Tuesday of 20th Week of Ordinary C--Saint Bernard, Abbot, Doctor of the Church

What Shall We Leave Behind to Be United with God?

Today, the Church remembers Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church. He was born at the castle of Fontaines, in Burgundy. When he renounced the world to join the monks at Citeaux, all his brothers followed him except Nivard, the youngest one, who was left to stay with his father in his old age. However, the youngest one said to his brothers, “You leave me earth, and keep heaven for yourselves; do you call that fair?” He too left the world. Only one sister left behind. She was married and loved the world and its pleasures. One day she dressed magnificently to come to visit Saint Bernard, he refused to see her, and only at last consented to do so, not as her brother, but as the minister of Christ. The words the saint spoke to her that moved her so much that two years later, she joined the convent with her husband’s consent. She died in the reputation of sanctity. The saint’s holy example attracted so many novices, even bishops, kings, and popes applied to him for advice. His most precious writings have earned for him the titles of the last of the Fathers and a Doctor of the Holy Church.

What made Saint Bernard renounced the world and joined the monks at Citeaux? Perhaps, the words of Jesus praying to God the Father reminded Saint Bernard to be united with the Lord just as he’s in the Father and the Father in him. Saint Bernard renounced the world so that he could be in God through a religious life, a life distanced from the world.

Three missionary monks once met and shared with one another of their works of evangelization. They compared their work bey comparing the money that they raised in their evangelizing ministries. The first one said, the money that we collected, we drew a big circle. We then threw all the money up the air, whatever landed in the circle, it’s our money. If it’s out of the circle, it belonged to God. The second one said, the money that we collected, we drew a small circle. We then threw the money up, whatever money landed into the small circle, it belonged to God. Whatever was outside, it belonged to us. The last missionary monk then said, I think I beat you two. The money that we collected, we threw it into the air. Whatever God wanted, God took. Whatever he didn’t want, we took it.

Saint Bernard renounced the world so that he could have more time and a better service to others. To be one with God is to leave everything in the world to have a solitude life to be united with him just as Saint Bernard left the world to join the monastery so to be united with God. What shall you and I leave behind everything or something to be united with God the Trinity? Decision is yours.


Weekday Homilies 2019

Homilies by Fr. Joseph Thang Nguyen

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