I have called St. Bernard of Clairvaux the Saint of Love. More than any other man, with St. John of the Cross, he communicates to his audience, his monks, us, the glory of being loved by the Bridegroom, Christ.
In Sermon 15 on The Song of Songs, Bernard notes this: "Love's business is to educate the mind as well as to provide the body's food." He is referring to the Names of Jesus, but most particularly, the Name of Jesus.
Those who have experienced love understand how precious the name of the beloved is to the one who speaks the name.
But, what is the meaning of educating the mind and speaking or meditating on the Name of Jesus? Bernard tells all that Christ's Name is "oil poured out", quoting the Scriptures. This oil brings gladness and healing, and spreads.
"How shall we explain the world-light of faith, swift and flaming in its progress, except by the preaching of Jesus' name.? Is it not by the light of this name that God that God has called us into his wonderful light, that irradiates the darkness and empowers us to see the light"
The love of Christ leads us into the Illuminative State. Called into God's light through the darkness of purgation, Christ pours His love into our minds, and we are then educated in the virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, lying dormant since Confirmation.
St. Bernard experienced the power of good works which are unleashed in Illumination.
Here he quotes St. Paul, "You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord."
Only those who have learned humility, who have called upon the Name of the Bridegroom in the Dark Night are the "light in the Lord". Once one has allowed the oil which is Jesus' Name to heal and to teach, one can do God's work in the world.
The intellect become enlightened with the Holy Spirit, being taught by Christ Alone.
How profoundly Bernard expresses his illumination. "I am conscious, I am alive! I am perfectly restored, my resurrection is complete. What else is the death of the body than to be deprived of life and feeling? Sin, which is the death of the soul, took from me the feeling of compunction, hushed my prayers of praise; I was dead. Then he who forgives sin came down, restored my senses again and said, 'I am your deliverer.' Why wonder that death should yield when he who is life comes down?"
The coming down of Christ is the Bridegroom coming to the bride, the soul now cleansed and humbled. When one can say these words of Bernard in truth, in the second conversion, one is in the Illuminative State.
I wrote of rational, not affective love, in the beginning of this new series. The enlightened mind now experiences rational love.