The Image of Eternal Rest

From “Homily 12 for the Vigil of Pentecost” (ca. 730)

The true, indeed, the only peace for the 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 boast of our afflictions.” The person who expects to find peace in riches and in the enjoyment of this world’s goods is 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 foundations on sand.

On the other hand, all those who, touched 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 now 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 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 comes to light, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

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.


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