Continuing on with yesterday's exploration of spirituality...the second thing my students read was a selection from St. Bernard of Clairvaux's work "On Loving God" (also called "On the Love of God," depending on the translation).
This is a little work that's not terribly easy to read. In it Bernard outlines four degrees of love, which mark our progress along our spiritual path toward God. They are:
1. To love myself for my own sake.It's that fourth one that seems tricky, right?
2. To love God for my own sake.
3. To love God for God's sake.
4. To love myself for God's sake.
And yet, we are called to live the best life that we are capable of, to use the gifts God has given us to the benefit of our neighbor, of our world, of God. Is it not love to be able to recognize the good in me?
So, Bernard of Clairvaux makes me happy, and makes me think about what life means, what my desires point to, how I want to live my life. How I need to value myself and explore my gifts, not in a selfish way, but in order to give them back to God. In order to be the best Religious of the Sacred Heart that I can be. In order to be the best Juliet that I can be.