St. Bernard otherwise founded numerous other monasteries. Several Bishoprics were offered him, but, in order to protect his monastic calling, he refused them all. He was commissioned by Pope Eugene III to preach the second Crusade. Finally, he was endowed with the gift of miracles. But, his love for Jesus and for Mary surely shines most brightly in in his contemplative prayer expressed in his writings. He spent eighty-six sermons explaining the first two chapters of the Song of Songs. In one of them, he says the following, which perhaps captures well Jesus in today’s gospel, in which Jesus movingly responds to a man so sick that he is unable really to engage Jesus. We witness the gratuitousness of love. Jesus loves this man because, well, this is what Jesus does. “God is love”. (I John 4:8)
Love is sufficient of itself.
It gives pleasure by itself and because of itself.
It is its own merit, its own reward.
Love looks for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself.
Its profit lies in its practice.
I love because I love.
I love that I may love.