Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bernard: fear and self-interest

Tuesday, January 14, 2014
    Commemoration of Richard Meux Benson, Founder of the Society of St John the Evangelist, 1915
    For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
    —2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
    Neither fear nor self-interest can convert the soul. They may change the appearance, perhaps even the conduct, but never the object of supreme desire. Sometimes a slave may do God’s work; but because he does not toil voluntarily, he remains in bondage. So a mercenary may serve God, but because he puts a price on his service, he is enchained by his own greediness. For where there is self-interest there is isolation; and such isolation is like the dark corner of a room where dust and rust befoul. Fear is the motive which constrains the slave; greed binds the selfish man, by which he is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed. But neither fear nor self-interest is undefiled, nor can they convert the soul. Only charity can convert the soul, freeing it from unworthy motives.
    ... Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), On Loving God, CCEL, ch. 12 (see the book)
    See also 2 Tim. 1:7; Isa. 55:7; Matt. 10:7-10; 18:3; Rom. 8:15; 1 Cor. 9:18; 2 Cor. 11:9; 1 Thess. 2:9; Jas. 1:13-14; 1 John 4:18
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You have driven out my self-concern.
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