation – My Lord and my God!

William of Saint-Thierry (c.1075/80-1148): Meditativae orationes X, from the Monastic Office of Vigils for Sunday of the Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time Year 2.