Friday, July 31, 2009

Thoughtful quote

      While on vacation I did a "bit of light reading" as a Harry Potter character might say. I read some of Bernard of Clairvaux' On Loving God.  He had some interesting things to say and I want to include a quote here.  So, here goes;
       "If a man finds it a burden, I will not say only to relieve his brother's needs, but to minister to his brother's pleasures, let him mortify those same affections in himself, lest he become a transgressor.  He may cherish himself as tenderly as he chooses, if only he remembers to show the same indulgence to his neighbor. ... That is a temperate and righteous love which practices self-denial in order to minister to a brother's necessity.  So, our selfish love grows truly social, when it includes our neighbor in its circle."
      I thought these words quite challenging.  What a way to curb my own selfishness.  If what I allow to myself I also must give to others.  It bears thinking about - that if I should love my neighbor as myself, then I should seek to minister to what gives my neighbor pleasure - not just his or her need.  This doesn't mean that I must necessarily love myself less.  It means that I must love others more so that my life is more in line with the second greatest commandment.
      What are your thoughts on the matter?

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