Feast of St. Robert Bellarmine

From St. Robert Bellarmine’s The Ascent of the Mind to God:

“O Lord, sweet and gentle and full of mercy,” who, beginning to taste even a little bit of the sweetness of your fatherly rule, would not serve you with their whole heart? What do you command your servants, Lord? “Take my yoke upon you,” you say. And what kind of yoke is yours? “My yoke,” you say, “is sweet, and my burden light.” Who would not most gladly beat that yoke which does not discourage, but nourishes, and that burden which does not weigh down, but refreshes? Rightly therefore you added: “And you will find rest for your souls.” And what is that yoke which does not tire us, but brings rest? It is that first and greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God from all your heart.” For what is easier, sweeter, more pleasing, than to love goodness and beauty and love, all which you are, O Lord God?Do you also promise, to those who keep your commandments, a reward above much good, and sweeter than the honeycomb? Indeed you promise a reward, and a most full reward, as your Apostle James says: “The Lord has prepared a crown of love for those who love him.” And what is the crown of love? Truly a greater good than we can even think or desire; for thus the blessed Paul cites Isaiah: “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Truly therefore in keeping your commandments there is a great reward. Nor is it only beneficial for man not for God who commands) to keep that first and greatest commandment, but also all the other commandments perfect, adorn, instruct, enlighten, and finally make good and blessed the one who obeys them. Wherefore if you are wise, understand that you have been created for the glory of God and your eternal salvation, that this is your end, this the center of your soul, this the treasure of your heart. If you arrive at this end you will be blessed, if you fall away from you you will be miserable.

Hence you should esteem that as truly good, which leads you to your end, and that as evil, which makes you fall away from your end. Prosperous and adverse things, wealth and poverty, health and sickness, honor and dishonor, life and death should in themselves neither be sought nor shunned by a wise man. But if they lead to the glory of God and your eternal happiness, they are good and should be sought, while if the hinder it, they are bad and should be shunned.

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