From “Homily 12, For the Vigil of Pentecost” (720-730)
The Holy Spirit will give to those who love God the perfect peace of eternity. But even now the Spirit gives them great peace when kindling in their hearts the celestial fire of love. In fact, the apostle says, “This hope will not leave us disappointed, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
The true, indeed, the only peace for souls in this world consists in being filled with divine love and animated with heavenly hope to the point of setting no store on the successes and failures of this world, of stripping, ourselves wholly of earthly desires, of renouncing all worldly covetousness and rejoicing in injuries and persecutions suffered for Christ’s sake, so that we can say with the apostle, “We boast of our hope for the glory of God. But not only that — we even boast of our afflictions.” Those who expect to find peace in riches and in the enjoyment of this world’s goods are only self-deceived. The frequent troubles of life here below and the fact that this world will end should convince such people that they are building their foundation on sand.
On the other hand, all those who, touches by the breath of the Holy Spirit, have taken upon themselves the excellent yoke of God’s love and who, following Christ’s example, have learned to be gentle and lowly in heart — these do already rejoice in a peace which even ow is the image of eternal rest. In the depths of their souls they are separated from the commotion of humanity, they have the joy of remembering the the presence of their Creator wherever they may be, and they thirst for the attainment of perfect contemplation, saying with St. John the Apostle, “We know that when it is revealed, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
If we want to be rewarded with this vision, we shall need to bear the gospel in mind unceasingly and to show ourselves heedless of all worldly attractions; then we shall be found worthy to receive the grace of the Holy Spirit which the world cannot receive. Let us love Christ and persevere in observing his commandments which we have begun to follow.
The more we love him, the more we shall merit to be loved by his Father, and then he himself will grant us the grace of his great love in eternity. In this life he gives us faith and hope; in the life to come we shall see him face to face and he will show himself to us in the glory which he had with his Father before the world was made.
The Venerable Bede (ca. 673-735) was an English monk, teacher, and scholar, one of the most influential figures of the early Middle Ages. He was famed in his lifetime for his Biblical commentaries, and is best known today for his great history of the English church and people. His feast day is May 25.