Clairvaux on Love

“You want me to tell you why God is to be loved and how much. I answer, the reason for loving God is God himself; and the measure of love due to him is immeasurable love… Could any reason be greater than this, that He gave Himself for us unworthy wretches? …It is hard, no rather impossible, for a man by his own strength or in the power of free will to render all things to God from whom they came, without turning them to sinful ends… ‘For all seek their own’ (Phil. 2.21) and ‘the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.’ (Gen. 8.21) The faithful know how much they need Jesus and Him crucified… they wonder and rejoice at the inexpressible love shown in Him… they love all the more, because they know they are loved so exceedingly… One who loves God truly asks no other recompense than God himself.”

“[Those apart from God in Christ] wander in a circle, longing after something to gratify their yearnings, yet madly rejecting the only thing that can bring satisfaction… they wear themselves out in vain effort, never attaining… because they delight in creatures, not in the Creator.”

“Perfect love will be reached when the good and faithful servant enters into the joy of His Lord (Matt. 25.21), and is there fully satisfied in the abundance of God’s house… In that day those who are in Christ can say fully of themselves, as St. Paul testified, ‘Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.’ (2 Cor.5.16)”

Bernard of Clairvaux, On Loving God. [c.1130]