Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

Who will free me from this body of death?

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Unhappy creature that I am, who will free me from this body of death by which I am weighed down and oppressed to the extent that, unless the Lord helps me, my soul would soon be living in hell! The soul struggling under this load laments saying: 'Why have you set me against you, and I am become a burden for myself?' By the words 'I am become a burden for myself is shown that she herself is her own law and that nobody but herself did that. But what she said previously, speaking to God: 'Why 'have you set me against you?' means that she has not escaped from God's law.

It is proper to God's eternally just law that the one who does not want to accept its sweet rule, will be the slave of his own will as a penance; he who casts away the pleasant yoke and light load of charity, will have to bear unwillingly the unbearable burden of his own will. By a mysterious and just measure the eternal law has set its fugitive against himself yet retaining him captive, for he can neither escape the law of justice which he deserves nor remain with God in his light, rest, and glory, because he is subject to power and banished from happiness.

O Lord, my God, why do you not take away my sin, and wherefore do you not remove my evil, that delivered from the heavy load of self-will, I may breathe under charity's light burden, that Imay not be forced on by slavish fear or drawn on by a hireling's cupidity? May I be moved by your Spirit, the Spirit of liberty by which your sons are acting, which bears witness to my spirit that I, too, am one ofyour sons, that there is just one law for both of us, that I must also be as you are in this world.

Bernard of Clairvaux
The Mirror of Charity 1.22.63-4; CF 17:123-124.

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