On Seeking (Bernard)

Bernard of Clairvaux: Selected Works Bernard of Clairvaux’s commentary/sermons on the Song of Solomon is allegorical, but it is for sure worth reading.  One reason this commentary is worth reading is because in it Bernard very helpfully describes the biblical “seeking” theme.  Here’s one example from Sermon 84, part 5:

“I have sought,” she says, “him whom my soul loves” (Songs 3:1). This is what the kindness of Him who goes before you urges you to do, He who both sought you first and loved you first (1 Jn 4:10). You would not be seeking Him or loving Him unless you had first been sought and loved. You have been forestalled not only in one blessing (Gn 27:28) but in two, in love and in seeking. The love is the cause of the seeking, and the seeking is the fruit of the love; and it is its guarantee. You are loved, so that you may not think that you are sought so as to be punished; you are sought, so that you may not complain that you are loved in vain. Both these sweet gifts of love make you bold and drive diffidence away, and they persuade you to return and move you to loving response. Hence comes the zeal, the ardor to seek him whom your soul loves, for you cannot seek unless you are sought and now that you are sought you cannot fail to seek.

(Bernard of Clairvaux, Bernard of Clairvaux: Selected Works, ed. John Farina, trans. G. R. Evans, The Classics of Western Spirituality (New York; Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1987), 276)

This is so very good: “You would not be seeking Him or loving Him unless you had first been sought and loved. …You cannot seek unless you are sought and now that you are sought you cannot fail to seek.”

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015